Who We Are -- Committee on Equity & Inclusion - Marquette University College of Nursing

The purpose of the MUCN Committee on Equity and Inclusion is to foster an inclusive, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive learning and working environment that critically examines biases and promotes social justice and equity. Ultimately, the commitment to and promotion of inclusion, belonging, and equity is the responsibility of all students, faculty, and staff within the Marquette University College of Nursing community.

Through this work we will recognize the inherent worth of individuals and celebrate our accomplishments and the cultural heritage of those represented in our community. The committee's vision is to inspire changes that contribute to the transformation of each student into the Marquette Nurse who will protect, promote, and optimize the health and abilities of individuals, families, and communities and create an environment in which students, staff, and faculty feel proud, safe, and valued.


MUCN Committee on Equity and Inclusion Members

Terrie Garcia

Juanita (Terrie) Garcia, Ph.D., RN - MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion Chairperson
Marquette University College of Nursing Clark Hall 207
Phone: 414-288-3822
Email: juanita.garcia@marquette.edu
Role: Director of Inclusive Excellence and Student Success
Joined MUCN: 2007

Why did you join the MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion and how do your passion, education, and purpose intersect with DEI work?

I am the daughter of migrant farm workers, a second-generation Mexican American woman, and the first in my family to go to college. My lived experiences shaped my philosophy about diversity, equity, and inclusion and formed my commitment to leadership. In my current position, as Project Director for three federally funded grants, my focus is working with students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, first generation, and/or underrepresented ethnic/minority nursing students. In addition, I have also contributed to the vision to create a more diverse and inclusive environment within MUCN. As the MUCN Chair for the Equity and Inclusion Committee, I have provided leadership in developing and overseeing programming and training for faculty, staff, and students related to diversity and inclusion and contributed to the strategic direction of MUCN’s commitment.

My philosophy entails cultivating an environment that fosters a sense of community and belonging for all and is based on my beliefs about the need for activism to promote social justice and to remove social determinants of health and education that impede equitable access to resources. My beliefs motivate my commitment toward achieving equity and enhancing diversity, as rooted in my experiential knowledge. As a professional and leader, I value the importance of collaboration and strive to create a safe environment where all feel comfortable to share and express their opinions. As a professional nurse, I understand the importance of having nurses in the workforce who look like the diverse communities we represent and for which we provide care. It is imperative nursing programs build sustainable structures to promote diversity and create equitable and inclusive environments to accelerate efforts to grow a nursing workforce that reflects the U.S. population. As a member of the MUCN Equity and Inclusion Committee, I am committed to pursue efforts to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion at MU and MUCN.


Abir Bekhet

 Abir Bekhet, Ph.D., RN (she/her/hers)
Marquette University College of Nursing Clark Hall 333
Phone: 414-288-3847
Email: abir.bekhet@marquette.edu
Role: Professor
Joined MUCN: 2009

Why did you join the MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion and how do your passion, education, and purpose intersect with DEI work?

My teaching, research, and service extend and embrace our understanding of inclusiveness, multicultural programming, and community outreach activities. I have been teaching “Culture and Health” since 2010.  In this course, I broaden the students’ experiences through various activities that promote and advocate a “welcoming and learning” environment, while nurturing and embracing cultural, ethnic, racial, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other human differences. My goal is to help students walk out of the class, having a greater appreciation for human diversity and recognize that the strength of our community comes from its diversity! 

My program of research focuses on the effects of positive cognitions, resilience, and resourcefulness in overcoming adversity in vulnerable populations that include Egyptian and American older adults, Caucasian and African American caregivers, Arab students, family caregivers of persons with autism, serious mental illnesses, and dementia, children, and nursing students. My research is unique and raises awareness about diversity and health disparities. Thus, my research has contributed to the university mission and the greater good of the Marquette’s community and beyond.

Service to the college and the community is another example of extending and embracing multicultural programming and community outreach activities. As a mental health nurse researcher and educator, I believe in educating the whole person, which is congruent with Marquette University mission. As a member of the committee, I hope to generate and pursue initiatives and recommendations that strengthen and empower Marquette college of nursing to increase representation of diverse students and faculty while maintaining a welcoming environment and to strengthen our college commitment to inclusive excellence in education, research, and service.


Marilyn Frenn

Marilyn Frenn, Ph.D., RN, CNE, ANEF, FTOS, FAAN (she/her/hers)
Marquette University College of Nursing Clark Hall 353
Phone: 414-288-3845
Email: marilyn.frenn@marquette.edu
Role: Professor
Joined MUCN: 1991

Why did you join the MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion and how do your passion, education, and purpose intersect with DEI work?

I have always worked with traditionally under-represented groups through my research, since they are over-represented among those with childhood overweight and obesity. These groups are also over-represented among those living in poverty, which is another risk for overweight and obesity. I now am working with nurses through the American Academy of Nursing to review research that has shown an improvement for these at-risk groups and recommend policy changes addressing systemic racism. I am also working with the Marquette University Poverty Research Initiative on these issues. The College of Nursing Committee on Equity & Inclusion is the College of Nursing group addressing these issues, so I am very glad to be a part of that very important work.




Lisa Hanson

Lisa Hanson, Ph.D., CNM, FACNM, FAAN (she/her/hers)
Marquette University College of Nursing Clark Hall 341
Phone: 414-288-3814
Email: lisa.hanson@marquette.edu
Role: Klein Endowed Professor, Associate Director Midwifery Program
Joined MUCN: 1993

Why did you join the MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion and how do your passion, education, and purpose intersect with DEI work?

I have been involved in Diversity and Inclusion work at Marquette for over 2 decades. I have participated in co-writing and implementing several HRSA (Health Resource & Services Administration) grants aimed at increasing the diversity of Midwifery Program students and I was formerly the chair of the Marquette University Academic Senate Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. I am currently an active member of the Marquette University Committee on Equity and Inclusion and am passionate about anti-racism, LGBTQ+, and women's issues.


Isabella Ibarra

Isabella Ibarra (she/her/hers)
Emails: isabella.ibarra@marquette.edu
Role: Student Committee Member and currently enrolled in Marquette University College of Nursing’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program
Joined MUCN: 2019

Why did you join the MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion and how do your passion, education, and purpose intersect with DEI work?

As a first-generation Hispanic student in the College of Nursing, I recognize the importance and value of DEI work within the program. In my personal life, I have had many conversations related to improving commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within various settings, and I love seeing the positive changes that have come from those discussions. Embedding equity and inclusion into the nursing program requires purposeful and well calculated efforts, and I feel that as a committee we have been able to make so much progress towards establishing a more welcoming environment for students, faculty, and staff. As a member of the committee, I hope to implement systemic and sustainable change for current and future students and help them feel heard, valued, and respected.


madaline mccarthy

Madaline McCarthy she/her/hers

Email: madaline.mccarthy@marquette.edu

Role: Graduate Student Representative on the DE MSN Subcommittee, MUCN Equity and Inclusion Representative, Ambassador for the DE MSN Program, Committee for International Women's Leadership

B.A. in Psychology, DE MSN at Pleasant Prairie
Research Assistant at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Research Assistant for Dr. Jessica Zemlak 
Research Assistant for Dr. Lisa Grabert
Research Assistant for Dr. Jackie Christianson
Research Assistant for Dr. Alan Burkard 
Assistance in the Marketing Campaign for the DE MSN Program

Joined MUCN: Jan. 2022

Why did you join the MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion and how do your passion, education, and purpose intersect with DEI work?

My mother fled Laos during the Vietnam War with her family and was relocated here to the United States. Unable to speak English, completely unfamiliar with the culture, she struggled to obtain her High School Diploma. She had me as a teenager and during that time we were at the mercy of government assistance. But she insisted that I go to school to become better. I am the first generation in my family that has received an undergraduate degree and the first to attend a graduate program. It is my desire to seek further education and obtain my PhD in Nursing and specifically focus on mental health. This would not have been possible if the faculty at Marquette University had not welcomed me with open arms, which has allowed me opportunities to return the kindness and understanding that they have shown me. By being a part of the MUCN Committee on Equity and Inclusion I would like to represent the Cambodian, Laos, Thai, Vietnamese, and Dai community as a wife, mother, student, and future healthcare worker. It has put me in a position to "be the difference" and encourage others like me that there will be a place for them at this wonderful institution. 


Taylor Rose Pamperin

Taylor Rose Pamperin, M.Ed. (she/her/hers)
Marquette University College of Nursing Office of Student Services Clark Hall 112D
Phone: 414-288-5632
Email: taylorrose.pamperin@marquette.edu
Role: Graduate Student Success Advisor
Joined MUCN: 2016

Why did you join the MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion and how do your passion, education, and purpose intersect with DEI work?

My lived experiences, career, and community have helped to shape my understanding of privilege, bias, social and racial justice, the intersection of identities, and how they impact access, belongingness, and inclusion. Through my career in non-profit and higher education and volunteer work, my focus has been on student support, engagement, and development and the shared responsibility of contributing to a culture dedicated to equity, inclusion, and mutual respect since 2005. Within the College of Nursing have had the privilege of creating and contributing to student, faculty, and staff-facing programming and participating in greater community-wide activism focused on engaging and expanding knowledge of disparities and recognizing the inherent worth of individuals and communities.

The work to create a sustainable scaffolding to generate, promote, and achieve diverse, equitable and inclusive environments is more important than ever. As a member of this committee, I hope to collaboratively create an environment where all peoples are welcomed, treasured, and belong while strengthening the College communities’ priority to increasing underrepresented student, faculty, and staff populations. Through this persistent and thoughtful work, I hope to support the development of our students, faculty, and staff in identifying and addressing bias and continuing our journey as an inclusive, anti-oppressive, and anti-racist community focused on justice and equity.


Maria Pena

Maria Peña, MSN, RN (she/her/hers)
Email: maria.pena@marquette.edu
Role: Full-time Nursing Faculty; Clinical Course Coordinator
Joined MUCN: 2019

Why did you join the MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion and how do your passion, education, and purpose intersect with DEI work?

From my twenty years of military service to my current position on Marquette’s College of Nursing Committee on Equity & Inclusion, being involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion organizations and efforts has been a part of my working and volunteer endeavors since 1996. Most recently, I served as Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Awards Liaison for the Golden Crown Literary Society where I strived to ensure that the organization remains a safe-haven, voice, resource, and welcomer of all readers, authors, publishers, editors, narrators, creative talent, and allies of women-loving-women literature.

My current Ph.D. studies are focused in the areas of holistic admissions review as an equitable pathway to nursing education and non-academic factors that help make students successful. My ultimate goal is to help create a more diverse nursing student body and faculty and subsequently a more diverse nursing work force that are truly representative of all of the populations we serve.


Tobin Tito

Tobin Tito, MSN, AGNP-BC, RN (he/him/his)
Email: tobin.tito@marquette.edu
Role: Full Time Faculty
Joined MUCN: 2017  

Why did you join the MUCN Committee on Equity & Inclusion and how do your passion, education, and purpose intersect with DEI work?

As an undergraduate and graduate student pursuing an education from Marquette University at the College of Nursing, I did not see fellow peers/professors/mentors that looked like me. I barely even saw male nurses of color in the field that I could relate to or discuss their experiences. One of the main reasons why I wanted to participate in such a crucial committee at Marquette University was to add a different perspective to the MU community and to the College of Nursing. I want to actively add to the diverse perspective in the field of nursing.