As we say farewell to the 2019-20 St. Joseph Workers and welcome the 2020-21 SJWs, we wanted to give the below update from the SJW Program. This includes a reflection from 2014-15 SJW Monica Shaffer about her experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting her path at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

We Welcome the 2020-21 St. Joseph Workers!

We are excited to welcome six St. Joseph Workers starting in early August – Britta, Lydia, Laura, Sarah, Lillia and Karina. We invite you to meet them at our Welcoming Ritual on Thursday, August 27 at 7:00 p.m. (for more information, please contact We look forward to the year ahead!

Farewell to the 2019-20 SJWs

The St. Joseph Worker Program has been engaged in many transitions these months, as we said goodbye to Bridget, Katie, Katlyn and Chelsea. We have felt so grateful to have them join our community and wish them well on their next journey. Once a SJW, always a SJW. 

A Reflection on the COVID-19 Pandemic and Pursuing Education

I am Monica Shaffer, I completed my SJW year 2014 – 15 and have decided to return to school after spending several years working with women experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities. I will be starting at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in a few weeks. I was asked to reflect on how the pandemic has influenced my education. All of my classes will be online. I’ve been told that traditionally, the first year of law school is kind of like starting undergrad – you get a cohort of students whom you have all your generals with and they become your “family.” However, with this first semester being online, I will never have met any of these people face to face until second semester or even next year. Additionally, I am certainly concerned about what it will be like to study and attend classes at home, with technology rarely behaving the way I want it to, and constant distractions. However, the pandemic (as we know) has illuminated the lack of equity in our world and as I sit safely in my home I know I benefit from our broken system. This severity has served as a reminder of why I’m going to law school in the first place. My plan is to use my privilege (supportive partner, safe home, college education, substantial work experience) to obtain a JD and from there use that privilege (my law degree) to make sure those voices who are silenced can be heard at the table.

August 3rd, 2020