Saint Benedict’s Magazine Summer 2022

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Making Strides Bennies like Fiona Smith ’24 are taking on tough problems and preconceptions in STEM

INSIDE 10 Just begin 18 On achromatic vertex distinguishing edge colorings and 5ks 22 The art and science of learning larger


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Just begin On achromatic vertex distinguishing edge colorings and 5ks

22 The art and science of learning larger

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22 The College of Saint Benedict Magazine is published three times a year by the office of Institutional Advancement.

Message From the President

EDITOR Greg Skoog (SJU ’89)

Worth 1,000 Words


News I’m a Bennie Class Notes Bennie Connection Generosity

CONTRIBUTORS Kevin Allenspach Katie Alvino Ellen Hunter Gans ’05 Tommy O’Laughlin (SJU ’13) Leah Rado Frank Rajkowski Sara Thurin Rollin COVER PHOTO Fiona Smith ’24 is in the midst of her second summer of undergraduate research at Saint Ben’s. Photo by Tommy O’Laughlin (SJU ’13). CONTACT College of Saint Benedict Magazine Institutional Advancement 37 South College Avenue St. Joseph, MN 56374-2099 For address changes, please call 1-800-648-3468, ext. 1 or email Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer The mission of the College of Saint Benedict is to provide for women the very best residential liberal arts education in the Catholic and Benedictine traditions. The college fosters integrated learning, exceptional leadership for change and wisdom for a lifetime.


Stand firm in one’s promises During our first two week-long visits to campus (April and May), many people expressed familiarity with the concept “Strong Integration,” but few could define precisely what it is, or for what reasons we now pursue this unique – revolutionary – approach. To some it’s about being nimble and adaptive as we confront the many national headwinds facing higher education. To others it’s about the expectation that it will lead to a more sustainable financial future. Each of those results are necessary, and alone would be worthy of our efforts to discover what strategic integration might mean.

Among the many thoughtful questions alumnae have asked these past few months, the most frequent are about “Strong Integration” – specifically what that means, and what it means for both Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s now and into the future.”

Greetings from St. Joseph! To the many of you who have reached out over the past months and offered warm welcomes, extending signature Benedictine hospitality, thank you. We are feeling immensely blessed! Among the many thoughtful questions alumnae have asked these past few months, the most frequent are about “Strong Integration” – specifically what that means, and what it means for both Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s now and into the future. Naturally there is considerable curiosity – and some fear – about Strong Integration. What I know at this point is that our monastic sponsors have called us to this tremendous opportunity, toward a new and innovative chapter of collaboration, and I’m looking forward to journeying with all of you as we continue to co-create it. As we do so, I commit to addressing your questions and helping alleviate any trepidation both present and future. In fact, as I discerned the call to become the inaugural president for the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Carol and I said yes because of these institutions’ long and inspiring tradition of educating women and men unapologetically in our Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts, and residential-living framework. During the discernment and search process, the clarity of vision and voice of the sisters and monks was profound. Their commitment to an even more bountiful and sustainable future was compelling. After learning all of the above, and more, we had no doubt that our vocational journey calls us to serve here.

However, the higher-order goal of Strong Integration is to enhance our already exceptional reputation of producing principled, well-educated graduates. It’s about our students, and the ability to offer an increasingly sophisticated and impactful education for every single one of them, present and future. The College of Saint Benedict is a college for women, and an exceptional one! I’ve spent the majority of my career exploring what that means. And I’m thrilled to be able to work with students, alumnae, faculty and administration in pursuit of the very best ways to empower leaders, scholars and innovators from a perspective that is unambiguously about opportunities for women. I will be looking for your input on that journey. Carol and I have been mightily impressed with the deep sense of love alumnae express for CSB. The message is clear! Whatever becomes of the strategic move toward Strong Integration, the distinctive nature of Saint Ben’s must be amplified and extended. That is precisely the commitment Carol and I have signed up for. And we look forward to hearing from you, learning your vision and walking with you on this bold new chapter in Saint Ben’s history and future. As we do, know of my firm, unwavering commitment to the Benedictine value of taking counsel: cultivating rootedness and a shared sense of mission. As chapter 58 of the Rule of Benedict requires, we must “stand firm in one’s promises.” My promise to you is that, together with your guidance, we will strengthen our beloved institution.

Brian J. Bruess, Ph.D. President, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Summer 2022 | 1


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JUST LIKE THEY PICTURED IT When the CSB and SJU Multicultural Center opened last fall, it intentionally featured photos spotlighting students of color, international students and the LGBTQ communities at CSB and SJU. After nearly a full academic year, those photos have proven prophetic, since the center has become a haven for all sorts of students, but especially those from underrepresented and/or marginalized populations.

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Thank you, Laurie Hamen Since 2020, Laurie Hamen has played a pivotal role as Transitional President of the College of Saint Benedict. As she steps away from the post, we celebrate the legacy and the indelible mark she leaves on the college and the community. “During her two years in leadership, Transitional President Hamen has brought energy and commitment to our work together,” said Kathy Hansen, recently retired vice president of institutional advancement. “It’s particularly gratifying to see the creation of the new Multicultural Center as well as the search for a senior diversity officer for inclusive excellence. These are overdue initiatives that will make a material difference for our students. She has also been a wonderful fundraising partner – even during these challenging

pandemic times. Together, we have raised millions of dollars for new scholarships that will allow women from all backgrounds to say ‘Yes!’ to a Saint Ben’s education.” Under Hamen’s leadership, CSB continued the journey to explore Strong Integration, preparing CSB and SJU for their first-ever single president, aligning the institutions through enhanced, integrated student experiences and shared services. On behalf of the CSB community, we extend Laurie Hamen sincere gratitude for her service, commitment and leadership.

Farewell, Kathy Hansen – Welcome, Heather Pieper-Olson Her leadership of her team, passion for creating opportunities, and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice have made Saint Ben’s better and stronger. But her love of family, birth of her fifth grandchild, and desire to spend more time with her aging parents make now the right time for retirement. She will be missed. She leaves with peace of mind, knowing the VPIA role will be in the capable hands of Heather Pieper-Olson. For the past seven years, Kathy Hansen has served past, present and potential Bennies as the College of Saint Benedict’s vice president of institutional advancement (VPIA). She has led fundraising, alumnae relations and stewardship efforts, as well as providing essential support for the president and the board. Her leadership led to the overwhelmingly successful conclusion of the Illuminating Lives campaign, which raised $113 million and helped to more than double the college’s endowment. She secured the $10 million gift that created the Fleischhacker Center for Ethical Leadership in action, as well as a second eight-figure gift that will be added to the college’s endowment. 4 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Heather holds bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and Spanish from the College of Charleston (where she was a three-time captain of the Division I volleyball team) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School. A dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, she was appointed to serve as a counselor attorney to the Mexican Consulate in St. Paul during her tenure as a litigation associate at Gray Plant Mooty. She joined the Institutional Advancement team at Saint Ben’s in 2008 and has served in ever-increasing leadership roles. Since 2010, when Heather was named director, annual giving revenue has increased by a remarkable 43%.

In 2014 Heather stepped in as the interim VPIA during the search for Kathy Hansen. During that 11-month transition, she provided support and counsel to then-President Mary Dana Hinton (during Hinton’s inaugural year), guided her team members and managed the early stages of the Illuminating Lives campaign. By 2015, Heather was named associate vice president of institutional advancement, and has grown in that role since. She continues to also serve Bennies as a volunteer assistant coach for the perennially nationally ranked Saint Benedict volleyball team.


374 Bennies Walk the Stage For the first time in almost three years, the CSB graduation ceremony resembled the tradition it is meant to be. During their college experience, this class persevered through a global pandemic – including the shutdown of their campus as sophomores and the inconveniences of social distancing and masking for much of the past two years. The commencement tradition was marked by sunshine and a gathering of more than 2,000 supporters in Clemens Field House.

Boards of Trustees LeAnne Mathews Stewart ’87, chief financial officer for Axia Women’s Health and student speaker Regan Dolezal, political science major and global business leadership minor from Woodbury, Minnesota. Dolezal recently received a Fulbright Scholar award to be an English teaching assistant this fall in the Czech Republic.

The ceremony included remarks from current chair of the CSB and SJU

Stewart was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The ceremony

also included the presentation of the CSB President’s Medal to two longtime school leaders: Susan Palmer, who is retiring as vice president of finance and administration and Kathy Kurvers Henderson ’85, a 10-year former CSB trustee, received the honor for their dedication and service. (Retiring vice president of institutional advancement Kathy Hansen also received the President’s Medal this year.) Summer 2022 | 5


4+1 BSN-MSN and Global Health Minor Aim to Meet Demands of Health Care Landscape

Starting in fall 2022, the Graduate Nursing program at CSB and SJU will offer a 4+1 BSN-MSN option. This program is for ambitious junior undergraduate nursing students who wish to accelerate their master’s degree. Attendees in the program will take graduate courses toward their Master of Science in Nursing – Leadership and Education for Practice. In four years, students of the program will complete a Bachelor of Science in nursing plus one year toward their graduate degree and be prepared to take their Minnesota boards. The 4+1 program saves time and up to $9,000 in tuition, while preparing students to be practicing nurses and leaders. Graduates can decide to continue

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in their graduate education or begin a career as a practicing nurse – or both.

human experiences of health, illness and healing.

Meanwhile, the interdisciplinary global health minor, to be offered in fall 2022, is a 20-credit program that teaches students to think critically about global health challenges and solutions to global health problems. The program emphasizes the contributions that the social sciences and humanities – such as anthropology, sociology, history, communications and psychology – can make to understanding

Students will experience a liberal arts approach to the study of health within a global context. The courses and training will help students analyze some of the most pressing problems that shape our world, preparing them for exciting careers in health care, public policy, international service and more.


Students present Mayo Scholars experiential research project findings “The Mayo Innovation Scholars Program was a great opportunity to gain experience working and collaborating with a multidisciplinary team,” said Speidel. “This program also allowed me to gain exposure to the technical processes involved in successfully getting a medical idea to market. In my future, I hope to be involved in researching and innovating orthopedic and rehabilitation devices, and this program was a great way to introduce myself to this field.”

Four Bennie and Johnnie students recently concluded their work in the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program (MISP). CSB senior nutrition and communication double major Grace Johnson (Andover, Minnesota), SJU junior biochemistry and economics double major Bradley Koskie (Medina, Minnesota), SJU senior nutrition major Jason Matz (Clearwater, Minnesota) and CSB senior mathematics major Dacoda Speidel (Rogers, Minnesota) made up the team from CSB and SJU. This year’s team’s assignment involved working crossfunctionally to evaluate a new medical intervention device.

“The Mayo Innovation Scholars Program is the best of undergraduate liberal arts education,” said Jennifer Schaefer, professor of biology and one of the team’s two project advisors. “Students are given a real-life innovation proposed by a Mayo researcher or clinician. Science and business students then work together, “learning each-others’ languages”, to evaluate the proposal and to make recommendations about how and whether to bring the innovation to market. The students worked as a team on the project on campus throughout the 2021-22 academic year. They presented their findings to campus mentors and leaders from Mayo Clinic Ventures in March and in a written report. On average, each student put in 175 hours of work during the program.

20 CSB Students Accepted into Elite Catholic Honor Society On Friday, April 1, select CSB juniors and seniors were inducted into Delta Epsilon Sigma (DES) based on a 3.9 grade-point average or higher on a 4.0 scale and their involvement in the community through volunteer and extracurricular activities. DES is a national Catholic Honor Society with the purpose of recognizing academic accomplishments, dedication to intellectual activity and service to others. CSB has been a member of DES since its beginning in 1940. This year’s inductees are: • Megan Anderson Maple Grove, Minnesota psychology/global health

• Morgan Hughes Waconia, Minnesota elementary education

• Cecelia Miller St. Michael, Minnesota elementary education

• Elise Vomacka Kandiyohi, Minnesota psychology

• Claire Boettcher Duluth, Minnesota history/political science

• Theresa Koll Cold Spring, Minnesota elementary education

• Makayla Miller Prior Lake, Minnesota nursing

• Ashlee Vyskocil Green Bay, Wisconsin political science/sociology

• Katherine Fenske Shoreview, Minnesota integrative science

•M argaret Mary Krutchen Newburgh, Indiana social sciences

• Thea Oman Crookston, Minnesota elementary education

• Meagan Wentworth Alexandria, Minnesota mathematics

• Olivia Flack Lake Crystal, Minnesota biology

• Linnea Metelmann Belmont, Massachusetts nutrition

• Elizabeth Ruckman Monticello, Illinois environmental studies

• Kyleigh Winkler Blaine, Minnesota elementary education

• Tess Glenzinski Morristown, Minnesota English/communication

• Clare Michalowicz Woodbury, Minnesota nursing

• Olivia Tikalsky Lakeville, Minnesota communication/global business leadership

• Mai See Yang St. Paul, Minnesota elementary education

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Two Pillars of CSB Athletic Department Receive Honors Robin Balder-Lanoue ’91, the longtime cross country and track and field coach at CSB, was chosen as one of the recipients from around the state for this year’s Breaking Barriers Award. In addition, Professor Emerita Margy Hughes, who began teaching in the Physical Education Department at Saint Ben’s in 1966 and went on to become the chair of the joint department before her retirement in 2003, was honored with the Marie Berg Education Award. The two were celebrated as part of Minnesota’s celebration of National Girls and Women in Sport Day. The ceremony was held Feb. 2, at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Hughes played a big part in helping CSB establish its foothold in intercollegiate athletics – using her position in the Physical Education Department to push for and facilitate the hiring of full-time coaches, then finding ways to ensure those individuals were given the time they needed to focus on coaching their teams.

Balder-Lanoue, a former track and field and cross-country standout at CSB who returned to her alma mater to take over as head cross country coach in 1997, became the head track and field coach in 1999. She has guided the cross-country team to a top-ten finish regionally in 17 of the past 25 years. In track and field, her teams have finished in the top five in 10 of the last 13 indoor conference meets and eight of the last 11 outdoor MIAC championships. She has been named MIAC indoor coach of the year three times and outdoor coach of the year twice.

Robin Balder-Lanoue ’91

Margy Hughes

CSB Names Head Lacrosse Coach Saint Ben’s has turned to one of the state’s top prep coaches to head its new varsity lacrosse program. Patrick Crandall has been hired to lead the Bennies’ program, which begins play in spring 2023. Crandall has been the head girls’ lacrosse coach at Lakeville South High School since 2011. During his tenure there, his teams twice finished as state runners-up and twice as state consolation champions. In 2015, he was named the Minnesota Coaches Association Coach of the Year. He also was instrumental in the creation and growth of the True Minnesota Lacrosse Club, which has become one of the top-ranked programs in the country. “I am most looking forward to working with the student-athletes, developing

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to leave Lakeville South and the program that I started there, however, I am looking forward to bringing highly competitive lacrosse to CSB and the surrounding community. Go Bennies!”

relationships, and a culture that can take the program to a high level of competition and relevance immediately,” stated Crandall. “It was a very difficult decision

In December 2021, the Bennies were accepted for membership into the Midwest Women’s Lacrosse Conference (MWLC), where they will become the eighth league member – joining Minnesota schools Augsburg, Hamline and Northwestern, Iowa schools Cornell and Wartburg, and Illinois schools Lake Forest and Monmouth. The MWLC was formed in 2010 and began play in spring 2011. The Bennie lacrosse team will practice and play on the turf field at the Outdoor Athletic Complex and will have a locker room in the Sister Lois Wedl Athletic Center.


CSB Softball Complex Receives National Recognition

The CSB Softball Complex is drawing national acclaim. In fall 2021, the complex was named the Division III winner of the 2021 Netting Professionals/NFCA Field of the Year award. The honor recognizes fields and stadiums across the nation for their flawless grounds maintenance and exceptional playing surfaces. “I am thrilled to have our softball complex recognized by the NFCA,” said CSB softball coach Rachael Click. “Many hours went into the planning and construction of the fields, and they

continue to be maintained at the highest level by our dedicated grounds crew. Our current team loves and takes great pride in our facility, and it makes for a great competition site for visiting teams and fans to enjoy the game.” The complex includes a turf and natural field, as well as turf bullpens and batting cages. It also features a heated press box, sound system, lighted grandstand and dugouts, dugouts with custom player lockers and bat racks and branded backstops.


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amia Tarraf ’98 freely and proudly points out that she’s not exactly typical.

Engage her in conversation and it might come up that she was born in Montreal, lived in Cameroon as a child and developed characteristics from her Lebanese Muslim father and Czech Catholic mother. Samia didn’t feel much different from the other kids 30 years ago at Minnetonka (Minnesota) High School, or when she chose to go to the College of Saint Benedict. But once she graduated with a degree in political science, that’s when her path really veered off the “typical.” Somehow that major (with a French minor for good measure) translated to immediate employment with Accenture, an IT services and consulting giant based in Ireland that had more than $50 billion in revenue in 2021. “I’m an anomaly,” Samia says. “I got hired back in the ’90s when there was this little bit of time where the tech industry was like

‘Maybe we should consider some people outside of computer science and math.’ What matters most is that you get people who are intelligent.” She’s exceptional in that she has risen to lead the company’s North American Oracle business group. Unfortunately, in 2022 she’s also uncommon in that she’s a woman thriving in STEM – the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. Despite decades of educators and employers working to undo generations of social programming, progress in opening STEM fields to women (and vice versa) remains frustratingly hard-fought. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, while women earned 58% of all college degrees as recent as 2018, just 19% of the computer science graduates were female. The disparity was almost as great in engineering (22%), and the overall total of women earning STEM degrees would be dispiriting if not for the fact that 85% of bachelor’s degrees in health-related fields went to women.

Samia’s example notwithstanding, those numbers cross into the real world of employment, too. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the share of women in computer-related industries was about 19% in 1970. It peaked at about 1 in 3 employees in 1990 and has declined to roughly 1 in 4 today. Women continue to be vastly underrepresented in the ranks of engineers and architects (15%), and employment in math jobs has barely budged in 30 years. And there is definitely room to grow. Growth in STEM jobs is expected to outpace (and out-earn) that of non-STEM jobs in the years ahead. Saint Ben’s is pushing hard right now to make a difference, from offering more and new scholarships to creating a culture of encouragement. (See sidebar, page 15.) But how did we get here and how does it get better? We asked three prominent CSB alumnae who are STEM leaders. What they said might surprise you.





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JUST BEGIN that a lack of diversity in the computer scientists who create such systems can lead to algorithms that can include gender, race and sexual orientation bias. What’s more, if we don’t tap into the best female talent, we’re excluding approximately half the population from our talent base in an area that is increasingly important to our economy and way of life.

SANDY GEISER MARTIN ’87 Sandy Geiser Martin ’87 was on the cutting edge of gender diversity in STEM after she graduated with a degree in math and computer science 35 years ago. She began her career in engineering with Twin Citiesbased West Publishing and rode through a couple transitions until it ultimately became Thomson Reuters. She has been a team lead, manager of technology, director of online and search platforms, and a senior director of content production platforms, big data engineering and data lake engineering. In 2021, she left to start her own consulting firm and today counts the Science Museum of Minnesota among her clients. “Since I’ve been in this industry a long time, I’ve thought it shouldn’t be this hard,” Sandy says. “But after all these years I can definitely say there’s a glass ceiling, making it harder for women to advance in STEM-based careers. I think there are many people and programs working to change the environment. A frustration for me is that, while in management, there was still a need to keep up on technology at a low level – in effect, to ‘be geeky.’ Many men would do this on their free time – coding and reading tech sources. I – and other women – want to take care of our families and our kids and enjoy the rest of our lives. Things are changing in that we’re publicly recognizing leadership needs to have a woman’s point of view along with a man’s point of view. But we still need physical mechanisms to allow for that change.” Indeed, the Harvard Business Review has published concerns about developing technologies like artificial intelligence,

The aptitude is there – more than 30 years ago the ratio of boys to girls who scored 700 on the SAT math exam was 13 to 1, but today that proportion is just 3 to 1. Yet the dearth of women pursuing STEM in college is clear. Then, even once a woman gets established in her STEM career, comes the potential interruption if she chooses to have a family. “We need to make it possible for women to have children without threatening their careers – and we need to make it possible for men to share in the responsibility of parenting,” says Sandy, who is married with two adult sons. “Women get stuck in the mid-management stages of their career because they don’t have the energy or time for the social requirements of advancing, whether that’s attending happy hours or maintaining a deeply technical skill set.” She says the emergence of data analytics (now available as a minor at CSB and SJU) may help attract and retain more women in computer science. “Data is great, but the engineering and statistics around it are nerdy and hard to understand for the average business person,” Sandy says. “The analytics and the impact those numbers have on a business are not nerdy at all. To be successful, you need to be able to tell a story, have a relationship and make connections with your business partners. Engineering and math can be hard to explain. So a successful data analytics practitioner must be able to help a marketing person or a finance person or even an executive – who has impactful problems and ideas – understand how they can use data and STEM capabilities to further define the problem and find ways forward. And that storytelling and personal connection, combined with the STEM skills, is where I expect there will be more recognition for women practitioners.”

CAMI LONGSTREET ZIMMER ’93 Like Samia, Cami Longstreet Zimmer ’93 graduated from CSB with a political science degree. She went on to work for more than a decade in government and public policy before transitioning her career into technology. For more than 15 years now, she has served in marketing, business development, corporate communications and branding for companies involved in wireless communication, driverless vehicles and most recently as chief business officer for Glympse, a mobile software company that predates similar tracking applications used with Uber and Lyft. Cami has a 16-year-old daughter who just recently expressed an interest in a career in oceanography – or perhaps something involving space, like with NASA. “She’s pretty self-confident, and that’s great,” Cami says. “Girls, when they’re younger, have a lot of interest in math and science.” Soon after that though, a convergence of societal factors tends to combine and create a perceived or real lack of confidence that can make even the smartest girls reluctant to be recognized as such. “I’m optimistic,” says Cami. “I see teens and I see 8-year-old girls who have more self-confidence than I did. As we go forward, I think that’s going to make a difference … they’re going to have opportunities – if they want to pursue them – that weren’t available to their moms and grandmas. My mom grew up in the ’50s and she never pushed me or never talked to me about goals. Today, I think most parents are more oriented that way whether they have girls or boys.” Summer 2022 | 13

SAMIA TARRAF ’98 Some employers are taking initiative to drive change forward. Accenture is one of those. And Accenture CEO Julie Sweet has tasked Samia with helping to ensure the company achieves 50-50 parity between men and women at all levels by 2025. “People are like ‘Oh, that’s so cool,’” Samia says. “It is, but that means every time I’m doing an org chart or every time I’m looking at my leadership team, I’m held accountable to developing an organization that looks and feels diverse. That’s not easy because you have to look at your talent differently. Who can fit a role that might not be an obvious choice? “The other thing is, how do we incent people to raise their hand?” Samia says. “All people are different. And we have to be sensitive to how people will respond when there is an opportunity for advancement. My experience is that most of the time I do not have women pushing for advancement or promotions. They are incredibly capable and could absolutely do a phenomenal job; they just don't push themselves forward. Women will often not put up their hands as fast for promotion. And it is incumbent on us as leaders to create an environment where all people can bring their most authentic self to work, and feel comfortable asking for that next promotion.” Samia boils her plan for how to increase women in STEM down to three points. First is to create the right culture.

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“There has to be a culture of inclusion and belonging,” she says. “That’s sort of kitschy these days. Everybody says that, right? And it’s not just that I want to work with women. A lot of women I work with can be a pain, but I do appreciate an environment where I feel like I’m not special. I’m in environments to this day where I show up, and I’m the most senior person in the room – running a $3 billion business, and I’ll hear ‘Are you getting us coffee, honey?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m your boss.’” Second is to make STEM interesting. “What’s exciting about it?” she asks. “My daughter is 17 and she’s a STEM rockstar. It’s cool and fun and interesting to her. But our entire curricula are focused on how men learn. How do we make it cool for girls and women? Data is cool. If you look at it, it will speak to you – it will whisper the answer to whatever problem you’re trying to solve.” And third is to search for forensic answers to opportunity. Because in the current system, Samia doesn’t see a deep enough talent pool to bring her company to malefemale parity, let alone entire industries. “We’re literally going into high schools and colleges and graduate schools trying to cultivate talent,” she says. “We talk to the data science schools and ask, ‘How are you bringing in diverse students?’ The profile in some of those is very limited.”

What gives Samia hope for the future is something that’s a factor in the present and also can be traced to her liberal arts past. “The pace of technology change is so fast, it doesn’t really matter if you have the functional or technical knowledge,” says Samia. “What is important is your ability to learn. In my first training with Accenture, I was in the middle chair of three people – which meant you were the dumb one. But it wasn’t long before I was like ‘Oh, I get it.’ And I was killing it. Having a creative mind has been a benefit for me.” She developed that at CSB and SJU. “The people I met at Saint Ben’s were the game-changers,” Samia says. “When I talk about my experience, I always talk about people. Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s are creating a culture for those people to go into the world, and that’s the benefit. “Half the stuff I do has nothing to do with what you would learn with a technical degree. It’s ‘How do you problem solve? How do you collaborate with other human beings? How do you work through conflict?’ Those are the things we look for in the future employees we want to hire. I always tell young women ‘Just begin.’ Just start and be yourself. Be curious and go for it. You probably have all the right components. You just have to get over your own fear.”





Saint Ben’s is currently fundraising for (and already beginning to offer) 75 scholarships of $5,000 per year (for four years) targeted specifically toward talented young women majoring in chemistry, biology, biochem, math and computer science. (See page 37 to read more about Sigrid Hutcheson ’59 and giving in support of these scholarships.) These are “above and beyond” offers – set on top of the need and merit awards we would typically offer. When targeting top prospective talent, these are the offers that will make Saint Ben’s attractive. In many cases, it’s a simple matter of a few thousand dollars that stands in the way.

In late 2019 the Henry Luce Foundation named Saint Ben’s winner of a Clare Boothe Luce Program grant for $242,128 in support of eight CBL Undergraduate Research Scholars in chemistry, computer science, math and/or physics, over a period of three years. The goal was to identify eight promising sophomore students early in spring semester 2020, who would then receive paid research positions both during the academic year and during summers (both on-campus and through internships). Each student would receive more than $30,000 in support, between stipends, allowances for materials and equipment, and domestic research-related travel. Obviously, with COVID-19, spring 2020 and subsequent semesters haven’t gone quite as planned. The Luce Foundation, however, has allowed flexibility and extensions as students have come in and out of the program. And the grant has funded research, travel and impactful internship opportunities. A number of students will continue to take advantage of the grant through academic year 2022-23.

INTENTIONAL LIVING COMMUNITY – STEM (REGINA HALL) Incoming first-year Bennies with an intent to major in a STEM field can apply for residence in our STEM ILC in Regina Hall. Students live together and begin bonding as a cohort. Residents connect with STEM faculty and peer mentors for customized support. They participate in STEMspecific events, social activities, workshops, service opportunities and more. As CSB and SJU Professor of Mathematics Kris Nairn describes it, “The cohort aspect really seems to matter. When the women are in classes and someone’s not doing well, everyone else jumps on the bandwagon and makes sure they do. They stick together and, by the time they’re seniors, they have established a strong bond that enables them to perform well in class and create a continued community after graduation. Women want to be with other women, and they support each other in a different way from men.”

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ON ACHROMATIC VERTEX DISTINGUISHING EDGE COLORINGS + 5Ks = Like many students, Fiona Smith ’24 didn’t arrive at the College of Saint Benedict with a clear idea of which path she wanted to travel academically.

But she says a conversation with her father helped provide her with a roadmap.

The many triumphs of Fiona Smith


“I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, or what I wanted to do with my life,” the sophomore says with a smile. “Kind of the typical crisis every college student comes in with.

“It was my Dad who said ‘You love math. Why don’t you just do math?’ And I thought ‘What can I do with a math degree besides teach?’ But as I looked into it more, I realized you can do anything.” And Fiona – a standout cross country and track athlete for the Bennies – has just begun to explore those limitless possibilities.



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n summer 2021, she applied for and got one of three student undergraduate research positions available in the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Math Department. That meant spending three months immersing herself in achromatic vertex distinguishing edge colorings. Let her explain … “It’s a mouthful,” Fiona says, laughing. “It’s kind of hard to explain. But it’s really taking graphs and coloring the edges so

you get unique colorings around the vertices. Graph theory can be applied to various different things. Graph theorists call it the future of math because it’s so applicable. “They use it in chemistry, physics, city planning, mapping, social networking … that kind of stuff. The specific edge colorings that I did are kind of like an optimization problem which can be useful for anything, really.”


The many triumphs of Fiona Smith


“She knew no graph theory coming in and she ended up being very successful, presenting her findings at a national conference.” Fiona is continuing to do research at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s this summer, working with a researcher in the Computer Science Department.

Anne Sinko, chair of the Math Department, was Fiona’s supervisor on the project. And she came away very impressed. “She is an incredibly persistent person and she’s always joyful in what she’s doing,” says Professor Sinko. “She plunged right in. Summer research lasts 10 weeks and within three, she had done everything we had thought would make up her program. She just ran with it and was willing to try this or try that to see where it all led.

“I’ll be developing algorithms for a computer programming language called Julia,” she says. “It will be working on numerical analyses. It’s not really connected to what I worked on last summer. But it builds on a class I’ve been taking this spring, which is kind of a nice coincidence.” Lindsey Gunnerson Gutsch, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholars at CSB and SJU, says research opportunities like the ones Fiona has received set students up for future career success. “A research experience allows students to take initiative by generating ideas that expand their existing knowledge and skills,” Lindsey says. “It helps them become good problem solvers and get comfortable facing challenges that they might encounter during a project. They’re

becoming innovating thinkers when they propose a new research question that will contribute new knowledge to their field. “They’re learning how to develop meaningful, strong relationships with faculty mentors who are experts in their fields. And research provides the opportunity for our students to think holistically about how their research connects to other experiences in their lives – like their coursework – and ultimately helps them deepen their understanding in their own field of study while also broadening their own perspectives … which is what we really love to see at liberal arts and sciences institutions like CSB and SJU! “Beyond those benefits, an undergraduate research project provides students the opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience that is totally unique to them, helping set themselves apart. For example, the research experience and the new knowledge Fiona generated from her project is something that only she can talk about and share with the world, and I think that is something our students should be extremely proud of accomplishing as an undergraduate.”

Summer 2022 | 19



Big accomplishments are nothing new for Fiona, who has been successful in a variety of areas at every step along the unique path that led her to Saint Ben’s. The 4.0 student, who is minoring in both computer science and Hispanic studies, is the daughter of Katie Breen Smith and Mike Smith – 1994 graduates of CSB and SJU respectively. Her older brother Connor graduated from SJU in 2020 and her older sister Brigid just graduated from CSB this spring. When Fiona was two, her family moved to Berlin where her father spent two years as the principal of a GermanAmerican school. From there, it was on to Saudi Arabia where the family lived for six years while Mike worked as the principal at the Saudi Aramco Expatriate Schools in Dhahran. They then returned to the U.S. when he took a job as the superintendent of a group of Catholic schools in Fargo, N.D. (including Fargo Shanley High School). But after four years, they returned abroad, living for a year in El Salvador before moving back to Dhahran, where Mike still works as the superintendent of the same school at which he had previously been principal. Fiona graduated from high school in Dhahran in spring 2020. “There were around 50-plus nationalities in my class,” she says. “It was mostly a school for expats, but there were some Saudi students there as well. “It was an amazing experience to have friends from everywhere and to be exposed to all these different cultures and religions. Experiences that might seem strange or different to some people were always just super-normal to me.” 20 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

The Grace Murray Hopper Computer Lab, where Fiona is pictured here, was named after the World War II computer coding legend and made possible by a gift from Joyce Statz ’69, a mathematics major and former Saint Ben’s trustee.

(BORN) TO RUN It was while she was a seventh-grader in Fargo that Fiona first took up running – going out for both the cross country and track and field teams. “We were back in the U.S. in sort of a typical middle school experience, and seventh grade is generally when you start sports,” she says. “I decided to give cross country a try. My Dad really encouraged me to give it a shot. Both

of my parents run and he thought I’d be pretty good at it.” Father knew best, as it turned out. Fiona made an immediate impact, earning a spot on the varsity team at Fargo Shanley and qualifying for the North Dakota State cross country meet as both a seventh and eighth grader, and the state track and field meet her eighth grade season (her first season in that sport). She then kept at the sport all through her time in El Salvador and Saudi Arabia.

2x +1

The many triumphs of Fiona Smith


“My ninth-grade year in El Salvador, I ran for my school, but there weren’t a lot of meets, so I actually ended up running on the national team,” she says. “I can remember running in cross country meets in the coffee plantations.

NCAA Division III indoor national meet in March. She repeated the feat at the Division III outdoor meet in May, finishing fourth in both the 5,000- (16:28.46) and 10,000-meter (35:24.97) runs to earn AllAmerican honors in both events.


“In Saudi Arabia, my school had a cross country team. But I mostly ran on a club team. My coach was a former Saudi Olympic runner. He was super-talented and the training was pretty intense.”

That brought her total to six All-American honors in the span of only a year. The five in track already make her the most decorated athlete in program history.

“Walking around campus, people will just come up to me and say ‘you’re that runner, aren’t you,’” she says. “They wish me good luck and stuff like that. I feel like at a bigger school, that would never happen.

Then it was on to CSB where she was unable to compete in cross country as a first-year in fall 2020 because the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But she was able to compete in track and field and made an immediate impact, earning All-American honors after finishing fifth overall in the women’s 5,000-meter run at the 2021 NCAA Division III national championship meet. She continued that momentum during the cross country season last fall, placing fifth overall at the NCAA Division III national meet – the highest finish for a CSB runner at nationals since 1994 and the first All-American finish in the program since 2005. And back on the track this past season, she became the first CSB track and field athlete to earn All-American honors twice in the same meet when she finished fifth in the 5,000-meter run (16:48.65) and third in the 3,000-meter (9:45.72) at the

It capped an outdoor season in which she also won two MIAC titles and set school records in the 1,500-, 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs. For her efforts, she earned MIAC Track Athlete of the Week honors multiple times, including a streak of several weeks in a row. “She does all the right things,” Bennies cross country and track and field coach Robin Balder-Lanoue ’91 says. “I know that sounds silly or trite, but she follows her training every step of the way. She’s very disciplined about getting her workouts done. Even when she is back in Saudi Arabia, and running in 130-degree heat, she makes sure she gets all her miles in. “She trains and competes with joy and passion in her heart. I think that’s how she does all the things that make her so great.”

Fiona says one of the best things about competing in athletics at CSB is the community she has become a part of.

“And inside the athletic department, everyone is so great. Before I went to nationals (in cross country last fall) – where it was just going to be me and my coach and not any of my teammates – every other team here made videos and cards for me to let me know they’d be cheering me on. That was really amazing.” And Fiona – who eventually hopes to pursue a master’s degree in something math and computer science related – says the sense of community extends to the classroom as well. “The ability you have here to work directly with your professors has really meant a lot to me,” she says. “There are several math professors I can go and talk to any time one-on-one, and I know they’ll help me figure things out.”

Summer 2022 | 21

Art The



Ever an over-achiever, Ilyse Putz ’20 loved the idea of double-majoring. She was already committed to biology, and thought environmental studies sounded like a good pairing. She inquired about it and was told that though there was a fair amount of crossover between the disciplines, a full double major was perhaps too ambitious given the exceptional demands of the biology major. She scrapped that plan. And instead, double-majored in biology … and German.

Record scratch*


Summer 2022 | 23

You’d be forgiven for thinking what a lot of us are thinking right now: “Why?!” Ilyse hadn’t even studied German in high school. She had studied Spanish. But she had started dabbling in German at Saint Ben’s and knew that she loved languages. And here’s the kicker: Instead of asking why, she asked why not? After all, that’s the beauty of a liberal arts institution. Why not? Why not specialize in two ostensibly disparate disciplines? Why not cultivate two ways of thinking about the world? Why not challenge your brain to balance theory and possibility, thoughts and figures, concepts and data? Saint Ben’s is a place where you can study a foreign culture in the morning and a cell culture in the afternoon. And Ilyse did just that.

24 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Not only did she receive support from her advisors for her extra-ambitious plan, but they helped her find a way to navigate the funding and logistics of managing her coursework while studying abroad in Germany – not just for a semester, but for 14 months, including a demanding internship. Today, Ilyse is back in Germany, pursuing a Ph.D. at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. She has already experienced the positive effects of her double major, and not just because she can speak the language of her local community and fellow researchers. “Biology is a hard science, and a German degree means studying language, literature, culture, and how people communicate with each other,” says Ilyse. “While they’re two different ways of thinking, they add to and build upon one another. If you have a problem with biology, you can

approach it with your other set of critical thinking skills, and vice versa.” Ilyse notes that studying a second language is about so much more than being able to translate words; it’s also about being able to communicate and express information to different people who have different perspectives and communication styles. That skill set will come in handy as she works toward her ideal future role. She wants to work in the science field as a liaison between various stakeholders, including technical/field researchers, working farmers and policymakers.

“ While they’re two different ways of thinking, Ilyse is optimally suited to that type of work as someone who understands the highly technical side but can also leverage her communication skills. And she certainly won’t have to pretend to understand the farming perspective. Ilyse grew up on a working farm in a small community in Iowa, where they grew corn and hay. Early on, Ilyse developed an interest in sustainability and land stewardship – and that led her to pursue a biology degree. Right now, she’s working on a project that could revolutionize not only how her family’s farm operates, but how the world approaches agriculture overall. Ilyse and her fellow researchers are studying barley, which – like most cash crops – is annual. That means it dies every year and must be replanted. They’re working to find out if they can turn barley into a perennial crop, which would mean that it re-grows each year. It’s difficult to overstate the significance of this potential breakthrough. Perennial crops are exponentially more sustainable. They reduce pollution, help protect against erosion, enhance the level of nurturing organic material in the soil for more productive outputs, and can even sequester massive quantities of carbon. If they can turn barley into a perennial crop, they could potentially apply that learning to other crops – with tremendous implications for the future of agriculture and its impact on climate change. Ilyse thinks it’s within reach. “We’re investigating the ‘switch’ in the crop’s lifespan that makes it die each year, and we hypothesize that there aren’t actually very many ‘things’ that control the lifecycle of a plant, so we may be able to flip that switch.”

they add to and build upon one another.”

There are a lot of people cheering Ilyse on. One of them is Kate Ritger ’03, the 2018 recipient of the Saint Ben’s Benedictine Service Award. Like Ilyse, Kate blends the hard skills of science (as a full-time farmer) with skills that involve nuanced interpersonal communication (as a parttime chaplain with a master’s degree from Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary). Ilyse met Kate at Saint Ben’s, and Kate has been integral to Ilyse’s journey. Ilyse hails Kate as a role model for women in science and farming, and as someone who normalized pursuing disjointed disciplines. Kate also introduced Ilyse to other women biologists and scientists within the community. The power of representation can’t be underestimated – both representation as a woman in STEM, and representation as someone who didn’t have to choose between opposing fields. Ilyse has continued to notice the importance of representation. “When I first arrived in Germany, my supervisor was a woman, and her supervisor was a woman,” Ilyse says. Ilyse’s current research group is also headed by a woman, and Ilyse has observed that when a woman is the leader of a research group, the group itself is composed of a higher percentage of women.

She saw this in several groups before choosing to join the one she’s in now. She is also a firm believer in the importance of facilitating access to trainings for women who are early career researchers (ECRs). “To me, workshops for female ECRs give the space to see what’s possible and know how to prepare myself successfully for future career and family goals,” Ilyse says. “For equality, the workshops help to instill a confidence in my right to be heard and taken seriously as a female scientific researcher.” Ilyse envisions a future when it’s not brave or exceptional for a woman to pursue a career in biology or other hard sciences. She also envisions a future when the world’s most prevalent cash crops are significantly more sustainable and help curb climate change. Of course, she’s not just envisioning either one. She’s making them happen.

Summer 2022 | 25


ANNA (MY) NGUYEN ’22 OVERACHIEVING IN UNDERGRAD RESEARCH When it comes to pursuing and providing significant research opportunities, Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s are punching significantly above their weight. Just ask Anna (My) Nguyen, who graduated this spring as a chemistry and computer science double major. She won one of three Outstanding Thesis awards this spring on Celebrating Scholarship and Creativity Day for her research into “The Development of Inhibitors for the SARS-CoV2 ORF,” with chemistry advisor Lisa Gentile, Ph.D. Gentile said Anna’s research thesis is one of the best she’s ever read or been involved with as a mentor, and that includes approximately 100 undergraduate research students. Anna is perhaps the best example of how a student can get big-time research exposure at CSB. “It’s really a different experience,” Gentile says. “Here, faculty are not working with grad students

26 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

or postdocs. Undergrads have our full attention. They also have the opportunity to start early – some in their first year – and do research every year at CSB if they want. In an R1 institution (doctoral institutions with very-high research activity), space for undergrads doing research is much more limited and often those undergrads work with a grad student or postdoc rather than a faculty member. They usually will not be able to design their own projects but rather work on a small part of a grad student/postdoc project. Our students who have done research end up with a very strong background for moving forward in grad school.” Anna has been working on the project for more than a year and presented early results of her work at the American Chemical Society meeting last August in Atlanta. As first author of her research, it helped fuel her acceptance into a doctoral program in pharmaceutical sciences at the

University of Illinois-Chicago – with a prestigious University Fellowship.

then her knowledge of chemistry to test them against ORF8 in a lab.

“I wanted to combine chemistry and computer science in a project of my own,” says Anna, who is from Hanoi, Vietnam. “I was talking to (Gentile) and we talked about doing something with drug discovery because that’s her area of research. And I started working on this during the pandemic, where our schedules were blocked and it was hard to get into the chemistry lab, so it was a perfect time to do something with computer science.”

“It’s kind of like a lock-and-key model,” Anna says. “I have the lock, the virus protein, and, with a computer, I look at it from different angles and see how I can design a key to fit that lock – how long it needs to be, what area of spikes the key needs, and then I use that template to find similar keys. I pick the best ones I can find and then go in the lab and see if they fit or not.”

Anna’s research was born out of what has happened during the COVID-19 outbreak, when drugs and vaccines that were developed or repurposed all focused on one viral target: the spike protein. She hypothesized that the spike protein could mutate and none of the therapeutics would remain effective. To gain insight, she focused on ORF8, another viral protein. She used her computer science skills essentially to design virtual drugs and

Anna says officials at Illinois-Chicago were surprised she had done work of this caliber as an undergrad. “They didn’t think a liberal arts school would produce this,” she says. “I think I’m very lucky that my advisers here were super-helpful, and they provided anything I needed for my project. I applied for a grant and the school paid for me to fund my research and present it in Atlanta. We may be a smaller school (at CSB), but I had a lot of resources behind me.”



Carliene Quist founded and launched

Carliene S. Quist Enterprises, LLC, a coaching and consulting business that empowers historically underrepresented college students to more fully engage in and reap benefits of their undergraduate experience. Current initiatives include academic internships for CSB and SJU students and the “Bridging Boundaries” coaching program, Nov. ’21.

Barbara Jane Houle raised money to 1985

collect and ship a container of 22,000 books to Swaziland for her project, “Read to Recovery,” which provides books to be distributed to hospitals and health care centers, April ’22.

Jane Kuebelbeck Williams was named 1988

chief financial officer of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Feb. ’22.

Lucille Sieve Rehm serves on the Chanhassen (Minnesota) city council as well as the Carver County Sheriff’s Crucial Conversations team – a group formed to build relationships with underrepresented communities after the murder of George Floyd. She is running for the Minnesota legislature to represent residents in the city of Chanhassen and the eastern side of Chaska in District 48B of the Minnesota State House of Representatives, March ’22.


aren Swearingen Richard was elected K to the Minnesota Public Radio Board of Trustees, Feb. ’22.

Donnelle Privette Poling was named 1995


Megan Deutschman defended her dissertation titled, “Wrestling with Whiteness: Complexities and Contexts of White Educator Identities” and obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota’s Comparative and International Development Education program, April ’22. Nicole Knight Schrupp was published in Vol. 33 of the Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice and was selected to be next year’s Vol. 44 editor-in-chief, April ’22. Melanie Miesen Griffith graduated from 2011 the University of Minnesota Law School with a Juris Doctor degree, May ’21 and began a one-year judicial clerkship at the Minnesota Supreme Court with Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea, Aug. ’21.

grant director of a $1 million grant for the Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary’s initiative “Conversatio: Creating a Culture of Encounter,” Jan. ’22.

Alicia Peters was awarded 2021-22 1996

rittney Helmbrecht Schoephoerster B and her spouse, Alex Schoephoerster ’11 were recognized at state level for going above and beyond as mentors in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program and awarded 2022 Central Minnesota Big Duo of the Year.

Minnesota Higher Education Art Educator of the Year by Art Educators of Minnesota, Jan. ’22.

2000 2001

ndrina LaBelle Weis is the vice president A of human resources at Reell Precision Manufacturing, St. Paul, April ’22.

Michelle Johnson was appointed senior partner in health care practice at WittKieffer, Minneapolis, April ’22.


athryn Enger Enke received the 2022 K Award for Professional Achievement from the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education, March ’22.


Brita Thielen earned a Ph.D. in English (writing history and theory) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2021. Her dissertation was titled: “Setting the Table: Ethos-asRelationship in Food Writing.” Furthermore, “Consuming the Past: Food Metaphors in the Intergenerational Food Memoir,” a chapter written by Brita, was published in the edited collection Consumption and the Literary Cookbook (Routledge 2021).

Felicia Ochs is a member of the charter school board of Change Health Charter School, which focuses on outdoor and experiential learning, Alberta, Canada, March ’22.


ndrea Wise Meyer was named one of A the Top 100 Women in PowerSports by DealerNews magazine, Feb. ’22.

E mily Coborn was named vice president of retail services, overseeing pharmacy, liquor and e-commerce operations for Coborn’s Inc. in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Jan. ’22.


hannon McEvoy started a weekly S bilingual (Spanish and English) podcast about murals, related to her experience with murals and public art projects, March ’22.


Bridgette Springer graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an M.S.Ed. in international educational development, Dec. ’21.

Clare Johnston earned a Ph.D. in 2015

chemistry from the University of Minnesota. Her thesis was titled “The Influence of Aluminum Substitution on the Synthesis, Transformation, Reactivity, and Oxidative Mineral Growth of Iron Oxide Minerals,” Feb. ’22.

Kaitlyn LaVoie received a $10,000 grant from the Henrico Education Foundation to purchase new diverse books for all English classrooms at Short Pump Middle School, Henrico, Virginia, March ’22.


Erin Ryan-Mosley was featured in the Minneapolis StarTribune for her coffee shop, Third Space Cafe, Jan. ’22.

Mariah Odgen-Kellington was hired as 2019

a police officer for the Lakeville Police Department, Lakeville, Minnesota, Feb. ’22.


Amanda Bjerke published the book, Opening Your Eyes: Becoming Self-Aware as a Young Adult in the 21st Century, March ’22.

Jill Oldakowski was recognized by Big Brothers and Big Sisters for going above and beyond as a mentor and awarded the 2022 Central Minnesota Big Sister of the Year. Anja Wuolu published a collection of poems titled “Space Between Pages,” which details life in the pandemic and how to make the best of it, Jan. ’22.

MARRIAGES Rachel Daly to Paul Schiller, Jan. ’22 1991 Courtney Jacobson to Gary Spence, 1998 Oct. ’21 Christine Donnell to Bobby Sederstrom, 2008 Oct. ’21

Margaret Johnson to Ronald Jewett, June ’21 Laura Beach to Kaitlyn Ashner, Sept. ’21 2010 Laura Sienko to Grady Sloan ’11, Oct. ’21 2011 Kelly Bechtold to Bradley Trapp, Sept. ’21 2013 Maura Flaherty to Kent McBreen, May ’21 Kayla Grack to Daniel Hertog, June ’21


rittany Billiet to Joshua Erickson ’14, B Jan. ’21


anón Gammon-Deering to Maxwell M Kuzara ’17, Aug. ’21

Mary Cherne to Garett Schoenfelder, 2016 Nov. ’21

Marissa Lucio to Eric Kropp, Sept. ’21


Share your key moments and milestones with your classmates and friends. Email us at

Summer 2022 | 27


Maggie Eli to Harrison Maxwell, April ’22 2017 Allysa Larson to Brandon Gardner, Aug. ’21 Kailey McCoy to Charles Maahs, June ’21 Hallie Douglas to Jack Barsody ’19, 2018 Jan. ’22 Hannah Esselman to Ryan Calton ’17, Dec. ’21 Brianna Hartke to Nicholas Pegelow ’18, Sept. ’21 Sabrina Hille to Bryan Jungles ’16, Sept. ’21 Callie Stark to Adam Reznick ’16, June ’21 Haley Thelen to Nathan Brinker ’19, Dec. ’21 Nora Merk to Benjamin Long, Aug. ’21 2020 Celestina Rodriguez to Derek McLaughlin ’18, Sept. ’21


elissa Winter Philippi & Morgan M Philippi, girl, Margo, Dec. ’21

Dana Lyndgaard Schneider & Kris 2006

Schneider ’04, boy, Jacob, Dec. ’21

Jennifer Korevec Winchester & James 2007 Winchester, boy, Harry, March ’22

Nicole Johnson Blackmore & Aaron 2008

Blackmore ’08, boy, Jackson, March ’22

Stephanie Deter Crane & Kevin Crane ’08, boy, Trevor, July ’21



atie Meyer Rawlings & Anthony K Rawlings ’07, girl, Claire, Jan. ’22 Vickie Schlangen Smoley & Bradley Smoley, boy, Myles, Jan. ’22 Julie Walter Bohlman & Jeff 2009

Bohlman ’10, boy, Leo, May ’21

GABRIELLA WEBER TO JACOB CHRISTENSEN ’17, DEC. ’21 28 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine


Catherine Desalvo Miller & Trent Miller ’09, girl, Mackenzie, March ’22 Jessica Anderson Shaheen & Zachary Shaheen ’09, boy, Aiden, June ’19 & girl, Naomi, Jan. ’22




Joy Pohland Janssen & Timothy 2010

Janssen ’10, boy, Edward, Jan. ’22

Jennifer Tong Kroll & Chase Kroll ’09, boy, Aiden, Jan. ’22 Katie Brown & Luke Nelson ’11, girl, 2011 Fiona, June ’20

Sara Kokkila-Schumacher & Evan Kokkila-Schumacher ’10, twin boys, Owen & Nolan, Sept. ’21 Katie Jedlicka Sieve & Jacob Sieve ’11, boy, Leo, Nov. ’21 amantha Novitsky Vaith & John S Vaith ’11, girl, Cambria, Dec. ’21 Mackenzie Johnson Vanderbeek & Adam Vanderbeek, girl, Mara, May ’21 Sienna Kuhn Cherrico & Joel 2012

Cherrico ’10, girl, Stella, Jan. ’22

Kindra Boelke Ghostley & Andrew Ghostley ’12, girl, Blaire, June ’18 & girl, Mae, Jan. ’22 J aquelyn Donohue Warner & Nicholas Warner, boy, Wolfe, March ’22 Alison Schadow Brandes & Jack 2013


Brandes ’13, girl, Linden, March ’22

Sara Fiedler Maciej & Adam Maciej, boy, Chase, Feb. ’22




EMILY VANKEULEN OFFERDAHL & DAN OFFERDAHL, GIRL, PIPER, DEC. ’21 Caroline “Cari” Chock O’Laughlin & 2013

Thomas O’Laughlin ’13, boy, Keegan, Feb. ’22 L aine Rajkowski Hines & Samuel Hines ’14, boy, Hayden, Jan. ’22



Danielle Vanderhyde Lambert & Thomas 2015


Nicole Berdan Foley & Mitch Foley, boy, 2016

1942 1943

Aren Gerads Omann & Bradley Omann, 2019

Marcella Kardash Stockrahm, Jan. ’14

Lambert ’14, girl, Genevieve, Dec. ’21

Jameson, Jan. ’22

girl, Norah, Dec. ’21

talk LET’S


Mary Ann Gray Hileman, March ’12 Marjorie McArthur Bredeson, July ’20

Let’s start the conversation now, so your voice can carry on through generations. A legacy gift of any size pays exponential returns. It’s an investment in ambitious, promising women – women who will honor your legacy with transformative, world-changing impact. Make a bequest through your will or trust, name CSB as a beneficiary, or establish a charitable gift annuity.

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Email us at or call 320-363-5307 to learn more.

30 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Dolores Bormann, March ’22



Laura Iten, Jan. ’20

Frances Fischer Klein, Dec. ’21 Delores Norman, OSB, Jan. ’18 Marie Lynn Rindal, Jan. ’22 Patricia Klein Weidner, March ’22

1949 1951 1953

Sally Riley Nordstrom, March ’22 Mary Zuehlke Stevens, Sept. ’21 Josette Barthelemy Anderson, June ’21 arilyn “Mickey” Cregan Lipetzky, M Oct. ’21

Colleen Kaiser Mathison, July ’21 Joyce Dombrovske Monteith, Jan. ’21


Dolores Kohler Monaghan, Nov. ’21 olores Foley Sokolowski, mother of D Ann Sokolowski Wilson ’84, Feb. ’22

1955 Lois Blais Ehlenz, Feb. ’22 1956 Kathryn Johnson Egan, Jan. ’22 Jack O’Neil, spouse of Kathleen Boggie 1957 O’Neil, Jan. ’22


Gabrielle Moscoso Berryer, May ’21 harles Drexler ’54, spouse of Diane C Stadther Drexler, father of Jane Drexler Rhodes ’83 & Barbara Drexler Luzum ’85, Jan. ’22 ichard Miller ’58, spouse of Mary R Sue Pexa Miller, Jan. ’22


Kathryn Hoffman Gies, Jan. ’22 illiam Schneider ’62, spouse of W Donna Doll Schneider & father of Naomi Schneider ’88, Jan. ’22

Gordon Wilson, spouse of Betty Plut 1962 Wilson, March ’22


Rosalyn Uphus Comeau, Feb. ’16

Nancy Kelly Rodney, Jan. ’21 Glenda Zimmerman Sanftner, Dec. ’20 Gabriel Scheett, spouse of Corlynn Tintes Scheett, March ’21 Patricia Judge Weideman, Dec. ’21


Ramona Radermacher Digre, Dec. ’21

Colette (Darlene) Primus, OSB, Jan. ’22 Henry Springer, spouse of Mary Beth Dreher Springer, Dec. ’21


Big performances. Close to home.

Mary Karulak, Oct. ’20

Michael Syverson, spouse of Jane Heiling Syverson, Sept. ’21 James Nathe, spouse of Janet Holden 1969 Nathe, Jan. ’22

Michael Parta, spouse of Janet Askew 1970 Parta, Jan. ’22

Jaqueline Shaughnessy, mother of 1972 Shannon Shaughnessy, April ’22


Bridget Willmert Boik, Nov. ’21 Delores Close Faust, Aug. ’21

Summer 2022 | 31



uAnn Altman, mother of Ann Altman, D March ’22

Arthur Lindeland, spouse of Mary Ann Becker, Jan. ’22

Roger Appeldorn, father of Cheryl 1981

Paul Steward, spouse of Jenny Campbell 1987

Kevin “Casey” Eichler ’82, spouse of 1982

Gary Hejlik, father of Cynthia Hejlik Utley & Lori Hejlik Harris ’89, Nov. ’21

Appeldorn & Laurie Appeldorn Sampair ’83, Feb. ’22

Kathleen Murray Eichler, March ’22

Dolores Traxler, mother of Mary Traxler Oxbun & Anne Traxler Reinhart ’84, April ’22

Patricia Plombon, mother of Michelle Plombon, Dec. ’21


Timothy Juetten, spouse of Jane Friedl 1983

V irginia Fogelman, mother of Kathie Fogelman Christensen & Jodi Fogelman Olson ’89, Feb. ’22

Elaine Fergle, mother of Lori-Jo Fergle, Nov. ’21 Donna Anderson, mother of Susan Anderson Johnson, Jan. ’22


eorge Hawkins, father of Elizabeth G Hawkins Evans, Jane Hawkins Scherer ’79 & Sally Hawkins ’81, Jan. ’22 Rosanne Ruhr, Dec. ’81

Ann Buller Van Lith, mother of Katie Van Lith Fernholz ’04, Sept. ’21 Craig Starbird, father of Diane Starbird 1979 Malone, Jan. ’22

Betty Keenan, mother of Mary Keenan Miller, Feb. ’22 Joanne Tuhkanen Fleck, March ’22 1980 Mildred Kociemba, mother of Carol Kociemba Kavaney, Feb. ’22

Juetten, Jan. ’22

Ronald Mickelson, father of Debra Mickelson Kirst, Feb. ’22 Leo Reuder, father of Lisa Reuder, Jan. ’21 Robert Martinka ’54, father of Teresa Martinka Simonett, Birdie MartinkaBreiner ’87, Amy Martinka Knebel ’89, Julie Martinka Severson ’91 & Katharyn Martinka Stricklin ’92, Jan. ’22 Ann Spaeth, daughter of Elizabeth Stoltz ’57, Feb. ’22 Joseph Kriha, father of Cynthia Kriha, 1985

Kathryn Kriha ’88 & Patricia Kriha ’91, Jan. ’22

Robert Schmiesing, father of Dianne Schmiesing, Aug. ’21 Lloyd Svihel, father of Lori Svihel Wirtzfeld, Jan. ’22


A rthur Rosenberg, spouse of Elizabeth Knapp Rosenberg, March ’22

Milton Boser, father of Julie Boser, Dec. ’21 1987

Steward, Dec. ’21

Walter Dick, father of Carolyn Dick Lewis, 1988 March ’22

Dorothy Merriam, mother of Carol Merriam McGoldrick, Feb. ’22 Norman Petrik, father of Julie Petrik & Rebecca Petrik Olson ’91, Feb. ’22 William Wortham II, father of Suzanne Wortham Ressemann, Feb. ’22 William Cuddigan, father of Christine 1989 Cuddigan, Feb. ’22

Jeremiah Murphy, father of Brigid Murphy & Kathleen Murphy Boland ’91, Feb. ’22 Rosemary Ste. Marie, mother of Kimberley 1990 Ste. Marie Becker, Nov. ’21

Marjorie Beste, mother of Joan Beste Klaphake, Feb. ’22 Thomas Smith, father of Molly Smith Orso, Feb. ’22 Harvey Pothen, father of Jennifer Pothen 1991 Klehr, Jan. ’22

Myra Hagen, mother of Amy Hagen Simpkins, Jan. ’22


L oretta Colwell, mother of Patricia Colwell Kerr, March ’22

Douglas Van Kempen, father of Sara Van Kempen, Jan. ’22 Philip Welter ’59, father of Shana Welter 1993 Holliday, Jan. ’22

Patricia Sipe, mother of Bridget Sipe, Jan. ’22 Francis Truax, father of Susan Truax, Jan. ’22 Janet Nadeau, mother of Denise Brix 1994 Burggraff, Jan. ’22

Jeanette Ratzlaff, mother of Beth SchorrRatzlaff, March ’22



REALLY? CSB and SJU on social media are great, but the CSB Alumnae Association has a whole stream of alum-specific content to keep you up-to-date and connected. Like and follow us everywhere!

J ohn Bromenschenkel, father of Lynette Bromenschenkel Amodt, Feb. ’22

William Flaig, father of Amy Flaig Borden, 1997 March ’22

David Gaida, spouse of Jean Gaida, Jan. ’22 Robert Goggins, father of Colleen Goggins King, March ’22 Renee Omann, mother of Tiffanylee Omann-Bidinger, March ’22 Martha Malecek, mother of Kari Malacek Petersen, Feb. ’22 Jennifer Symalla, Dec. ’21 Lorraine Buermann, mother of Susan 1998 Buermann Brickweg, Feb. ’22

Norbert Gramke, father of Julie Gramke, March ’22 Robert Bosl, father of Anne Bosl Major, 1999 Feb. ’22

32 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine


1999 Jon Pumarlo, father of Mary Pumarlo McClurg, Dec. ’21

Alice Leba, mother of Amy Leba 2000 Buchmann, March ’22

John Hopkins, father of Kathryn Hopkins Schofield, Jan. ’22


S tephen Pribyl, father of Elizabeth Pribyl Johnson, March ’22


E lizabeth Brott, mother of Kirstin Brott Fransen & Steffanie Brott Rittenhouse ’04, March ’22

Ralph Kelash, father of Michelle Kelash Hemmesch, April ’22 Donald Incitti, father of Nicole Incitti 2009 Hickman, Dec. ’21

Barbara Schwietering, mother of Sarah 2010 Schwietering Truesdell, Feb. ’22

Cynthia Senfter, mother of Kristen 2011 Senftner Ellingboe, Feb. ’22

Clifford Zirbes, father of Kimberly Zirbes Loch, Feb. ’22 Mary Zampogna, mother of Emily Zampogna, Jan. ’22


ichael Frazier, father of Anna “Katie” M Frazier Boettcher, Dec. ’21

Annella Hollermann, mother of Marion Gondringer, Feb. ’22 Martin Pilarski, father of Janice Pilarski Lynch, March ’22

THEY WANT TO KNOW! Your friends – your classmates – Bennies who’ve never met you. … They want to know about the important moments and milestones in your life. So let us know so we can let them know. Tell us about your promotions, awards, babies, weddings and loved ones whom you’d like folks to remember. It’s not bragging, it’s just sharing.

Simply email


IT’S NEVER TOO SOON TO START REMINISCING! Classes ending in 3 and 8, mark your calendars now and get your classmates started doing the same. Your Reunion will be here before you know it.

Reunion 2023

June 23-25, 2023

Summer 2022 | 33


1 1. T he popular Music & Mingling event at St. Olaf Church in Minneapolis brought together this group of Bennies and Johnnies in February 2022 for a magical evening filled with entertainment (and music!) by Pastiche, the beloved CSB and SJU faculty chamber music ensemble. 2. Benedictine Day of Service – Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Packing meals for Kids Against Hunger brought this group of volunteers together. L to R: Diane Emge Iacarella ’75, Tom Iacarella ’75, four of Diane and Tom’s grandchildren, Joanie Borman Olson ’88 and Jill Fahrendorf Casey ’90. Sam Olson ’18 is in front, partially visible. 3. E ight friends from the CSB+SJU classes of ’78 took a biking trip in Croatia in October 2021. A beautiful country and wonderful adventure, biking through villages, mountains and countryside, with great friends. L to R: John Conlin,Michelle Swenson Drury, Katie Barry Felicelli, Anne Budroe Benda, Jerry Felicelli, John Benda, Rick Renner and John Ries. 4. Benedictine Day of Service – Milwaukee. Local Bennies and Johnnies focused on food donations for the non-profit organization Feeding America. Volunteers included (not in order) Dan Malone ’86, Pam Plechter ’87, Dave Sauer ’61, Joyce Dlugosch Sauer ’61, Kim Beck ’78, Patti Cabot Hughes ’85, Rev. Mike Tess ’87, Di Poganski Govern ’90 and Shawn Govern ’88. 5. Benedictine Day of Service – Rochester, Minnesota. Alums gathered at Channel One Regional Food Bank where volunteers sorted, packaged and labeled food items. Front row (L to R): Scott Torborg ’96, Dennis Schreiber ’73, Michael Sandeen’83. Back row (L to R): Mary Machulda ’87, Amy DonahoeAnshus ’81, Trace Christensen ’89, Lisa Brewers Walther ’81, Brian Willaert ’01, Gilbert Becker ’72, Patrick Dunlay ’08 and Sam Butterfass ’19.

34 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

5 2





6. B enedictine Day of Service – Denver. Jennifer Mawson ’87 took her family to drop off donations to the community food bank at St. Ignatius Loyola Church.


7. B enedictine Day of Service – Duluth, Minnesota. Volunteers spent time supporting Life House, which provides for needs of young people who have been left to fend for themselves on the streets. L to R: Dave Homstad ’76, Abbey Carver Brazerol ’14, Mary Cherne Schoenfelder ’16, Chuck Stoetzel ’61, Susan Birmingham Brisbois ’92, Rob Hedburg ’14, Paul Goossens ’83, Toni Roberts ’06 and Michael Henderson ’06. 8. B enedictine Day of Service – Twin Cities. Local food shelves were supported through food drives and monetary donations to Second Harvest Heartland. Alums could stop at one of three breweries in the Twin Cities area to make their donations and connect with other Bennies and Johnnies.


A. L to R: Lori Lowe Hume ’82, Sandra Boes O’Brien ’82, Kevin O’Brien ’79, Liz Lawyer Tomten ’82, Sharon Cogley Paulson ’82 and Paul Cleary ’81. B. L to R: Nancy Stoner Alliegro ’82, Kathy Frawley Huyck ’82, Kate Brass Hentges ’82 and Marianne Bishop Shay ’82. C. L to R: Valerie Jones ’94, Judy Forstner Poferl ’82 and Lori Lowe Hume, ’82.




D. L to R: Kathy Frawley Huyck ’82 and Kate Brass Hentges ’82.

8D Summer 2022 | 35

Your words have

POWER The Alum Referral Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship (renewable for four years, totaling $4,000) available to deserving prospective Bennies and Johnnies. And all it takes to qualify is your recommendation.

Give your support to help them make a CSB and SJU experience affordable while you help us fill our campuses with talented, ambitious students who can make our community stronger. We’re counting on you to help us recruit an amazing group of new students … and, with the Alum Referral Scholarship in play, those students are counting on you, too.

Think about the students in your life, then visit today and get started.


36 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine


Planting STEM seeds at CSB Sigrid Hutcheson ’59 and her husband, David Chapman, recently made a significant contribution as part of an initiative to boost STEM education at the College of Saint Benedict. Their gift is part of an effort that will provide up to 75 prospective CSB students demonstrating talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with $5,000 annual scholarships. The money is “above and beyond,” meaning it’s in addition to any scholarships the students will receive for merit or need. Saint Ben’s already demonstrates strength in the sciences. Of 13 current course and lab faculty in the Chemistry Department alone, eight are women who are valuable role models for science students. The instructors engage the undergraduates in collaborative research, a priority at CSB that often is not at larger universities. These STEM scholarships will target new resources to alter the underrepresentation of women in the sciences. Sigrid has a particular interest in science education since she was a CSB faculty member in chemistry more than 50 years ago. “I’ve been delighted over the years to see how Saint Ben’s has continued to support the sciences by putting a lot of emphasis on research and by building a wonderful science building,” Sigrid says. She thinks it’s critical for students to see how the science they’re learning intersects with real life. It’s also important to challenge them to add to the body of knowledge. “We want them to be able to graduate and feel like a scientist,” she says. “For any woman who faces a financial barrier to studying science at CSB, these scholarships can make it possible.” Sigrid and David met at Syracuse University, where both earned doctorates in higher education. In his career in international

For any woman who faces a financial barrier to studying science at CSB, these scholarships can make it possible.” development, David has seen that the most productive investment in developing countries is the education of girls and women. Throughout her career, Sigrid’s work in program evaluation and research has highlighted the value of scientific thinking in addressing societal issues. As a result, they’ve welcomed an opportunity to focus their philanthropy at Saint Ben’s on supporting women in science careers. “Truth and knowledge have become contested terrain,” David says. “People disagree about what constitutes a fact. I think it’s important that people understand how knowledge is created and disseminated and science is really the backbone of that.

“As we look at technology and the economy, the hard sciences are going to be increasingly important in the future,” David adds. “They say the best time to plant a tree is 50 years ago, and the second-best time is today. Similarly, the best time for society to promote women in the sciences was 50 years ago. The secondbest time is now. If we want women to flourish in the sciences in the future, we need to invest now in planting those seeds.”

You can find out more information about supporting access to education at the College of Saint Benedict by contacting Chad Marolf, senior principal gift officer, at or 320-363-5402.

Summer 2022 | 37



Our Sustainers plant the seeds. We’re paying them forward!

Our Sustainers plant seeds of hope in Bennies by providing automated funds that sustain scholarships. This spring, we’ve been paying their gifts forward by planting trees on campus for every new Sustainer who enrolls. Sign up now to become a Sustainer and do your part in cultivating Bennie dreams!


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