2017 Brandl Scholars

2017 Brandl Scholars: 


Grant Anderla

I am humbled by the opportunity to be recognized as a John Brandl Scholar this year. This scholarship has granted me an opportunity to participate in the Washington, D.C. summer study program. This program provides an excellent opportunity to expand on my knowledge of government, diplomacy, and international relations. I am excited to be working as a policy intern with the Stimson Center – East Asia Japan Program alongside Yuki Tatsumi and Pamela Kennedy. I will be learning more about how foreign policy is crafted, while simultaneously heightening my analysis and research skills. This internship with the Stimson Center will help me move in the direction of my career aspirations. I am extremely grateful for the John Brandl Scholarship and the opportunity it has given me. Thank you to all who have supported me.


The John Brandl Scholarship has provided me with the opportunity to intern and live in Washington, D.C. this summer as part of the Washington, D.C. Summer Study Program. This summer I will be interning with NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, a Catholic organization involved in education, lobbying, and organizing around economic and social justice in the United States. I am so grateful for the Brandl Scholarship and the John Brandl family not only for the financial assistance that the scholarship offers, but also the opportunity to gain practical experience in public policy and faith-based advocacy. Without their generosity, this incredible opportunity would not have been possible.

Gabrielle Baumert 

Matthew Burgstahler

This past summer, I reveled in the challenging beauty of the non-profit sector with work at WellShare International a small public health NGO in Minneapolis. In summer of 2017, I look forward to continuing my pursuit of the common good at Citizen’s League a nonpartisan nonprofit policy organization aimed at championing the role of all Minnesotans in active political engagement. For the past 60 years, Citizen’s League has tackled some of the biggest intersecting issues facing Minnesota including taxes, schooling, transportation, and healthcare. Through the John Brandl Scholars Program, and specifically the financial support of of Dan and Katharine Whalen, I am excited and grateful to continue the long-standing bridge between John Brandl’s alma mater (SJU) and Citizen’s League, where John Brandl served as president in the early 1990’s. As an Integrative Health Science major with eclectic interests, I look forward to diving into the policy research realm with a project aimed at intergenerational conversations in healthcare. The Brandl scholarship has helped me set a civically and politically engaged path toward further medical and community study. I am honored to be a member of this cohort and a reflection of John Brandl’s legacy.  

Thanks to the Brandl scholarship I will be spending this summer in Washington D.C. participating in the D.C. Study and Internship program. I was lucky enough to gain a position with the PRIDE Fund to End Gun Violence as a Communications Intern and look forward to the professional opportunities that working in that organization will provide me. As a smaller and newer PAC, I will have opportunities to do a wider variety of work and will be provided plenty of professional opportunities for networking. I am also excited that this PAC is active in promoting the LGBT+ community and decreasing gun violence, two causes I also am passionate about. Without the Brandl Scholarship I would not be able to take part in the D.C. Program and am very thankful that I am able to take advantage of this professional development opportunity and to explore my passion for public service.

Leela Cofell

Olayemi Fadahunsi


Through the John Brandl Scholars program, I have been given the opportunity to Intern in Washington, D.C this summer. I will be working at an organization that focuses on foreign diplomacy, or humanitarian efforts. I am passionate about advocacy for unrepresented populations, and through my internship I hope to gain more knowledge of foreign policy and international relations. I am so grateful for the Brandl Scholar Program for giving me the support necessary to have this experience. I know this experience will be the opportunity of a lifetime and I am confident it will help me in my future endeavors. 

I will use the John Brandl Scholarship to pursue an internship this summer in the Urban Planning field. Urban Planning has huge potential and I am grateful that I will have the chance to experience how land-use policies are formed. I would like to promote sustainable economic growth so future generations welfare will not be impeded and they will have a healthy environment. Gaining an internship in this field will allow me to better understand, practically, how to use public policy to create a more livable and sustainable future. I know the experience of interning in the nation’s capital is invaluable to understanding how policy is created and this scholarship allows me that chance. Like John Brandl, I want to improve the welfare of people’s lives in the future by staying engaged and using public policy and I would not be able to pursue this without this amazing scholarship.



Tom Fiorentino-Strawn 

Danny Gillis


I am very honored and grateful to be a part of the John E. Brandl Scholars program. The Brandl scholars program is allowing me to spend my summer in Washington D.C., interning with the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF). This internship will help me continue to work towards a career in public policy, and connects to my passions for policy as a tool for positive change, and for education. This spring semester I have been volunteering at the Missionvale Care Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. While studying abroad, I have seen the seeing the structures that create situations like inadequate housing, or poor education, that keep South Africans from opportunities to achieve and succeed. Those experiences have given me new drive to change those similar structures that still exist in the United States, and the Brandl scholars program will help me continue to work towards that goal.


As a John E. Brandl Scholar, I have the opportunity to serve as an intern for Richard Neal, the raking member of the Ways and Means Committee in Congress, and volunteer with the Central American Resource Center in Washington D.C. this summer. Without this scholarship, I would not have the opportunity for political exploration while also pursuing my passion of giving a voice to the marginalized in society. My Congressional internship will help me apply the information I have learned in the classroom to the “real world,” and hopefully provide insight on my future career choice. After graduating from the College of Saint Benedict, I will serve abroad in a Latin American country and attend law school in order to study immigration law and policy. I will be forever grateful that I am a Brandl Scholarship recipient and look forward to the experiences I will have this summer in Washington D.C.





Maya Hermerding




Grace Lindquist

The John E. Brandl scholarship has made it possible for me to work this summer as an intern with the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. As a chemistry major, I have always addressed problems from a scientific perspective. Through this incredible opportunity, I am excited to learn more about how I can apply my scientific background to issues and projects in a political setting. The opportunity to gain this experience in Washington, D.C. will help me to obtain my future goals, as I hope to work to improve scientific communication and environmental regulation at a political level. I am incredibly thankful for the Brandl scholarship for making this opportunity possible.

Thanks to the Whalen family through the John E. Brandl Scholarship, I will be participating in the Washington D.C. Summer internship program and will be an outreach intern at the Jubilee USA Network, working with the various faith-communities Jubilee partners with in the hopes of ending global poverty. I am looking forwards to learning more about the role faith communities throughout the country play in combating poverty. This internship will give me the opportunity to look at an aspect of international relations I am not very familiar with and will enable me to progress towards my future goal of working in international diplomacy. Without the help of the John E. Brandl Scholars Program and the Whalen family, I would not have been able to have this wonderful opportunity.  

Nick Rethemeier 

Mary Catherine Steenberge


I am thrilled to participate in the John Brandl Scholars program, which will allow me to have an internship in Washington, D.C. this summer. This will be an incredible opportunity to explore the intersection between environmental policy and human rights. I am particularly interested in those deemed “climate refugees” and the policies related to their experiences. This summer, I hope to discern what aspect of the political process I would like to work with in the future, and I am deeply appreciative to the Brandl Scholars program for enabling me to pursue my interests in the nation’s capital.