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Recent Alumni Profiles

Brock Erdahl (2012)

Brock ErdahlBrock was born, raised, and educated in Duluth, Minnesota.  In 2012, he graduated from the College of St. Scholastica with four majors: history; political science; global, cultural, and language studies; and Catholic studies. He also had a minor in French.  In his own words:

The four years that I spent at CSS not only provided me with a solid background in the liberal arts and robust understanding of the forces that shaped the modern world, but also allowed me to fully pursue my intellectual interests. Thanks to this freedom and the support of my professors, I was able to complete several major research papers on topics as disparate as:

  1. The continuity between Marxism, Leninism, and Stalinism, 
  2. Importance of the concepts of justice and mercy to Christian social movements,
  3. The connection between climate change and human rights,
  4. Historiography of the creation of the United Nations,
  5. Origins of the concept of genocide and its application to early 20th century atrocities, and
  6. The relationship between the responsibility to protect and the 2011 intervention in Libya.

Taken as a whole, these six papers undoubtedly serve as one of the highlights of my undergraduate studies. These studies were supplemented by working as an intern for The Middle Ground, a world history journal housed at CSS, and as teaching assistant in a course about the Holocaust. Both of these experiences proved to be just as memorable as my research papers.

As much as I love Duluth, college classrooms, and libraries, my CSS experience was not limited to them alone. Instead it extended beyond the campus, sometimes quite far beyond. During my sophomore year, for example, I participated in the International Law and Organizations section of American University's Washington Semester Program. This program gave me the opportunity to live, study, and work in Washington, D.C., for a period of four months as well as to visit New York and Western Europe for the first time in my life. As a result of the WSP, I decided to further enrich my college education with more travels and internships. My junior and senior years at CSS included short-term study abroad trips to China and Russia and a service-learning experience in Los Angeles. Closer to home, yet still off campus, I worked as an intern at both a congressional office and congressional campaign. All of these travels and internships helped me to make connections between my studies and developments in the rest of the world.

Brock Erdahl on bike in China

After graduation, I knew that I wanted to experience life abroad for a longer period. That is why I decided to move to Zhuhai, China,  to work as a teaching assistant at United International College. In my current position, I can immerse myself in another culture daily and interact with students from all over China. It is wonderful! Within the next couple of years, I intend to attend graduate school for international relations. In the longer term, I would like to work for the U.S. Foreign Service or for international organizations, NGOs, or business. My education at CSS definitely prepared me for my present job, further studies, my future career, and whatever else life throws in my direction.

Megan Kelly (2012)
Megan received her Bachelor of Arts in History, with a minor in Political Science. She is a 2015 Juris Doctor Candidate at the William Mitchell College of Law. In her own words:

I was involved in many activities during my time at St. Scholastica. The first group I joined was Active Minds. As President, I was able to host national speakers and to work with other groups on campus, such as the Veterans Resource Center. I was also involved in Pre-Law Society, serving as Events Coordinator. This group helped pre-law students to meet local attorneys and judges and to learn more about the law school application process. I was also a member of the History and Politics Club. My involvement in these groups allowed me to pursue my own interests, as well as to connect with other students and professors who shared these interests.

Another crucial part of my education was my work experience. For about two and a half years I worked in the Foundation and Government Relations Office at St. Scholastica, where I learned a lot about the grant writing and reporting process. I also had two internships while at St. Scholastica. First, I interned for The Middle Ground Journal, which is a world history journal housed at St. Scholastica. I was able to shadow the editing process and to participate in the Student Ambassador Program. Additionally, I interned at the St. Louis County Attorney's Office in Duluth where I was able to observe the criminal justice system firsthand.

After graduating, I started law school in the fall of 2012 at William Mitchell College of Law. At William Mitchell, I have participated in a number of activities such as family law clinics and teaching Street Law. I now work as a family law clerk at a firm in Minneapolis. The skills I learned at St. Scholastica, such as writing, research, and communication, have prepared me for law school and for working in the legal field.

Margie Nelson (2012)
Margie moved from Carlsbad, California, to attend St. Scholastica for Physical Therapy. She became active in the Center for Just Living (CJL) and decided to study History and Political Science. Through CJL, she participated in other student groups such Earth Action and Queer Student Alliance, as well as in community activist groups committed to social justice issues. Combining academic study with community work, Margie completed a year-long internship at the Veteran's Memorial Hall program at the St. Louis County Historical Society. She also became involved with the Duluth Superior Pride organization.

All these experiences led Margie to pursue graduate work in the Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership Program at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, while remaining active as a community organizer in roles such as chair of the City of Duluth Human Rights Commission and as a campaign manager for a Duluth City Council campaign.

Roxanne Backowski (2011)
Roxanne on the shore of Lake SuperiorRoxanne graduated from St. Scholastica in May 2011 with a 3.9 GPA. She received a Bachelor of Arts in History, with minors in English and Library and Information Studies. Throughout college, she was employed at the CSS Library, working at the Circulation Desk, in the Periodicals Department, and later as a student supervisor. "The Library became my second home," she writes. "I often joked that I worked, studied, went to class, ate, socialized, and even took cat-naps in the Library."

Roxanne was involved in several extra-curricular activities. At the beginning of each academic year, she was part of the Community Service Orientation, first as a freshman, then as a leader. She was a member of the Figure Skating Club for four years, serving as president in her junior and senior years. Desiring to leave a legacy in print at St. Scholastica, she wrote articles for The Cable, the college newspaper, during her senior year. 

In addition to the above activities, Roxanne served as a Dignitas Peer Mentor for one year, studied abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico, for ten days, and worked with Volunteers Involved through Action (VITA). At graduation, she was awarded the Certificate of Academic Excellence in History and Politics and the Certificate of Outstanding Achievement in the Figure Skating Club. 

During her senior year of college, she held an internship at Veterans' Memorial Hall, a program of the St. Louis County Historical Roxanne Backowski in her librarian military uniformSociety. "Out of this opportunity," she writes, "came the most significant accomplishment of my college career, an exhibit titled The 18. It was created, designed, and researched with another intern working on Civil War volunteers from the Northland.  The 18 is currently used as a traveling exhibit."

After graduating, Roxanne accepted a position as a Library Technician at St. Cloud Technical & Community College (SCTCC). She also serves as the librarian at the Minnesota Military Museum, located at Camp Ripley, MN. 

Since fall 2012 Roxanne has been working on her Master's in Library and Information Science through the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is especially interested in academic librarianship, digital libraries, and information literacy. 

In her free time, Roxanne enjoys reading and singing with a local community chorale.

Toby Peter (2011)
Toby PeterToby Peter, a German native, graduated from St. Scholastica with highest honors in History and Applied Economics. Owing to his rigorous education at CSS, Toby received honorable mention for his senior thesis, "The Philosophical Foundations of Russian Liberalism in Problems of Idealism and Vekhi," presented at the 16th Annual Russian, Central & East European Conference at Macalester College in St. Paul. He also served as a teaching assistant in Dignitas, the College's first-year program. During his time at CSS Toby completed research internships with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), two of Washington's most renowned think tanks. He also participated in the Washington Semester Program at American University.

Besides academics Toby was a four-year starter for the CSS Men's soccer team. As a captain, he led the team to the program's first NCAA national tournament appearance in 2010. He ranks third on the CSS all-time scoring list and was named UMAC Player of the Year (twice) and Academic All-American.

Upon graduation Toby returned to CSIS, where he served as a research assistant and program coordinator with the Global Aging Initiative. He conducted research on a wide range of long-term economic, social, and geopolitical challenges arising from the aging of the population. He co-authored two major CSIS policy studies: Balancing Tradition and Modernity: The Future of Retirement in East Asia and U.S. Development Policy in an Aging World: New Challenges and New Priorities for a New Demographic Era.

Over the summer of 2013, Toby will intern with the Munich Center for the Economics of Aging, which is part of the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, before undertaking graduate studies at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Emily Slagle (2008)
Emily Slagle graduated from St. Scholastica, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Minor in Political Science.

While at Scholastica, Emily spent a semester abroad in the Balkans with the School for International Training. She traveled throughout the Balkans, learning the history of the region and immersing herself in the culture. During her semester she spoke with people and listened to firsthand accounts of the war to learn about the work various groups were doing to build a lasting and peaceful recovery. She spent a month in Osijek, Croatia, interviewing several NGOs and writing an in-depth research paper that analyzed the sustainability of peace-building in the region.

In addition to this study abroad experience, Emily took advantage of St. Scholastica's partnership with American University to spend a semester in Washington, D.C., as part of the Washington Semester program. At AU, she focused on international law and organizations and had the opportunity to travel to Europe to visit many of the most important international organizations, including NATO, the United Nations, and the International Criminal Court. One of Emily's most influential experiences was the opportunity to visit the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. This was a once in a lifetime chance to compare the international community's reaction to the war in the Balkans to what she had learned from the people who experienced it directly.

After graduating from St. Scholastica, Emily attended Vermont Law School to pursue her passion for environmental law. During her second year at Vermont Law, Emily interned at the Wisconsin Department of Justice in its Environmental Protection Unit. While at the Wisconsin DOJ, Emily represented the State of Wisconsin in a safe drinking water enforcement case. After returning to Vermont, she worked as a student clinician at the school's Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. These experiences allowed Emily to further refine her skills as an environmental lawyer and work with community members to achieve environmental justice. She graduated from Vermont Law School, magna cum laude, in 2012 with a Juris Doctor and a Master's in Environmental Law and Policy. 

Emily moved back to Minnesota last year and works as an Attorney Editor at Thomson Reuters in Eagan, MN. Emily is an active participant in the company's Pro Bono Connection program. Currently, she volunteers for the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, providing free legal services to low income immigrants.

Emily lives in Saint Paul with her partner Aaron and son Ira.  She spends her free time playing with Ira, baking bread, cooking, and biking.