Ed Psych students help make the world a warmer place

Doctoral students Mikaely Schmitz (left) and Vittoria Sipone

A group of UWM students in Educational Psychology spent their winter break making blankets for patients at Rogers Behavioral Health. Rogers treats a number of behavioral and mental health challenges; the blankets went to the eating disorder unit.

Originally appeared February 23, 2021 on the School of Education website.

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“The patients in our Eating Disorder Recovery program really appreciate the donation of blankets,” said Linda Schieble, Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation special events coordinator. “Clinical staff tells me that patients with an eating disorder can experience low body temp, so they really enjoy the blankets.”

A number of students in the Educational Psychology counseling program complete their practicum hours at Rogers Behavioral Health. So, when Jackie Nguyen, associate professor and the Educational Psychology Student Association faculty advisor, became aware of the opportunity, they decided to pitch in and help.

A community member donated fleece, and 10 students from different program areas in the department cut and tied them into 20 blankets. Other students joined the project by buying supplies to make the blankets on their own or donated funds to purchase blankets.

“It sounded like a cozy, relaxing activity to do on a cold January day,” student Vittoria Sipone said.

“We cut and tied while we talked and socialized and did dissertation planning,” student Mikaely Schmitz added.

Both Schmitz and Sipone are working on their doctorates in cognitive and developmental sciences. They are in a cohort together, which has been mostly virtual this year, but because they do regular COVID-19 testing and have been following CDC precautions, they felt safe in getting together in person. They spent the day on Schmitz’s living room floor cutting and tying together 11 blankets and enjoying a few refreshments.

“It was a great way to start the new year,” said Sipone.

Vittoria was born and raised in Rome, Italy, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in humanities and MFA in directing from the National Drama Academy. Vittoria’s research focuses on the relationship between theatre and moral development. Because of her interest in informal educational settings, she is also pursuing a Certificate in Museum Studies. Vittoria enjoys reading, horse riding, traveling and annoyingly showing everyone pictures of her cat, Theodora.