Monthly Archives: August 2011

Student Profile: Jennifer Stevenson, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Jackson Fellow

College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University

The College of St. Benedict Jackson Fellowship Program has given me the opportunity to intern at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota.  This high quality museum aims to, “promote learning for children of all ages and abilities through interactive, informal, hands-on exhibits and demonstrations.”  As part of this internship, I enjoy interacting with the children and planning future demonstrations to guide additional learning.  I also have the opportunity to learn about this new museum that has quickly become a staple of Brookings, SD.  Scholarships and other gifts ensure that children of all families can learn from the museum’s resources.  Once inside the museum, exhibits featuring foreign cultures and the local Native American community foster a greater awareness and acceptance of unfamiliar cultures by focusing on the universal need for a home.  I am proud to be even a temporary participant in the museum’s inclusive efforts.  In keeping with this theme, I am writing scripts for demonstrations between the Dakota tipi and a 1880s sod house that focus on the cultures’ similarities and shared values.  I hope that the scripts may encourage children to approach cultural differences with respect, making the community itself a better place.

Of course, I have also benefited from this internship, both personally and professionally.  As a college student studying secondary education, I have been able to observe educational successes.  I have also grown to appreciate the unbelievable capacity of children to think critically, as when they use props from one exhibit to enhance their experience in another exhibit.  This lesson will help me never to underestimate my students’ abilities.  As an individual who may someday pursue graduate studies in museology, I have benefitted from learning more about the people and processes necessary to maintain a quality museum than I expected.  Every experience when visiting a museum is a direct result of careful planning and acting by museum employees.  I have not solidified a decision regarding this possible career goal, but I will be able to make said decision with a clear understanding of what a career in museums truly means.  At the end of the ten-week fellowship, I will return to Minnesota with knowledge and experiences that will make me a better person in whatever I choose to do with my life.

 

Learn more about the Jackson Fellows here.

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Five Questions For: Nick Longo

Nick Longo (photo: Providence College)

Nicholas V. (Nick) Longo is Director of the Global Studies Program and Associate Professor of Public and Community Service Studies at Providence College.  He has both organized and published extensively on civic education, community-based learning, youth political engagement and leadership.  He served as a member of Minnesota Campus Compact’s board of directors while a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, where he earned an M.P.A. from the Humphrey Institute and a Ph.D. in education.

1) What about your college and/or grad school experience influenced where you are today?
I was introduced to service-learning as an undergraduate and it transformed my life, helping me see that I didn’t have to choose between my desire to be a good student/eventually get a job and my desire to change the world. I then chose to go to graduate school in a place where I could connect my education with a commitment to civic life, which I was able to do at the University of Minnesota because of the amazing work of organizations like the Center for Democracy and Citizenship (now at Augsburg College), Jane Addams School for Democracy, and Minnesota Campus Compact.

2) What do you wish you’d known or done while a student?

This is a tough question, because it seems like the older I get, the more I realize how much I don’t know. But maybe there is a wisdom in being okay with that, as long as we don’t lose the impatience for justice we tend to feel most strongly when we are coming of age as students. I would also say that I have come to find that the best–and most under-appreciated–learning tends to come from mistakes. So  there is actually some advantage to trying to do things we don’t know how to do…and failing. That said, I do wish I had formally studied abroad and studied a foreign language in college, which are both actually required in the Global Studies program at Providence College [where I am director].

3)  What is the most exciting aspect of your job?

Learning from my student colleagues, who continually inspire me.

4)  What book should everybody read, and why?

I and Thou by Martin Buber because it provides a philosophical grounding for the kinds of deep, reciprocal relationships we should all strive for in our campus-community partnerships.

5) Who or what is inspiring you these days?

Aside from my students, I have been deeply inspired by the Arab Spring and the transformations which are occurring in the Middle East and North Africa. I was actually lucky enough to visit Egypt in March, just weeks after the fall of the dictatorship, and meet with some of the young leaders who organized the revolution. Of course the road forward will not be easy in the Arab World–or elsewhere, for that matter– but the way these young people organized a non-violent movement without a hierarchical leadership structure using some of the new technology now available gives me a great sense of democratic hope.

We’re starting a new type of blog post, asking alumni of Minnesota Campus Compact member institutions about their civic experiences and reflections.  If you have people you’d like to hear from or questions you’d like to ask, please let us know — or ask someone questions yourself and send us the results to share.  Thanks!

Student Profile: Isaac Meyer, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Jackson Fellow

Isaac Meyer

As part of my fellowship I’ve been working with St. Cloud Area Legal Services as a legal assistant in the area of Landlord Tenant and Foreclosure Law in the area of Housing Law. For me this means I spend much of my time with people who are on the brink of becoming homeless and having to live on the street. Thanks to this fellowship though I’ve been able to help several dozen people keep their homes and stay off the street, and helping these clients stay off the street means they can stay employed, keep their children in a safe environment together with their parents.  Personally though, this fellowship has opened my eyes immensely to the real world of legal services.

Click here to learn more about the Jackson Fellows.

Student Profile: Evan Lowder, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Jackson Fellow

Evan Lowder

I am interning at the Ramsey County Mental Health Court, a specialty court that is designed to reduce recidivism for offenders whose criminal acts are attributable to mental illness by connecting them to a myriad of treatment and support services in the community. Through my internship, I have had the opportunity to visit many other specialty courts, learn about various professions within the criminal justice system, and work to improve the existing day-to-day operations of the Court. Most importantly, the Jackson Fellowship has allowed me to pursue an internship that I am passionate about in the field of public service. This experience has opened my eyes to the many challenges facing the criminal justice system and the need for dedicated individuals who will push for legal reform. Because of the Jackson Fellows program, I am more certain about my desire to both attend graduate school in the area of law and psychology and, ultimately, become an agent of change for the criminal justice system.

Learn more about the Jackson Fellows

Student Profile: John Godfrey, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Jackson Fellow

John Godfrey

I am working at Central Minnesota Legal Services in St. Cloud, MN, which serves more than twenty counties in central Minnesota. Our mission is to provide, in a highly professional manner, for the basic legal needs of families and children vulnerable to abuse, violence, neglect, homelessness or major economic disruptions in their lives. I work mainly in matters related to employment and family law. My major duties include handling correspondence with clients, the investigation of case facts, and representing clients in administrative hearings. The CSB Jackson Fellowship has allowed me to work full time for the summer to advance our mission at no cost to CMLS. This is invaluable in an era of rapidly decreasing budgets; many nonprofits are trying to find ways to fulfill goals with shrinking aid from governments while at the same time experiencing increased demand for services.

The experience I have gained in several areas related to the legal field, such as witness preparation, have given me a sizable head start in pursuing a legal career. It also has given me the reassurance that the only life worth living is one directed toward the service of others. In my work at CMLS, I have not just learned current statistics on poverty, nor read about its implications in textbooks. I have gotten a chance to experience poverty, and what it means for those whom too often go unseen, unheard, and uncared for. Were I not to gain anything else for my time at CMLS, these lessons in understanding and humility would be more than enough.

Click here for more information on the Jackson Fellows.

Student Profile: Kathryn Hauff, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Jackson Fellow

Kathryn Hauff

The Jackson Fellowship has enabled me to work this summer at the Office of the General Counsel at the University of Minnesota. The office is composed of 18 attorneys whose job it is to provide legal services to the University. The scope of their work is vast: from helping a department comply with employment law during a new professor’s hire, to athletic compliance within its NCAA Division I athletics program, to patent law with the great amount of research and discovery on campus, to litigating on behalf of the institution–the range is truly remarkable. Personally, I am working as an undergraduate law clerk aiding the attorneys by doing research, writing memoranda, proof-reading, organizing material, and attending hearings.

The University of Minnesota plays an integral role in producing educated citizens who will benefit our state economically. In order to provide the best education it can, it is important that the University is legally protected–a goal which the Office of the General Counsel strives to fulfill. Although I only play a small role in the protection of the University, I still feel that I am contributing to the common good by helping the office ensure higher education in Minnesota is outstanding.

The fellowship has definitely given me confidence in my goal to earn my JD/PhD and work in higher education. When you finally find something that energizes you in the way higher education does for me, it is impossible to let go. Throughout my work, I have come to realize how important higher education is to our state and I am excited to complete my education and make a difference in our state.

I have learned an incredible amount over the course of the internship. Of course, the learning potential in a legal field for those who have never gone to law school is high, so I am learning a considerable amount of law and how it applies to the business of universities. Working at a public institution, I am also learning a great amount dealing with the relationship of the University and the state of Minnesota. The University has an obligation to its taxpayers to provide outstanding education; at the same time, the state government also has a responsibility to dedicate enough funds to higher education.

Learn more about the Jackson Fellows.

Student Profile: Colin Frederick, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Jackson Fellow

Colin Frederick

The College of Saint Benedict Jackson Fellowship provides CSB/SJU students the opportunity to participate in a year-long fellowship related to civic leadership and engagement in addition to receiving training in intensive leadership and career development. Through this fellowship I am working with The Advocates for Human Rights, a human rights organization which actively works to strengthen accountability mechanisms, raise awareness, and foster tolerance on human rights issues. At the Advocates I am writing country-specific reports focusing on international law, transnational criminal law and humanitarian law as well as UN advocacy efforts on peace building.

Throughout my undergraduate career, I have developed a passion for human security and believe that human rights is a principal bedrock of stability and effective crisis management, Therefore the opportunity to acquire first-hand experience in this field will allow me to assist in addressing and confronting issues affecting human rights as well as placing a greater emphasis on promoting the respect for human dignity. In the near future I plan to earn a Juris Doctorate with a joint Master of Arts in the field of international affairs. The fellowship has provided me with training in grant writing, public speaking and marketing, which are all essential components towards the success and efficiency in the fields of law and diplomacy. While, I have heard that it is important to focus on a specific goal, the Jackson Fellowship has allowed me to identify that in any career path, it is also imperative to be multitalented and to have familiarity with a myriad of skill sets and experiences. This will allow an individual to be versatile both professionally and personally.

Click here for more information on the Jackson Fellows.