EdD Alumni Profile: Nick Van Santen


The EdD program provided both a robust education and a transformative educational experience — one that brought new ideas, new practices, and new friendships into my life. In addition to a career boost, my dissertation, From Isolation to Intimacy: The Spiritual Development of Students in a Living-Learning Community, provided me opportunities for personal growth, deeper reflective tools, and additional resources to stay grounded in my life and work.


Currently, I work at the Mission and Ministry Center at Saint Mary’s College as the Assistant Director of Student Formation and Immersions. I oversee the emotional and spiritual development of over 15 undergraduate student leaders, our student-led food pantry (GaelPantry), three co-curricular immersions, and I am a co-instructor for a Living-Learning Community that emphasizes justice, community, and spirituality.

Due to the unique demands of my position, the emphasis on interdisciplinary leadership within the EdD program gave me the freedom to pursue interests that were most relevant to my personal and professional life. My cohort of co-learners, many of whom are now my friends, provided a dynamic and rich learning environment.