2018-19 Mentor Profiles

Your SEAM externship might show you your dream job. Then again, maybe it won’t. The important part of the externship experience is learning about the workplace setting. It’s making connections and understanding processes. So when you select a mentor, don’t despair if the job title doesn’t fit where you currently picture yourself working. Relax and explore.

Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson, '03 (Math Major)
Osseo Area Schools
Brooklyn Park, MN

Teacher - Secondary Mathematics

Join me for an opportunity to look at something you’ve done, but through a new lens. Let’s collaborate as we work together to take a peek at the more interesting side of high school and mathematics. Collaboratively we’ll tackle structure, organization, timing, and environment in one of the Northwest Suburbs more diverse but culture rich schools. You’ll see that hard work and determination pay off, but relationships are the real bus driver. A candidate with a strong math background is not a requirement. Anyone interested in any sort of human services work is ideal.

Brandon Baker

Brandon Baker, '09 (Biology Major)
Three Rivers Park District - Eastman Nature Center
Maple Grove, MN

Interpretive Naturalist  

Participate in experiential education in the woods. Come see what makes doing environmental education in a nature center unique, from working with school groups, to handling live animals, and even making maple syrup.

Aaron Barthel

Aaron Barthel '04 (Accounting Major)
Dassel and Maple Plain, MN


I will introduce you to our leadership team that includes all of our department heads, so you will get a well rounded experience and see a medical device manufacturing company in action. This will give you the opportunity to learn about each department and how everyone works together to support operations.

Tom Brever

Tom Brever, '75 (Humanities Major)
Foster Brever Wehrly, PLLC
St. Anthony, MN
**Homestay available


I would have the student follow throughout the day. This will involve meetings; phone conferences, and sometimes court. They will experience the real life of a lawyer.

Joan Fering

Joan Fering, '83 (Education Major)
Shakopee Area Catholic School
Shakopee, MN

Middle School Teacher

Explore the world of middle school by immersing yourself in the middle of it! Experience a thriving Catholic school that strives to not only attain academic goals, but truly encourages growth in body, mind, and spirit. If you are interested in theology and teaching, leading our youth in faith, or service learning leadership and promotion of living our call of living our faith in the world, you will love this experience.

Linnea Finney

Linnea Finney, '97 (Management Major)
Travelers Insurance
St. Paul, MN
**Homestay available

Senior IT Director

Let's talk about your interests and experiences and we'll create an experience where you can learn more about the company and career paths we offer. I was a Business major but I work in IT, so so you never know where your degree may take you. I am hoping to connect you to other CSB/SJU graduates who work with me as well.

Bob Foht

Bob Foht, '88 (Management Major)
GearGrid Corporation
Forest Lake, MN


Through this shadowing experience, the mentee will have the opportunity to gain insights into the inner workings of a small, US based manufacturer, including marketing, sales, production and accounting. The mentee will also be able to dive deeper into the area of marketing by shadowing 2016 St. Ben’s graduate, Emily Krych, who oversees all aspects of our marketing department, including print and digital advertising, content creation, social media engagement and website management.

Kelsey German

Kelsey German, '10 (Communication Major)
American Cancer Society
Eagan, MN

Director, Corporate Account Operations

The American Cancer Society is a nationwide nonprofit with a global impact. You will gain insight into the mutual partnership between the American Cancer Society and corporate partners that fund our mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. Connect, interact and learn from multiple areas of the organization including corporate relations, community development, mission delivery, marketing, communications, advocacy, and more.

Mary Gondringer

Mary Gondringer, '14 (English Major)
Upsala Area Schools
Upsala, MN
**Homestay available

English Teacher

Students will have the opportunity to learn how a liberal arts degree will positively affect their future by joining me in my English classroom and learning about the variety aspects of the English major. Their experience will be driven by what they, as a current student and future professional, want and need to learn.

Tom Gottwalt

Tom Gottwalt, '82 (Accounting Major)
TCF Bank
Minnetonka, MN
**Homestay available

SVP, Director of Tax

Shadowing a senior finance leader, students will get a sense of various aspects of business involved in a publicly traded regional bank. Witness liberal arts skills I leverage, including: reading technical documents with discernment, writing to inform and persuade, and presenting to educate, inform and win approvals. I enjoy working at the intersection of business, economics, and taxation and am constantly using my interpersonal and networking skills to accomplish various objectives and save my company tax dollars.

Becka Gross

Becka Gross, '12 (Communication Major)
Anderson Center
St. Cloud, MN
**Homestay available

Business Development Manager

Experience leadership development in action! The Anderson Center is a unique non-profit organization dedicated to providing leadership and management training to business leaders. This job shadow experience will offer a glimpse to event planning, group facilitation, a professional office culture, and the basics of marketing and sales.

Joe Houghton

Joe Houghton, '02 (Management Major)
The Minnesota Property Group/Joe Houghton-Re/MAX Results
Plymouth, MN


A flexible and unstructured environment will allow an entrepreneurial spirited student to explore the pros and cons of working for yourself and starting a business from scratch. The majority of my days are spent bouncing between selling real estate, managing a renovation project, prospecting for new business and creating content for my websites/social media, internet marketing and search engine optimization.

Valerie Jarstad

Valerie Jarstad, '00 (Biology Major)
Oakdale, MN
**Homestay available

Family Medicine Physician, Site/Regional Medical Director

As a family physician, the knowledge I gained through a liberal arts education is just as valuable to me as the career-focused knowledge. I look forward to sharing how my liberal arts education prepared me to communicate, develop interpersonal relationships, adapt to changes, and embrace learning — skills that I use daily when I walk into the clinic.

Brenda Jirik

Brenda Jirik, '80 (Political Science Major)
United Hospital, Allina Health
St. Paul, MN

Social Worker/Clinical Supervision

The student would shadows professionals to experience what it is like to be a social worker in a large metropolitan hospital setting. In addition, they would have the opportunity to observe and meet with others on the interdisciplinary team and ask questions to help them discern their career options.

Jason Kaasovic

Jason Kaasovic, '08 (Peace Studies Major)
TruNorth Solar
Edina, MN

Solar Energy Consultant

Working with me you will experience life in a small, Johnny owned business working to advance solar energy in Minnesota. I interface with clients directly from initial point of contact, system design and client development, to contracting for a residential or commercial system. My most recent previous role was in End of Life healthcare research and was a Peace Studies major in 08'. Expect a lot of perspective taking and generally self reflective conversation and a chill approach to life.

Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly, '99 (Social Science Major)
Northwestern Mutual
Minnetonka, MN

Wealth Management Advisor

I hope to provide an experience where the student can gain a full picture of how a financial planning practice operates. This will include the back office operations, client meetings and everything in between. This will provide insight into my industry as well as running a small business in general.

Scott Kohls

Scott Kohls, '88 (Economics Major)
U.S Bank
Minneapolis, MN
**Homestay available

Credit Risk Management - Consumer Deposit and Direct Installment Loans

Credit Risk Management determines the risk appetite for the bank. Our internal business line partners may propose changes to underwriting or account management thresholds but Credit Risk provides guidance or recommendations before granting the final approvals. If you would like to explore how a bank determines who gets approved (or declined) for loans, or how banks manage losses, this externship is for you.

Jacob Law

Jacob Law, '09 (Political Science Major)
College Possible
St. Paul, MN
**Homestay available

Instructional Design Specialist

Come see what the College Possible - Catalyze program is all about. You will experience firsthand the design, development and implementation of virtual training & curriculum within a growing non-profit. You will see how a liberal arts education has provided a meaningful background for the service-oriented work we do here. This organization provides a passionate, energizing environment focused on our mission of removing barriers to college graduation.

Joel Loecken

Joel Loecken, '90 (History Major)
St. Thomas Academy
Mendota Heights, MN
**Homestay available

Theology Teacher

I would like to provide an experience in which you can explore two things — pastoral ministry and religious education! Network with my connections in youth ministry, as well as explore the joys of teaching in a Catholic junior high and high school.

Joe Meyer

Joe Meyer, '87 (English Major)
Burnsville High School
Burnsville, MN
**Homestay available

Dean of Students

Burnsville School District welcomes you to observe high school administration, any high school subject area (English, Tech Ed featuring 3D printers, Nursing, etc.), school counseling, school nurse - what you want, we got it. We also have close connections to elementary and middle school experiences in Burnsville and Minneapolis.

David Rynders

David Rynders, '00 (Accounting Major)
Novus Media
Plymouth, MN
**Homestay available


This will be a great experience for a student looking to see how a liberal arts major can benefit in unexpected ways in the business world. I will tailor the experience to meet the objectives of the student while showing practical applications for the problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills learned at CSB/SJU.

Mike Sandager

Mike Sandager, '14 (Environmental Studies Major)
Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District
Olivia, MN
**Homestay available

District Technician

The Renville Soil and Water Conservation District is a government organization that works with landowners, mainly farmers, on practices to ensure Minnesotans have clean water and sustainable crop land for future generations. My position requires excellent communication skills, a scientific knowledge, use of GIS, and both indoor and outdoor work.

John Scherer

John Scherer, '97 (Social Science Major)
State of Minnesota
St. Cloud, MN
**Homestay available

District Court Judge

The mentorship will provide a behind the scenes view of the court system and insight into a legal career. Students will also be embedded in the justice system, experiencing real life courtroom activity, and the legal professions role in resolving society's disputes and maintaining order. Words do matter and there is no better place to see that in action than in the courtroom, augmented by the observations of the presiding judge.

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith, '99 (Spanish Major)
Twin Cities, MN

Major Gifts Officer

Many people who consider a career in the non-profit sector think only of doing direct service. This is certainly a big part of non-profit work but there are many other facets of non-profits such as fundraising/major gifts work. Students will have a chance to experience a day in the life of a major gifts officer at Minnesota Public Radio. If that is not exciting enough, students will get an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes at MPR (started at SJU in 1967), and meet other SJU/CSB alumni working at MPR.

Mandy Tadych

Mandy Tadych, '04 (Communication Major)
St. Paul, MN
**Homestay available

Programming Director/Executive Producer

Ever wondered what it actually takes to put on a daily talk show? This is your chance to see how things get done each day at Twin Cities Live, an afternoon lifestyle show that has been on KSTP-TV for over 10 years. I am excited to host a student who is passionate about breaking into a career in the television industry. This person will get to be part of production meetings, shoots, writing sessions and help with the live broadcast. They will also get to sit-in on programming discussions that affect the entire TV station.

Justin Thompson

Justin Thompson, '14 (Management Major)
C.H Robinson
Sartell, MN

Account Manager

Experience the day to day life in a fast paced, fun, and challenging work environment that a fortune 500 company offers. Work with contacts across North America and experience the world of logistics by shadowing multiple positions while gaining an understanding of the business.

Nolan Wall

Nolan Wall, '05 (Political Science Major)
City of Vadnais Heights
Vadnais Heights, MN

Planning/Community Development Director

Local government offers a variety of fascinating careers across multiple disciplines with the goal of serving the public. This experience would allow for insight into how the public sector works and could include a variety of interviews and introductions to others in related fields in the CSB/SJU network. Interested applicants would likely have a strong interest in urban/regional planning and/or a career within the public sector.

Megan Wedl

Megan Wedl, '92 (Liberal Studies Major)
ServiceMaster Restore
Edina, Minnesota

National Account Manager

The liberal arts education you are receiving is one that should and will serve you well throughout your life. It is my goal for this mentorship to open a student’s eyes to the unlimited possibilities that open when we live our lives with a genuine passion. I hope to share how I use liberal arts skills in my day-to-day to accomplish key job requirements at ServiceMaster Restore, including: Insurance sales, franchised operated business, restoration solutions, and sales and account management. Additionally, students will learn one of the largest franchised, disaster restoration companies in the United States, providing both mitigation and restoration services to homeowners and corporations.

John Wessinger

John Wessinger, '98 (Communication Major)
Minneapolis, MN

Founder, Marketing and Sales Strategist

After working for global organizations for 15 years in the retail and healthcare industries, I started a marketing and sales consulting business in Minneapolis, MN.  During our time together, I’m hoping to share the challenges I have experienced in starting a small business, the day-to-day tasks and activities that I need to do in order to keep the business moving forward and have you experience what it’s like working from a home office.

Adam Wolf

Adam Wolf, '05 (Communication Major)
Wells Fargo
Minneapolis, MN
**Homestay available

Business Initiatives Consult

This mentorship at Wells Fargo gives the opportunity to learn about data analytics, customer experience research, third party vendor management and marketing. It is an opportunity to learn about corporate culture and how a liberal arts education can ready you to make a difference at a large organization.