Amber Horn

Amber Horn SP'13.

Maximizing Opportunities

Katie makes a difference for inmates and at-risk youth.

By Colby Johnson

Amber Horn SP'13 had her pick of service-learning opportunities during "Psychology Engages the World," the first of two required seminars for St. Kate's psychology majors. She chose to work with drug dealers, sexual offenders and other criminals on the mend.

"My goal is to pursue a career in forensic psychology," says Horn, "so there was no way I was going to pass up this amazing opportunity to work with an inmate population and learn more about the criminal justice system."

Over the summer, she spent three to four hours each week at the Dakota County Sheriff's Office helping a group of pre-screened inmates — ranging from 19 to 75 years old — draft résumés for when they are released from jail. Earlier, Kelsey Knops SP'10, an Americorps Vista volunteer for Dakota County, had designed and formalized the service learning with St. Kate's.

"The experience was a little nerve-wracking at first," Horn admits. "But at the end of the day, it's so rewarding when inmates realize that somebody does care about them and wants to help them."

Horn also volunteered to write a grant — something else she had never done before — to fund an arts project for the sheriff's office. Horn attended a grant-writing seminar and created "Choices," a project for 12 inmates to develop skills in the visual arts. She also recruited art instructors and led a focus group with 42 inmates to learn about the types of art they were most interested in.

In spring 2012, Dakota County got the good news that it received the grant money to fund the project.

"I was shocked and thrilled," says Horn, who continued to work at the jail long after her class was over. Horn will share the inmates' artwork at youth centers throughout Dakota County. "We want to use their experiences and artistic reflections as a deterrent for youth who are at risk of becoming future offenders," she explains.

Ask—and Receive

By Pauline Oo

Getting grant funding isn't easy. First there's the paperwork, then the persuasive writing and, last, the waiting. • Each year, St. Kate's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the Corporate and Foundation Relations team assist more than 125 faculty and staff in seeking, applying for and managing grants from private and public funding sources. Eighty-five research and academic projects, as well as academic programs, currently receive grants that amount to more than $5 million.


$240,000 from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to expand St. Kate's innovative Access and Success programs for student parents, including Steps to Success and Mother to Mother. The grant also funds a second lactation room on the St. Paul campus, which opened in Whitby Hall this fall.


+ $64,420 for Access and Success staff to serve as consultants for MDH and other grant recipients that are starting student-parent centers statewide. Additionally, St. Kate's is helping Pine Technical College, Leech Lake Tribal College and Fond du Lac Tribal College develop similar programs for student parents.


$400,000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to make the University's Bachelor of Science in nursing degree more accessible to registered nurses. St. Kate's is redesigning its RN-BS Degree Completion program — with new courses this fall — in partnership with Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Fairview Health System, and Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.


$5,833 from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to purchase "greener" chemicals and assist Assistant Professor of Chemistry James Wollack in teaching green chemistry principles. The grant has supported 21 different student projects — including the synthesis of DEET, saccharin, piperine (the chemical in black pepper that makes you sneeze) and a beetle aggression pheromone — and enabled four undergraduates to present their findings at the 2012 National American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia.


$550,000 from 3M Foundation and Boston Scientific over two years to support St. Kate's National Center for STEM Elementary Education. 3M gave a $250,000 grant in summer 2011, in addition to the $240,000 multi-year grant that underwrote the development of the STEM certificate and minor. Boston Scientific provided a $100,000 grant followed by a $200,000 grant to support teacher participation in the STEM graduate certificate program.


$30,000 from the Massage Therapy Foundation to support research by Mark Blegen. The associate professor of exercise and sport science is studying the influence of massage therapy on weight management in women.