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cENTER FOR MISSION & RESEARCH

The Center for Mission and Research connects St. John’s with the world around us. We promote interdisciplinary inquiry and action through the focus areas of environmental sustainability, global health and wellness, innovation and design, and justice and peace. Through our programs and initiatives, we encourage thinking critically, taking risks, and building resilience while engaging humanity’s biggest challenges.

Preview of Brother Sullivan Lecture with Danielle Wood, Ph.D., Space Engineer, Educator, and Scholar: April 7, 2022

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Danielle Wood to St. John’s Spring 2022 installment of the Brother Sullivan C.F.X. Lecture on April 7, 2022. Dr. Danielle Wood is taking the lead on bringing space technology back to Earth. The Director of MIT’s cutting-edge Space Enabled Research Lab, Wood takes the tools that typically orbit us, and applies them to projects advancing social good on our home planet—whether that’s improving water sources for African teens, or preventing the next famine. Her talks break down the most complex, cosmic technologies to show us how, with the practice of innovation and a little entrepreneurial spirit, they can be used to improve humanity.

Advanced Research Capstone Spotlight

Police reform, disruptive innovation, mental health, food waste, LGBT history: these were just some of the diverse topics of focus of the Advanced Research Capstone during the 2020-2021 Academic Year. See a showcase of the students’ projects and videos of their final presentations here. 

Focus Areas

Environmental Sustainability

Matt Spearing, Director of Environmental Sustainability
  • Cultivate action that brings us in greater harmony with creation and minimizes our ecological footprint.

  • Strengthen relationships to advance local and global responses to climate change.

  • Promote behavior that balances the interconnected systems of sustainability: environment, economy, and equity.

Innovation and Design

Nora Maginn Fame, Shaw Family Director of Innovation and Design
  • Embrace empathy-centered problem solving and other practices of effective design to create sustainable solutions.

  • Integrate a variety of perspectives and disciplines with the understanding that innovation requires diversity.

  • Support student agency and foster an appreciation for failure as a learning tool.

Justice and Peace

Chris Bauer, Director of Justice and Peace
  • Put into action our school’s responsibility to form agents for social transformation.

  • Challenge our community to embrace a spirituality that does justice.

  • Practice solidarity and transform dynamics of privilege and power.

Global Health and Wellness

Samira Tella, Director of Global Health and Wellness
  • Understand and appreciate how psychological, economic, spiritual, social, and biological factors interrelate to affect health.
  • Raise awareness and foster inquiry that contributes to valuing the life and dignity of each person throughout the world.
How We Engage

Advanced Research Capstone

The Advanced Research Capstone is a critical learning experience that provides an opportunity for intellectual problem solving, social change, and community engagement through the interdisciplinary focus areas of the Center for Mission and Research. The course allows students to deeply explore research methods and design by constructing a focused research-based project in an area of primary interest. By the end of the year, students will showcase their new knowledge through a written research paper, product, and public presentation. Ultimately, this course enables students to engage and reflect on local and global issues in order to contribute towards a more just society. Here is the link to the SJP Advanced Research Capstone website.

Global Education

Each year high school students have the opportunity to participate in an academic program in a different part of the world. This experience allows students to engage in learning beyond our campus, and examine issues through a truly global lens. This is an honors-level academic course worth .25 credits. 

Fall 2020: Comparing Communities Through Sustainable Development Goals - Saskatchewan, Canada

Fall 2021: Connecting Communities Through SDGs - Uttar Pradesh, India & Saskatchewan, Canada

Collaboration & Community
The Center directors collaborate with faculty across disciplines to provide resources that enhance understanding of issues related to the Center’s areas of focus.

October 2020: Middle School Humility Day

October 2021: Middle School Simplicity Day

January 2021: TEDxStJohnsPrep - Students in middle school and high school gave live-streamed TEDx talks broadcast from Kaneb Theater in Alumni Hall. Students worked with volunteer alumni and faculty mentors to craft and deliver their talks. The theme of the talks was from our high school community read, Tattoos on the Heart: “Kinship – not serving the other, but being one with the other.” -Fr. Greg Boyle (Spring 2021 Bro. Sullivan Lecture Speaker). Watch the TEDx talks here:

Lecture Series

The Brother Robert J. Sullivan, C.F.X. Lecture Series brings innovators and leaders to St. John’s Prep to explore how an ethics-based education can shape decision-making in the real world. 

Future speakers include Dr. Danielle Woodscholar of societal development with a background that includes satellite design, earth science applications, systems engineering, and technology policy. In her research, Prof. Wood applies these skills to design innovative systems that harness space technology to address development challenges around the world. 

View the list of past speakers here, including environmentalist Bill McKibben (You can listen to an hour-long podcast students created here as a preview to his visit), Father Greg Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries, Vijay Gupta, Social Advocate and Violinist, and Samantha Power, Former US Ambassador to the UN.

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