“I figured studying abroad would be my way to get out and see the world — see how people live their lives who are different from me,” she said.
She studied abroad three times including both a short-term and a semester-long trip to South Africa and a short-term Southeast Asia trip that encompassed Laos, Malaysia and Thailand.
The Southeast Asia trip introduced Steiner to Asian culture and history. It also touched on American history in relation to these countries, but it was the South Africa trip that touched Steiner’s heart.
“Going to South Africa, it felt like I was going home,” she said.
The trip helped Steiner get to know Africa, the home to some of her ancestors.
“Everyone was so welcoming there,” she said. “… It was an experience I couldn’t really put into words.”
Despite traveling abroad three times, Steiner is graduating on time in four years. It was the three trips that helped her find her future goal of working for the U.S. Foreign Service.
“I’ve experienced more here in college than I could have ever experienced anywhere else, so I think I made a really good choice of coming to St. Cloud,” she said.
Steiner is majoring in communication studies with an emphasis in persuasion and advocacy. Her minor is in intercultural communication studies and conflict management.
She found communication studies while participating in the University Honors Program as a freshman.
Her honors communication studies professor, the late Bruce Hyde, inspired her and encouraged her to explore the discipline, but it was a performance studies course with faculty member Tami Spry where she found her passion for the major.
“Just listening to her speak, I was like: ‘Wow, whatever she’s doing, that’s what I want to do’,” Steiner said.
She went on to foster a relationship with Spry who became her adviser and a mentor who’s helped guide her throughout her college career.
Persuasion and advocacy is crafting a story.
“It’s not acting. It’s not a play. It’s not a skit,” she said. “It’s embodying a persona and opening up the floor to hard conversations that we don’t normally have in everyday life.”
Steiner has given performances about student debt, her hair, her roots and about what being black means to her.
“I took the initiative to be involved on campus.”
Steiner has been involved throughout campus during her four years at St. Cloud State. She was in the University Honors Program, participated in the Dance Team for two years, served as an orientation leader and coordinator and worked in the Multicultural Student Services office, First Year and Transition Program and the Department of Campus Involvement.
“I took the initiative to be involved on campus,” she said. “I’m in a plethora of organizations, and I’ve worked in multiple offices on campus.”
Steiner also gave tours for admission and teaches group fitness classes for Campus Recreation in Halenbeck Hall and joined student organizations including the Communication Studies Club, National Society of Leadership and Success and the National Society of Greek Scholars.
“In college you’re supposed to reinvent yourself and make lifelong friends,” she said. “I figured the only way for myself to do that was to get involved in clubs because living at home and not getting the residence hall experience, I had to find my group of people. And that’s what I did through my organizations.”
Both staying near home and getting involved have opened doors for Steiner, who has been able to explore her interests by networking across campus and getting recommendations about how to achieve her goals.
“It’s just nice to know people because they can help you,” she said. “They can guide you through it. If they don’t know, they can ask someone who knows.”