Informed AN INSIDE LOOK AT HOW PHILANTHROPY SHAPES SAINT BEN’S
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE
A Note From the President p. 2 > Experiential Learning & Community Engagement p. 4 > The Internship Odyssey p. 6 > “The Most Rewarding Part of My Job” p. 8 > Creating Opportunities p. 10
A Note From the President
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE For over 100 years, the College of Saint Benedict has been helping to transform young women of potential into leaders of substance. Today that transformation happens, as it always has, through rigorous academics. But it also happens outside the classroom through “experiential learning”: hands-on opportunities that forge deeper understanding. Experiential learning includes opportunities such as global learning, undergraduate research, servicelearning, fellowships and academic internships. Research consistently demonstrates the power and impact of these experiences on students. We find the transformational impact of experiential learning so compelling that, for years, we’ve mandated it as part of the core curriculum. Right now at Saint Ben’s, there are two exciting developments underway that are going to enhance and strengthen this area, to the great benefit of our students. Mary Dana Hinton CSB President 2
“ The new structure allows us to reimagine how we can interact with students, as well as partner with faculty, staff and community partners.” First, CSB/SJU Provost Dr. Richard Ice announced last fall that Career Services, Academic Advising and the Office of Experiential Learning & Community Engagement (ELCE) will work collaboratively under the leadership of Academic Affairs. The result is a more holistic and inclusive approach to Career Services that will develop students throughout their time here, reflecting our liberal arts commitment that education is not solely for a first job, but for a lifetime of leadership. As ELCE Director Angie Schmidt Whitney ’97 says, “Pulling the offices together makes it a one-stop location for students. It will streamline efforts to help students be successful while they’re here on campus, as well as once they
graduate and are doing amazing things in the world. The new structure allows us to reimagine how we can interact with students, as well as partner with faculty, staff, employers and community partners.” The second exciting development is the incredible gift of $10 million that will allow us to create the new Center for Ethical Leadership in Action. You’ll be learning more about the Center over the next few months, but the heart of its impact will be helping to facilitate experiential learning and making these opportunities feasible and accessible to all Saint Ben’s students.
As generous donors to the College of Saint Benedict, you’ve seen and appreciated the need for financial support to make a Saint Ben’s education possible for our students. The Center for Ethical Leadership in Action will serve a need just as great – making sure that, once they’re here, all Bennie women have full access to a comprehensive Saint Ben’s experience. This level of inclusion is a clear manifestation of our Benedictine commitment to community.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT The heart of the liberal arts is digging in and developing a broad base of learning – and the aptitude to apply that learning. It’s the ability to think that comes from asking questions – questions triggered by new and engaging experiences. It’s the ability to communicate that is refined through interactions. The Office of Experiential Learning & Community Engagement provides Saint Ben’s students with access to hands-on experiences that complement and accompany ideas, theories, practices and methods taught in the classroom. These include experiences like internships, service-learning opportunities, fellowships and focused undergraduate research including:
Marie and Robert Jackson Fellows Program A Jackson Fellowship empowers students to serve the common good through communityfocused internships, collective learning and leadership and professional development. Bonner Leader Program The Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation works through sustained partnerships with colleges like CSB and SJU to improve the lives of individuals and communities by meeting needs for nutrition and educational opportunity. Internship Program Internships generally run 10-20 hours per week over a 16-week semester or 12 weeks over the summer. (Full-time internships are possible during the summer.) They can be paid or not paid, for academic credit or no credit, with local, national and international organizations of all sizes, industries and types.
Service-Learning Program At Saint Ben’s, students, faculty and organizations work together to foster successful opportunities for service that are relevant to what is being taught in the classroom. Undergraduate Research Program The goal of undergraduate research is to support the work in a manner that allows for it to be presented in some form to a larger audience (e.g., publication, exhibition, public performance or scholarly presentation at events like our annual Celebrating Scholarship & Creativity Day). The program offers grants to students engaged in research or creative works. Community Kitchen Program Community Kitchen’s meal-delivery program uses surplus food on campus and in the community as a catalyst for education, collaboration and community action.
GIFT OFFERS EXPANDED ACCESS One of our key objectives in the Strategic Directions 2020 effort to provide holistic and transformational development of women is to, “ensure that the range of experiential learning opportunities are available for all students.” In November, that goal came much closer to fruition thanks to an anonymous gift of $10 million – the largest single gift in Saint Ben’s history. The gift will be
used to create the Center for Ethical Leadership in Action. This is a game-changing revelation for the growing number of Saint Ben’s students who do not have the financial means to afford experiences like an unpaid internship. The Center for Ethical Leadership in Action will have the resources to offer stipends to students for whom these experiences would otherwise be out of reach.
In addition to supporting internships and other experiential learning opportunities, the center will create a mentor program and host speakers – all designed to promote the development of ethical leaders. Our hope is to begin awarding stipends as early as summer of 2017.
Student interns in London
THE INTERNSHIP ODYSSEY Kenea Andrews ’17 knew two things: she needed the practical, external experience of an internship – and she was getting tired of searching. “My internship search was extremely difficult,” recalls the biology major from Nassau, Bahamas. “It seemed like everything was out of reach for me because I am an international student. I didn’t qualify for anything that had a requirement for applicants to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.” Kenea was searching for something to match her studies in biology, chemistry, gender studies or peace studies. Making the search even more complicated, “I also had to have a paid internship because otherwise I couldn’t support myself or save money to pay for tuition. Then there were the difficulties in finding somewhere to live if the internship required me to relocate. Furthermore, there was the issue of transportation if I did
Kenea Andrews ’17
relocate. If public transportation wasn’t near or if I wasn’t within walking distance of the internship site, then I couldn’t go. All these pieces complicated my search. And each factor made it super difficult.”
a position that met all of her needs,” says Laura. By using a combination of alumnae and faculty connections, Kenea eventually landed a life-changing position with The Yes Network (and a place to stay for the
community service and giving back. I do think that now I know how rewarding it is, my career will be more focused on healthcare for lower-income communities.”
These are the types of obstacles that the new Center for Ethical Leadership in Action at the College of Saint Benedict will be able to help clear. By offering stipends to Bennies with financial need, the center will enable students to broaden their parameters and focus on the internships that best suit their needs, rather than their circumstances. This is an exciting and fundamental distinction. Eventually, Kenea found exactly the right fit with the help of Laura Hammond, assistant director of Experiential Learning & Community Engagement (ELCE). “This all would have been much easier if I had gone in to talk to Laura sooner,” laughs Kenea. Laura helped Kenea search for options. “Kenea went to networking receptions, job/internship fairs, and just wasn’t finding
summer). She worked at building communities within the youth of St. Cloud and studied the impacts of poverty on family structure and mindsets. “The experience with The Yes Network was beautiful,” confirms Kenea. “I wanted to help those kids create a community, embrace diversity and respect each other. It also helped me to really tap into my passion for
The ELCE office and students like Kenea have been finding and excelling in internship opportunities – domestic and abroad – for years. With the introduction of the Center for Ethical Leadership in Action, more of those possibilities will be available to more Saint Ben’s students.
“THE MOST REWARDING PART OF MY JOB” Like any good scientist, Mary Stenson, associate professor of exercise science and sport studies (ESSS) is curious by nature. “Essentially, our research is me or my students being curious about something and investigating our questions.” For undergraduate students at the College of Saint Benedict, that presents dynamic possibilities. “Students in ESSS work on projects in a few different ways,” she explains. “Some are volunteers assisting a faculty member with their research. Some are just interested and complete an independent project for no course credit. Most, however, take on independent research projects through a number of our research courses.” For the students, the advantages of undergraduate research (UR) are significant. “UR is problem solving,” says Stenson. “It’s analytical thinking. It’s experiential learning, critical reading, clear writing, presentation
skills…. It’s a major advantage for students applying to graduate and professional programs. UR on a resume tells the reader that the student has experience with reading and understanding research, designing research, research ethics, data collection, statistical analysis and presenting research – essentially following the steps of the scientific method.” At Saint Ben’s, student researchers currently turn to the Office of Experiential Learning & Community Engagement for grants when funds are needed. For example, Stenson points out that “Last year, two of my students applied for UR grant funds to buy 10 Fitbits
for research.” In other cases, students apply for presentation of research grants to help fund their conference fees and travel. “Each UR project I mentor (usually between eight and 10 each year) is incredibly time consuming, but it’s also the most rewarding part of my job,” she says. “I love watching the students’ excitement when they collect data on their first subject or that moment when the light bulb turns on because they finally understand their stats. I love watching my students proudly present their final projects.”
In all of these situations, the new Center for Ethical Leadership in Action will allow students to think bigger and open up new possibilities. That’s an exciting prospect for professors like Stenson.
Mary Stenson, associate professor of Exercise Science & Sport Studies, works with student researchers on VO2max testing.
CREATING OPPORTUNITIES Mary Kramer ’85 is a proud alumna of the College of Saint Benedict, a CSB/SJU parent, a faithful donor and a member of the Board of Trustees. But she felt the need – and saw the opportunity – to do something more. “Saint Ben’s made me the professional that I am and the person that I am,” she says. “I learned to write, to advocate and to care – at Saint Ben’s. Going there was one of the best decisions of my life. I have to pay that forward.” With her immigration law practice in Miami, Mary saw the chance to create a life-changing opportunity for a student with the right qualifications. She is currently arranging a paid summer internship for a CSB/SJU student*. Primarily, the position will involve assisting the office’s three attorneys with research into country conditions (e.g., the treatment of women in India or potential judicial corruption in Guatemala), printing and preparing evidence Elizabeth Alvarez ’19, Jose Alvarez, Mary Kramer ’85 and Jose Alvarez ’17
packages and translating (either in writing or verbally during interviews). This intern will sit in on consultations and court hearings for research and to take notes and will also meet with clients in detention centers. Of course, Mary points out, “All this sounds exciting, but if the phone is ringing and no one is there to answer, the intern would answer the phone … or make copies or look for a file – just like any attorney would if needed in a pinch.” It all adds up to an impressive opportunity. But it also serves to demonstrate the powerful role the new Center for Ethical Leadership in Action will play. The right student will be pre-law. The position also requires a bilingual/ biliterate (Spanish) student. Those criteria will narrow the field of viable candidates. The Center will help make sure that eligible students will be able to afford to accept.
“This position will not pay a lot,” Mary admits about her paid internship. “But hopefully enough to offset the cost of living expenses in Miami. My staff and I can do some research into inexpensive housing situations – maybe send out emails to friends and neighbors to see who has an extra room or would maybe like a house-sitter for the summer.”
*If you’re interested in exploring what creating a CSB/SJU internship could mean at your company, contact Laura Hammond, assistant director of ELCE at email@example.com or 320-363-5300.
When the Center for Ethical Leadership in Action begins granting stipends, these concerns become more manageable. The Center will make it easier to match the right student to the right opportunity. Whoever that student is, Mary says “I believe the experience on a resume will be invaluable.”
Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID College of Saint Benedict ANNUAL GIVING 37 South College Avenue St. Joseph, MN 56374 Please direct questions to 800-648-3468, ext. 3 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“IT’S ALL PART OF A WINNING PROGRAM”
During their years in the CSB athletic department, Carol and Steve Howe-Veenstra impacted thousands of Saint Ben’s students. Now that they’re both retired, they have no intentions of stopping. Carol and Steve have built a planned gift to the college into their estate plan. It wasn’t hard to do, and it will allow them to create a lasting legacy at Saint Ben’s. “Our decision to include CSB athletics in our estate plan is based on the tremendous experiences we have had with student-athletes and staff,” says Carol. “We recognize the critical role resources play in preparing for future success; it’s all part of a winning program!”
Contact Gigi Fourré Schumacher ’74 at email@example.com or 320-363-5480 and start a conversation that can lead to your own legacy.
AN INSIDE LOOK AT HOW PHILANTHROPY SHAPES SAINT BEN’S