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Rita Richardson, Policy and Education Intern, St. Stephen’s Human Services
Major: Psychology; Minor: Sociology '14
Had you asked me less than two years ago what I was getting out of my undergraduate education I would have said, “credits to graduate.” However since transferring to SCU in the fall of 2012, I truly have claimed my education and am constantly seeing the intersection in all my experiences. One particular course I took led me to my current position in Community Work and Learning’s Community Leadership Program. Only last January, I took Dr. Jamie Peterson’s Psychology Seminar I, a service-learning course that prepares students for the real world. I thought I would pick a site with clients with whom I had absolutely no experience. That happened to be Emerge Human Development, which provides career services for those who have been incarcerated. I liked Emerge so much that I decided to stay on past the end of the course. Then I heard about a position through the Center for Community Work and Learning to be a Policy and Education Intern at St. Stephen’s Human Services (SSHS), a non-profit in Minneapolis that works to end homelessness. I applied and got the job.
One of my responsibilities at SSHS is to organize and lead a walking tour called “A Day in the Life: Understanding Urban Homelessness” which many SCU students have experienced through various courses and programs. I have gained leadership skills I never thought I could attain through an undergraduate education. My work at SSHS has helped strengthen my knowledge, skills, and abilities I use every day in my academic coursework as well as my other student jobs.
In the fall, I started as a General Psychology Lab Instructor. The organizational skills, communication and leadership I have had the opportunity to practice at St. Stephen’s has given me the confidence and insight in becoming a better lab instructor. I have even been lucky enough to be a teaching assistant for Dr. Nancy Heitzeg’s January GSJ course, “The Changing Face of Homelessness,” which completely coincides with the work I do at St. Stephen’s to educate others about ending homelessness in Minnesota.
Community Work and Learning has helped me see my true potential through many experiences that directly relate back to one another and made my St. Kate’s education a lot more than simply taking courses to graduate. I am grateful to those that have made me aware of these opportunities and am eager to continue my work through St. Catherine University.