Her family roots are Irish, but she’ll be embracing everyone and everything Finnish in the coming months. Melissa Lindow ’14 was selected from a global pool of 64 candidates for Rotary International’s Group Study Exchange in northern Finland from April 20 to May 25, 2013.
Lindow, a healthcare management major in St. Catherine University’s Evening, Weekend, Online program, will be part of a team that will visit local businesses, government offices and community organizations, and give approximately 25 public presentations about their home countries and professions.
“My travels will take me from the border of Sweden, north of the Arctic Circle, all the way to the border of Russia,” explains Lindow. “I will stay with host families, moving every few days, and I will have vocational experiences two to three days per week. Then spend the rest of my time speaking to various audiences, including Finland’s District Rotary Convention, on our culture, environment and history, focusing primarily on healthcare.”
This will be Lindow’s first trip to Finland, but she isn’t nervous about her immersion into the Scandinavian culture. She’s met many Fins in her work as a physical therapist assistant. Plus, she lives in Nevis — near the Finnish Triangle, an area in central Minnesota that was home to early Finnish settlers.
“This area is rich in Finnish heritage, and represents Minnesota's largest concentration of Finnish people,” she says. “Many of the residents get healthcare from my employer, St. Joseph’s Area Health Services, in Park Rapids.”
Rotarian David Collins encouraged Lindow to apply for Team Finland 2013. “David knew I was continuing my education at St. Kate's and wouldn't let me say no to this opportunity,” she says. “I tried twice!”
The interview and selection process spanned several months as the Group Study Exchange sub-committee sifted though highly qualified applicants sponsored by Rotary clubs from across Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. Lindow also credits Mary Unger Henderson ’80, associate professor and chair of St. Kate's Department of Business Administration.
“She helped by reviewing my resume and providing feedback and constant encouragement,” Lindow adds. St. Kate’s healthcare management major is part of the School of Business and Professional Studies.
“I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a remarkable way to network and make connections with community leaders,” says Lindow. “Finland is known to have the most efficient healthcare delivery model in the world, and the chance to have an all-access pass to study this has been worth the countless hours of preparation.”