The Civic Engagement Fellowship recently accepted five students into the St. Kate’s 2021–22 cohort. The St. Catherine University Civic Engagement Fellowship was founded in 2020 by Newman Civic Fellow Zaynab Abdi '20, as part of her fellowship project to support civic engagement and student leadership. The fellowship is housed within the Center for Community Work and Learning along with the Civic Engagement Collective. Ania Salcedo ’22, a fourth-year student majoring in History and International Studies, and is St. Kate’s current Civic Engagement Student Coordinator and Newman Civic Fellow. She supports the fellows listed below.
2021–22 Civic Engagement Fellows
Lauren Skar ’23 is a returning Civic Engagement Fellow, entering her second full year with the program. She is currently a third-year student majoring in economics and political science (public policy) and minoring in Spanish. Lauren initially joined the Civic Engagement Collective during her first year because she wanted to be a part of voter education and engagement on campus. She continues to return to the Collective because of her passion for voter education and social justice. “Social justice encompasses all issues society faces — everything is connected, from housing inequality to environmental racism. As a social-justice focused institution, Katies are taught to think critically and challenge injustices around the world and in our communities. Advocacy is intimidating for many, so I want to help students find resources to educate and advocate for issues they are passionate about and feel comfortable taking part in advocacy.”
Anchee Nitschke Durben ’24 is a returning Civic Engagement Fellow as well. She is currently a second-year student majoring in public health and data science with a minor in longevity and aging. She joined the Civic Engagement Collective last spring because she is invested in voting rights and bringing awareness to the power of voting to St. Kate’s students. “Everyone's voices need to be heard and we need to ensure that everyone has access and the education to voice their needs/thoughts.”
Sylvie Guezeon MBA’22 is a new Civic Engagement Fellow this year. She is in her final year of her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) graduate degree. One thing that Sylvie wants to accomplish during her time with the Civic Engagement Collective is to raise awareness around the importance of civic engagement alongside voting, especially within the BIPOC community at St. Kate’s, as their voices are typically the most underrepresented. Sylvie's work on transportation advocacy on campus led to an event on February 16 to highlight transportation policy access and education, co-hosted by the Minnesota Center for Diversity in Economics.
Isela Cereso Mendiola ’23 is a new Civic Engagement Fellow. She is a third-year student majoring in social work and minoring in nonprofit strategies and operations. Isela was interested in joining the Civic Engagement Collective because of her passion for advocating for communities who are underrepresented in the civic activities found in our society. “It is important to include all voices in acts of change and promote equal representation of all!” She has also previously been involved in civic engagement on a local level by encouraging Latinx families to be civically involved within community actions, as well as supporting initiatives on campus.
Olivia Braaten ’23 is a new Civic Engagement Fellow. She is a third-year student majoring in public policy with a double minor in sociology and economics. Olivia joined the Civic Engagement Collective because of her belief that social change comes from social engagement through voting and advocacy. She is dedicated to increasing the civic engagement of younger populations, as they often have the biggest opportunity to make an impact in social justice. “The goal to change the world can be daunting and overwhelming, but when someone claims ownership of the smaller civic duties (voting, protesting, voicing opposition, advocating), then changing the world isn't too far off."
If you are interested in being a part of the conversations with the Civic Engagement Collective, contact email@example.com, and visit the Civic Engagement Collective webpage for resources, news, and upcoming events. Applications for next year's St. Kate's Civic Engagement Fellows program will be shared in April, with a deadline of early May.