Every year, the Elizabeth Seton Mission Award is given to members of the Mount St. Joseph University staff who display incredible commitment to living out the mission of the University through going above and beyond in their work. This year the award was given to Jennifer Gross, a Student Administrative Services Representative, and Janet Baltzersen, the Manager of the Children’s Center. These two hard-working and outstanding women not only do their jobs diligently, but they form relationships with students and change their lives for the better, all without expecting anything in return.
Janet Baltzersen, who was “extremely surprised” to have received the award, was at first uncomfortable with being given the wonderful nomination letter people had written about her because she “always felt that you should do kind things for people without expecting a thank you, anything in return, or any recognition.”
Of course, she was incredibly touched by the letters and for good reason. As the manager of the Children’s Center, she says that parents and children have made a big impact on her life, and it’s safe to say she has had a big impact on them as well. When talking about the children, Baltzersen touched on how the children are her “absolute favorite part of the job” and are a “constant stream of joy” for her. The student parents also provide her with a deep sense of admiration considering how much they balance every day. She loves getting to know all of the parents, both staff and student, and creating a support system for herself and all of them.
When asked about what it means to live out the mission of the Mount, she talked about how her father influenced her to be kind to everyone and to enjoy life and the people in it. She said, “It doesn't matter what job you hold or how you personally define your mission, everyone has something unique to offer, adding that the smallest kind gestures can brighten anyone’s day.
Jennifer Gross, the other award recipient, assists students in solving financial aid issues, but also works above and beyond to provide other necessities to students like clothing and food. She was honored to be nominated for this award but feels like there are so many more wonderful people in the Mount community that should be recognized as well.
Her mom was her biggest influence in becoming the humble and caring person she is today because even though her family didn’t have much, her mom gave her children an amazing life and taught them to be kind to everyone they meet because you don’t know their story. Gross’ favorite part of her job is the students she works with, and being able to help them stay in school brings her immense joy. She is always the first to help and lives out the Mission by doing just that and never expecting anything in return.
These two women define what it means to live out the Mission of the Mount each and every day. The love and support they give to everyone they encounter is truly amazing and their commitment to doing so is both outstanding and admirable.