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Two years ago, she was helping form the Transforming Culture in America strategic plan for Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
Now Natalie Dykmann of Lenexa, Kansas, (pictured second from top right, above and top left, below) is making an impact with kids in New York City.
Dykmann, a 2020 graduate, studied Biology with a minor in Education and now works as a Seton Teaching Fellow in The Bronx, N.Y.
The Seton Teaching Fellow is a year of mission in public charter schools and provides support to the teachers. The Fellows also teach a Catholic Catechesis after-school program. After this year of mission, Natalie will work as a full-time teacher at the Public Charter School, Brilla Veritas Elementary School.
Two years ago, nine Benedictine College subcommittees met to see how the college’s mission of community, faith and scholarship, could transform culture. The subcommittees included leaders from industry, academia, media and health care. Dykmann was one of the students invited to attend, as a member of the Faith and Service Subcommittee
“The communal life isn’t always easy, especially when there are so many uncertainties right now. But because there are so many uncertainties, community is what has kept us grounded,” she said.
In her first weeks with the Seton Fellowship, “One thing that especially helped us in our growth as a community is having nightly dinners,” she added. “Creating a space where technology is put away and our full selves are present has allowed us to partake in intentional conversations. Intentionality in a community is key.”
Her faith leadership at Benedictine College also helped prepare her, she said. Dykmann coordinated Benedictine College mission trips for College Ministry.
“Through my work in the Ministry Office, I learned communication skills that have transferred over very well into my educational work,” she said. “Benedictine also prepared me to have the confidence to teach Catechism to 3rd graders. Because of how Benedictine shaped my faith life, I am now able to share it with my wonderful students.”
Last, the college’s emphasis on scholarship was critical, she said.
“Although I was a biology major and now work in an elementary school, my biology professors truly prepared me to enter any field. They prepared me to think deeply and critically about anything, and they also prepared me to ask good questions to further my thinking. I am able to ask my own students critical questions.”
To sum up, she said, “Benedictine gave me so many opportunities to grow in my personal and professional life, so I felt very prepared to enter life post-graduation.”
Images courtesy Seton Education Partners.