Latest Event Updates

Spring Cleaning

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Happy May, SMU! It’s that time of the year again where people say their goodbyes (many call it “see-you-laters”), pack up their rooms, and in the midst of finals, get ready to go back home. Although we haven’t had the sunniest of Spring seasons, it’s nice to see the leaves on the trees finally come back and flowers begin to emerge. Just as Washington finishes up its Spring cleaning, so should we. Through all of the bittersweetness of leaving campus for the summer, we must sort through all of the memories and friendships that we have made. Throughout the year, I have discovered more about what my role at SMU and how I can apply it to my future, I have made and lost my fair share of friendships, but that is how life goes. To me, it’s really important to keep those collections of meaningful relationships and memories that have shaped me into the person who I am today and share them with you. Saint Martin’s University has been a huge part of my life, and although this year has had its highs and lows, it is critical to recap the year so that I can carry these experiences forward.

Through our new role as Norcia Mentors, we arrived early to begin training. We bonded to make our team strong, and eagerly waited to finally welcome our new first-year students.
I couldn’t wait to get to know my two mentees, Michael and Hanna, and help them through their first year of college.
Since we live in an area that is surrounded by many things to do, during the fall, a couple of my close friends and I went to the Washington State Fair and attended the Andy Grammer, Gavin Degraw concert. We even got to meet one of our new favorite artists!
One of my favorite things to do in Washington is going to Seattle Mariner’s games at Safeco Field! Fellow Social Squad member, Andrew Walter, and I even went to game #162 and sported our King Felix attire.
One of the new traditions at our university is Family Weekend! So happy that my mom was able to come up from California and visit!
  • This year’s annual gala was a hit! Getting the opportunity to cover the event was such a great opportunity and I had so much fun doing it!
As part of the Norcia Leadership Community floor, several of us went to Portland, Oregon to complete a service immersion trip. It was a great bonding experience and a wonderful opportunity to serve others.


THIS WINTER IT SNOWED! I have never been in snow before, and I was lucky enough to experience it with my friends.



Softball is a huge part of my life, and this season was exciting to share with my teammates!
Two of my best friends and some of my classmates shared their talents at the Hope Concert this Spring.
Preparing for my study abroad trip has been super exciting! The days to leave are get smaller, and I have loved getting to know my classmates. Here is an ad from when we fundraised together!



SMU Women’s Softball hosted the GNAC championships tournament this year! It was so much fun getting to compete for a title on our home field! This is a picture of us in Turlock after we beat Cal State East Bay.
… finally, I’d love to mention that I’ve finally completed a full year of being on the Social Squad! The newest campaign, #OnWednesdaysWeWearRed has been so exciting to participate in every week!

I’ve learned more about my leadership style, my purpose at SMU, and who I want to be this year, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I’m halfway through my time at SMU, and I plan on taking every opportunity that comes my way, and I hope that you do too. What’s next for me? Well, this summer I will be taking my study abroad trip to Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden, then I will go back home to California, and before school starts, I will be helping out as an orientation leader! I’m super excited to be back on campus next semester, and share with you the rest of my study abroad journey. That’s all for now, and I hope you all have a great summer!





My Study Abroad Experience: Northern Europe, Here I Come!

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For those who don’t know, I’m really excited to say that this summer, I will be participating in a summer study abroad program in Northern Europe. It’s a short-term program where we will be traveling to Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland to wrap up

I’m so excited to be traveling to Northern Europe with my friend, Hannah! We even went to the bookstore to find books to prepare us for the trip!

a semester-long course that studies history and sociology. Previously, I never thought that I would be able to study abroad because I thought that it was an opportunity that was too far from my reach. In addition, being a student-athlete makes it really difficult to incorporate a study abroad program into my college experience. Being a part of the women’s softball program and fully committing myself to the team has been the most amazing experience for me, so it is important to me that I be there for the entirety of the Fall and Spring seasons. Thankfully, Saint Martin’s University provides a variety of opportunities for everyone to experience what it is like to be a study abroad student.

I made the decision to study abroad at the beginning of this school year after one of my best friends at SMU, Jennifer, and I stopped by the office of study abroad to ask Brenda Burns some questions and pick up some pamphlets. At the time, we were just curious about

Visit Brenda Burns in the Study Abroad Office, located on the 4th floor of Old Main.

what each program had to offer, but the more that we dreamed, the more we wanted to turn those dreams into a reality. This summer, we get to live that dream and learn more about the world that surrounds us (P.S. this summer she is studying at Cambridge University in Great Britain. WOOT WOOT proud friend right here!).

The study abroad office has so many cool resources to help SMU students make program decisions, find scholarships, and connect students with previous study abroad alumni. Being able to talk to people who are passionate for traveling and learning was really important in my decision-making process. In addition, learning how to effectively fundraise and search for scholarships have helped make the financial costs of study abroad more affordable.

In just a little over a month and a half, I will be on a plane flying halfway across the world. For now, I just have these months to cherish the learning process and take in as much information that I can during my weekly night class to prepare myself for the trip. That is all I have to write about for now, but I can’t wait to share more with you about how this study abroad experience will unfold!

… To be continued…

Photo courtesy of: Dr. David Price
Helsinki waterfront path. Photo courtesy of: Dr. David Price

For more information about study abroad opportunities, visit the website here:

Sunday in Seattle: Adventure on a Budget

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I have lived in Washington for over a year and a half, but until last weekend, I had never really explored Seattle before. It’s something that I have always wanted to do but had never done. Previously, the most “Seattle” interaction that I had were my frequent visits to SafeCo Field to root on the Mariners (unless they were playing the Angels, which I would be decked out in red cheering on good ol’ Mike Trout). My point is, something that we are so lucky to have at Saint Martin’s University is being only one hour away from Seattle. We take it for granted, but if we just make that drive up the 5, there is a plethora of things to do off campus. Here’s what I did with my Sunday off.

Meet my friends, Jenn, Lexi, and Hannah! We are ready to take on the day!

We began our day by going to mass at Saint James’ Cathedral. In awe of its exterior beauty, we took pictures outside. Little did we know that the inside was just as beautiful! We even had the opportunity to bring up the gifts for communion!

Saint James Cathedral in downtown Seattle

Next, we took on the streets to walk to the S.A.M., aka the Seattle Art Museum. The walk wasn’t bad at all, but it helped to have a little coffee first 🙂 Such a classic Washingtonian move…


Once we got to the Seattle Art Museum, we were entered a world full of classic and modern art. Many exhibits included religious pieces, focused on the world’s historical journey to knowledge, or brought up political issues such as human migration. My favorite exhibit of them all was the “Seeing Nature” collection of European and American paintings of landscape.

Did you know that you can get a student discount to the S.A.M. with your school ID?

After visiting the S.A.M., we walked to Pike Place Market and explored to our hearts’ content. The fish throwing, the gum wall, the colorful murals, the music, and food were all remarkable to witness. Even the very first Starbucks Coffee shop had a story to tell. It was so fascinating to see a myriad of cultures come together in a common place. To experience Seattle is to get a glimpse of the world and the people who inhabit it.

At the end of the day, it cost about $25 dollars for a day of exciting adventure. It’s not something that I could do every weekend, but for a college student like me, it was a relatively inexpensive way to get off campus and spend quality time with my best friends. As a student at SMU, I believe that we are really fortunate to have such a wide variety of recreational opportunities around us. For more information about student life and things to do outside of campus, please visit our website:


Home Away From Home

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When I was a first-year student, I remember driving back to campus from a dinner off campus with my friends after a long day of school. In the middle of our candid conversations and laughter, I remember saying, “When we get home, we should go to Parsons’ Store”. In that moment, I realized that this was the first time I had referred to Saint Martin’s University as “home”.

Calling a place that isn’t where you are from as “home” is a scary thing because it isn’t actually home. Doing this is truly an exhilarating experience because you feel so many emotions including fear, a little bit of disappointment in yourself for betraying the place that you have lived previously, but also a little bit of joy. As a first-year student, it was the first sign that I was beginning to absolutely love SMU. Every college student goes through this phase where you stop calling it just your room in your residence hall and transition into calling it your home. It is almost like a rite of passage! As a student, I fell in love with the people, my surroundings, and the values that the university upholds. I have learned that home isn’t just the place where you live, but it’s where you surround yourself with people that you love and feel like you belong.

On a separate note, last weekend, I travelled with my softball team to sunny Southern California, the place where I had grown up for eighteen years of my life. It is my

Two of my brothers at my games in San Diego.

original home where my family lives, my roots are, and where I am most happy. I had a wonderful time having my parents, my brothers, and the rest of my family in the stands to watch our games. Being able to spend time with them outside of softball was special too. Even though I was disappointed to have two of our games cancelled on Monday, February 6, my team and I were able to go to Disneyland

Two of my brothers meeting up with me at Disneyland.

(which if you know me, this was really exciting). Everything about being in Southern California just felt right. But despite all this, when I talked about being at Saint Martin’s University, I would still call it “home”.

It’s so crazy to think that you can call two places home. Being able to have a place to call home is special, but the fact that I have two places to call home makes me the luckiest gal in the world. Saint Martin’s University has provided me with so many opportunities to grow and succeed, and for that I am thankful. I love living on a floor such as the Norcia Leadership Community to help me discover who I was meant to be, having teammates that always hold me to a higher standard, and being a part of a university that creates the feeling that you are part of a family. I am so fortunate to be able to call this wonderful place as my home away from home, and I hope that you feel the same way.

Saint Martin’s University: Home Away from Home

A Taste of Brazil!

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Ligia Karazawa and Andrew Zimmern at the student reception discussing how food and travel has influence them.

This year, I was able to attend this year’s Saint Martin’s University annual gala for the first time as a Social Squad member. This university event was blessed to have Travel Network’s Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods, and Eataly Brazil’s Ligia Karazawa as the celebrity chefs to emphasize this year’s theme of “A Taste of Brazil!” I started my day by attending the “Meet the Chefs” student reception in the Trautman Union Building, and the chefs were utterly personable and kind.

Would you try the insects?

Following the student reception, my fellow Social Squad members covered the gala reception in the Charneski Recreation Center. Decorated to the theme, blues, greens, and purples covered every corner, a Brazilian band played live music, and there was even a “Bizarre Foods Market” where guests could try edible insects! Then, the main event featured a dinner hosted by our two celebrity chefs, involved a live auction, and was just a delight to be able to watch unfold.

The gala was truly an eye-opening experience that allowed me to not only practice my social media communication skills by helping to cover the event, but it also allowed me to revisit the ideas about why I am at Saint Martin’s University and how student scholarships affect me. For those who are not familiar to what the gala is, it is an annual fundraiser that seeks to raise money for student scholarships through guests’ generous donations and support. The gala celebrates our school’s core value of community by bringing people together to enjoy food and wine, and it also emphasizes two of the Benedictine values, hospitality and stewardship. From the outside, this event is to raise money, but for students, it is more than that. The annual gala, fosters dreams and inspires the future.

Community, one of the university’s core themes, is celebrated at the annual gala.



As the eldest of four children in my family, I knew that I needed to go to college, and it was important to me knowing that I would be attending a school where it was affordable but also a place where I could push myself to succeed. Being expected to go to college from

These are my brothers, Trevor, Garrett, Nolan, and our dog Jessie.

my parents wasn’t the sole reason that I went, but because I expected it from myself to set an example for my younger brothers. We live in a world where people tell you “you can’t”. They say “you can’t go to this school because you aren’t smart enough”, “you can’t get this degree because there are no jobs available”, or “you can’t go to college because we can’t afford it”, but really we should be cultivating a world where people tell you “you can”. I want my brothers to know that “you can get into your reach school”, “you can be a doctor if  you work hard”, “you can and will be able to pay for school with the help of scholarships”, and especially “yes, you can achieve your dreams and make a difference in the world”. It is interesting to see my three younger brothers discover themselves and their own capabilities from afar. Not only are they learning from my mistakes, but also they are following my own footsteps. They are involved with sports, volunteer work, student leadership, honor societies, and they are getting good grades. I don’t say that to talk about how great I am, but to describe how my actions affect their lives and their futures. They can see that going to a university that can be made affordable is possible, and Saint Martin’s University fosters that idea for all of its students. All in all, scholarships allow students like me to have the opportunity set an example for future generations; the generation that will become educators, politicians, and scientists, so that the cycle can continue for many more years to come.

From my experience with the gala, I find it truly amazing to witness people who are willing to invest in my education.To all of the generous donors and sponsors of the #SMUGala, thank you. I appreciate everything that you do to help further the educations of students past, present, and future.Thank you so much.

Thank you to everyone who raised their paddle during “Feed-a-Mind”.

Without the help of student scholarships, I would not be at Saint Martin’s University, a place where I can discover what kind of person that I want to be and develop upon my skills. As a social squad member with dreams of working for the Walt Disney Company, I want to be a storyteller; someone who documents the beauty of having community and someone who shines a light on the goodness of people. SMU provides the opportunities that I need to grow, and an environment that sets me up for future success so that I may achieve my dreams. At the end of the day, with the help of gracious donors and sponsors, the gala supports student scholarships, but student scholarships help inspire people.





After the gala, we, Social Squad members, were lucky enough to get a picture with Andrew Zimmern! This was a great night!

Thankful for Family Weekend

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When I was first dropped off at college as a first-year student, I was so excited to have my first taste of freedom. It wasn’t because I was excited to leave California and not see my family anymore, but because it was something that was different. I love being at Saint Martin’s University for the community I have formed here, but as time goes on, I can’t help but miss my family. For the longest time, I have been wishing that they could come

Hundreds of people filled the Norman Worthington Conference Center for Family Weekend.

up to Washington to truly experience why I love Saint Martin’s so much; last weekend, Family Weekend allowed me to do that.

That weekend, around 300 people filled the Norman Worthington Conference Center despite the stormy weather that hit the Pacific Northwest, and one of those people was my mom. She flew in from California to join me in the festivities and we both had a great time. The event itself promoted one of the university’s core value of community, and it was really interesting to see how so many Saint families came together to participate in Saint Martin’s University culture. The event began with a luncheon where families were able to meet each other and mingle with SMU faculty. Here, President Heynderickx talked about what has been happening around the university,

The Watson and the Wesselman Families enjoying their time at the events.

including social events and the midterms that are upon us students, and Abbot Neal talked about how he began his journey at Saint Martin’s as well as his role in the abbey community. The big tables at the event were provided a welcoming environment. I was fortunate enough to sit with the Watson family and the Wesselman family. We talked about future careers, what it’s like when we are home, why we are at this university, and  so on and so on. I loved getting to know them and forming these friendships that will carry me through college and beyond.

Following lunch, families were invited to attend SMU Bingo, various “University 101” presentations by

Families of both faculty members and students attended

professors, the women’s volleyball game, and wine, dine, and cider with the deans. These events really allowed me to give my mom a taste of SMU culture, as well as meet and hang out with the other people! The coolest part of it all was learning where every SMU family came from. What amazes me is that if it weren’t for Saint Martin’s, I would have never met so many interesting students and families. People from Hawaii, Indiana, California, Washington, Alaska, and even international students come together to celebrate education and community. And that is incredible.

I am so thankful for family weekend. I missed my dad, my mom, my three brothers, and my dog, but even having just my mom here that weekend really helped make that longing a little more bearable. Our first family weekend as a university was a success, and I can’t wait to see what is to come.

Mommy and Me 🙂

Leadership: Something for You and Me

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“Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes, even in from the people you least expect it from. Leadership isn’t just for the extroverts; it can come from anyone…”  Someone told me this during my freshman year and it is something that I will never forget. It sticks with me because it was an original idea that had never crossed my mind, but proves to be true. Saint Martin’s University produces great leaders who are changing the world because of the unique opportunities it provides, and I hope that I am one of them.

Members of the Norcia floor celebrating community, one of the core themes discussed during the Benedictine Leaders Program.

One of the unique programs that Saint Martin’s provides for students is the Benedictine Leaders Program (BLP). BLP consists of two phases that focus on the university’s four core themes, faith, reason, service and community, to help students discover where their strengths are and how they can apply them. It also allows the students to reflect upon how the four core themes affect their lives, and how to lead with integrity. Many leadership positions on campus, including orientation leaders, AHANA mentors, Norcia mentors, club officers and resident assistants, require BLP completion. As someone who has
participated in phase 1 of BLP, I am glad that I had the opportunity to participate in the process

AHANA leaders use their knowledge of reason and service to help educate first-year students about diversity.

because I met some of my best friends during the program, and because it has helped set me up for success during my time a Saint Martin’s, as well as out in the world. Students of all ages, personalities and talents (even the people I never would have formally guessed to pursue leadership positions), gather for a common goal and have proven to be some of the best leaders I know.

To sign up for the Benedictine Leaders Program, visit