By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Samantha Sterner, daughter of Jeff and Connie Sterner of Winsted, became a spokesperson for more than 17,000 students attending St. Cloud State University (SCSU) when she was recently elected vice president of its Student Government Association (SGA).
SGA promotes student interests by providing funding for student organizations, formally addressing issues or concerns related to the student body, as well as representing students on a statewide level through the Minnesota State University Student Association.
The organization also provides a variety of services for students such as legal assistance, grade dispute mediation, and hosts numerous events.
Sterner, who is a junior at St. Cloud State, has been interested in politics and the government system since she applied and was elected as senator-at-large, serving on the university’s legislative affairs committee and elections committee in the spring of 2008.
“Once I became a part of the decision-making process for major university issues on the senate, I realized I wanted to continue and increase my involvement,” Sterner said. “Having a say in major decisions like where university monies are spent, whether or not to invest in a grease-run bus, and meeting with legislators at the state capitol were major things that encouraged me to work harder for the students.”
Sterner was appointed chair of the legislative affairs committee the spring of 2009.
Following a “JamSam 09” campaign (newly elected SGA president Michael Jamnick contributed to the campaign slogan), in April, she was elected the vice president of SGA.
The campaign consisted of small flyers with main issues, full platform handouts, buttons, signs, knocking on dormitory doors and facebook groups.
Jamnick and Sterner also participated in a live debate with two other candidates that were running against them.
The debate was recorded and replayed around campus for a week before elections.
As the vice president of SGA, Sterner will manage all internal and day-to-day functions of the organization, as well as maintain all financial records and document all transactions.
“I think the experience will certainly be useful in future jobs,” Sterner said.
She is majoring in finance and plans to be a financial consultant with a firm or work in the finance department of a corporation specializing in the company’s investment portfolios.
“If I could somehow tie in my love for numbers with the federal government system and/or international relations, I’d have my dream job,” she said.
Sterner is currently interning in Munich, Germany.
Her six-month internship is with Microsoft as a content developer for its Ciao US web site (www.ciao.co.uk).
“Basically, I do a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for this popular search web site in the UK,” Sterner said.
She works with several other people who do the same job content development for the other Ciao web sites (Ciao Sweden, Ciao German, Ciao Netherlands, Ciao Spain, Ciao Italy, Ciao France).
“It’s a very diverse team,” she said
“I do like Germany, especially Munich,” Sterner said. “It is very exciting here, with all of the history and people; there’s always something to do. But living in a different country, while it builds my awareness and cultures my mind, has also made me appreciate home far more than I ever have. Thus, I love living here temporarily, but I am just too American and I love my family too much to stay here forever.”
When Sterner returns, she will still have two semesters left before she graduates December 2010.
Her plans include staying involved in SGA for the remainder of her studies.
“It is far too important to me and there is too much work to be done for me to quit before graduating,” Sterner said.