Two St. Catherine University students are part of a group of 11 college students from Iowa and Minnesota who have been selected for the 2019 class of the Principal Community Scholars Program.
The St. Kate's students, Zaynab Abdi '20 and Divine Islam '19, were selected after being nominated by faculty members. The program is designed to encourage student leadership to meet community needs. Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Principal upon completion of a service project. This is the third year of the program, which has engaged nearly 50 students across the Midwest and in California.
"This year’s class of scholars are committed to their communities and to using business skills to improve the lives of others," said Iowa and Minnesota Campus Compact Executive Director Emily Shields. "We are thrilled to get to know them and help them further prepare for careers and lives of purpose."
Abdi was nominated by Marina Gorsuch, assistant professor of economics and political science. For her project, Abdi wanted to help immigrant and refugee students navigate the college and scholarship application process. She designed a program to implement at Wellstone International High School that would engage students with workshops that would help them gain knowledge, learn about colleges, identify and apply for scholarships, and apply for jobs to support themselves and their family.
"As a refugee student we always had one choice either a.) become a full-time student and not be able to work to help our families or b.) drop out of school and work full time to help our families here and in our home country," Said Abdi. "I don't want students to have to pick between these two options. I believe that the students at Wellstone Int. HS are smart leaders and strong young people who happen to have less resources to help them grow and need a mentor to help them to dream big and achieve in their school and in their careers."
Dr. Mary Henderson, a professor in the business administration department, nominated Islam for the program. Islam's project integrated with Youth Farm, a program that organizes after school cooking classes for neighborhood youth. Her contribution is a financial literacy lesson to help participants learn what a budget is and how to apply it to the meals they prepare.
In November, Abdi and Islam visited Principal and attended the Civic Action Academy at Drake University. Their projects are designed to engage their peers and their institutions in ways that support economic sustainability. The students will have the opportunity to continue working with each other, Campus Compact staff, and their on-campus adviser throughout the semester as they complete their projects. Students present their findings in March at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.