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Following in Brandl’s footsteps

Nine students from CSB and SJU are Brandl Scholars for 2015

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June 1, 2015

By Mike Killeen

From left: Tiffany Peplinski, Alex Wald, Charles Pults, Edwin Torres, Anna Cron, Jake Collins and Mai Tong Yang are seven Brandl Scholars interning this summer in Washington, D.C. (Brandl Scholars not pictured: Jerly Alcala Gomez, who is interning in San Diego; and Beth Richmond, who is interning in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.)

John Brandl wore many hats during his career as an educator, legislator and civic leader. When he passed away in 2008, he was known to "walk deftly between his roles as policymaker and professor," according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper.

That's why Brandl, a 1959 graduate of Saint John's University, would probably appreciate the current group of nine College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University students who are Brandl Scholars, a program of the Eugene McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement. They represent the legacy of his lifelong commitment to mentorship and scholarship in higher education, public policy and politics.

"The Brandl Scholars program provides support for students to do full-time internships that benefit the common good and build skills and experiences for future student successes," said Matt Lindstrom, director of the McCarthy Center and professor of political science at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. 

The Brandl endowment funds summer internships in public policy and leadership development activities such as conferences and training sessions.

Brandl Scholars receive $4,000 summer stipends. They work fulltime for 8-10 weeks depending on the needs of their internship site.  

Recipients of the Brandl scholarships include:

  • Jake Collins, a senior political science major from North Mankato, Minnesota, is interning at the Office of Mexican Affairs at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. "I know this experience will be an incredible stepping stone and will help mold me into a policy advocate who is able to lead the next generation of public servants and who lives out the values of John Brandl," Collins said.
  • Anna Cron, a senior individualized-political science major from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is interning at the Organization of American States (OAS) in its Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation in Washington, D.C. The OAS "is an international governmental organization that promotes democracy throughout the Americas," Cron said. "I am looking forward to using my Spanish-speaking abilities and being a voice for the marginalized I met and learned about while studying abroad in Guatamala."
  • Jerly Alcala Gomez, a senior philosophy major from Riverton, Utah, is interning at the Culture of Life Family Services Clinic in San Diego. "I am interested in aiding immigrant or impoverished communities receive basic aid to help them become self-sufficient," Alcala Gomez said.
  • Tiffany Peplinski, a senior economics and political science major from Pine Island, Minnesota, is interning with the Office of Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. "I look forward to learning more about the workings of the executive branch of government and the vast array of issues that fall under the Department of Labor," Peplinski said.
  • Charles Pults, a junior political science and history major from St. Paul, Minnesota, is interning for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C. "This will give me a chance to witness the behind-the-scenes work of how the legislative process works and how fundraising operates in national campaigns," Pults said.
  • Beth Richmond, a senior political science major from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is interning at the City of Eau Claire Planning Division. "I hope to become an urban planner," Richmond said. "Working in a city planning office this summer is an excellent place to learn more about policy issues and practical skills that will be important for my career."
  • Edwin Torres, a senior political science major from San Pedro, California, is interning for California Rep. Janice Hahn in Washington, D.C. "Not only will I gain a better understanding of how Congress works and how it affects citizens, but I can use its vast resources to connect with young American leaders in the government, NGOS and public companies and learn about the unlimited possibilities to serve my community and how those different sectors intersect," Torres said.  
  • Alex Wald, a senior economics major from Shoreview, Minnesota, is interning for Good Jobs First in Washington, D.C. "Good Jobs First is a lobbying firm that works with grassroots groups and government officials to promote government accountability in corporate subsidies," Wald said. When he returns to school in the fall, he hopes to focus his thesis to "illuminate the job creation effects of corporate subsidies."  
  • Mai Tong Yang, a senior political science major from St. Paul, Minnesota, is interning for Minnesota Sen. Al Franken in Washington, D.C. "As an advocate for minority and low-income family rights, the Brandl Scholarship has given me the opportunity to contribute my knowledge and skills outside of the CSB/SJU community," Yang said. "This experience will help prepare me for my future goals and aspirations to work in public policy."