Sam Kelly is St. Kate’s new Campus Minister for Social Justice and is in his first semester of working at St. Kate’s. Kelly’s job involves planning social justice programs and immersion trips for students that are both fun and great learning experiences.
The Wheel (W): How did your career start at St. Kate’s?
Sam Kelly (K): I graduated with a double major in Philosophy and Religion at Drake University. After Drake, I worked at Syracuse University for three semesters then went to Loras College to be closer to home. After three years there, I wanted to finish my Masters in Higher Education, so I went to University of North Dakota as a graduate student with an assistantship as a Hall Director. I was there for two years and just recently graduated. As I was finishing graduate school, I realized that I was looking for a lot of things, but what I wanted most was to get back into working with Campus Ministry because I enjoyed my time working at Loras College. I tossed my hat out there to see what I could find, keeping in mind the fact that I wanted to be closer to my hometown in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In addition to working with Campus Ministry, I wanted to get back to working with private colleges. I interviewed a lot of places and then St. Kate’s came at the perfect time. I like to think it was fate. I fell in love with the school’s mission and the campus and what the goals are with my job position.
W: What are some of the things you do for St. Kate’s?
K: With my role as Campus Minister for Social Justice, I want to plan programs that have a social justice focus and are also an enjoyable experience for students. I’m always looking for new, creative ways to do that. My goal is to give the Campus Ministry Justice Immersion trips real stability so that they happen every year and become a tradition for the university.
W: What are the upcoming justice immersion trips that students should know about?
K: The big upcoming one is the El Salvador immersion trip which is a weeklong trip happening during J-Term. With this trip, we team up with a group called Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ) and we interact with the community in El Salvador and do homestays, eat meals, and spend time with the families. The goal of the trip is to learn about how El Salvador became the way it is today and to learn about El Salvador’s land, economy and the role of the church. The theme for the trip is church of the poor. To apply for this trip, students do not need to have a religious background. It is open to all students and is a great opportunity for them to learn about El Salvador and social justice. If students are interested in learning about this trip, application deadlines are due October 13th.
W: What are some of the things you like to do outside of work at St. Kate’s?
K: For things I like doing outside of St. Kate’s, I enjoy running and playing soccer. Currently a lot of time is going into decorating my new apartment so it feels like home. When I get the chance, I love to travel to places I have never been to or to visit family and friends.
W: What is your favorite aspect of St. Kate’s that makes it unique?
So far, I love my job here and can see the mission at work here. I am incredibly encouraged and motivated by how hard students work here, and it makes me want to work just as hard to provide programs students want to attend. The faculty and staff, from both Campus Ministry and all around campus, have been so welcoming and supportive. I think that working at an all-women’s college opens up conversations that are harder to have at a co-ed campus; topics such as women’s rights and women’s equality are easier to have here. Working as higher education administrator in the past gives me the ability to take the research and experience I have and use it in an all-women’s college lens. This for me is fun and challenging in a nerdy way. St. Kate’s is a special place not only for its past, but for the future it is building. I am thankful for my past experiences and I’m really excited to see what St. Kate’s and its students will accomplish.
Stacy can be reached at email@example.com.