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!

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