A Home Away From Home

A home away from home is how Roslyn Udairam describes the St.Kates MIPS (Multicultural International Programs and Services) office. As her position at St. Catherine University has come to an end, Roslyn will be moving on to work with the Upper Bound program at Dakota County Technical College. During such a bittersweet time, I sat down to understand the departure of such an important pillar of the MIPS community.

Roslyn’s position at Dakota County Technical College will provide her with the resources to pursue a Ph.D. as well as continue to work with students and give back to her community. Her devotion to community and education began at St. Cloud State Bridge Program, the Advance Preparation Program(APP) is focused on integrating students from high school into college successfully, providing students with leadership and academic skills to sustain them throughout their college careers. As a first-generation, low-income student, Roslyn originally attended St. Cloud in the pursuit of a Marine biology degree. However, due to family expectations, Roslyn switched her major and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Management with a minor in Spanish.

As a general manager for multiple PacSun locations throughout Minnesota, Roslyn was able to apply her degree toward a profitable job where she could contribute to her family. Along with community and education, family is another important value to Roslyn. In our interview, she shared with me that, “My MIPS team was my greatest support. They’re my family away from home”. Family was an important deciding factor when Roslyn was originally looking at her former position back in 2014.

As Assistant Director of the MIPS program at St. Catherine, Roslyn has been a key player in many different programs. The peer mentor program that supports first-years by providing them with a mentor, “The program really ensures student start out above the status quo” says Roslyn. The graduates of color committee, which takes place every Mayis another program that Roslyn has contributed to. Once every May, a group of ten to thirteen undergraduate students coordinate an event for upcoming graduates, an event created by students for students to shine a light on their achievements. The MIPS staff has become a fundamental piece in furthering the mission for women, as well as create a thriving environment for students outside of the academic setting.

In closing, Roslyn says to her students and fellow community members, “I hope to continue to push them forward, you only have one time to go the distance. Be resilient and bounce back, never give up if you find yourself defeated take a break but don't give up. Ultimately, what are you doing to be your best self, are being the best you can be?”