Page 1


The liberal arts open doors

College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University students visit the rocky Mediterranean shoreline of the Temple of Poseidon during the first weekend of their fall 2012 study abroad term in Sounion, Greece. Students at CSB and SJU study abroad in 20 semester-long programs in 15 countries, as well as short-term study trips and service learning trips. For the third consecutive year, CSB and SJU are ranked No. 1 nationally among baccalaureate institutions with students who participate in mid-length study abroad programs, according to an annual report on international education published by the Institute of International Education. photo: Will Moore ’13

I nside T his I ssue

2 The Liberal Arts: What are we thinking? 18 After Graduation: What now? 26 Meet a professor 29 Being Catholic in the Benedictine Tradition

Saint Benedict’s/Saint John’s Magazine is published annually by CSB/SJU Communication & Marketing Services EDITOR: Glenda Isaacs Burgeson, ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Mike Killeen DESIGNERS: Karen Hoffbeck, Greg Becker EDITORIAL TEAM: Tiffany Clements, Diane Hageman, Barbara Hein, Michael Hemmesch STUDENT EDITORIAL TEAM: Jillian Birkholz ’15, Hannah Hylla ’13, Elisabeth Leipholtz ’15, Brady O’Brien ’13, Adam Tucker ’14, Jillian Yanish ’13 COVER PHOTO: Tommy O’Laughlin ’13

The Liberal ARTS

The Liberal ARTS

The Liberal Arts: What are we thinking? Critics of a liberal arts education question its relevance in today’s high-tech, globalized world. There’s one problem: they base their arguments on an outdated model, one confined to the interiors of an ivory tower. We got rid of that model ages ago. To be sure, at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, we kept the assets that add value to the liberal arts tradition – things like small classes and close, faculty/student interaction. It also is true that the liberal arts are a birthplace of ideas, but those ideas are just the beginning – not the end – of the story. On our campuses, ideas are a catalyst to a dynamic experience where students are challenged to question the status quo, test theoretical concepts, apply those concepts in real-world settings through service or internships and close the loop by integrating those experiences with theory. This turns classroom learning inside-out, binding theory and practice into a richer understanding of both. Because a liberal arts education includes a foundation of interdisciplinary knowledge,

our students make connections both with classmates and ideas outside their major area of interest. That ability to connect the dots among unlikely sources is a hallmark of creativity, and at CSB/SJU creativity is abundant. The ability to connect has another, deeper meaning at CSB/SJU, rooted in our Benedictine heritage. The Benedictines who founded CSB and SJU are known worldwide for their enterprise, for their creative spirit and willingness to take risks. Yes, their love for learning is the bedrock of the CSB/ SJU liberal arts model, but the Benedictines were and are practical. And their core values of community and respect for others remain a beloved part of the CSB/SJU experience. What’s the bottom line of our enterprising liberal arts educational model? It produces a perspective that transforms how one sees the world and one’s place in it. It opens doors to possibilities, and gives students the intellectual tools and confidence to turn those possibilities into realities – in a high-tech, globalized world.

Glenda Isaacs Burgeson, editor Saint Benedict’s/Saint John’s Magazine Joey Hamburger, appearing in the photo illustration on page 2, is featured in a story on pages 8-9.



Playing Favorites First-year classmates form lasting bond with professor and each other By Jill Yanish ’13

Professor Philip Kronebusch (left) invited his FYS class home for dinner during the Christmas season. For fun, they got out construction paper, scissors and glue to craft puppets resembling one another.

Four years ago, a political science professor walked into the first day of his first-year-seminar class – his fifth time teaching the seminar. Something unusual clicked with that class, for it remains his favorite. Professor Philip Kronebusch began just as he had the previous first-year seminar (FYS) classes, with the topic of political and literary perspectives on trials and law. However, this particular class took on an additional dimension – they became a family. “It’s like I left one family and came into another,” SJU student Alex Ricci says, reflecting on his FYS class. Friendships formed outside of the classroom over meals and activities. During their first year, the students ate in the cafeteria after class (Kronebusch even joined sometimes), and they did the famous Chapel Walk at Saint John’s – a popular 3-mile walk to the historic Stella Maris Chapel overlooking Lake Sagatagan. Kronebusch even invited them into his home for dinner during the Christmas season.

Their relationships continued after the end of their first year at CSB/SJU. Three students became roommates, class get-togethers evolved into a regular occurrence, and Kronebusch remained the students’ mentor. When describing Kronebusch, classmates coined him the “go-to-guy.” FYS professors serve as their students’ academic adviser for their first year; then students pick an adviser in their field of study. This group of students still turns to Kronebusch for academic, career and life advice. CSB student Madeline Hansen says that Kronebusch’s honest advice, sometimes brutally honest, kept her from straying down a career path she now realizes was not right for her. Hansen treasures another story of Kronebusch’s humorous, yet helpful personality. During her sophomore year, she was having a stressful week. She visited Kronebusch in his office, and he gave her his book of comics to cheer her. The students reflect on their FYS class and realize that they did achieve more than just friendships and a close relationship with their professor. Every student at


CSB/SJU is required to take an FYS class during the first year. The topic is the professor’s discretion, and the class aims to improve student reading, writing and discussion skills. “This is an example of FYS working exactly the way it should,” Kronebusch says. “We begin with a serious academic topic and as students discuss these works, they feel a connection with each other.” Despite the fun they had as a class, the students admit the challenges of the course. “He just didn’t give out A’s,” CSB student Dana Johnson says, with harmonious nods of agreement from classmates. Kronebusch incorporated his background as a political science professor into the class topic. The students read various books related to the subject, including Gulliver’s Travels, Measure for Measure and Trial and Death of Socrates. This topic was out of the realm for most of the students, whose majors ranged from art to chemistry to computer engineering. “I want the topic for my FYS to be one that students from different academic majors can approach from their own perspectives,” Kronebusch says. As these seniors prepare to graduate this spring, plans are underway for the final hoorah with each other and the professor. Although each student is going in his/her own way, they agree on one thing. “College would have been very different if it hadn’t been for this FYS class,” Johnson says. Kronebusch acknowledges with a grin that he will miss the group. He has not taught another FYS class since. “I don’t know if they can be topped,” Kronebusch says in a manner that is hard to decipher whether he is serious – a characteristic his students claim is “classic Phil.”

The LiberaL arTS

at ease Students gain perspective at West Point conference By Elisabeth Leipholtz ’15 Culture shock. This phrase is most familiar when one leaves a certain country for another and experiences disorientation. For SJU senior Lucas Wuebben and CSB junior Melissa DeOrio, it describes their transition from CSB and SJU to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., last November. They were among a select group of students from around the country and West Point cadets who attended the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (SCUSA), an annual event at the academy. The 2012 conference was entitled “Leading in Lean Times: Assuring Accountability and Assessing American Priorities in an Age of Austerity.” SCUSA serves as a way to establish and extend military-civilian relationships, learn about the process of policy-making and discuss aspects of the United States public and foreign policy. DeOrio, who had no previous military background, initially struggled with being able to identify with the West Point cadets as her peers.

“It was hard for me to picture them as college students,” DeOrio says. “So much of their schedule and person is military-oriented. A small portion is allotted to classes. They have no free time. They have to be in rooms at 11 p.m. and up at 5 a.m.” Even so, DeOrio had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with a female cadet, who spoke of her underlying concerns about being a member of the military and how it affected her. “She wanted to know if I felt uncomfortable in her presence, because she felt that she was losing who she was as a civilian,” DeOrio says. “It was striking and hit me hard. I told her I do feel uncomfortable around people in uniform since it can be really intimidating. She responded that it was important for her to be able to connect back to civilians and be a human once she was out of the service.” The conference succeeded in its purpose and allowed DeOrio to push past her preconceived notions concerning people in uniform and come away with a different viewpoint.

“Knowing someone personally now changes my whole perspective,” says DeOrio, a political science major. “I think it will be positive when I write policy, because now I can think of people in uniform as human beings, and not robots.” Wuebben, who is a member of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at SJU, was more familiar and comfortable with the military atmosphere, and also benefitted from the company of his peers. “What most impressed me was the academic level of all the other students and cadets,” Wuebben says. “They all had some expertise, even as undergraduates. Getting to work with them allowed me to have conversations about things I can’t with just anyone since it was like we all speak this language. I was very impressed with what everyone had done.” After spending only four days at the conference, Wuebben and DeOrio both were able to extend their general knowledge and abilities, as well as forge relationships with their peers.

Lucas Wuebben

Melissa DeOrio (front row, sixth person from right) with her discussion group at the annual Student Conference on U.S. Affairs

The Liberal ARTS



Among books & binders From research fellowship, a friendship forms

By Jill Yanish ’13 photo: Paul Middlestaedt

When Stephanie Pinkalla’s summer research adviser told her to “take a hike,” she knew they made the perfect pair. Professor Jessica O’Reilly’s stress-relieving advice resonated with Pinkalla, a lover of the outdoors. From that point, a unique friendship began. Pinkalla, a Saint Ben’s junior, joined O’Reilly in her study of climate scientists as part of a summer research fellowship offered by CSB/SJU. The two worked together reviewing thousands of comments in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to find areas of disagreement and consensus among climate scientists. The story doesn’t end there. Their relationship quickly grew away from the books. “I feel like my level with Jessy is a lot more personable than she might be with other students or I might be with other professors,” Pinkalla says. “We’re more friends than we are student-to-teacher.” The traditional student and teacher relationship is usually a oneway street, with students benefiting from the teacher. However, this relationship is two-way. When asked what O‘Reilly gained from Pinkalla, she laughs and points to a three-foot high pile of binders in the corner of her office. Inside those binders are thousands of comments from scientists and reviewers that Pinkalla analyzed. In addition to the mountain of binders, Pinkalla gave O’Reilly a renewed sense of enthusiasm for her work. “It’s hard to study climate change, especially in the policy arena. Nothing is happening,” O’Reilly says. “That can be frustrating and discouraging. It’s nice to be around people who are idealistic about things.” O’Reilly gave Pinkalla a new framework for viewing environmental issues. Pinkalla’s background as an environmental studies

minor and political science major already had her thinking about environmental issues. However, the fields of sociology and anthropology were new to her. O’Reilly helped Pinkalla become an anthropologist and to look at environmental issues through this lens. “She exposed me to a lot of things that I hadn’t thought of, even as someone in that field. There’s so much I didn’t know,” Pinkalla says. O’Reilly’s extensive experience in the realm of studying climate scientists made Pinkalla feel honored to work with her. “The science she works on is so big. She’s been to Antarctica and lived in New Zealand to study climate scientists. She’s done some really cool things,” Pinkalla says. “For her to be here and share that with me and opening my eyes to that is a really big deal. She has so much knowledge, and she’s willing to share.” Pinkalla’s summer research experience has influenced her plans. Now that she has a broader view of looking at environmental issues, she is applying for summer internships in international environmental policy in Washington, D.C. As for after graduation, her plans remain unclear, but she knows she can turn to O’Reilly for help. Pinkalla feels that CSB/SJU’s Undergraduate Research Program fosters a special environment, a supportive one that creates sparks between students and professors. “The value placed on the student as a learner and member of the community here is really important,” she says. “The faculty here has a vested interest in the students as individuals, which leads to excellent relationships, especially in my case.” Although the summer research fellowship has ended, Pinkalla and O’Reilly have sustained their relationship. They plan to present their research findings at a conference next fall in Spain.

Professor Jessica O’Reilly (left) and junior Stephanie Pinkalla worked together over the summer on a research project. 7

The Liberal ARTS


Road Trip SJU comic plans opening act after graduation By Adam Tucker ’14

Don’t expect Joey Hamburger to be funny, unless he’s on stage performing stand-up comedy. And for the SJU senior theater major, with his lanky frame, twinkling eyes, rakish, fly-away hair, as well as his last name of Hamburger, being a random, crazy guy has become his trademark on campus – a well-known character everyone loves as just, well, “being Joey.” “When people see me around or in class, they always expect me to be hilarious,” says Hamburger. “And I’m not. The reason I seem funnier than everyone else is that I work hard and polish my material better than anyone else.” Hamburger has set his sights on taking that polished persona on the road – as a professional. “Comedy is something that can be a career. I love doing it. There’s nothing in my life that makes me work harder,” Hamburger says. “I want to do everything though, whether it’s writing plays, sketch comedy or video.” That ambition shows in his senior thesis, a multi-act play entitled “Blind Date: From Creation to Performance.” The play will serve as the opening performance of a comedy tour he plans to take on the road following graduation, a goal made possible

only through the guidance of another Johnnie. Jared Sherlock, a touring illusionist and performer who graduated from Saint John’s in 2011, has been pulling double duty for Hamburger – as both a close friend and mentor. “When I first met Joey, he was a freshman and I was a junior, and he wanted to join a sketch comedy group I had started on campus,” Sherlock says. “He ended up becoming a very central part of the group. He’s so committed, yet very approachable.” Sherlock is the founder of Sherlock Studios LLC, a small business and theater production company. His combined skill as an entrepreneur and artist has inspired Hamburger. Like Sherlock, Hamburger has explored the business side of show business as an E-Scholar in the CSB/SJU Entrepreneurial Studies Program – a program that helps young Bennie and Johnnie entrepreneurs start businesses. And Hamburger is in the business of laughs. Sherlock and Hamburger have performed comedy and plays together as students, and now have formed a relationship as two rising entrepreneurial stars. “Joey and I are one of the rare theaterrelated artists that also are approaching


our work from the entrepreneurship angle,” Sherlock says. “Joey is very resilient, and when he gets an idea in his head about a comedy or play – he attacks it, both as an artist and an entrepreneur. His enthusiasm and commitment to his craft attracts other people.” Sherlock describes Hamburger as an engaged, genuine artist with a bright future, and Hamburger, in turn, credits the older Johnnie with helping him with the technical business aspect of becoming a professional artist. “I don’t think that I would have met people like Jared who are such hard workers and such great intellectuals at any other school besides CSB/SJU,” Hamburger says. “They were willing to take me in and mentor me.” Hamburger decided to pursue comedy because he “had a lot to say,” and he considers CSB and SJU among the foremost tools in his artistic arsenal. “This place is my academic dojo. I got to disappear for a while and really force myself to read and write more and to think,” Hamburger says. “When I go back out into the world and leave this dojo, I’m going to have such a different perspective. Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s teaches you to think, and man, did I think.”


Internet sensation

By Adam Tucker ’14 photo: Amanda Gay ’13



YouTube star handles online fame with modesty Connor Franta never thought he would be kicked out of the Mall of America for creating a public disturbance. And he would never have predicted that the disturbance was caused by fans straining to see him. The La Crescent, Minn., native and Saint John’s University sophomore has become an Internet sensation since he began filming himself in humorous opinionated videos and posting them on the popular video website YouTube the summer before his senior year of high school. In these short years, Franta has soared from a few hundred views on the very first video he made, to averaging 50,000 unique views – every week. “Initially when my videos started becoming big it was very nerve-racking. I felt like I had so many people watching, which is a lot of pressure,” Franta says. Known by his fans for his smirk-like grin and self-deprecating humor, Franta beams as he recalls the first signs of his new fame. “Then, I realized, no, they’re watching because they enjoy anything I post, not just if I post a certain type of thing.” Franta’s audience on his YouTube channel now boasts over 89,000 members, his Twitter account with over 48,000 followers, and his Facebook fan page has reached more than 14,000 fans. Despite the hype and hordes of followers, Franta never lost sight of his original goal – one that remains his objective while at SJU and beyond – to make people smile. “For each video, my goal is to provide laughs. I want to make people smile and laugh, and make their day better,” he says. “I love getting comments or feedback saying I made someone’s day. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.”

And yet, making people laugh and rising to Internet stardom is not always a breeze, as Franta found out on a typical trip to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. After casually posting on one of his networks that he was shopping at the mall, he was swamped by over 100 fans and was threatened with forcible expulsion from the premises. “They told me that we needed to leave or they would force us to,” he says with a grin. “I was like ‘oops’.” When he is in public, Franta says a few of his fans approach and ask to talk and take pictures with him, an experience he’s not yet accustomed to, but enjoys. “I love when they do (talk to me). It’s really fun for me,” he says. “If they want a picture, it’s a little weirder, but it’s cool. I do it, then just sort of move on.” Being a YouTube star requires a lot of hard work, especially for someone who is a full-time student majoring in global business leadership. On a given Sunday, the Johnnie sophomore spends between two to four hours editing his video for the next day, excluding the time it takes to create and shoot each project. On top of it all, Franta is a two-sport athlete at SJU, active on both the swimming and cross-country teams. “I don’t have a lot of free time,” Franta says. He never plays video games and rarely has time for television or other relaxation, but says he wouldn’t have it any other way. As for the future beyond SJU in two years, Franta isn’t sure of much other than that he wants to continue to film videos and make people laugh. “I don’t really have a goal in general for YouTube or what I want to do after SJU,” he says. “I just hope to keep going and see where it takes me. It’s been worth it so far.”

For each video, my goal is to

provide laughs.

I want to make

people smile and

laugh, and make their day better.



Again the O

CSB senior among elite group of scholarship recipients As an accounting and mathematics major, Katelin Weiers is just a little used to working with numbers. When she applied for the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship from Zonta International, she knew the odds were stacked against her. After all, Zonta International consists of over 1,200 clubs in 63 different countries. Can you say longshot? “I never imagined I would be a recipient of one of its international awards,” Weiers says. But the CSB senior’s excellent collegiate resume parlayed her into one of 12 women from around the world to receive a $7,000 scholarship. “When I learned that I was actually one of 12 international recipients, I couldn’t believe it. It is a huge honor, and I’m very grateful to have received this award,” Weiers says. Weiers, from New Prague, Minn., will become the first person in her family to graduate from college when she receives a diploma in May from CSB. “That means the world to me,” Weiers says. “I am proud to be a first-generation college student. “I think my college career shows that even as a first-generation college student, there is no limit as to what you can accomplish. It may seem scary at times, especially when you first begin college and have no idea what to expect, but it helps to remember that college is a new experience for everyone and there are resources for you if you should need them,” she says. One of the resources available to Weiers was the Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science Research Scholars (MapCores) program for women at CSB. MapCores members gain cross-disciplinary academic and research experiences which help prepare them for careers in these fields.

“MapCores has been an amazing part of my college experience. I truly believe I would not be where I am today without this program,” Weiers says. “Math at the college level was very different than high school math, so it really helped to have other MapCores students in my class that were going through the same thing. We were able to work on homework together and help answer each other’s questions.” “Being a part of MapCores gave Katelin a springboard to discover her passion,” says Kris Nairn, associate professor of mathematics at CSB and SJU. “Given her hectic and demanding schedule, the sophomore and junior seminars were a key for Katelin to have some fun through creative problem solving for non-traditional projects with other women who like to think outside the box. The seminars provided a social and intellectually stimulating environment that allowed Katelin to flourish.” Besides her strong academic work – she has a 3.99 grade-point average – Weiers is a member of the Delta Phi Theta service organization, volunteers at the New Prague Public Library and Habitat for Humanity and twice attended mission trips to Guatemala. “She is probably the smartest person that I’ve ever had in class – maybe ever,” says Steve Welch, assistant professor of accounting and finance. “She’s very quiet, but she knows pretty much every answer to every question you ever ask, including on a test.” Weiers already has a job lined up following graduation as an actuarial assistant at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Minneapolis. “I became interested in actuarial work because it combines two areas I find very interesting, finance and mathematics. I thought it sounded like a perfect fit for my dual interests.”


nst dds By Mike Killeen

CSB senior Katelin Weiers, pictured in the summer of 2012 along Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada.



On the

Fast Track CSB student excels as decorated race car driver By Jillian Birkholz ’15

Weekdays, Gabby Volkers is a typical college student. She attends classes, sings in music ensembles and plays intramurals. On the weekend, she becomes a speed demon. That’s when Volkers takes the wheel of a four-cylinder, front-wheel drive,

gutted Dodge Neon and races around a 3/8-mile dirt track. For the past five summers, Volkers has been racing cars in the Hornets Division in central Minnesota. “I spent the summer of 2007 riding along with my uncles and


watching them race,” Volkers says. “I figured that if I was going to go to all the races, I might as well just bring a car to race too.” During her first racing season, Volkers was involved in a rollover


when she was hit on the driver’s side door and rolled twice. She walked away with only minor injuries. “It was scary, but actually quite a thrill,” she recalls. “It definitely makes for a good story. However, my mom begs to differ. She actually doesn’t come to watch me race anymore because she gets too nervous that I’ll get into a crash like that again.” Volkers’ first win came during her second season of racing at the Princeton Speedway in Princeton, Minn. She started

out in 13th place and was able to work her way to the front to take the win. “I remember being surrounded by all male drivers when the top five finishers met at the tech-shed,” Volkers says. “They were shocked when a young, 17-year-old girl came out of the first-place car. And honestly, I think I was just as surprised as they were! Not many people can win a race starting all the way back in the seventh row.” Since then, Volkers has earned the respect of her competitors in a maledominated sport. During the 2012 racing season, Volkers earned six feature wins. In February, she received a trophy and personalized jacket for earning the title of 2012 Track Champion at Princeton Speedway of the Hornet Division.


When Volkers isn’t racing, she is working to earn a degree in management at CSB. She is only in her third year of school but is on a fast track to graduate in May 2013. Volkers chose to major in management because it is a broad major that opens up a lot of options for her. She hopes to land a marketing job with a company affiliated with one of her many interests. “I tend to be very determined,” she says. “If there’s something that I want, I do whatever it takes to get it.” In addition to her school work, Volkers also plays intramural volleyball and softball, hunts and fishes, participates in a CSB/SJU choral ensemble, and works at both the Blazer Athletics department and St. Cloud Aviation. She was drawn to CSB because of the variety of opportunities the school offers that cater to her adventurous spirit. “Liberal arts schools look for wellrounded people, and I’ve always been well-rounded, so it seemed like the perfect fit,” she says.


‘Calling Tommy’

Student’s creative reputation makes him the go-to guy By Brady O’Brien ’13

Clutch is a word normally reserved for athletes. For a certain Saint John’s art major specializing in photography, it defines a reputation. When the College of Saint Benedict Marie and Robert Jackson Fellows decided to create a documentary for their civic engagement project, they didn’t take into account the lengths they must go through to finish the product, allowing senior Tommy O’Laughlin to come in for the save. Or help them film it at least. “They (Jackson Fellows) did all of the research, but they all admitted that they had no idea how to do any of the creative stuff,” O’Laughlin says. “I was the lighting technician, the

sound guy, the video guy, the editor and the distributor. I had like nine roles in that process and anything that had to do with the video, I was there. I didn’t sleep much that semester.” “Cameras are tools. They’re like the paintbrush you like to use,” O’Laughlin adds. “So being able to adapt to different projects is really important for someone in the creative industry.” CSB and SJU students in the Jackson Fellows Program participate in a yearlong civic engagement fellowship focusing on improving community life through public policy or community service. Their final project O’Laughlin helped out on is titled Into the Clouds: Access to Health Care in the St. Cloud Somali Refugee Community. The documentary debuted in the spring of 2012.



During study abroad in Galway, Ireland, Tommy O’Laughlin photographed CSB student Cari Chock as she ran across the green rolling hills of Tara.

While film was a medium that O’Laughlin had never really experimented with, his prior work with Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s athletics and the school newspaper, The Record, had been proof enough for the Fellows to trust the rising photographer from Hopkins, Minn. “Tommy is talented in a lot of ways,” says Br. David Paul Lange, CSB/SJU associate professor of art and O’Laughlin’s senior thesis adviser. “He follows through. You can count on him. A lot of other people with talent don’t have the ability to see things through. That’s what makes all the difference.” While O’Laughlin had to make a lot of creative decisions on his own, he appreciates his time spent in the classroom as he learned

that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to taking pictures. “I came into Saint John’s feeling like I didn’t need to take photography classes,” O’Laughlin says. “I felt like taking an intro course would be a waste of time. I quickly found out it was not, and once we got into it, I was absolutely hooked. (My) major has given me a lot more than I thought it would.” Although O’Laughlin might not ever earn a nickname like ‘the closer,’ his status as the go-to guy has been enhanced. “Tommy has every reason to be proud of what he can do and has done,” Lange says. “I predict he’s going to go far.”


After Graduation: What now?

John Allen Nelson ’06

After Graduation: What now?

Bravo! Vocalists scale the heights to perform on stage

By Mike Killeen

A career in the performing arts can be daunting, but some CSB and SJU graduates have found creative – even unconventional – ways to pursue their passion for singing. Whether breaking glass on national TV, or performing for a U.S. president, these alums have beaten the odds to perform professionally in a competitive field. “I’m very proud to say that our alums are doing quite well,” said Carolyn Finley, professor of voice and opera at CSB/SJU. “I think some people would be surprised by that, since some serious performing aspirants mistakenly believe that you need to go to a music conservatory to get the training one needs for the performing arts.” Approximately four to six students graduate each year with the vocal performance concentration. For some – like the six graduates who tell their stories on the following pages – life is very good on the stage. Most credit their vocal professors at CSB/SJU for their success. “We had the best and most supportive professors – all incredible performers in the field themselves,” says Genevieve Christianson ’99. “I definitely left CSB feeling like there were many directions I could take my career, opera being one of them,” says Jill Diem ’00. “I would have to say that the voice faculty have a great deal to do with the number of singers that continue on in the field,” says Paul Just ’05. “My voice teacher, Marcie Hagen, and the director of the opera program, Carolyn Finley, were instrumental in my development as a young artist and inspired me to pursue a career in opera not only because I had the chops for it, but because my passion and my drive to succeed in opera were immense.”


After GrAduAtion: WhAt noW?

Flying Solo

Performer to debut in stage production

You can go home again. Just ask John Allen Nelson ’06. Nelson makes his Minnesota Opera debut in a named role in April, as the Mandarin in “Turandot.” “Performing the role of the Mandarin in “Turandot” is such a wonderful step in a young career,” says Nelson, a native of St. Paul who was the 2010 winner of the Society of Singers’ annual Graduate Scholarship competition. “In opera, there are many levels of roles within each show. As a young singer, you want to focus on smaller roles in order to perfect your craft in support of older professionals. You can closely observe those who have been singing lead roles all over the world while also getting valuable solo performing experience. “The Mandarin is even better than just

supporting the leads – he actually opens the opera. The first few minutes of singing the audience will hear is the Mandarin – me – setting up the story. It doesn’t get any better than that,” Nelson says. This is actually the second solo moment for Nelson in a Minnesota Opera production. “I was fortunate enough to have a solo in ‘Pinocchio’ in 2009,” Nelson says. “My character in ‘Pinocchio’ was more of an ensemble member who had a brief solo. This is my Minnesota Opera debut as the Mandarin, because it is a named character.” Nelson, who completed his graduate work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, has performed as a young artist at Opera Colorado, and served as an apprentice artist with the Des Moines, Iowa, Metro Opera.

Lounge Act

CSB grad taps new audiences

Engelbart playing Papagena in Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s production of “Die Zauberflote.”

photo: Matt Foerschler

When Angie Engelbart ’01 walks out on stage, the stakes can be high. “There’s a lot of pressure to be perfect,” Engelbart says. But she can let her hair down when she performs with Opera on Tap. The program brings opera to the masses with performances at a lounge in Los Angeles. “Opera on Tap started in New York as a fun way for singers to relax, try some new repertoire and, yes, get some new folks in on the action,” Engelbart said. “The first time I did one, I strutted around the stage singing (Leonard) Bernstein and sang all my high notes from atop the bar. Standing up on the stage with a beer in your hand loosens everybody up – the singer, the audience, the accompanist, and sometimes, you even learn something! “It’s not something you’ll become famous at, or get industry ‘cred’ for, but I have to say, the most artistic, exciting choices happen sometimes at these events,” Engelbart says. She spent a year as a soprano apprentice with the Kansas City Opera, “which was eye-opening. Getting a real paycheck for

singing is such a treat, and the folks there really taught me a lot about preparing a role, having standards for yourself and photo: Kelly McKay your performance, and what it means to be a professional singer: life on the road, working freelance, being a good colleague.” For the past few years, she has worked for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and does a lot of performances and voice teaching on the Big Island. Engelbart also works with many regional companies in southern California and has recorded operatic background vocals on an indie rock album. One of her favorite roles was the Doll from “The Tales of Hoffman.” “With my voice type (a coloratura soprano), I’m really lucky in that I get a lot of bang for my buck,” Engelbart says. “We’ll come onstage for all of 10 minutes, sing some big fireworks for one scene, and walk away with lots of credit and wows, while the bigger-voiced sopranos have to carry the whole opera.”

After GrAduAtion: WhAt noW?

The Right Fit

Varsity wrestler chooses music over sports

For a few years, Brian Manternach ’97 tried to balance arias and cadenzas with takedowns and reversals. Manternach competed for three seasons with the Saint John’s University wrestling team before deciding to pack away his singlet and concentrate on his music major. “Coming out of high school, my strongest interests were in sports and music,” Manternach says. “I didn’t know where either pursuit would lead, but it was important to me to find a school where I could continue to do both. After my visit, Saint John’s was the obvious fit. “Of course, my parents were attracted to the liberal arts focus and the Catholic identity. Those elements were important to me as well, though increasingly more so since graduation. But in the sense of feeding all interests while also being exposed to new fields and ideas, it was everything I was looking for in a college, and, upon reflection, everything I needed at that time in my life.” Manternach teaches music theory, directs the choral program and serves as music director/conductor of music theater productions at Juan Diego Catholic High School near Salt Lake City. He is also on the faculty of the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah. And he performs, playing Ferrando in a concert version of “Cosí fan tutte” for the Utah Midwinter Song Festival. He also made his European operatic debut as Belmonte in “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” with the Oper im Park festival in Sankt Anton am Arlberg, Austria. “Obviously, sports and music both have competitive elements, especially with singers who are on the audition circuit,” Manternach says. “But, ironically, my time at CSB/SJU has probably made me less of a competitive person, ultimately. Certainly, I work hard at what I do, and I diligently prepare for performances and auditions alike. But I am more focused on exploring greater creative possibilities and improving as an artist than I am at landing a specific part or job.”

Brian Manternach performs as Belmonte in the opera “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” by Mozart in summer 2012 at the Oper im Park festival in Sankt Anton am Arlberg, Austria.


After GrAduAtion: WhAt noW?

‘Up and Away’

photo: Ken Hackman

Singer performs on stages worldwide

Senior airman Jill Diem (center) performs with HLN Morning Express anchor Robin Meade (red shirt) and Wynonna Judd (to Diem’s left) during a concert July 1, 2011, in Warner Robins, Ga. The concert was broadcast to troops deployed and stationed overseas on July 4, 2011.

Jill Diem ’00 did what many Minnesotans do when they finally get sick of winter – they move south. “In 2009, I decided I needed a change of pace out of the frozen tundra to the sunny skies of Georgia,” Diem says. But her next step involved more than just dumping the old parka and putting on a pair of shorts. Diem accepted a job as vocalist with the band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

“I went through basic military training that fall, and I have been here at Robins Air Force Base (Ga.) ever since, performing as a lead jazz and pop/rock vocalist all over the world,” Diem says. She has a pretty busy plate. She sings with the Concert Band, Jazz Big Band, Jazz Combo and funk/R&B group “High Flight,” and plays the tenor drum with the Pipe Band. It was in the latter role that she played

Love Potion

operatic career serves up surprising twists

Paul Just ’05 has been in the right place in the right time. While playing the character Nemorino in “L’Elisir D’Amore,” he met his wife, Carolyn (they were married in August 2012). “L’elisir d’amore translated from Italian means the elixir of love,” Just says. “It looks like the elixir worked!” He has performed a number of roles in and around the Vancouver, British Columbia, area. In 2011, he was selected for the inaugural season of the Vancouver Sum-

mer Opera Studio, and appears regularly as a chorister with the Vancouver Opera, the second largest opera company in Canada. But one of Just’s “most interesting experiences” as a performer came half a world away in China as one-half of the singing duo known as Yangzuhe. Just and one of his best friends, Canadian soprano Chloé Hurst, competed on a Chinese television show called “Xing Guang Da Dao” (“Star Road”) in 2011. The show, one of the most watched programs in China, features a format similar to that of “American Idol.” They were coached on Chinese pronunciation, performance traditions and language. They shocked themselves by winning a monthly competition, and then captured two additional victories in the semifinal round to advance to the finals, where they placed sixth. “It was an incredible experience – not one that either one of us will ever forget,” Just says. “It was quite surreal to see yourself appearing on television and performing in a language that was not one of a singer’s stands (Italian, French, German and English), and then winning on top of it all. It was an altogether grand experience.” Paul Just performs as Nemorino in the opera “L’Elisir D’Amore (The Elixir of Love)” in August 2008 with the DragonDiva Operatic Theatre. photo: Jeannie Fynn


to jazz to musical theater to classical. “While opera has not been my focus since graduation (from CSB), I did perform a medley of opera’s greatest hits on our concert band tour in January 2012 in Florida, and always perform in the classical vein on that tour each year,” Diem says. “In 2010, I performed the soprano solo in ‘Aspen Jubilee’ by Ron Nelson, and this year, I will be featured on ‘Summertime’ for a ‘Porgy and Bess’ medley.”

photo: Ken Hackman

for President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle on St. Patrick’s Day 2012. She also performed at the 2011 landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis in Florida, the final flight of the shuttle. And Diem – or, more appropriately, Senior Airman Diem – was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in 2010, performing for our troops as well as local nationals, embassy leaders and princes. Diem has tackled everything from pop

Diem performs at a July 2, 2010, Independence Day concert.

A Shattering Experience

Singer stars from ‘Mythbusters’ to motherhood

Genevieve Christianson ’99 has a new singing partner for an album she is working on – her 3-year-old daughter, Olive Jean. “My children have influenced me in so many different ways, and one of them was to compose a children’s album,” Christianson says. “I grew up playing multiple instruments as well as singing, so venturing into that world of music has been very refreshing. “My oldest daughter is 3, and I am elated to say that I now have my singing partner for my album. Into the recording studio she will go with me!” Christianson taught ballroom dancing and “auditioned for every and any musical theater and opera company around,” and then made it into the Minnesota Opera chorus. She moved to New York to continue her career in opera, and was signed to ADA Artists Management. One day, her manager called and asked her if she could attend an audition the following day for a company seeking sopranos who could sing high. “That’s all I knew about the audition,” Christianson says. When she arrived, she found the Mythbusters, who produce a zany TV show using scientific methods to test commonly held myths. In this scenario, they were tryGenevieve performs with Carlos Archuleta in “The Magic Flute” with the Minnesota Opera.

ing to prove whether or not an opera singer could actually break a glass with her voice. “I found out that it wasn’t the high note that made the glass break. It was the vibration from the note and vowel I was singing,” Christianson says. “I was in a room with close to a dozen singers, and only a few of us could actually make it work. It happened that I was the only one who could break multiple glasses in a row – eight times, to be exact!” She “won” the audition, and

appeared on “Good Morning America” the next morning. She has also been invited to the “Dr. Oz” and the “Guinness Book of World Records” shows to duplicate the feat. These days, however, she is playing “Mommy” rather than “opera star.” “I simply do not know how mommies (perform) in the opera field,” Christianson says. “When you are only getting 3-4 hours of sleep and have to wake up to sing “Traviata” … hello!”

AFter GrAduAtion: WhAt noW?

From appetizer to

full buffet

CSB graduate ‘dishes’ on global experiences By Hannah Hylla ’13

Kalleah Morseth’s global experience at CSB/SJU created an appetite for international living and cultural exchange. During her four years at CSB, Morseth ’12 spent a semester abroad in Segovia, Spain, and served as a social liaison for the Center for Global Education at CSB/SJU. “My experiences through CSB/SJU were like an appetizer. I liked what I had tasted and wanted more. I wasn’t completely satisfied after (her experience) and needed to grow outside of CSB

and outside the safety of the U.S. I needed to taste fear, liberty and love south of the equator,” Morseth says. She got what she wanted. Following graduation in May with a degree in communication, Morseth taught for the English Open Doors Program, an initiative supported by the Chilean Ministry of Education and the United Nations Development Program in Chile. The English Open Doors Program promotes English language 24

From left, Kalleah Morseth holds a going-away poster from her students in Quillota, Chile. Center, at her closing ceremony with co-teacher Patricio Mansilla. Morseth received a medal for her teaching, and a certificate for completing her service with the Open Doors Program in Chile. Right, with a Chilean student.

instruction to students throughout the Chilean public schools system. The program provides teacher training, instructional materials, English immersion camps, language competitions and scholarships for university students. It aims to provide future generations of Chilean students with the tools to succeed in a globalized world. During Morseth’s experience, she taught at the Colegio Ingles, a college in Quillota, Chile, and lived with a Chilean host family. She taught a wide range of students from kindergarten to high school seniors. Instruction focused on English language immersion through various geography and science lessons, games and cultural exchange. “I was embraced by a community, a school and a group of friends that can only be made when you truly get out of your comfort zone,” says Morseth, who returned to the U.S. in December. For Morseth, living and teaching in Chile was a main course, but it was her experiences prior to graduation at CSB that initiated a hunger for this global exchange. During her experiences at CSB, Morseth spent a semester abroad in Spain during the spring of her junior year. She describes her experience as invaluable, as it prepared her to travel alone and fully engage in all that this culture had to offer. “Spain and studying abroad in general gives you a set of skills that you just can’t get in the classroom – those survival skills that you will need as an adult,” Morseth says. After returning from abroad, she spent her senior year working for the Center for Global Education and supported the Office for Education Abroad at CSB/SJU. She served as a social liaison to all of the international student groups the center hosted during the summer and school year. This included groups from Chile, India, China, Japan and South Africa. “Kalleah spent time doing administrative work but a greater amount of time with the international students helping them

become accustomed to Central Minnesota life. She was a cultural liaison as well as a friend. Her passion to understand and bridge the gap between cultures is what really made her successful,” says Joe Rogers, director of the Center for Global Education at CSB/ SJU. It’s these global relationships that led her to life abroad after college. Because of the relationships Morseth has built globally through CSB/ SJU, she’s craving more. Morseth includes the possibility of living abroad once again in her future but counts for now her cultural experiences as defining moments in her life. “I have learned passion and love through the eyes of several cultures. I have become an empathetic person who makes friends around the globe,” Morseth says.


Meet A ProFessor

Great expectati Sanford Moskowitz keeps a glass-block clock on his desk, a memento from a conference he addressed in the European Union. He needs it as well, to keep up with his busy schedule. A published author, international business scholar and professor, he also serves as chair of the newly organized department of global business leadership at CSB and SJU. Whatever his schedule involves, Moskowitz finds ways to integrate his knowledge into the classroom. CSB alumna Sarah Vanneste Thomas ’10 describes his teaching style as both unconventional and challenging. “As a professor and adviser Sanford made everything interesting. He could take a very simple boring topic or concept and frame it in the concept of an outlandish story that the class was certain to remember,” says Thomas, who now works as product manager at Hollander Inc. in Minneapolis. “Sanford always is looking out for his students and pushing them to surpass expectations and explore their own ideas,” she says.

Meet A ProFessor


Professor sets high standards for students

She should know. She worked closely with him in a year-long partnership on her senior honors thesis. “He helped me to develop original ideas, find connections between history, science, and business, and, best of all, he encouraged me to pursue an opportunity to present my work abroad.” With Moskowitz as her mentor, she was able to raise the funds to travel to Thailand and present her thesis at an international conference. “These experiences have been pivotal in the progression of my career today. Sanford and I still keep in touch and check in every few months,” she says. Like Thomas, SJU 2009 alumnus Stashie Mack maintains contact with his mentor. Mack works as lead project manager with Imaging Path in Minneapolis. He first encountered Moskowitz in an international business class. “Immediately you realize as his student that he has great expectations for you in learning the subject matter,” he says.

By Glenda Isaacs Burgeson

“Sanford teaches using stories, or in business vernacular, case studies. Utilizing his well-rounded background in science, business and consulting, he brought the topics at hand into concert with real-life examples,” he says. Mack counts among his favorite memories the lively classroom arguments on quiz days, when true/false quizzes were given to gauge where students stood on the previous assignment. Students could challenge the answers. If they presented a concise and reasonable argument, he would throw the question out. “This made for some of the most fun debates that remained very intellectual.” As a scholar, Moskowitz’s reputation is gaining notice. His first book, “The Advanced Materials Revolution: Technology and Economic Growth in the Age of Globalization,” published in 2009, has attracted attention among academic and business leaders, as well as policy leaders at the highest levels of government in both the United States and the European Union. It was cited in a 2011 report to the White House by the National Science and Technology Council. It also was cited by two agencies in the European Union, the Directorate for Industrial Technologies and the European Steel Technology Platform. The directors of these agencies invited Moskowitz to deliver a keynote address on the EU, advanced materials and global competitiveness at a conference in May 2012 in Belgium.


The role of new or advanced materials in industrial competitiveness is a big issue for industry and policy leaders, Moskowitz explains, because these materials will account for a large part of the technological growth that takes place globally in the coming decades, affecting industries in communications, transportation, agriculture, electronics, energy, textiles, bio-technology, construction, infrastructure and energy, among others. His book examines trends in advanced materials in industry and forecasts their productivity and global competitiveness over the next 20 years. Moskowitz currently is working on two additional publications – an encyclopedia of the digital revolution and a follow-up to his 2009 book that will examine the innovation process by telling how major advanced material technologies evolved in the late 20th and 21st centuries. This academic year, Moskowitz assumed duties as chair of the global business leadership department, now in its second year as a new program of study replacing the management major. G Biz prepares students to manage and lead in a dynamic global environment, with an emphasis both on functional knowledge and on analytical skills, as well as innovation and an understanding of diversity across cultures, organizations and markets. “Our department is blessed with a superb faculty, This faculty is truly energized,” he says. Moskowitz is energized as well. His recent visit in the European Union has given him new material to teach his students. “I am looking forward to bringing this into the classroom – using my own experiences as case studies – and have the students experience first-hand the creative interactions of technology, government and globalization.”

After GrAduAtion: WhAt noW?

no internship?

no problem! SJU grad fashions social media internship, then starts a business

By Jillian Birkholz ’15 The summer after his 2011 graduation from Saint John’s University, Luke Riordan was looking for an internship to build his résumé in the marketing field. “There weren’t really any that I could find that I was interested in back in my hometown,” Riordan says. “So I decided to create my own internship.” That internship, upgrading the digital presence of Klasinski Clinic in Stevens Point, Wis., turned out to be the springboard for a social media marketing company Riordan established, DAYTA Marketing. Founded in 2011, the St. Cloud, Minn., company helps small-tomedium sized businesses use social media effectively. Riordan, DAYTA’s CEO, says he learned important lessons about persistence during his internship with Klasinski Clinic. “They shot down hundreds of my ideas,” he says. “The ones that they said, ‘OK, sure,’ those

were the ones that they’re still using today and that have worked well.” That persistence is essential at DAYTA, and Riordan has made failure a part of his unofficial motto. “We always use the saying here ‘fail fast.’ If it doesn’t work then so be it, move on, but at least try it,” he says. The lessons and successes Riordan took from his own internship inspired him to extend similar opportunities to current CSB/SJU students. “It’s really important that we stay connected. It’s part of the business model,” he says. “Those connections with the school are highly valued.” Seven Bennies and Johnnies are currently interning with DAYTA Marketing. Maggie Hooley, a senior communication major, says her internship at DAYTA Marketing has helped her build marketing and business skills. “I know how to work with clients to develop a marketing strategy and implement it to strengthen their brand image within

“Internships are crucial not only to build your resume, but to build your knowledge of business etiquette and a sense of what the real world has to offer for your career.” -Maggie Hooley 28

the community and reach people in a whole new way,” Hooley says. “Internships are crucial not only to build your resume, but to build your knowledge of business etiquette and a sense of what the real world has to offer for your career.” SJU senior management major Bill Heck says he expects his internship to position him well in the job market. “It is essential to graduate with work experience to make yourself marketable, and I think it is important to be able to bring experience to your first job after graduation,” he says. CSB/SJU marketing professor Lisa Lindgren says the specific internship experience Heck, Hooley and others are gaining through hands-on work with social media gives them a competitive edge as they enter the job market. Working with social media in a professional scope not only teaches the interns how companies can promote themselves through social media, it also allows them to see how a potential employer perceives social media. “Social media is a must for businesses of all sizes,” Lindgren says. “Students today must be aware of how companies utilize social media for supporting their marketing efforts, but more importantly how social media is used in the hiring process.” According to Lindgren, hands-on experience with social media is a nice complement to a liberal arts education. “Social media is a relatively new phenomenon that is rapidly evolving,” Lindgren says. “A liberal arts education prepares Luke and his employees and interns to keep abreast of this rapidly changing world.”

CAtholiC identitY

Being Catholic in the Benedictine Tradition The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University welcome and encourage serious conversations about faith, God, Jesus Christ, spirituality, and moral living – conversations that are deep and ongoing. We are strongly committed to inviting students, faculty, and staff to grow in their faith by living, studying, and speaking honestly and respectfully with others who have different perspectives and may be in different places on their own faith journey. Catholicism is unique in the Christian tradition because it is not a one-size-fits-all religion. While Catholics all share a common faith in Jesus Christ and the sacraments of the Church in union with their bishop and the pope, the Catholic Church has always upheld the legitimacy and value of a variety of diverse yet authentic faith expressions. The Roman Catholic Church is a faith tradition rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit to grow and blossom into a beautiful garden over the past 2,000 years. The Benedictine tradition is a 1,500-year-old way of life that is grounded in the Rule for Monasteries written by Saint Benedict, and dedicated to learning to live well with others while glorifying God through the pursuit of truth, wisdom, beauty, justice, and holiness. It is a way of life in which people work at living together in a healthy community where members seek to be at peace with themselves as well as with God and each other. The Benedictine tradition is mindful of God’s presence at all times and in all places. It values the dignity of human work and honors holy leisure. The Benedictine tradition calls people to exercise honesty, respect, hospitality, justice, moderation, stewardship and a commitment to stability in their relationships. The following eight principles describe how the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University are Catholic, and some of the ways in which we are committed to growing together through our Benedictine tradition: 1. Being Catholic in the Benedictine tradition means we believe all persons are made in God’s image and likeness and so deserve to be treated with respect – most especially if we disagree with them or do not understand them. The Benedictine tradition calls us to honor the dignity of all persons by treating each one as Christ.

5. Being Catholic in the Benedictine tradition means we are committed to promoting growth in the character development of our students shaped by Benedictine values, most especially a sacramental view of the world, the pursuit of the common good and the building of healthy community relationships grounded in the teachings of Christ.

2. Being Catholic in the Benedictine tradition means we seek to make our policies, practices and programming decisions consistent with Church teachings and carry forth the spirit of Vatican II.

6. Being Catholic in the Benedictine tradition means we provide many rich opportunities for students to grow through prayer, celebrating the sacraments and healthy relationships of trust.

3. Being Catholic in the Benedictine tradition means we provide and promote a wealth of opportunities, places, and forums for students, faculty and staff to grow spiritually by integrating faith with reason as they engage in academic and non-academic pursuits, reflect on the meaning of their experiences, and/or pray to discern God’s call through these experiences.

7. Being Catholic in the Benedictine tradition means we promote growth in students’ understanding and appreciation of the similarities as well as differences that people have in culture, gender and religion. 8. Being Catholic in the Benedictine tradition means we assist students in discerning their vocations through mentoring relationships which both support and challenge them to discover what theologian Frederick Ruechner calls “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

4. Being Catholic in the Benedictine tradition means we provide abundant opportunities and encouragement for students to serve the common good by assisting people in need in ways that respect human dignity. 29

Non-Profit Organization Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage U.S. Postage


Twin Cities, MN Saint John’s University Permit No.1096

Admission office P.O. Box 7155 Collegeville, MN 56321-7155 (320) 363-5060 or (800) 544-1489 Email: URL: c HAnGe seRVice R eQUes T ed Sterling Premium contain 10% post-consumer recycled fiber.

see all the experiences you can have at Raft U.

Saint Benedict’s / Saint John’s Magazine Spring 2013  

Saint Benedict’s/Saint John’s Magazine is published in the spring by CSB/SJU Communication & Marketing Services.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you