Matthew Burgstahler, a junior at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, is a student leader who has demonstrated a great commitment to civic engagement and service. He is an active volunteer in our local, state and international community. As part of the Marie and Robert Jackson Fellows Program, he has been an intern at Wellshare International where he focused his work on public health. Matthew is a servant leader who acts on his values and is a credit to Saint John's and the entire Minnesota community.
Peace studies and social philosophy are strange classes for an Integrative Health Science student, but they were utterly transformative. I was compelled to pursue holistic medicine, and attempt to tackle the social determinants of health. Social Philosophy, helped me understand my motivation, which is rooted in human nature. I believe in the universal right to quality and culturally-competent healthcare. The goal of life is happiness for ourselves and others through service, and to dispel suffering and injustice anywhere it is present. Humanity is interdependent. This past summer, I helped revitalize the humanitarian community engagement work of the public health non-profit WellShare International. I developed a comprehensive domestic and international volunteer program. My involvement inspired me to work next summer at Citizens League in St. Paul on intergenerational conversations in healthcare. I volunteer at our local hospital, Anna Maries domestic abuse shelter, Special Olympics St. Cloud, and currently with Missionvale Care Center in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. As I study human rights and the apartheid in South Africa, Nelson Mandela's words are the most moving, "There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."