October 28, 2022
Preston Kendall, President, Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep
At one point in the pandemic, Christo Rey St. Martin (CRSM) alumna Marilu Bueno, a college psychology and theater major, realized that high school students at her alma mater had spent a significant chunk of the last two school years isolated from friends and in a fractured learning environment. She wondered if it made them feel sad, anxious, lonely, or stressed out. Her musings prompted the Class of ’19 grad to focus her senior-year qualitative research project at Kalamazoo College on CRSM juniors and seniors. She was interested in exploring mental health issues and how they impact minorities and other vulnerable populations. The effects of the pandemic brought them to the forefront, making her research very timely.
“My goal with the project was in many ways to let the CRSM students know they are not alone if they are struggling with anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed,” says Marilu, 22. She is on the Dean’s list at Kalamazoo, a Schuler Scholar, and voted, “Most Outstanding Student” at CRSM. Marilu returned to Waukegan this summer to spend two months interviewing, observing, and working with a focus group of about 20 CRSM juniors and seniors.
“There is a culture stigma,” she says. Students feel that if they say they are depressed or anxious, they are letting their parents down. One of my goals most likely will be educating the older generation and the community that it’s okay to seek help from a counselor.”
Hoping to launch a career in psychology, Marilu wants to work with vulnerable populations.