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May 26, 2017

Saint Martin's announces the sixth cohort of Benedictine Scholars.

LACEY, Wash. — Ten incoming Saint Martin’s University first-year students have been selected to serve as the sixth cohort of Benedictine Scholars. The University’s Benedictine Scholars Program started in the fall of 2012 with the mission to promote a deeper understanding of the Catholic, Benedictine values and heritage that define the University. The Benedictine Scholars serve as ambassadors for the core values of the institution—faith, reason, service and community—both within the University and in the wider world.

Benedictine Scholars serve their communities, meet in small groups and work on a project of their cohort's own choosing. Through the program’s service-learning component, the Benedictine Scholars will engage in 60 hours of service in the wider community, integrate the service experience into academic exploration in special courses and reflect on the experience with their Scholar community. Scholars also volunteer for Saint Martin’s events such as Open Houses, the Gala and Commencement.

“We’re excited for our newest cohort of Benedictine Scholars to join the Saint Martin’s community,” said Floraliza Bornasal, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil engineering and the faculty advisor for the incoming cohort. “Students who have been chosen as Benedictine Scholars truly embody generosity, leadership, a commitment to service and academic excellence. They exhibit these qualities in the classroom, residence halls, playing fields and wider community. I’m excited to have our newest cohort further enrich the University as they continue our traditions of hospitality, justice, dignity of work, listening, peace, respect for persons, stewardship, stability, moderation and awareness of God.”

Angela Carlin, M.Div., director of campus ministry, will serve as the staff advisor for the new Benedictine Scholars. “The Benedictine Scholars, through their formation in the program, begin to embody our Benedictine values in a way that supports, encourages, serves and leads our wider community,” she said. “Their presence at Saint Martin’s and their commitment to the Benedictine Scholars Program promotes a greater understanding of our mission among all of our students. We are delighted to welcome these new scholars and eager to see how their gifts and talents take root, grow and flourish in our community.”

Faculty and staff members representing numerous departments throughout the University evaluated more than 200 candidates for the Benedictine Scholars Program. Those selected are typically students whose academic records are matched by their leadership experiences, their contributions to the life of their school or faith communities and their service to individuals and groups. Each scholar selected for the honor receives $26,000 to $27,500 in total scholarship support per year, renewable for four years of study.

Julia McCord Chavez, Ph.D., J.D., associate professor of English, served as the faculty advisor for the fifth cohort of Benedictine Scholars, which entered Saint Martin’s during the 2016-2017 academic year. “Ten new Benedictine Scholars are selected each year based on their academic achievements, but also on their leadership abilities and sincere desire to participate in the crucial work of building community on our campus,” she said. “Students participating in this program are encouraged to engage closely with the Benedictine values that make Saint Martin's a unique university—through living on the Norcia leadership floor, participating in service immersion trips and retreats, spending time with the monastic community and enrolling in a dedicated Benedictine Studies course. Ultimately, our hope is that each Benedictine Scholar has an opportunity to develop their individual academic and leadership potential. In turn, they contribute in large and small ways to fostering a strong university community that reflects our cherished Benedictine identity.”

The sixth cohort of Benedictine Scholars are:

  • Beryl Baon, Waipahu, Hawaii, who is graduating from Waipahu High School and will major in computer science and psychology
  • Rowan Carabba, Acme, who will graduate from Mount Baker Senior High School and will major in music and religious studies
  • Jarek Dabrowski, Tumwater, who is set to graduate from Tumwater High School and will major in biology
  • Miguel De La Melena, Vancouver, who will graduate from Union High School and will major in mechanical engineering
  • Marie Dhanens, Olympia, who is set to graduate from Timberline High School and will major in business administration
  • Jason Fairhurst, Snohomish, who is graduating from Snohomish Senior High School and will major in civil engineering
  • Dakota Hill, Yelm, who will graduate from Yelm High School and will major in special education and mathematics
  • Soleil Lewis, Auburn, who is graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School and will major in mechanical engineering
  • Ashley Taylor, Riverside, California, who will graduate from Riverside Poly High School and will major in education and physical education
  • Francis Yarofalyango, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia, who is set to graduate from Yap Catholic High School and will major in mathematics and education

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washing­ton. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedic­tine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 340 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:

Floraliza Bornasal, Ph.D.
Faculty Advisor, Benedictine Scholars
Assistant professor, civil engineering

Angela Carlin, M.Div.
Staff Advisor, Benedictine Scholars
Director of Campus Ministry

Kevin Hyde
Media Relations Manager