Saint Louis University

Jennifer Mertens graduated from Saint Louis University in 2009, summa cum laude, with an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, International Studies, and Spanish. She was selected by the Political Science department for the Best Student Award in 2009. As an undergraduate, Jennie was a member of Micah House, an intentional faith-based service community working for social justice and peace. She also studied at SLU's Madrid campus, participated in Spring break mission trips to El Salvador, taught in a Peruvian slum, and was an active member of the Political Science club. She served as an intern in the Hamilton County Prosecutor's office in her native Cincinnati, and she performed political advocacy for the Saint Cecilia's Hispanic Ministry Center.

During her time at SLU, Jennie considered a number of different career options. An oceanography class left her so intrigued by the concept of underwater waterfalls that she considered becoming an oceanographer. While taking an English-Spanish translation class in Spain, she excitedly planned a future career in linguistics. It was Dr. Weiss' feminist political theory class that helped her see that law school was not the right career path for her. After graduation, she began writing a book on her religious calling and pursued an MA at the Chicago Theological Seminary.

Jennie speaks eloquently about her time at Saint Louis University: "I consider my spiritual growth to be the greatest testament to my SLU education. In part, this stems from an expanded understanding of my Catholic faith through SLU's emphasis on Church social teachings. ...Constantly, I was being challenged to discern, and then live out my faith values in a greater social context. In my Pax Christi group, for example, our belief in nonviolence led us to sponsor and participate in social actions that challenged the belief systems legitimizing the Iraq war." Jennie encountered many spiritual traditions at SLU. She says, "From my friendship with a Muslim student, to attending worship services in other faith communities, my SLU experience contributed immensely to my respect for and interest in the many expressions of the human experience."

Jennie says about the many friends that she has made at SLU: "Whether after an invigorating classroom discussion, public speaker, or just a weekend camping trip, we constantly search together for the language to uncover and articulate the underlying truths of our experiences. Indeed, we are a community of friends and thinkers who love to explore the depth and meaning of life itself."