The Joseph and Edith Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership seeks to form a new generation of Catholic leaders for the Church and civil society. In light of this mission, the Habiger Institute quietly launched the Professional Leadership Program, which provides two opportunities for Catholic Studies students. The first is a mentorship program which currently matches business students with Catholic professionals in the Twin Cities, and will eventually expand to include areas of education, law, health care and social services. The second is a newly inaugurated internship program. “The internship program helps to deepen a student’s awareness of his or her vocation as well as provide opportunities for hands-on experience,” begins Laura Stierman, program coordinator. She continues, “Businesses in need of quality interns meet with Catholic Studies students here at Sitzmann Hall to present their business model and internship opportunities. The students then submit a résumé and/or apply for the internship in a one-step process.” She adds, “Both parties, student and employer, benefit from this partnership.”

Yet the benefit is not just in the recruitment process itself. The student gains valuable experience in the professional job-seeking arena, and employers find ideal workers who are well-rounded in their educations and wellformed in their faith lives. Tim Doran ’09 (Catholic Studies and entrepreneurship), field agent for the St. Paul chapter of the Knights of Columbus, speaks to the benefit of participating in the internship program and the benefits of hiring Catholic Studies students as interns. Doran says, “I honestly think that as a business person, more than ever, I need the conscience and the perspective that these students bring. The students of this department understand that there cannot be two lives but only one; work must always be informed and animated by the faith. That is my hope, and that is what will be at the heart of my participation in the internship program. I need, just as the students will need as they move toward graduation, to see in my work not just the self-actualization of personal goals but the fulfillment of a vocation.”

Northwestern Mutual, a financial advising organization, also looks to Catholic Studies for their interns. Mitchel Milless ’08 (Catholic Studies, philosophy), a financial representative and a participant in the student internship program, believes that the mission of Northwestern Mutual coincides with the mission of Catholic Studies and, thus, that the partnership is a perfect fit. “Northwestern Mutual and Catholic Studies are a great match because the mission of Northwestern Mutual and Catholic Studies revolve around alignment. Northwestern Mutual’s mission is to help people align their actions with their values when it comes to their finances, family and faith. Catholic Studies’ mission seems to be similar in that it is helping students align their Catholic faith with their everyday lives through their intellects.” Milless adds, “Catholic Studies is a great place for businesses to turn to for internships because the students have all of the qualities that businesses want in their employees. Catholic Studies students are well-rounded, ethical, hard-working, responsible and polished. As a manager and recruiter I could not ask for a better place to find future employees for our company.”

If your company is interested in presenting internships (paid or unpaid) to Catholic Studies students, please contact Laura Stierman at (651) 962-5864 or ljstierman@stthomas.edu.

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