Grants in Community Engagement

The Office of Community Engagement publicizes grant opportunities for faculty practicing, researching, and writing in community engagement. These grants are constantly changing, so please check back often. These opportunities will also be publicized through the online edition of the Engagement COMPANION. Please remember that grant seekers need to work with either David Steele or Corporate and Foundation Relations when pursuing grants.

Awards in Community Engagement

The Office of Community Engagement annually recognizes a student, a faculty member, and a community partner for their contributions in the community. Nominations must include a supporting letter of no more than 500 words and the nomination letter should address how the nominee has participated in the University’s programs in community engagement. Members of the GALE Advisory Board reserve the right to determine the award recipients. Recipients will be informed of the award prior to the GALE reception (held each May), and are expected to be present at the reception. Consistent with the University's mission statement, the awards are open to students, faculty, and community partners who have embraced the University's mission to educate "morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good."

Past faculty recipients are:

2016 Amy Finnegan
2015 Kevin Sauter
2014 Shawn Webb
2013 Elise Amel
2012 Gerald Schlabach
2011 Nekima Levy-Pounds
2010 Debra Petersen
2009 Susan Callaway
2008 Susan Myers
2007 Camille George
2006 Kimberly Vrudny
2005 Shirley Palejewski
2004 Bernard Brady
2003 Tim Scully
2002 Randy Herman
2001 Mike Klein
2000 Carol Bruess
1999 Paul Lorah

This award is for a faculty member for exemplary implementation of engaged pedagogy. The award acknowledges the courage and commitment necessary to integrate community engagement successfully into credit-bearing course work. By offering this award, the Office of Civic Engagement expresses its appreciation for faculty who foster student reflection and critical awareness of social problems that confront us. Self-nominations are accepted. Only faculty members who have designated their course(s) through the Office’s course designation process are eligible to receive the award.


The Engaged Faculty Award will be granted according to the following criteria:

  • High-quality design and implementation of credit-bearing or requirement-based community engagement.
  • Evidence of impact on students and/or community partners.
  • Dedication to social responsibility and the common good.

This award recognizes one community partner for welcoming our faculty and students into the work of its organization, and for collaborating with us to engage in meaningful civic engagement as we strive to foster greater social responsibility. 


The Community Partner Award in Civic Engagement will be granted according to the following criteria:

  • High-quality engagement.
  • Evidence of impact on students and/or community partners.
  • Dedication to social responsibility and the common good.

The Office of Civic Engagement congratulates this year’s award recipients for their commitment to engagement and leadership which foster greater social responsibility. Winners were nominated by members of the St. Thomas community who recognized individuals who showed high-quality engagement and evidence of impact in the community.

The awards are given to those who have embraced the university’s mission to educate morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good.

Undergraduate student award

Grace Nelson is a student leader for St. Thomas’ VISION program and Students for Justice and Peace. She created a leadership profile for a restaurant that helped former addicts lift themselves out of poverty through job training and placement. Her work intrigued her to investigate opening a coffee shop that provides job-training skills, while also serving coffee from Guatemala and educating about issues in Central America.

Graduate student award

Alex Migambi seeks to serve the community by improving the quality of life for those living at the margins of society. His two community engagement experiences include the Community Justice Project and an international leadership course that took him to Tanzania in 2014. Currently, he serves as an executive pathways intern at the Department of Human Services, where his role includes forming community partnerships.

Faculty award

Dr. Kevin Sauter has offered community engagement opportunities for more than 25 years. He worked to create one of St. Thomas’ longest running community partnerships with the Kekaha Learning Center in Hawaii. Sauter also helped start a partnership with Cristo Rey High School, where more than 2,000 St. Thomas students have collaborated with more than 1,450 Cristo Rey students.

Community partner award

The Family Partnership and John Till have worked with the St. Thomas Sociology Department for 12 years, allowing more than 400 St. Thomas students to directly work with data and learn about social justice issues. He has ensured these real-life experiences provide opportunities for students to work with data that is applied to client research questions.

Engaged Faculty Award

Shawn Webb

Shawn is an adjunct professor in the School of Law, where he facilitates the Misdemeanor Clinic through the UST Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services. As the professor of the Misdemeanor Clinic, Shawn supervises law students as they go directly in public defender offices throughout the state of Minnesota and represent criminal indigent defendants. He teaches the strategies to deal with difficult prosecutors his students may come across. But he also makes sure all of his students develop the necessary skills to represent indigent defendants, which exemplifies his dedication to social responsibility and the common good.

Graduate Student Community Engagement Award

Kathryn Norris

Kathryn is in her third year at UST’s School of Law and has worked as the student attorney with the 6th District Public Defender’s Office in Duluth. During her time there she has helped hundreds of clients at various stages. Kathryn volunteered to work with Duluth’s Public Defender’s Office because she is originally from Duluth and saw a situation where people were not being given the same access to resources. Kathryn specifically represented one client on a pro bono criminal appeal, and the Minnesota Court of Appeals unanimously reversed and remanded the trial court’s decision against her client and he walked out of prison as a free man.

Undergraduate Student Community Engagement Award

Natacha Abueno Eguida

Natacha is a sophomore and is an international student from Togo. She is pursuing a Biology degree with aspirations of going to medical school in order to become an OB/GYN doctor, to serve women in Africa in need of quality medical help throughout their pregnancy and birthing processes. She has been engaged with the St. Thomas community through her volunteerism at United Hospital, her involvement in Relay for Life, leading as the Service Chair for the Globally Minded Student Association (GMSA), and working as an International student Mentor with International Student Services.

Local Community Partner Award

The Dorothy Day Center

The Dorothy Day Center resides within Catholic Charities of St. Paul. The center provides means, mental health services, medical care, and much more to people experiencing homelessness, while also helping other guests find housing. UST has partnered with The Dorothy Day Center throughout three semesters, where 60 students in sociology have engaged at the Dorothy Day Center by offering food, doing laundry, distributing hygiene products, all while extending hospitality toward the people who are living without a home. Throughout this sociology course, the students came away with a greater knowledge of  structural effects on quality of life and a more sophisticated sense of the meaning of human dignity. The partnership with Dorothy Day is building transferable skills; UST students come to a richer understanding and gather the complications of social life and societal responses. They also acquire a commitment to working on behalf of a better society.

National Community Partner Award

Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha Learning Center

Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha (KKNOK) Learning Center is situated on the island of Kauai in an economically-disadvantaged, rural, and mostly Native Hawaiian/Indigenous town. UST has partnered with KKNOK on a variety of environmental, language perpetuation, cultural perpetuation, community development, and land stewardship service-learning projects. Many of the service-learning projects have taken place during the Communication & Journalism (COJO) 111 J-Term course in Hawaii. Other projects have taken place through direct faculty involvement and undergraduate and graduate student research projects. The partnership with KKNOK has formed and encouraged many UST students. From working with KKNOK, students have become more aware of the importance of cultural preservation and especially the Ni’ihau traditions.

15 years of Service Award

Dr. Timothy Scully

Dr. Tim Scully is a professor in the Communications & Journalism department under the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Scully created community engagement projects to be combined with his production courses. Along with his students in Advanced Video Production, they produced a documentary titled, “Lessons from the Heart,” for Children’s Heartlink about a mission to Nairobi, Kenya.  Dr. Scully also lead his students in producing a documentary about Somali refugees’ integration into various communities in Australia and the Twin Cities. Scully and his students have won a number of awards for the documentaries that they have produced. Scully's students provided a valuable contribution to their community partners, while still adhering to the curricular objectives of the Communications & Journalism course. Dr. Scully made sure that his students learned the essential production techniques and how to work with diverse clients in all stages of the project, but he also made sure that they learned and understood how their production skills could change peoples’ perceptions and one day change the world.

Board Member Recognition Award

Dr. Kelli Larson

A big thanks to Kelli Larson for her continued efforts and support as a board member! She sat on the Nominations and Selections committee. She is enthusiastic about community engagement, and we enjoyed having her on our board!

Engaged Faculty Award

Dr. Elise Amel

Dr. Amel is a professor of Psychology and began teaching at UST since 1997. She is also currently the director of UST's Environmental Studies program. Her course partnered with CityLabs.

Engaged Student Award

Erik Beitzel

Erik is in his third year at UST’s School of Law and also sits on the Advisory Board as a graduate student member. He was nominated by his professor, Dr. Artika Tyner.

Community Partner Award

Dr. Michael Raimondi

Dr. Raimondi is the principal of College Prep Elementary and an adjunct faculty member of the English department at UST. College Prep Elementary is located in Minneapolis, and has worked closely with his English courses for many years. Dr. Raimondi also sits on the Advisory Board as the community partner member.