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Students work for peace, justice in U.S. and abroad

By Trent Chaffee '09
January 17, 2007

St. Olaf students Laura Groggel '08, Charity Hall '07, Shayna Melgaard '07 and Bria Schurke '08 have been awarded this year's Kloeck-Jenson Scholarship for Peace and Justice Internships. The four students will spend their 2007 Interim off campus facing life-changing experiences.

(L-R) Laura Groggel '08, Bria Schurke '08, Shayna Melgaard '07 and Charity Hall '07, recipients of this year's Kloeck-Jenson Scholarship for Peace and Justice Internships, will spend Interim working on projects in Tanzania, India and San Diego.
Hall will travel with Lutheran World Relief's "Women-to-Women" tour to Tanzania, where she will be part of a group of American women working with and learning from Tanzanian women sharing their experiences and reactions to HIV/AIDS, fair trade and women's equality.

Melgaard will work with Horizon Urban Ministries (HUM) in San Diego. HUM provides food, clothing, job referrals and other assistance to families, single parents, the homeless and others in need. Melgaard's responsibilities will include assisting the director of HUM with youth outreach programs and spending time with homeless women.

Schurke will spend Interim with the American Social Health Association (ASHA), shadowing doctors and spending time with women and children in the poorest regions of Delhi, India. ASHA provides basic health care such as nutrition, sexual health, vaccinations, hygiene and sanitation.

Groggel also will travel to India, where she will teach English to orphaned or homeless children in Orissa.

St. Olaf students are encouraged to pursue internships that will provide new and different experiences otherwise inaccessible to them, in unfamiliar settings. "If I hadn't received the scholarship, I don't think I would have been able to make this experience happen. It's an amazing gift," says Melgaard, who hopes to write a one-act play based on the stories of the homeless women she meets through HUM.

The scholarship also allows Groggel to put her ideals into action: "I feel like I needed this opportunity to physically work for what I believe in."

Schurke's outlook on life also has dramatically changed. "This experience has been powerful and eye-opening," she says. "I am so thankful to have the opportunity to realize how much I have in my life. What a humbling experience."

The Kloeck-Jenson Scholarship was established in memory of Scott Kloeck-Jenson '87, his wife, Barbara, and their two children, Zoe and Noah -- all of whom died in a car accident in South Africa in 1999. The scholarship fund, which is administered by the St. Olaf Center for Experiential Learning, was established to help support internships related to peace and justice.

Contact David Gonnerman at 507-786-3315 or