First social justice scholars recognized
Lewis-Clark State College and the Monastery of St. Gertrude formally established their partnership on May 9 at the annual Social Work Program banquet when three students were awarded scholarships funded by the Monastery’s Social Justice Committee. Dr. William Clouser, Social Work Program Director, presented Megan Dorwin, Rachel Kaschmitter and Mike Lape with $500 scholarships to further their studies in the area of social justice work.
Dr. Clouser established this partnership when the Monastery donated funds to enable social work students who wanted to focus their studies in the area of social justice. “I believe that a partnership between a religious and a public institution to further social workers’ involvement in social justice is unique and important.” LCSC has combined over $2000 with the funds from the Sisters, to create a track in which juniors and seniors can concentrate their studies and research on social justice issues. The students will present their papers and research at related social work conferences and workshops in the area. 
This social justice track also includes the students’ participation in the Council on Social Work Education’s Conference in Washington D.C. in November. The CSWE conference is the premier meeting in the field of social worker education and aims to foster greater understanding in addressing complex social concerns. The LCSC St. Gertrude Scholars will attend the social justice track of the conference.
The work and studies of the St. Gertrude scholars corresponds to the Monastery’s core values of healing hospitality, grateful simplicity and creative peacemaking. One of the St. Gertrude Scholars, Megan Dorwin, will conduct her senior year internship with Dr. Clouser, working with women’s issues from a social justice perspective, specifically women’s rights. Rachel Kaschmitter will spend her internship at her alma mater, Prairie High School in Cottonwood, located next door to the Monastery. Rachel plans to work with students on issues related to social justice. Mike Lape will start his junior year at LCSC and plans to participate in a two-year track of social justice work in his classes. Mike returned to school to study advocacy issues in social work and he wants to work with oppressed, disadvantaged groups on a community level. 
The partnership between the LCSC Social Work Program and the Monastery of St. Gertrude in their pursuit of social justice education will be successful because one of the values of social work practice is social justice. This value echoes the principles of Catholic social justice teaching that include human dignity, the rights of the person and the worker and care for the poor and vulnerable. The Monastery is proud to be part of this partnership to educate social workers for the future of social justice.

From left to right: Dr. William Clouser, Social Work Program Director; Mike Lape, Scholarship Recipient; Megan Dorwin, Scholarship Recipient; Rachel Kaschmitter, Scholarship Recipient; Dr. Tony Fernandez, President of Lewis-Clark State College

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