Every month throughout the academic year the Staff Council randomly selects a staff member to celebrate in our Spotlight on Staff.
This month the staff person in the spotlight is Ryan Lamberton, Community Engagement Coordinator for CILSA (Catholic Institute of Lasallian Social Action). Ryan’s office is in the old Power Plant and one of three locations on campus where CILSA is housed.
Born in Woodland and raised in Sonora in the Sierra Foothills, Ryan came to Saint Mary’s as a freshman and majored in English Literature. During his years as an undergraduate, Ryan enjoyed taking a course in Irish Lit with Brother Ronald, traveled to Washington, D.C. for a Christian Service Internship with Brother Michael Avila, and was one of our student Bonner Leaders, who serve with community partner organizations throughout the Bay Area. After receiving his B.A. in 2005, he spent a year substitute teaching in the Mount Diablo School District, was an intern with the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and worked for a non-profit that serves adults with developmental disabilities.
When an opportunity arose, Ryan returned to Saint Mary’s and into his current position. Ryan strengthened his ties with the Alumni Office by completing his second SMC degree in 2012: an M.A. in Counseling in the Kalmanovitz School of Education, while working full-time in CILSA. Ryan describes the program as holistic and Lasallian, and his thesis, “Fostering Spiritual Development of College Students through Summer Service Learning,” helped enrich his work. Ryan agreed to answer a few questions.
1) How long have you been at Saint Mary's?
I’ve spent about a 1/3 of my life (10 years) at Saint Mary’s in one form or another…as an undergraduate student, graduate student, and a staff member. SMC has become a second home for me. I’m beginning my sixth year as a proud staff member of the college.
2) Tell us a little about your job here.
I work as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action CILSA. I direct the Bonner Leader Program, a co-curricular student leadership development program in which about 20 students make a one-year, 300-hour commitment to serve on campus or at various community partner organizations throughout the Bay Area. The CILSA student leaders help to promote a culture of community service and social justice education at the college.
Students at SMC are not required to engage in community service but each year over 40% of the student body does so through a course, one time service opportunities, or through CILSA’s leadership development programs. CILSA Bonner Leaders have been instrumental in creating a culture of service here at the college.
I also direct the Micah Summer Fellowship Program and the Alumni Summer Fellowship Program in which students engage in an eight-week intensive service-learning immersion.
I’ve played a lead role in organizing a Bay Area Student Leadership and Social Conference as well as playing a lead role in bringing Social Justice Speakers to SMC including: Jim Keady, Shane Claiborne, and Immaculee Ilibagiza.
I’ve enjoyed serving on various committees including the Staff Council, the First Year Experience Committee, and the Gaelebration Committee. I’m looking forward to co-teaching a Jan-Term Travel course with Jim Losi entitled ‘Rwanda –Turi Kumwe –We are Together’ in 2013.
3) What do you enjoy the most/find most rewarding about your job?
I enjoy accompanying students who are eager to be the change they wish to see in the world. I love working with staff and faculty who are committed to the Liberal Arts, Catholic, and Lasallian traditions of the college. Working at SMC has been such a gift and blessing; I’ve been holistically enriched as a staff member of SMC.
4) What do you enjoy most about the SMC Community/Campus?
SMC is a special place. I’ve been transformed in the time that I’ve spent here. From the beauty of the campus to the hospitality of the fellow staff, faculty and Christian Brothers…it is a one of a kind place.
5) Outside of work, is there anything you'd like to share about you interests, hobbies, family, or volunteer work?
Outside of work…Married my high school sweetheart Meghan…she’s a professional massage therapist. Drop me a line if you need an excellent massage therapist! I have two daughters, Hannah Victorya (5) who started Kindergarten at a dual language immersion school in Oakland and Caitlyn Camille (3) who started preschool this year.
I enjoy running and cycling. I’ve run a couple of half marathons and a couple of full marathons. I love living in Oakland and have recently become an elected member of my neighborhood association.
6) What would you like the SMC Community to know about you?
I’m exceedingly grateful to work at a place like Saint Mary’s. I’m thankful for all of the staff, faculty, and students who have been a part of my journey. I love to learn and I’m learning to love.
By Robert Henderson