Public Service

Many of our majors develop a deep interest in serving society on a variety of levels. Many have accepted positions with local service agencies, city and state governments, and international NGOs. Others have become clergy, physicians, veterinarians, journalists, intelligence analysts for the government, and the list goes on.

The interest in serving, which many of our majors possess, often leads to a year or more of volunteer work after graduating. Some join the Peace Corps, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, Teach For American, or Americorps. Other teach English as a second language.

We often recommend to students interested in the public sector that they consider earning a master’s degree in public policy or public administration or in another related area. These programs usually are two years in length and they do a terrific job of combining the academic and practical worlds. Many public universities have created institutes that provide this training (the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota and the LaFollete Institute at the University of Wisconsin are two such examples).

Shannon (Miller) Duval graduated in 1995 with majors in English and Political Science. While in the University of Indiana graduate program for higher education administration, she developed an interest in nonprofit leadership. Shannon has served in leadership positions in several hospital foundations and is currently the president of Mercy Medical Foundation in Des Moines.

Lorna (Benson) Horwich has worked for Minnesota Public Radio in many capacities (including news director in the St. Peter bureau and local host of All Things Considered) since graduating from in 1990 with majors in Political Science and Communications. She currently is a St. Paul-based correspondent for MPR, covering health care and environmental issues.

Marjorie Opuni-Akuamoa graduated in 1992 with majors in French and Political Science prior to earning multiple degrees (including a Ph.D.) at Johns Hopkins. She has served as Senior Advisor for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in Switzerland.

Michael Osterholm graduated from Luther in 1975 with majors in Political Science and Biology. His interest in science and policy has resulted in work as state epidemiologist in Minnesota, advisor to Director of HHS Tommy Thompson, leading spokesperson regarding many matters related to public health and currently director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at University of Minnesota where he also is a professor in the School of Public Health. In 2005 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Tyler Wiese earned a law degree at University of Minnesota after graduating from Luther in 2008 with degrees in Philosophy and Political Science. He is currently an attorney at the National Labor Relations Board, having been selected in 2011 as one of only two General Counsel Honors Attorney.

Kris Lyndon Wilson was one of the many 1997 majors to spend a semester in Washington (she interned in the U.S. House Committee on Education). After Luther, Kris earned an M.S. in a legislative affairs program at Rutgers University.  She is currently the Assistant to the City Administrator in Shakopee, Minnesota.