Marquette Center for Peacemaking to partner with Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee; new SWIM coordinator named

Nov. 30, 2023

Logo for Scaling Wellness in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE — The Center for Peacemaking at Marquette University will be the new home of Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee (SWIM), a nonprofit organization formed to increase strategic partnerships between community service providers and address generational trauma in Milwaukee.

Barbara Pierson has been hired as program coordinator for SWIM and will oversee the day-to-day operations. Pierson has served as a peace education specialist in the Center for Peacemaking since March and is a 2019 graduate of Marquette.

“The missions of SWIM and the Center for Peacemaking are so uniquely aligned that we found this new collaborative model to be a key strategic step toward addressing trauma in our community,” Marquette President Michael R. Lovell said. “By bringing SWIM onto campus and into the Near West Side, we will be able to engage in activities designed to increase personal and community resilience and become a national model for building trauma-informed workplaces and communities.”

President Lovell and First Lady Amy Lovell, co-founder and former president of REDgen, helped found SWIM to address generational trauma in Milwaukee through a collaborative, multidisciplinary model. Its mission is to build a trauma-responsive community that heals trauma and promotes resilience. SWIM operates on a volunteer basis consisting of local non-profit leaders, business executives, hospital and university administrators, community stakeholders, and community members.

“We’re very excited about our continued collaboration with SWIM,” said Pat Kennelly, director of the Center for Peacemaking. “As the new program coordinator, Barbara’s experience as a peace education specialist and her knowledge of trauma-informed practices will allow us to continue to address childhood trauma and further address trauma and the social determinants of health in the Near West Side and across Milwaukee.” 

Pierson is a Milwaukee-area native and graduated from Marquette with a bachelor’s degree in education and sociology. Since graduating, she has served as a teacher, first teaching sixth grade writing at the Hmong American Peace Academy in Milwaukee. She then spent two years in Dalian, China, on an international teaching experience at Maple Lead Foreign Nationals School, where she taught pre-kindergarten to third grade students.

About the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking

Housed within the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Peacemaking contributes to instruction, research and community engagement at the university. For the past 10 years, the Center, through its Peace Works program, has helped behavioral reassignment schools, traditional schools, Catholic schools and youth-serving agencies teach young people to modify behaviors while simultaneously working to increase young people's connections to their schools and protective factors from violence.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or