While some students were still enjoying their winter break last year, junior Catherine Cleary was busy co-facilitating a conference on Women’s Issues in Urban Environments in Indianapolis. “I attended the conference provided for Saint Mary’s women last spring break, and was recently asked to help out with this one,” says Catherine. That trip was offered through the Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OSCE). Catherine’s participation exemplifies what she considers to be the best part of being a Saint Mary’s student: the community. “It is one that fosters the growth of every student and pushes us to reach our full potential,” says Catherine.
The Fridley, Minn., native participated in an alternative break trip last Thanksgiving as well, where she volunteered at the Indianapolis Peace Institute in Indianapolis. In addition to various volunteer activities, she helped package over 41,000 meals on Thanksgiving for individuals in need. “These trips have made me increasingly more aware of how fortunate and blessed I am to live the life that I do,” says Catherine. “They reignite my passion for social justice and cause me to think critically about the world I live in.”
Catherine is working on a student-designed major in women’s studies, with a minor in Spanish. She is active on campus as well—as the vice president of the Future Women Doctor’s club, a member of the College Democrats, a resident advisor (RA) in Le Mans Hall, and she is involved in Campus Ministry. She is also a teacher’s assistant at a local primary center, through the College Academy of Tutoring (CAT) program.
“Currently I am helping put on a Girl Power Workshop at Coquillard Primary Center, a Title I school, to empower 3rd and 4th grade girls to think about and get interested in science,” explains Catherine. “We are dissecting fish, planting seeds, and making volcanoes in an effort to promote interest in various fields of science to girls who might not normally have these opportunities.
After graduation, Catherine is planning to study constitutional law. She is looking forward to a future in politics, a career for which she feels prepared. “Saint Mary’s has not only provided me with an excellent education in the classroom, but also with a place to explore my passions. I have changed majors, taken a variety of classes, joined several clubs, taken service trips, and have not been denied the opportunity to learn at any step along the way.”
Sophomore Hannah Fischer wanted a non-traditional summer job, something that didn’t involve sitting in an office from 8-5 everyday. She found her “no-sitting required” job at Saint Mary’s Fine Arts Camp, as a dance counselor. “When I found out that I had the opportunity to help teach dance, I really jumped on the application. It is such a fun atmosphere – the dance studio – and it’s something that I really have passion for. I’m glad to be able to share that with many young ladies.”
The Granger, Ind., native is working on both a humanistic studies major, as well as a student-designed major in dance and video production. Hannah's previous dance experience includes a year of dancing with the traveling performing arts company 13th Floor. She currently stays involved in dance through the Saint Mary’s Dance Company and the club, Dance Collective. “The club takes up much of my time and last semester I was highly involved in producing the student show with other students,” says Hannah.
During the fine arts camp Hannah was assigned to a group of 10–14 middle school-aged girls, who stayed overnight for one week on Saint Mary’s campus. “During the day I am in the studio, and I just cannot stop dancing!” says Hannah. “Each girl gets to take every art form, so we teach every camper a musical theatre dance from one of the decades. We keep the free time limited, but somehow there are always times when girls are dancing around in the hallways and running around to each other’s rooms. During those times, I am available for them to help with any logistical or personal problems.”
Counselors get in on the fun when they produce a midweek show called, Counselor Follies for the campers. “It is really fun and we all feel like rock stars afterwards,” says Hannah.
In addition to her summer counseling position, Hannah also works at the Office of Special Events as an office worker and box office attendant. After graduation she plans to follow dance through graduate school, and then join the Peace Corps. “The more I learn about dance and culture, the more I really feel that dance needs to be more saturated in our culture. Instead of having a separate “artistic culture,” I would like to help integrate arts and the humdrum of life.”