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Catherine Orzolek-Kronner

When I graduated from Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, in the mid 80's, I vowed to myself, and my many college friends that somehow I would return to my home "on the hill.” I attended every Homecoming thereafter, but that was not enough to satisfy my yearning to be part of a community that I loved deeply. So, after earning two Masters degrees and ten years of working as a professional social worker in Baltimore, I began my doctoral work at Smith College School of Social Work with the goal of someday teaching at McDaniel. I achieved this dream in 1999, and have been living the "good life" ever since.

I love being surrounded by energetic young adults who aim to change the world, not yet realizing that their lives will change in profound ways after a McDaniel College education – as Loren Pope promises in his book, “Colleges that Change Lives.” I enjoy working with all populations of people, although my primary research and professional reputation lies in providing individual, group and family therapy to persons with various mental health conditions, especially eating disorders, persons with physical disabilities, and troubled youth. I appreciate the many classic theories that guide assessment and intervention in clinical practice, although more recently I have immersed myself in better understanding the power of art, music, psychodrama, and animals (especially horses) in the process of healing.


Ph.D., Smith College School for Social Work
Masters in Administrative Sciences, Johns Hopkins University
Masters in Social Work, University of Maryland School of Social Work
B.A. in Social Work, McDaniel College

Research Interests

  • Eating disorders and attachment

  • Equine assisted therapy

  • Acquired physical disabilities and resiliency

  • Wilderness therapy and troubled youth

Recent Courses

  • SWK 2214: Human Behavior and the Social Environment I: Infancy through Adolescence

  • SWK 2225: Human Behavior in the Social Environment II: Young Adulthood through Later Adulthood

  • SWK 3322: Social Work Practice with Individuals

Clubs and community involvement

  • Faculty for Graduate Education

  • Faculty Advisor Advisor for Independent Student Research

  • Faculty Liaison for Service Learning, Westminster Cold Weather Shelter

  • Faculty Liaison to Meadow Creek Horse Farm

  • Vice President and Founder for the Carroll County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind

Catherine Orzolek-Kronner

"As a professor who is blind, I believe that I bring a unique perspective to the classroom. From the day I enter the classroom, my vulnerability is present, thus inviting others to be vulnerable as well, which in my experience is essential in the dual process of teaching and learning. My classes are rich with discussion, curiosity, and inquisition. I set the stage recognizing the diversity of learners, the challenges our unique social identities bring forward, and the strengths that come in the face of adversity. In this way, the classroom becomes a safe space to ask questions, share perspectives and become comfortable interacting across difference."

"Dr. OK is one of the most resourceful professors this campus has. Her passion and expertise in the field allow for students to obtain knowledge while knowing the person in front of them actually cares and knows them as an individual and not just part of a cohort."

Wayne Young, '19, Criminal Justice-Sociology