Gaining knowledge in prison

By: Huntre Keip ’20, Editor in Chief

Internships grant students invaluable lessons to enhance their futures, but one internship landed an LVC student in prison.

Nathaniel Clugston, a senior religion and history double major, served as a prison chaplain intern at the Moose Lake and Willow River Correctional Facilities in Minnesota. On a one to five security scale, the facilities were rated at a level three.

“I found the internship after an intensive online search for chaplain internships,” Clugston said. “There are very few that are open to undergraduates, so to have found one, I knew it would be a unique experience where I would also be challenged to grow a lot.”

Clugston’s responsibilities included assisting the chaplain by answering inmate requests for spiritual resources, assisting religious volunteers with their services and programs and providing pastoral counseling to inmates.

“This internship definitely gave me a huge insight into what a chaplain does in his day-to-day job,” Clugston said. “I think the experience that I gained there will help me prepare for many of the unique situations and challenges that chaplains encounter.”

During his time as chaplain intern, Clugston was exposed to plenty of experiences, but there are a couple moments that continually stick with him.

“I attended a baptism ceremony that prison chaplain facilitated and provided pastoral counseling in the segregation unit which has very enhanced security measures,” he said. “Also, my favorite story is meeting an inmate who was incarcerated for the past 17 years, earned his GED, a bachelor’s degree and plans on attending seminary while pursuing a master’s degree when he is released in three years.”

These stories motivated Clugston. After graduation, he plans on pursuing his master’s degree and become a military chaplain.