Recognized as the most ethnically diverse college in the Midwest, Donnelly College is continuing to serve its primarily first-generation and minority students through a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Stoothoff said.
“The real goal is for our first-generation college students to have a pathway from what they are learning in the classroom to an internship in the areas of STEM and environmental issues,” said Stoothoff, who serves as the vice president of Academic and Student Affairs and the Dean of the College.
The Catholic college’s main areas of study include nursing, business leadership and entrepreneurship and information systems, making the EPA the perfect partner, Stoothoff said.
“Nothing can replace on-the-job training and getting into a lab to apply your knowledge; the EPA is willing to provide that,” she said.
Click here to learn more about Donnelly College.
Along with student internships and job opportunities, the partnership is expected to bring about joint research projects, workshops, seminar speakers, grant opportunities, scientific equipment and environmental student initiatives.
“It is not solidified yet, but we are talking about the possibility of a community garden,” Stoothoff said. “One of our goals [at Donnelly] is civic engagement, so we would love to work with the EPA on a community garden and really involve the greater Kansas City community.”
“Also, Donnelly just put solar panels on our new [campus] building and nursing school, so the EPA is going to help us do an energy audit assessment,” she continued, noting that the audit assessment will allow the college to present data on the benefits and possibilities of installing solar panels in the urban core of Kansas City.
Mission of stewardship
Located in the heart of Kansas City, Kansas, part of Donnelly College’s mission is to provide education and community services with an awareness of the needs of each student, especially those who might not otherwise be served.
“One of the most interesting things is that a lot of our students don’t understand that they can make a difference,” Stoothoff said. “They think that way because they don’t come from a high socioeconomic status or because they are first generation.
“But what they don’t see is that they have enormous potential and enormous talent that others need to benefit from,” she continued. “That is what we are trying to instill in them — that they contribute to conversations from a perspective that everyone needs to hear, especially in the politics of today’s society.”
In order to equip their students with the necessary resources, Stoothoff said that all services from financial counseling to admissions night are offered in Spanish for both parents and students. Through reaching these students, the talent pool in Kansas City continues to grow, she added.
The second part of Donnelly College’s mission statement is to continue the life of Jesus Christ by making the love of God tangible on Earth, she said. In doing so, the college teaches students the importance of being environmentally responsible, Stoothoff said.
“Pope Francis talks about how we are stewards of the environment, and that we need to take care of not only the physical Earth, but the physical humans who occupy the earth,” Stoothoff said. “We have conversations about being environmentally conscious about small things, maybe starting with the recycling program, and then working up to a community garden and talking about the benefits of solar panels.”
Stoothoof has no doubt students will make the most of Donnelly’s partnership with the EPA, she said.
“I teach a first-year experience class every year, and I adore the students,” Stoothoff said, smiling. “They want to come to college and learn. They want this for themselves. They are what makes Donnelly a really neat place.”