St. Kate’s recognizes outstanding community members living our Catholic Mission

Beth Hamer and Paula Gajewski-Mickelson

Beth Hamer and Paula Gajewski-Mickelson at the award ceremony.

Last week, St. Catherine University presented this year’s winners of the Sr. Amata Catholic Mission in Action award to Beth Hamer and Paula Gajewski-Mickelson. This award is given to one faculty and one staff member who embody the Catholic mission of the University.

Hamer was nominated for her outstanding work in Access and Success. She is the lead social worker in the program, which ensures that student-parents are able to overcome challenges to completing their education. She serves as a support person and coach to these students, many of whom are young mothers with low incomes.

“She is a very caring, kind and highly ethical woman,” said Kate Barrett, Endowed Chair in Catholic Identity, presenting the award. “She is also a wonderful exemplar of the values of the CSJs and their service to the dear neighbor.”

Gajewski-Mickelson is an assistant professor and the department chair for ASL and Interpreting. She was nominated for her dedication to her department and her tireless efforts on behalf of her students and the Deaf community. She teaches both undergrad and graduate students to be excellent interpreters who break down the barriers of communication between the Deaf and hearing communities.

“She is a calm, positive and giving presence in all our lives with no sense of personal ego or gain,” said Barrett. “She is a truly humble, present and giving person and we are blessed to have her as part of the St. Kate’s and ASL and Interpreting communities.”


More about Sister Amata

Amata Miller, IHM, was the first Archbishop Harry Flynn Endowed Chair in Catholic Identity and founding director of the Myser Initiative. She launched the program during the 2005-06 Faculty Staff Opening Workshop in August. Over the next decade, hundreds of faculty and staff participated in workshops, planning retreats and brown bags. Faculty represented St. Kate’s at Collegium, a national annual colloquy on faith and intellectual life.

The Myser Initiative’s popular annual lecture series featured acclaimed Catholic intellectual leaders, including Lisa Cahill, Joan Chittister, Elizabeth Johnson and Carolyn Woo. In addition, she collaborated with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet’s Justice Commission to co-host the annual event on social justice, Breaking the Impasse.

By Kristen Wunderlich