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Student Features

Three current Johnnies receive 2022 Extraordinary Service Awards

Embracing community, serving others and the pursuit of justice are among the values that serve as bedrocks of the education and experience students receive at Saint John’s University.

And the three Johnnies selected as this year’s Extraordinary Service Award winners – Isaac Kubalak ’22, Joseph Penny ’22 and Emmett Adam ’23 – exemplify those traits.

The Extraordinary Service Award annually recognizes the work of SJU students who are characterized by their personal commitment to service, and whose efforts promote community, justice, working with others to accomplish a greater good and thoughtful reflection through the lens of Benedictine Values and/or Catholic social teaching.

These men have served SJU and the broader community through prison ministry, restorative justice, student government and publications.

Kubalak is from Fargo, North Dakota, and a senior studying integrative science on the pre-medicine track. He is part of the Global Health Affairs leadership team and has volunteered with Saint John’s Campus Ministry as a first-year retreat experience leader and as a prison minister. An avid piano player, Kubalak believes service has the most significant impact in small matters done with extraordinary intentionality. Most importantly, it means making and sustaining connections with other members of a community, including with the residents of the Abbey Retirement Center as a nursing assistant and with patients at the Fargo Dialysis Center as a volunteer.

Penny is from San Dimas, California, and a senior studying theology and music. He has served as Magis Ministries’ co-president and as its lead worship coordinator for its well-attended “Praise in the Pub.” He works for the Multicultural Center as a restorative justice facilitator and is the SJU co-chair for the newly revived Cultural Affairs Board. In addition to speaking on panels with several clubs and organizations, Penny has volunteered for both CSB and SJU Campus Ministries. Finally, in addition to his work on campus, Penny continues to serve as a leader at home, offering his gifts as a music minister and summer intern with Holy Name of Mary Parish. He believes that service provides the opportunity to mediate transformative and incarnational encounters with God. 

Adam is from St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a junior studying political science and history, and on the pre-law track. Adam’s understanding of service is most clear through a public policy and civic engagement lens, as both are essential tools to promote the common good. He sees service as essential in both our community and beyond, as our generation continues to build a more equitable, just and dynamic world. Throughout college, he has been involved on campus with the Saint John’s Senate, the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement, The Record and United Politics, a club for students to discuss political ideas and current events. Adam serves to care for others, collaborate with peers and improve the CSB and SJU community. 

The award recipients will be honored during an April 25 banquet. Each winner receives a $2,000 award made possible by an anonymous donor.

Candidates for the award are nominated by other students, faculty and staff at Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict, but can only win the award once during their time in Collegeville.

Nominations are open to sophomores, juniors and seniors at SJU.


Isaac Kubalak ’22


Joseph Penny ’22


Emmett Adam ’23