Favorite Marian University moment:
Bubbles in the fountain. The fountain being turned back on in the spring, going for “walk and talks” around campus in the evening after bible study with friends, and then seeing bubbles spilling over the sides. Also, all campus liturgies when the whole community would come together as one.
Why the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership:
Other people believed in me enough that I began to believe in me, too. Being surrounded by that support system to explore ministry professionally and then be educated, formed, and challenged has me, in turn, showing the same example to youth I encounter today. Everyone needs someone to believe in them, and the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership was that for me.
Highlight of your San Dam experience:
Watching the program grow. The first year with just the few of us, we could have our monthly meetings in old Padua Hall or at someone’s house. Even after the second class joined, we were a tight-knit community that, when working with upper classmen, began to make big changes. Seeing our original group grow to what it is today, and now having some of my former youth ministry kids in the program or seeing siblings of people I went to college with, shows the lasting legacy of the program. That, and learning the “I bow to the God in you” song at our retreat that first year!
How are you “Rebuilding Your Church” as God requested of St. Francis?
Francis was challenged to see beyond just the crumbling walls of San Damiano to change the culture and atmosphere he encountered, through whatever means he could, all while maintaining a simple life. That’s the same challenge we have all heard. We are called to look at the communities we are in and see how we can push, challenge, and cultivate those on this faith journey with us to see Christ in new ways.
I am most proud of stepping outside my boundaries for something new! Accepting a position last November in a faith formation role has stretched me and furthered my career in ministry.
If you have visited Marian University recently, what struck you the most about campus:
The growth has struck me the most! Alumni Hall is huge (with a Starbucks!) and seeing all the new residences, buildings, and changes to departments has been astounding. I love seeing all the additional faith aspects that have been incorporated into the campus, as well.
Advice to current San Dam Scholars:
Four years slips by quickly, but the friendships and foundation you set at Marian University and with other San Dams becomes the foundation for your young adult and adult life. I’m still connected with many of the people I met at Marian University and have moved from college friendships to professional relationships with colleagues. Enjoy every moment, show up to meetings and retreats on time, and turn in your service hours and projects! San Dam invests so much in each scholar, it’s important to have fun, but give back when you can.>