Recent News from Campuses
Gustavus Adolphus College students Elise Le Boulicaut ‘18, Ben Rorem ‘19, and Xiaoqi Yu ‘19 have been named Rossing Physics Scholars for 2017-2018 for their exemplary standing as students in physics.
Le Boulicaut will receive one of the three $10,000 scholarships awarded by the Rossing Fund for Physics Education Endowment through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Foundation. Rorem and Yu will each receive one of the ten $5,000 honorable mention scholarships awarded by the foundation.
Funded by Dr. Thomas Rossing, the program awards annual scholarships to students enrolled at one of the 26 colleges and universities affiliated with the ELCA who are pursuing an education in physics. Applicants are nominated by their institution’s professors and selected by the foundation based on the student’s academic and research standing.
In the last seven years of the program, Gustavus physics students have accepted 11 of the available scholarships. This year, Le Boulicaut, Rorem, and Yu represent Gustavus as the only institution to receive three awards.
“All three of these students showcase strong academic skills and have excelled in our department. We are very proud of their work,” said physics professor Tom Huber. “As a department, we understand the importance of participating in outside research for a student’s career and we encourage all of our physics students to pursue these opportunities. Elise, Ben, and Xiaoqi thrived in their summer research positions, each using their skills and experiences to successfully produce strong academic work.”
Le Boulicaut, a junior from Angers, France, conducted research at the College of William and Mary over the summer, where she developed programs and tested models to predict risk of infection in premature infants. “I learned a lot through this experience. I was able to practice finding my own resources, documenting research, and presenting my findings,” said Le Boulicaut.
At Gustavus, Le Boulicaut attributes much of her success to the physics department, where she frequently meets with professors, visits tutors, and participates in academic and social events. She recommends the full immersion to future students. “By utilizing the amazing community, you will make the most out of your Gustavus physics education,” she said.
Outside of the classroom, Le Boulicaut sings in the Choir of Christ Chapel and takes private voice and piano lessons on campus. She also leads the Swing Dance Club, Newman Center, and French Club. She plans to pursue a doctorate in physics after graduating from Gustavus. In the future, she hopes to take her strong interest in high-energy particle physics and astronomy to conduct research, teach, and write textbooks in the discipline.
A sophomore from North Mankato, Rorem spent last summer conducting research as a member of the Gustavus First-Year Research Experience (FYRE) Program, which pairs students with faculty to conduct research in various focuses. Rorem worked side by side with physics professor Charles Niederriter to explore wind turbines and the power they produce. In his second year in the program, he has developed important relationships with the faculty. “I have been interested in science my whole life, and Professors Mellema and Niederriter have provided invaluable advice along my path in physics. It is an honor to represent them and receive this award,” Rorem said.
A chemistry minor, Rorem is involved on campus as a Gustie Greeter, a member of the Swim and Dive Team, and a member of the Choir of Christ Chapel. After graduation, he plans on pursuing a doctorate in either physics or engineering. Eventually, Rorem hopes to work in a career focused on wind and solar energy.
Yu, a sophomore from Wuhan, China, was also a participant in the FYRE program, where she studied Optical Coherence Tomography with physics professor Steve Mellema. After she sent a cold email, she was offered a research opportunity at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, China during the 2016 fall semester. During her time back in China, Yu explored her home country, connected with professors and students of various backgrounds, and studied decomposed velocity fields with gravity models.
On campus, Yu is involved at Gustavus through the International Club, Martial Arts Club, and through work with the physics and mathematics departments. Eventually, she hopes to be able to return to Beijing to continue her research. Looking ahead, Yu’s passion lies in scientific research: “In Beijing, I worked with people from different countries but we all shared the common goal of learning more about the universe and promoting the exciting parts of science to the next generation. In the future, I hope to be like Dr. Rossing and not only be able to conduct scientific research, but also be able to encourage young people to pursue science.”
To learn more about physics at Gustavus, visit the department’s website.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Although there is an abundance of research about affordable housing and an equal abundance of research about aging adults, there is surprisingly little data connecting the two topics.
So St. Olaf College student Amanda Vergara ‘17 teamed up with Assistant Professor of Social Work and Family Studies Lisa Moore to investigate multigenerational families living under one roof in affordable housing.
Vergara had an internship in the truancy intervention department at the Centro Tyrone Guzman, and she and Moore explored the connection between the topics of affordable housing and aging adults. The research, conducted through the St. Olaf TRIO McNair Scholars Program, focused on analyzing current affordable housing policies, interviewing housing professionals, and conducting fieldwork to map the assets of each target area.
As the first students to assist with this project, Vergara and Natalia Soler ‘17 looked into background information on the topic. This research consisted of many interviews, archival research, and learning about specific neighborhoods.
While there is still work to be done, after this section of the project they found that affordable housing policies do not overtly support intergenerational caretaking, partly stemming from difficulties with the availability of resources and coordination of social services.
Through her time with Centro Tyrone Guzman, Vergara saw the demand for bilingual social workers, a career that she now plans to pursue. After graduating, she plans to earn her Master in Social Work degree.
For Vergara, at the beginning of her college career she — like many students — was not thinking about graduate school. St. Olaf Professor of Social Work Mary Carlsen ’79 identified Vergara as a strong applicant for the McNair Scholars Program her sophomore year. “It was touching that someone was looking out for me,” says Vergara.
The TRIO McNair Program aims to increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students who participate in undergraduate research, graduate with a B.A., and encourage them to pursue graduate studies and Ph.D.s.
In addition to a summer of conducting student/faculty research, Vergara spent a semester in Mexico with a study abroad program specifically for social work majors. The program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, aims to develop cross-culturally competent, ethical social work professionals with a global perspective by providing a semester of transformative, experiential learning focused on social and economic justice.
“I would like to return to Mexico someday and am interested in working in Spanish-speaking countries,” says Vergara.
This year Vergara also lives in the Diversity Awareness House, which aims to support multicultural students in order to promote and foster unity for students of diverse heritage and backgrounds. The group has monthly events on campus with the Center for Multicultural and International Engagement (CMIE).
“Through all of these experiences at St. Olaf, I really feel like I’ve found myself,” Vergara says. “I came here really not knowing what I wanted to do, but it’s been a transformative experience.”
WINONA, Minn. — The public is invited to the ribbon cutting and dedication of Saint Mary’s University’s new Science and Learning Center on Friday, May 12.
The ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m., and tours and refreshments will follow.
Everyone is invited to join the university as it ushers in a new vision for science education excellence. The cost of the project—Saint Mary’s most ambitious building project to date— is $19.7 million. Through the generosity of benefactors, Saint Mary’s has already raised more than $17 million for this state-of-the-art facility.
Highlights of the 50,000-square-foot building include:
- State-of-the-art classrooms and labs that will serve as optimal learning environments and provide a platform for increased research opportunities.
- A layout specially designed to promote hands-on learning opportunities.
- An interior atrium that will visually connect all three floors and welcome sunlight from the building’s skylights, creating ideal spaces for study and student interactions outside of the classroom.
- A 120-seat tiered lecture hall that will accommodate multi-purpose events for the campus and community.
Wight & Company of Chicago is serving as the architect and general contractor. RSVP online at smumn.edu/slcdedication.
A Minnesotan, a graduate of the liberal arts, and a longtime teacher of the art of writing, Charles Baxter’s work delivers grace, intelligence, and a sly, Midwestern wit. Before he brings all of it to campus on Tuesday, April 25, we asked him a few questions.
Gustavus: What can the study of the liberal arts as an undergraduate do for a person? How did it shape you into the writer and thinker you are now?
CB: In brief: the liberal arts are traditionally those that teach us to think critically about any and all subjects that we might meet up with in life. They mean to acquaint us with the important ideas and works of art and other monuments of the spirit that have shaped human history, especially so that we do not fear ideas; we should feel free, knowing human history, to come up with some ideas and artworks of our own. In a practical country like ours, the liberal arts are often under siege by those who believe that education should mean vocational training. But what a liberal arts education should teach us is how to think, and to recognize lies when we hear them.
Gustavus: What should Minnesota’s undergraduates know about writing—discovering life and themselves through it?
CB: Writing is a craft like any other, and any craft takes time and patience and hard work to learn. To practice an art, you have to be a person who wants to go through an apprentice phase, and you have to be stubborn, and you have to be inner-directed, because most of your family and friends will not be particularly encouraging about your pursuit. Probably you need to discover a good part of life before you sit down to write about it. But writing can also teach you, or can encourage you, to practice empathy, which is what you do when you imagine someone who is not like you, and you create that person on the page, and you turn that imaginary construct into a living, breathing person.
Gustavus: How does reading literature make us more human, and how can we foster that in ourselves?
CB: Reading literature should lead us to an understanding of people who are not like us, and literature can also provide us with models, both positive and negative, for how people behave under dramatic circumstances. One answer to the question of “Why are you telling me story?” is “Because it’s about you, and about people whom you’ve never met, but might meet, someday.” One reason to read literature is to enlarge your sense of empathy, especially now; our culture seems to be undergoing a crisis of empathy, or a lack of it.
Gustavus: Minnesota. What makes us special as writers and readers of literature? And what can we gain from “reading” Minnesota?
CB: Minnesota can boast of some wonderful writers who were born here or lived here much of their lives. But they would have been hard-pressed to say what was “special” about them or about their readers. The literature of Minnesota has often been concerned with small towns and lives that have been circumscribed by somewhat narrow circumstances. There is a great sense of solitude and quiet-ism among our writers and readers, a feeling for the inner life. But as we all grow more urban and spend more time on social media, that may all change. We’ll see.
Charles Baxter will visit the Gustavus campus on Tuesday, April 25, from 7 to 8 p.m. for a fiction reading in the Melva Lind Interpretive Center of the Linnaeus Arboretum. He will be hosted by the Gustavus Department of English and Writing Center as the final guest of this year’s Bards in the Arb series. The event is free and open to the public.
Charles Baxter is the author of There’s Something I Want You to Do, a finalist for the Story Prize in 2016. He has published three novels, four books of stories, and two books of essays on fiction writing. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, and Harper’s, among other journals and magazines. His fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories seven times, eleven times in The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and translated into many languages. A finalist for the National Book Award, Baxter has received the Award of Merit in the Short Story and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Rea Award in the Short Story. He now lives in Minneapolis and is currently the Edelstein-Keller Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Gustavus Adolphus College’s Model United Nations club recently competed in the Arrowhead Model United Nations Conference in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and came away with two major delegate awards.
The Gustavus group, which consisted of 20 students from the campus Model United Nations club and the political science course Model UN/International Diplomacy, along with political science professor Mimi Gerstbauer, took part in the annual conference April 13-16.
Junior political science major and co-president of the Gustavus Model UN club Priscilla Otero won the Best Delegate Award on the Security Council while playing the role of China. Sophomore political science major Jason Alper was recognized as the Best Delegate Honorable Mention for the Economic and Finance committee, where he also represented China. In addition, Gustavus students Jessica Le and Marissa Bogdansky were named exceptional participants on the Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian committee.
“I’m very proud of our Gustavus students and their high level of preparation and participation in this year’s conference,” Gerstbauer said. “Success is measured in part by receiving awards, but for a lot of students success can also be standing up in front of a large group of people to debate international issues. It takes courage and preparation.”
As members of the Model United Nations, students do research on their assigned country and on current issues relevant to their committee in order to submit a resolution to be debated at the conference. They also prepare by researching their country’s stance on resolutions submitted by other student delegates. This year, Gustavus students represented the delegations of China, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Tunisia.
The Arrowhead Model United Nations Conference (AMUNC), now in its fourth decade, occurs each spring and brings together students from colleges and universities across the Upper Midwest. At the conference students from 14 colleges and universities represented UN member states on the Security Council and four other committees: Political and Security; Economic and Finance; Social, Cultural and Humanitarian; and Environmental.
Funding for the Gustavus contingent came through support from the Office of the Provost, the Diversity Leadership Council, Student Senate, the Departments of Political Science, Scandinavian Studies, and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and the Kendall Center for Engaged Learning.
“Model UN is an excellent example of high-impact, active learning,” Gerstbauer said. “Students learn and practice many skills in what feels like a ‘real world’ environment. Above all is the skill of diplomacy, which our world definitely needs. Thankfully, debate in the UN is not like social media.”
The Gustavus Adolphus College Model United Nations Club, which is open to all students of any major, has 60 registered members and regularly participates in a fall conference in Chicago, and occasionally other conferences nationwide.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Having grown up outside of Los Angeles, Natty Maneerit needed an escape from city life. She's found breathing room at Carleton.
Gustavus Adolphus College chemistry professor Dwight Stoll has been named as a recipient of an Agilent Technologies Thought Leader Award in support of his research applying two-dimensional liquid chromatography (2D-LC) to biopharmaceutical analysis.
Stoll will use the award to lead an international team of researchers from academia and industry as they seek to resolve challenges that biopharmaceutical scientists face when analyzing complex samples.
“I am honored to receive this award, and very excited about Agilent’s support of the vision of my laboratory and our collaborators, as we focus on the development of next-generation analytical tools based on 2D-LC for the biopharmaceutical research area,” said Stoll, who has been a faculty member at Gustavus since 2008.
“We are pleased to support Dr. Stoll’s research using Agilent’s transformative 2D-LC technology, said Dr. Stefan Schuette, vice president and general manager of the Liquid Phase Separations Division at Agilent Technologies. “The collaborative nature of the research of Dr. Stoll and his international colleagues, combining both academia and industry, will undoubtedly accelerate the progress of these types of solutions for the biopharma industry.”
The partnership is unique among small liberal arts colleges and Stoll looks forward to using the award to accelerate his research through the funding of undergraduates in his research, in addition to utilizing Agilent technology including a 2D-LC system, and state-of-the-art quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (QTOF-MS), both provided by Agilent Technologies.
“This award and the project it will support will bring incredible research opportunities to Gustavus undergraduates. They will gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation, and have opportunities to develop problem-solving skills and knowledge that will be immediately applicable in their endeavors after Gustavus,” Stoll said. “The international team of collaborators we have assembled for this project reflects the way modern research is done, and students will have opportunities to interact with these experts in several areas of biopharmaceutical research.”
The Agilent Thought Leader Award promotes fundamental scientific advances by contributing financial support, products and expertise to the research of influential thought leaders in the life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets. Information about previous award recipients is available by visiting the Agilent Thought Leader Program web page.
Recently screened at this year's employee recognition event, we're pleased to showcase employees celebrating their 35-, 40- and 45-year work anniversaries with the College.
Thanks to all of the honorees for their dedication to Carleton!
In an effort to help reduce the education and prosperity gap in Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas will open The Dougherty Family College for the 2017-18 school year. The college is now accepting applications for its first class of students.
The Dougherty Family College Associate of Arts degree is uniquely designed to help ensure the success of underserved students who may be the first in their family to attend college, or those who have limited support or financial assistance to pursue a four-year degree. Students will need a 2.5 or higher grade-point average and must have a high level of financial need (e.g., meeting the eligibility requirements for federal Pell Grants and/or state grants). In addition, students must participate in a qualifying interview to determine their readiness and motivation. (ACT is not required.)
“Human beings cannot flourish and realize their potential without access to education and access to job opportunities,” shared Dr. Julie Sullivan, president at St. Thomas. “Dougherty Family College is about expanding access, in particular for those students who have limited financial resources or have faced challenges in their life.”
The Dougherty Family College plans to admit about 150 students to its inaugural college class. Classes will be held four days a week, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. The two-year college will be located on the St. Thomas campus in downtown Minneapolis. It will offer students an Associate of Arts degree in liberal arts, with courses that meet Minnesota Transfer Curriculum guidelines. The annual tuition will be offset by state and local grants, scholarships and corporate support, bringing final tuition costs to just $1,000 a year for the most under-resourced students.
Structured and intensive mentoring, a directed curriculum, generous financial aid and small class sizes will help prepare students to succeed in their first two years of college and prepare them to matriculate in a four-year program with minimal student debt. St. Thomas also will connect its two-year college students with paid internships through collaboration with regional employers.
“These internships will offer valuable, hands-on work experience that will help our students develop professional and life skills,” said Pat Ryan, chair of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees, and an early advocate for making a connection between the school and the business community.
Students will take a core curriculum of liberal arts classes, which will meet the academic standards of the St. Thomas four-year program but will be delivered in a different way. Each student will attend classes with the same group of 25 students throughout the two-year program. They will take a first-year experience seminar focusing on study skills, time management, financial and information literacy, preparatory skills for conducting research and professional development etiquette. In addition, students will participate in leadership development advisory groups to hone their critical thinking and leadership skills.
“A college degree is one of the best ways to beat poverty,” said Mike Dougherty, lead benefactor along with his wife, Kathy. “My wife, daughters and I want to give motivated, hardworking students the opportunity to succeed in college so they can use their talents and support themselves in the future. One day, I believe these students will be giving back to our community. But for now, this is a way for our family to give back to the community that has been so good to us.”
“Inspiration for the Dougherty Family College came from within our school, from our generous, community-minded donors and from our own mission to be morally responsible leaders, who work to advance the common good,” Sullivan said. “Addressing Minnesota’s achievement gap requires not only compassion, but the commitment to take action – and we intend to be part of the solution.”
For more information on the Dougherty Family College, visit stthomas.edu/dfc.
WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University’s Performance Center and Office of Outdoor Leadership will present two films, John Latsch: The Man and His River and This is America, 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at the Page Theatre. The films celebrate outdoor recreation and our country’s natural resources. A question-and-answer session will follow the films.
John Latsch: The Man and His River
John Latsch (1860-1934), a humble and hard-working man, gifted Winona with a lasting legacy. He and his father ran a successful wholesale grocery business in Winona called Latsch and Son. He said he “made his money in Winona and was going to leave it here.” His solo canoe trips on the Mississippi River and his love of the outdoors resulted in the purchase of over 18,000 acres of river bottoms and high land. He donated the acreage to the City of Winona and the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin so the public could enjoy the pleasures of outdoor recreation. John Latsch: The Man and His River, by local filmmaker and Saint Mary’s Performance Center volunteer Mary Farrell, won the People’s Choice award at the 2017 Frozen River Film Festival.
This is America
From Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea
The story of our national parks is a long and complicated one, full of competing demands between utterly American impulses—between preservation and exploitation, the sacred and the profitable; between the immediate desires of one generation and its obligation and promise to the next. This is America is a complete 45-minute film that tells the story of the national park idea through the prism of our nation’s diverse population, weaving together stories of extraordinary people from a wide variety of backgrounds who devoted their lives to the national park ideal—to preserve and protect these special places for everyone, for all time— and helped it broaden and evolve over the course of 150 years.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit pagetheatre.org or call the Saint Mary’s Performance Center Box Office at 507-457-1715.
About Saint Mary’s Outdoor Leadership
Saint Mary’s Outdoor Leadership program engages students in camping, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and much more. These types of activities expose students to more opportunities involving environmental stewardship and sustainability on campus. Saint Mary’s Outdoor Leadership will provide service opportunities that challenge students mentally, physically, and spiritually. Saint Mary’s location on the Mississippi River, immersed in the bluffs, surrounded by streams and trails, make it the perfect place to get involved in outdoor recreation.
Michael Stevens has a special fondness for squirrels and video games, listens to Japanese music and his middle school classmates voted him most likely to become a theologian.
Or so his relatively short bio section as president of the Theology Club told me. I was delightfully intrigued at the prospect of spending an hour or so in conversation with him to connect some of the dots of his personality.
When we did meet in person, I appreciated how easily and unselfconsciously he closed his eyes for bricks of time to contemplate his responses to a handful of my weightier questions. Stevens, a senior, answered me thoughtfully and with a thoroughness I don’t encounter often, which made our hourlong talk truly interesting. I imagine those who are fortunate to enjoy a conversation with him find it time well spent.
Why do you think your young classmates voted you most likely to be a theologian? That seems unusual for someone in middle school!
Well, I went to a Catholic middle school and we took religion classes, so it might be a little more plausible. But I’m sure I showed some interest even at that level. It wasn’t until high school, though, that I realized how most Christians have a very childish understanding of their faith, as I did. I started reading Pope Benedict and other books to help me grow and understand it, and I wanted to take it further by being a theology major in college.
Have your career aspirations always included theology?
Probably in some regard. When I was a kid, since my father is a physician, I thought that I would be a doctor and an astronaut and an actor all in one. It didn’t quite pan out. But the thing is you have fairly limited options if you want to use a theology degree for a job. At this point, I don’t know where I might end up teaching, at the high school level or the university level, but I’ve never regretted my choice of a major, and I’m going onto graduate studies in theology. My quest for a better understanding of theology has not been exhausted yet.
Are you open to possibilities outside of teaching?
Since I was 10 I’ve done a lot of creative writing and work on it every day I can before I do my homework even, because I think of it as more important. I probably have several thousand pages worth of material at home. It may sound strange, but the creative writing may help me get an academic position at a university because open positions are so limited these days. They’re looking for someone who has something unusual to offer. And if you look at the theology faculty here, you’ll find that each one has something that’s a little bit unexpected that helps them contribute to the department in a unique way.
What do you read?
I prefer genre fiction. One of my favorite writers is Brandon Sanderson. He’s a fantasy writer who wrote a series of novels called Mistborn and a more recent series that’s really good.
Tell me about your penchant for video games.
I am a Sony faithful, so I play on PlayStation products. I have the PlayStation 4, which is the newest. I also play on PlayStation Vita, which is their mobile console. My favorite game series is Dark Souls. I’ve played all five games in the series, and I’ve beaten all five. Some more than once. It’s a Japanese game, which I tend to gravitate toward. Japanese role-playing games tend to be over the top and very stylized, although Dark Souls isn’t that way. Most of the time in Japanese RPGs you’re assigned one particular character to play – versus in Western role-playing games you make your own. And while personalizing your character is nice, it’s also a disadvantage because the writers have to account for every possible character a player could make, so there ends up being a sort of vagueness in the plot.
That must have taken a lot of time.
It did. I spent about 200 hours over a year or two on Dark Souls I.
Name one thing you’ve been meaning to do for awhile that you haven’t done.
I so desperately want to go to Japan. I originally wanted to study abroad in Japan last year. In the end, I chose Rome instead for various reasons. One thing is that Japanese is not very useful for theology because there aren’t many Japanese theologians in comparison to French or German or Italian or Spanish. So I went to Rome and I’m glad I did, but I still want to go to Japan. … And also as a Catholic, it can be difficult to get to the Sacraments if I stay there for any length of time because there are so few churches. There, this one church, though, at Sophia University where I was originally planning on studying abroad … has Mass three times a day. So, if someday I’m able to go, I’m going to park myself right next to that church, then make excursions to other parts of the country.
Where does your interest in Japanese culture come from?
Like a lot of people my age, I grew up watching a lot of anime and Japanese shows and playing a lot of Japanese games. I have a particularly strong interest in them because of a few factors: When I was 8, I saw the film “Spirited Away” by Hayao Miyazaki that blew my world and introduced me to the beauty of Japanese animation. One of the nice things about animation is that it allows the creators to use a lot of fantastical elements without having to pay extra for CGI because it costs about the same amount to draw a dragon as it does to draw a human person. So I like that because I think one of the primary uses of entertainment like that is to pull us out of our drudgery and mundanity of day-to-day life. I find the fantastical elements are appealing in that regard. Like an anime. Believe me, most anime is garbage I would say, and that’s true of just about any medium because it’s difficult to make a work of art. But in anime, there’s generally a much higher preference of fantastical stories of one kind or another … it’s a kind of sci-fi or fantasy that doesn’t exist in the U.S.
Also the Japanese have a certain sense of aesthetics that’s appealing to me. If you think about a Japanese garden … with the Western garden everything is laid out and you have neat rows of plants and hedges and it’s all in geometric patterns. If you go to a Japanese garden you may not realize it’s a garden at first because everything is laid out in a way that seems very natural. And in reality, every one of those plants is laid out just as carefully as it would be in a Western garden. But because Japanese aesthetics has more of a focus on asymmetrical beauty than Western, it creates a more natural feeling.
I get the sense that you’re a fairly deliberate person.
Yes. All my life. I’ve always been a planner. I think that plays into having good reasoning skills because with me when it comes to making any decision of importance I like to lay out the pros and cons, make a decision and stick with it, because if you waiver afterward it usually doesn’t get you anywhere.
How do you spend your Sundays?
I don’t work at all on Sundays. Usually, after I go to Mass, I eat a nice big brunch at The View. I have my eggs and my hash browns and my pancakes and my muffin and my fruit. A little bit of fruit! Sunday is my day to splurge. Oh, and French toast – I can’t forget about French toast. Occasionally it’s burnt but usually it’s good. Then I go home and I play video games for a few hours, and I watch anime. Then I usually spend some time in the chapel in the afternoon. It’s nice because usually no one’s there so it’s quiet and private … though there’s sort of this silence that hangs over the chapel and I like to pray aloud, I still don’t dare to break the silence even when I’m alone because it feels kind of sacred to a degree.
Do you have a favorite quote?
One phrase that comes to my mind is from Scripture. It’s Paul’s famous line that “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” When I went to Rome, that was a particularly difficult semester for me. I panicked when I first arrived because I had never lived in a foreign country before. I didn’t know the language, and the schoolwork was more difficult than a normal semester. So that was a great experience of learning to depend on God.
The other quote is just a fragment of a phrase from one of Brandon Sanderson’s recent novels. One of the characters tells a story about … “Two men sat contemplating the end of an era.” That really struck me because it made me think about the ways in which our own era feels like an end to many trends and the beginning of many others. We’ve had a lot of ways in which the culture of the past has been rejected and there are new technological possibilities and new theological possibilities as well.
WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University will host a public prescreening of a new, acclaimed documentary by Grassroots Films, Outcasts, 7 p.m. Monday, April 24, in Page Theatre. The viewing will be followed by a question-and-answer period with Clifford Azize, the director and editor. The documentary travels around the world, asking, “Who do we deem as outcasts?” View what happens when a group of religious men (the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal) decide they will join them. Admission is free.
Follow the cameras of Grassroots Films, the award-winning producers of The Human Experience and Child 31, on an unexpected journey across the globe. Travel to the prisons of Central America, walk the dark city streets of London, New York, and Ireland’s most treacherous neighborhoods. Step beyond your comfort zone and into the lives of our modern-day outcasts. This documentary is unrated, but deemed for mature audiences.
The trailer may be seen at www.outcaststhemovie.com. The prescreening is co-sponsored by the Saint Mary’s Office of the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs; the dean of Arts and Humanities; the Departments of Theology, Philosophy, and Theatre; the General Education Program; the Office of Campus Ministry; and Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary.
Award-winning Vietnamese-American Poet Hieu Minh Nguyen hosts Spoken Word and Open Mic Night at Carleton’s Cave
Among his many honors, Nguyen is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow.
Arboretum director Nancy Braker and astronomer Joel Weisberg will lead the nighttime tour.
Andrew Garrett ’90 will present “Perspectives from a Non-Linear Career in Medicine and Public Health.”