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Celebrating Service Stories

Each spring, the Sturzl Center for Community Service & Learning hosts Celebrating Service. At this event, students, faculty and community partners share how their own lives and the lives of others have been impacted through service.  

The storytelling is inspired by The Moth, an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. Audiences are drawn to the stories, like moths to a flame. These talks were inspired by this idea of five-minute, uninterrupted stories without notes and are both motivating and inspiring!

These celebrating service stories highlight several current and past students, faculty and community partners:

2022

“Full Circle-Service as a Passion” a service reflection by Laura Jones ’17
While at SNC, Laura connected with Bola Delano-Oriaran and was invited to serve as a big sister at The Umoja Experience, which is a conference for Black children who were adopted by white families. Currently, Laura serves as the social and community outreach service director at African Heritage, Inc., a grassroots organization focused on providing a support system for Blacks/African Americans, and its members through the generation of goodwill and the promotion of cross-cultural understanding and education. Laura is the first and only paid employee of this volunteer-based organization. Laura also serves as a volunteer with Lovin’ the Skin I’m In, a non-profit organization focused on empowering and uplifting girls who identify as African American, Black or biracial while developing their gifts, talents and leadership skills.



“Be Good and Be There” a service reflection by Kodee Zarnke ‘21
Kodee majored in English as well as minored in peace and justice and women’s and gender studies, while also working with the Norman Miller Center and the Sturzl Center. Kodee is currently doing a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest as an AmeriCorps member. She works at Street Roots, a street newspaper publication that serves as a low-barrier employment opportunity for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Kodee serves in the role of vendor program coordinator, working closely with the vendors who sell the paper.



“A Small Step in Their Journey” a service reflection by Taylor Earing ‘22
Taylor graduated with a major in sociology and a minor in political science. Her story focuses on her experience in a community engaged learning course. During her last semester, she is took the course called Migration, Refugees and Citizenship: Ethical Foundations, which is taught by Jaime Edwards. Taylor served with COMSA, a non-profit organization that was established to fill the service gap for refugee and immigrant communities in Northeast Wisconsin. The staff and volunteers create a welcoming environment for refugees and immigrant families. They help newcomers improve their English speaking skills, secure employment, education and become more self-sufficient.

2021

“Grateful” a service reflection by Andrew Gerhing ’21
At the time of his story, Andrew is a senior studying business administration. He has participated in the TRIPS Program as a participant, trip leader and student staff member. He is also a member of the St. Norbert College men’s tennis team and is a resident assistant. As he reflects on his time at the college, he credits much of his success at SNC to the investment in him by the greater campus community.




“Life Changing and Changing Lives” a service reflection by Valerie Rivas ’21
At this time of this story, Valerie is a senior majoring in psychology. She is a first-generation college student with a passion for helping others. While at SNC, Valerie has been involved in Latinx Student Union, Growing Stronger Together and Multicultural Student Services. She had a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship with Alexa Trumpy (Sociology). They researched the #MeToo movement specifically focusing on men and masculinity as well as how men fit into the conversation.




“Eight Disruptions” a service reflection by Jaime Edwards
From the moment Jaime Edwards, assistant professor of philosophy and co-director of the peace and justice minor, started at SNC, he worked to engage in the community. He developed a book drive for the local prison and created an introduction to college class which is a college preparatory course for youth who have spent time in the foster care system. After participating in the Faculty Fellows Program during the 2019-20 academic year, he connected his college students to this program.

2019

“Privileged in Poverty: A Personal Transformation” a service reflection by Briana Scott ’19
Briana Scott ’19 graduated majoring in psychology and sociology from Waukesa, Wis. While at SNC, Bri was involved in the service TRIPS Program and took two academic service-learning courses; Childhood Adversity and Resilience with Raquel Cowell (Psychology) and Providence, Suffering, and Freedom with Howard Ebert (Theology and Religious Studies).



“The Dying Man” a service reflection by Franco Pacheco
Franco Pacheco is the swimming and diving coach at St. Norbert College. He is originally from California and is an Army veteran. Through his work, he hopes to give students the same solid mentoring he received as a college student.



“My Shot” a service reflection by Laura Riegg ’20
Laura Riegg ‘20 is a junior studying English with a secondary education certification. She grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee. She was a quiet kid in high school and wanted to change that by coming to St. Norbert College. Since the 10th grade, she has felt a calling to be an English teacher.



“A Half Century of Service” a service reflection by Todd Gehring
Todd Gehring is a special education teacher at Syble Hopp School in De Pere, Wis. He is a valued community partner with SNC and has created varied partnerships including working with students in the Residential Service Programs and Best Buddies, a student organization.

2018

“Hockey to Hope” a service reflection by Brianna Kelly ’18 and Shannon Haggerty
Brianna Kelly ’18 graduated with a major major in psychology. She was a four-year member of the women’s hockey team. Shannon Haggerty is a community partner with the YMCA of Greater Green Bay. She serves as the program director for the afterschool program at Howe Elementary School. During the fall 2016 semester, these two individuals met when Brianna was a student in an academic service-learning class taught by Raquel Cowell (Psychology).



“Ordinary Service, Extraordinary Grace” a service reflection by Alex Gruber ’18
Alex Gruber ’18 double majored in theology and religious studies and history along with a minor in Spanish. Next year, Alex will pursue a master’s degree in the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College.



“The Power of Storytelling” a service reflection by Audrey Shreiner ’21
Audrey Shreiner ’21 is a first-year student at SNC who is majoring in biology and art. Audrey participated in the Gap Experience Program during the fall semester and created this digital story as her final project.



“I Am Somebody!” a service reflection by Carol Bruess ’90
Carol Bruess ’90 is a twenty-five year veteran of the use of service-learning pedagogy in her classrooms as a professor. As someone committed to bridging the educational access gap for students of color and first generation students, Carol has worked for many years with Cristo Rey High School and Prodeo Academy, both located in Minnesota.

Video is not available.

“Service to Opportunity” a service reflection by Fiona Holahan ’18
Fiona Holahan ’18 graduated with a degree in Spanish. While at SNC, she was a student leader in the Gateway Seminar, Dance Marathon and the TRIPS Program. After graduation, Fiona will serve as a volunteer through the Amate House in Chicago.

2017

“Tattoo’s on My Heart” a service reflection by Sarah Cocco ’17
Sarah graduated with a degree in communication and sociology. While at SNC, she was active in the TRIPS Program and Dance Marathon. She also served as the president of the Garden Club. Sarah will do a year of service after graduation at the Shriver Center in Chicago.



“The Road to Xoxocotla Was Paved with Good Intentions” by Bob Osgood (Education)
Bob Osgood is a professor of education at St. Norbert College.  Before coming to St. Norbert College, Bob lived in a locations around the globe including India, Mexico, Japan and Malaysia.



“My Brother’s Pants” a service reflection by Joe Zielinski ’17
Joseph Zielinski majored in physics and next year, he will be pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at UW-Madison. In addition to his studies, Joe has been involved in the TRIPS Program and Dance Marathon.



“Driving to an Adventure” a service reflection by Holly Nickerson ’15
Holly Nickerson is a 2015 alumna of St. Norbert College. She currently works at the Greater Green Bay YMCA as the volunteer development coordinator. In September 2017, she will join the Peace Corps in the Ukraine.



“I Don’t Want to Talk to Jesus Today” a service reflection by Alexa Brill ’18
Alexa is a junior majoring in economics and sociology. She is involved with a variety of offices on campus including the Emmaus Center for Spiritual Life & Vocation, the Center for Business and Economic Analysis and the advancement office.

2022

“Full Circle-Service as a Passion” a service reflection by Laura Jones ’17
While at SNC, Laura connected with Bola Delano-Oriaran and was invited to serve as a big sister at The Umoja Experience, which is a conference for Black children who were adopted by white families. Currently, Laura serves as the social and community outreach service director at African Heritage, Inc., a grassroots organization focused on providing a support system for Blacks/African Americans, and its members through the generation of goodwill and the promotion of cross-cultural understanding and education. Laura is the first and only paid employee of this volunteer-based organization. Laura also serves as a volunteer with Lovin’ the Skin I’m In, a non-profit organization focused on empowering and uplifting girls who identify as African American, Black or biracial while developing their gifts, talents and leadership skills.



“Be Good and Be There” a service reflection by Kodee Zarnke ‘21
Kodee majored in English as well as minored in peace and justice and women’s and gender studies, while also working with the Norman Miller Center and the Sturzl Center. Kodee is currently doing a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest as an AmeriCorps member. She works at Street Roots, a street newspaper publication that serves as a low-barrier employment opportunity for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Kodee serves in the role of vendor program coordinator, working closely with the vendors who sell the paper.



“A Small Step in Their Journey” a service reflection by Taylor Earing ‘22
Taylor graduated with a major in sociology and a minor in political science. Her story focuses on her experience in a community engaged learning course. During her last semester, she is took the course called Migration, Refugees and Citizenship: Ethical Foundations, which is taught by Jaime Edwards. Taylor served with COMSA, a non-profit organization that was established to fill the service gap for refugee and immigrant communities in Northeast Wisconsin. The staff and volunteers create a welcoming environment for refugees and immigrant families. They help newcomers improve their English speaking skills, secure employment, education and become more self-sufficient.

2021

“Grateful” a service reflection by Andrew Gerhing ’21
At the time of his story, Andrew is a senior studying business administration. He has participated in the TRIPS Program as a participant, trip leader and student staff member. He is also a member of the St. Norbert College men’s tennis team and is a resident assistant. As he reflects on his time at the college, he credits much of his success at SNC to the investment in him by the greater campus community.




“Life Changing and Changing Lives” a service reflection by Valerie Rivas ’21
At this time of this story, Valerie is a senior majoring in psychology. She is a first-generation college student with a passion for helping others. While at SNC, Valerie has been involved in Latinx Student Union, Growing Stronger Together and Multicultural Student Services. She had a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship with Alexa Trumpy (Sociology). They researched the #MeToo movement specifically focusing on men and masculinity as well as how men fit into the conversation.




“Eight Disruptions” a service reflection by Jaime Edwards
From the moment Jaime Edwards, assistant professor of philosophy and co-director of the peace and justice minor, started at SNC, he worked to engage in the community. He developed a book drive for the local prison and created an introduction to college class which is a college preparatory course for youth who have spent time in the foster care system. After participating in the Faculty Fellows Program during the 2019-20 academic year, he connected his college students to this program.

2019

“Privileged in Poverty: A Personal Transformation” a service reflection by Briana Scott ’19
Briana Scott ’19 graduated majoring in psychology and sociology from Waukesa, Wis. While at SNC, Bri was involved in the service TRIPS Program and took two academic service-learning courses; Childhood Adversity and Resilience with Raquel Cowell (Psychology) and Providence, Suffering, and Freedom with Howard Ebert (Theology and Religious Studies).



“The Dying Man” a service reflection by Franco Pacheco
Franco Pacheco is the swimming and diving coach at St. Norbert College. He is originally from California and is an Army veteran. Through his work, he hopes to give students the same solid mentoring he received as a college student.



“My Shot” a service reflection by Laura Riegg ’20
Laura Riegg ‘20 is a junior studying English with a secondary education certification. She grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee. She was a quiet kid in high school and wanted to change that by coming to St. Norbert College. Since the 10th grade, she has felt a calling to be an English teacher.



“A Half Century of Service” a service reflection by Todd Gehring
Todd Gehring is a special education teacher at Syble Hopp School in De Pere, Wis. He is a valued community partner with SNC and has created varied partnerships including working with students in the Residential Service Programs and Best Buddies, a student organization.

2018

“Hockey to Hope” a service reflection by Brianna Kelly ’18 and Shannon Haggerty
Brianna Kelly ’18 graduated with a major major in psychology. She was a four-year member of the women’s hockey team. Shannon Haggerty is a community partner with the YMCA of Greater Green Bay. She serves as the program director for the afterschool program at Howe Elementary School. During the fall 2016 semester, these two individuals met when Brianna was a student in an academic service-learning class taught by Raquel Cowell (Psychology).



“Ordinary Service, Extraordinary Grace” a service reflection by Alex Gruber ’18
Alex Gruber ’18 double majored in theology and religious studies and history along with a minor in Spanish. Next year, Alex will pursue a master’s degree in the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College.



“The Power of Storytelling” a service reflection by Audrey Shreiner ’21
Audrey Shreiner ’21 is a first-year student at SNC who is majoring in biology and art. Audrey participated in the Gap Experience Program during the fall semester and created this digital story as her final project.



“I Am Somebody!” a service reflection by Carol Bruess ’90
Carol Bruess ’90 is a twenty-five year veteran of the use of service-learning pedagogy in her classrooms as a professor. As someone committed to bridging the educational access gap for students of color and first generation students, Carol has worked for many years with Cristo Rey High School and Prodeo Academy, both located in Minnesota.

Video is not available.

“Service to Opportunity” a service reflection by Fiona Holahan ’18
Fiona Holahan ’18 graduated with a degree in Spanish. While at SNC, she was a student leader in the Gateway Seminar, Dance Marathon and the TRIPS Program. After graduation, Fiona will serve as a volunteer through the Amate House in Chicago.

2017

“Tattoo’s on My Heart” a service reflection by Sarah Cocco ’17
Sarah graduated with a degree in communication and sociology. While at SNC, she was active in the TRIPS Program and Dance Marathon. She also served as the president of the Garden Club. Sarah will do a year of service after graduation at the Shriver Center in Chicago.



“The Road to Xoxocotla Was Paved with Good Intentions” by Bob Osgood (Education)
Bob Osgood is a professor of education at St. Norbert College.  Before coming to St. Norbert College, Bob lived in a locations around the globe including India, Mexico, Japan and Malaysia.



“My Brother’s Pants” a service reflection by Joe Zielinski ’17
Joseph Zielinski majored in physics and next year, he will be pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at UW-Madison. In addition to his studies, Joe has been involved in the TRIPS Program and Dance Marathon.



“Driving to an Adventure” a service reflection by Holly Nickerson ’15
Holly Nickerson is a 2015 alumna of St. Norbert College. She currently works at the Greater Green Bay YMCA as the volunteer development coordinator. In September 2017, she will join the Peace Corps in the Ukraine.



“I Don’t Want to Talk to Jesus Today” a service reflection by Alexa Brill ’18
Alexa is a junior majoring in economics and sociology. She is involved with a variety of offices on campus including the Emmaus Center for Spiritual Life & Vocation, the Center for Business and Economic Analysis and the advancement office.

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