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Lilly renews Saint Mary’s grant

Mandi Stirone | Friday, January 16, 2009

Lilly Endowment, Inc. has given Saint Mary’s College a five-year sustaining grant, according to a Saint Mary’s press release. The grant – the second the Endowment has given to Saint Mary’s – is in the amount of $359,000, also according to the press release.

According to the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Web site, the endowment encourages colleges and universities in Indiana to “retain in state more of their graduates.”

The original endowment, in the amount of $750,000, helped Saint Mary’s to develop the Indiana Careers at Saint Mary’s College (INC@SMC). The program supports “experiential learning opportunities, collaborative partnerships, networking grants, and structural changes,” the Saint Mary’s press release said.

“I feel as though the original grant provided many opportunities for the College’s students, faculty and staff to collaborate on developing, building and sustaining partnerships for internship and job opportunities within the state of Indiana,” said Stacie Jeffirs, Saint Mary’s Director of Career Opportunities.

“We have seen an entire shift at Saint Mary’s towards how internships are incorporated more readily into the academic and career goals of our students,” she said.

The biggest thing they do is offer stipends for students working in internships without pay, she said. This past summer, the program helped 22 students doing internships in Indiana, Jeffirs said.

They now plan to continue to work on these and other goals with the new sustaining grant, she said.

“With the new sustaining grant … we plan to continue to combat the ‘brain drain’ efforts of Indiana through preparing our students at earlier stages in their college careers,” she said.

“We plan to incorporate academic and career advising, implementing and ePortfolio system, providing career assessments, Indiana internship stipends, collegiate speaker series, and much more,” Jeffirs said.

INC@SMC isn’t the only program at Saint Mary’s assisted by the Lilly Endowment, Jeffirs said.

“The INC@SMC program is just a part of the larger sustaining grant that the College has recently received for the next five years,” she said. “Although the INC@SMC program will continue to offer internship stipends for students who participate in unpaid internships within Indiana, the sustaining grant as a whole will be looking to implement programs and initiatives that are far more reaching at the College.

“We are certain that with this new sustaining grant, the College will be able to move initiatives forward that will allow our students to have an enriching and fulfilling experience here at Saint Mary’s while exploring who they are, how they can make a difference, and discovering their passion and calling in life while exploring possibilities within Indiana,” she said.