BSN Nursing Students in the MSJ Mission Ambassador Program

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The mission of the MSJ Mission Ambassador Program is to “commit ourselves to creating an inclusive environment where persons of all faiths and no faith are welcomed. The Mission Ambassador Program is an intentional community of students who support and encourage one another in living the mission of Mount St. Joseph University while they explore the Catholic heritage and history of the Mount and the Sisters of Charity as a means of developing their own faith perspectives in service to the common good. Learn to intentionally engage with and serve as leaders within the faith, civic, and professional communities of which they are a part. Live their faith by engaging in regular prayer, retreats, and service to others.”


Below you will read about the MSJ Mission Ambassador Program in more detail from the perspective of some of our Nursing BSN students involved in this great organization!


What is the Mission Ambassador Program?


Noah Shrock: The Mission Ambassador Program here at Mount St. Joseph provides students with the opportunity to continue their faith journey throughout their college years, as well as providing an opportunity to give back to the community in many ways.

Taylor Whitehead: The Mission Ambassador Program is a scholarship opportunity offered by the Office of Mission Integration. Students who apply and participate in the required events are given a $1,000 scholarship each semester. It is the perfect opportunity to serve our Mount Saint Joseph University through campus ministry activities like Bible Study, Lions for Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), along with helping at Catholic Mass by being a sacristan, reader, server, and musician. Aside from the outreach that the Mission Ambassadors do, there is a team-like atmosphere that we all share, too. Each month and every other week we meet for community night meetings to grow in relationship with one another, which is a really fun opportunity to get to know the other students in the program.

Emma Godfrey: The Mission Ambassador Program is an incredible program that the Mount has to offer that is rooted in faith, community, service, and friendship. Our program focuses on highlighting the mission statement of The Mount, which encourages its students to respect all, embrace diversity of culture and beliefs, serve others, integrate life and learning, and achieve excellence in academic endeavors. We are able to embrace these values through bimonthly community nights, retreats, participation in campus events, pilgrimages, and so much more. This program focuses on community building from the second you step foot on campus, and the result is a deeply connected group of people able to set and achieve goals to better campus life and represent our university in a positive light.

Sydney Etris: It is a program at the mount that welcomes students of all religions and backgrounds. We focus on promoting the common good on campus and promoting religion on campus. We work closely with the Mission Integration Department. We help with many activities on campus and we are a faith-centered program.

Kylie Lay: The Mission Ambassador Program is a group of diverse students here on campus with different faiths and races where anyone is welcome! It is a chance to get involved here at the Mount and make new friends. The Mission Ambassador Program pushes you to get involved not only on campus but out in the community by doing service days, attending community nights, hosting bible studies, going on retreats, and much more!


Why did you decide to join the Mission Ambassador Program?


Noah Shrock: I decided to join the Mission Ambassador Program at the beginning of my second year at the Mount because I knew of a few of the members who were a great influence on this campus, and I knew that the mission of this program was something that I could not pass on the opportunity to jump on!

Taylor Whitehead: Throughout high school, I grew to have a love and deep desire to share the Gospel with my classmates and the people around me. When I applied to the Mount, I got a letter in the mail about the opportunity and decided to apply. The University being a Catholic school played a big role in my decision to come here, so I knew that getting involved with something like this program would give me the opportunity to continue to share my love for the Lord in this next transition of my life and be a great way to meet new people.

Emma Godfrey: I learned early on, even before applying to colleges, that it is common for students to get distracted and lost on their faith journey as they embark on this new path of life. I applied to this program as a way to prioritize my faith with this new step I was taking, which is exactly what happened. Being surrounded by a group of people with the same mindset and goals as me from the very first day solidified what a great decision, I made for myself. My faith life not only was maintained, but it thrived. I have learned so much about myself, my religion, and about others’ religions, and have even been able to step into leadership positions on campus, helping others on their journeys as well.

Sydney Etris: My older sister's class was the first class to be invited into the Mission Ambassador program and I heard so much about it while I was still in high school. It seemed like a good way to be able to meet new people and be involved on campus. I also did campus ministry in high school and I knew there were aspects of that that played into this program.

Kylie Lay: When I was coming out of high school and decided to come to MSJ, one of the first things I knew I wanted to do was the Mission Ambassador Program. I wanted to come to the mount knowing that I had a place as well as a chance to be exposed to people I wouldn't otherwise be exposed to. I was very adamant about growing in my faith and as a person, and I knew this program was a great way to do that!


What is the main goal of the Mission Ambassador Program?


Noah Shrock: The main goal of the Mission Ambassador Program, in my eyes, is to create a culturally inclusive space to learn and grow in faith and friendship whilst also providing opportunities for community service, and servant leadership.

Taylor Whitehead: The main goal of the Mission Ambassador is to promote the common good of the University, and to provide a place where all religions feel welcome.

Emma Godfrey: By definition, the main goal of the Mission Ambassador Program is to promote the Mission Statement of the University, which encourages students to respect all, embrace diversity of culture and beliefs, serve others, integrate life and learning, and achieve excellence in academic endeavors. We embrace these values and take them to another level, bringing them to life through our actions. Members of our program participate fruitfully in campus events, help out with masses, plan and participate in retreats, and plan bimonthly meetings focused on aspects of service, bettering ourselves, building relationships with our fellow members, and learning more about ourselves.

Sydney Etris: The main goal is to promote the common good for everyone on campus and to welcome, support, and live our faith and religion.

Kylie Lay: The main goal of this program is to dedicate yourself to doing things in the best interest of the school and your community.


Examples of recent work done locally, regionally, nationally, and/or globally?


Noah Shrock: While in the Mission Ambassador program, I have been provided the opportunity to volunteer for countless organizations and projects that provide much-needed help to not only the small college community but nationally as well.  We have made hygiene bags for homeless shelters, participated in the Appalachian service project, partnered with Erath Connection to recycle bottle caps that are made into park benches, and countless other opportunities.

Taylor Whitehead: Part of being a Mission Ambassador is completing 10 hours of community service a semester. This past year I assisted in making baby blankets to be donated, a high school retreat day that Mission Ambassadors hosted, welcome-week day of service, and even hanging coats at Dr. Willams’s staff and faculty Christmas party. Earth Connection and the Lions Cupboard are also great service opportunities offered on Mount Saint Joseph’s campus that always need volunteers. A project that I am working on with Maria Ditullio and Sister Karen to offer stations of the cross and Eucharistic Adoration various times throughout the 40 days of Lent.

Emma Godfrey: Locally, the Mission Ambassadors are focused on actively impacting the community around us. As a group, we have participated in countless service projects and events. One of our more recent projects involved holding a drive at local parishes to collect hygiene items. The response was incredible, we received hundreds of donations, which were organized into bags to be donated to shelters across the area. We have also been fortunate enough to make an impact on the lives of youth across Cincinnati. One of the most memorable things our program has sponsored is a retreat offered to high school students across Cincinnati, which focused on building leadership skills and being servant leaders. Members of the program had the opportunity to individually lead activities and speeches based on topics they were interested in.

We have been fortunate enough to have the chance to travel nationally to make an impact. Several students from the Mission Ambassador program were selected to go on a Mission trip to New Orleans this past December, where they helped to build a house for a family in need. One of my favorite memories from the past year and a half was traveling as a group to Emmitsburg, Maryland on a pilgrimage to learn more about the history of the Sisters of Charity and our University. With the expert minds of world-renowned Sisters of Charity, as well as our own Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton experts here on campus, I was presented with an opportunity to journey directly into the past, and was submerged in history like never before. I was able to actively learn about American history, walk in the same spaces as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, see the beautiful rolling hills that inspired her journey into Emmitsburg, and even learn a little more about myself along the way. I left this pilgrimage with not only lifelong friends but filled with the fire to represent the University’s values in a positive light. Simply walking around our beautiful campus is now a reminder of the unique history that we share as members of The Mount community, and that itself encourages me to live out the values of perseverance, faith, and love in my daily life, just as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton did.

Sydney Etris: Mission Trip to Baltimore, Emmitsburg, and Gettysburg to learn about the history of the Sisters of Charity and learn about where the mount started, planned and led the High School Retreat day at the beginning of January, helped with Baccalaureate and Graduation, community nights, Cyclones Hockey Game, a trip to the Maria Stein Shrine, retreat at Camp Kern, helped with Mrs. Williams's Christmas Lunch for the Sisters of Charity. We sent students to the New Orleans Service Trip and I believe we are sending students on the CAP trip during spring break. We are also sending many students on the Service Learning trip to Italy in May

Kylie Lay: Back in December some of the ambassadors traveled to New Orleans for a Mission Trip and this spring we have another trip planned for Appalachia.


What do you like most about the Mission Ambassador Program?


Noah Shrock: The aspect that I love most about the Mission Ambassador Program is the sense of community that I am given while I am away from home.

Taylor Whitehead: One thing that I really value about the program is the efforts that are placed for us students to grow in the knowledge of the history of the University and the role that the Sisters of Charity play here in Cincinnati. In May of 2022, a group of us when to Baltimore, Emmitsburg, and Gettysburg, Maryland to learn about the history of the founding of the Sisters of Charity through the life of the American Saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton. This pilgrimage not only helped me to grow an appreciation for the Catholic Church’s role in education but their role in health care. Being a nursing major helped me to appreciate this history even more.

The opportunity of being a Mission Ambassador has not only helped me get to know more people and share more about my faith with others, but it has given me the opportunity to learn to be a servant leader in all that I do. It has surrounded me with friends who help me to stay grounded in my faith, and I am grateful to be at a school where I can become a nurse and share Christ’s love with others.

Emma Godfrey: The Mission Ambassador program truly has so much to offer. While this program offers countless opportunities to better yourself, whether that be in your faith life, in your personal life, or honing your leadership skills, I think the best thing about this program is the relationships that it fosters. From day one at the Mount, I was welcomed with open arms and felt a part of a family instantly. I have built relationships with incredible faculty members who not only serve as mentors and advocates but friends and I have built lifelong friendships with peers I may as well consider family. This program has made the college experience more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined, and I am so thankful for all that the Mission Ambassadors have to offer.

Sydney Etris: I love the people I'm around, the friends I've made, and the connections I have with students of all backgrounds, religions, grades, majors, etc.

Kylie Lay: My favorite part of being a Mission Ambassador is the people I have met through it! Michelle Arnold, Maria Ditullio, Sister Karen Elliot, and my fellow ambassadors are such a joy to be around. I have made connections that are so genuine and will last a lifetime. It also gives me a chance to put myself out there and grow in my faith!