Recent News from Campuses

Selling ideas in just 60-90 seconds

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 10:36am

By Nicole Johnsen ’16

The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s University is focused on the entrepreneurial spirit of businessmen and women. One of the many ways the institute evokes this spirit is by hosting the Elevator Pitch Competition. This year’s event was held on April 7 and featured seven entries, including my own.

My name is Nicole Johnsen. I’m a senior Business Management major and Dance minor. I decided to participate in the Elevator Pitch Competition because it’s a great way to improve my speaking skills and to feel more comfortable in front of a group of people. It also is a fun experience to come up with an idea that no one might have thought of before.

Elevator Pitch Competition participants are asked to imagine that they’re in an elevator with someone who has the funding and connections to help you make their entrepreneurial dreams become a reality. The goal is to pitch that dream creatively and convincingly in just 60-90 seconds. Any Saint Mary’s University undergraduate student in any area of study can partake in the competition.

I did my pitch on a service called the Cardinal Club Delivery Service, which would deliver food to the Winona Campus residence halls. I came up with the idea after hearing students complain about having to walk out into Minnesota’s winter weather to fulfill their hunger needs. I thought, “Why not have a delivery service to save our bodies from the cold and keep our students happy?”

The experience of standing up in front of several professors here at Saint Mary’s can be very intimidating. I remember the first time I participated in the Elevator Pitch Competition; I could feel my hands shaking nervously as I rehearsed my pitch over and over again. This year was my third time participating, and although I still get nervous, I felt more at ease. It is all about having fun with it!

The other contestants who participated (and their business pitches) were:

  • Junior Matthew Sandell: a portable charger
  • Senior Thomas Garside: a school radio franchise
  • Senior Dong Min Lim: an ordering system for restaurants
  • Junior Maddy and Freshmen Max Champa: a customized designer website
  • Seniors Katie Slaght and Brittney Friedrich: Cellublast — an electronic foam roller
  • Junior Maria Antonieta Morales-Lozano: SMUber (an Uber service at SMUMN)
  • Freshmen James Davis: a new student app for campus needs

The judging panel consists of several professors from different departments, including business, art, and science. They score the contestants on their performance, and announce the top winners at a gathering given for the participants. I would encourage every student to be a contestant because you learn how to portray confidence in yourself. The Elevator Pitch has helped me learn to deliver a presentation with enthusiasm, making better eye contact, and avoiding filler words.

Schiller to appear on CBS sitcom "The Odd Couple"

Carleton College Campus News - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 2:55pm

Executive producer Bob Daily '82 conspires with Jill Poskanzer ‘15, Felicity Flesher ‘14 to place bust of German poet appearance on television show.

Carleton celebrates dedicated employees

Carleton College Campus News - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 2:44pm

Video showcases 35- and 40-year honorees from all across campus.

Firefly Gene Lights the Way for St. Thomas Toxicologist

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 12:00pm

Dalma Martinovic-Weigelt, Ph.D., St. Thomas Biology Department faculty member and director of the Environmental Science program, has focused her career on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and other chemicals of emerging concern, in aquatic environments. The objective? To develop approaches to evaluate whether these chemicals present threats to ecological and human health. While labs provide her with pristine, idyllic settings to conduct some of her studies, she is more likely to be found in the field researching urban streams and wastewater. 

Martinovic-Weigelt has studied contaminants in Minnesota waters for more than 10 years. Many of her studies of late have taken a twist with an innovative and beguiling tool: a breast cancer cell genetically modified with a firefly gene. She exposes the cells to a water sample and waits for a reaction – or not. If estrogens are present, the cells will light up thanks to luciferase, the enzyme in fireflies that sets them alight. Most recently she used the cell to analyze samples from 10 Minnesota rivers.

The science behind the cell

In general, breast cancer cells are useful in scientific studies because they naturally express a receptor for estrogens, which means estrogens – whether natural or synthetic – can easily bind to them. Among the thousands of types of estrogens in existence, many are good – like those that occur naturally in our bodies and are responsible for reproductive health, as well as those that occur naturally in the environment in fish and plants. The “bad” estrogens, which Martinovic-Weigelt’s research looks for, are xenoestrogens, chemicals that mimic estrogens. These contaminants often find their way into lakes by way of wastewater plants, which filter most but not all of the chemicals.

The problem with estrogens is that even at very little concentrations, they have a biological effect on organisms, either blocking or activating cells. For example, published studies have shown that these chemicals can feminize male fish, a consequence that lessens their chances of finding a mate and can even take away their ability to reproduce.

“We (scientists) often say estrogen receptors are promiscuous. As it turns out, they haven’t evolved to be very selective, so their structure is such that they will bind to a lot of different chemicals,” she said. That’s why toxicologists are keeping a close on eye them.

Martinovic-Weigelt’s firefly study of Minnesota rivers detected a number of estrogenic contaminants, including breakdown products of household detergents, such as alkylphenols; antimicrobial agents, such as triclosan, which is found in many soaps, clothing and even toys; and Bisphenol A, or BPA, an estrogenic chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic.

The results from Martinovic-Weigelt’s ongoing “firefly project” will help scientists prioritize the risk of contaminants found in her aquatic samples from across Minnesota – taken from the Knife River in northern part of the state and the Zumbro River to the south, among others. She also has analyzed Minnesota lakes for around 200 types of chemicals that could be hiding in the water but does not have data from those studies yet.

A ‘crazy and amazing’ path to public health

“As a toxicologist, I’m interested in how contaminants in the environment impact aquatic life primarily, but I’ve been shifting a bit more toward global health and water quality. My fish research indirectly involves public health because it informs those decisions,” Martinovic-Weigelt said. “I’ve also been trying to help enrich the curriculum in the Biology Department’s global health program, which we started two years ago.”

Of the thousands of chemicals currently in commerce, only a small percentage are regulated, and there often is minimal testing on those that are. Ultimately this research aims to close that gap by generating as much data as possible on as many chemicals as possible.

“A lot of these chemicals that are in, for example, the cosmetics and household cleaners we use are not regulated, so we are using them without really knowing if they might be bad for us,” she said. “They aren’t regulated because we don’t know much about them and yet they’re allowed to go on the market. That’s why this technology is so important. There needs to be a little fear about this stuff.”

Martinovic-Weigelt described the technological advance, whose formal name is T47-KB LUC, as “a crazy system, and amazing.” The hybrid cell has been around “a little while” and was invented by another scientist, but what makes her study unique is her use of the cell to analyze the water samples.

“We can figure out the concentrations of chemicals, but we can’t know for sure how they got there, and we know even less about what they do. One chemical can do so many different things, so it can be very hard for us to estimate the biological risk they might pose,” she said.

But “very hard” is far from impossible. This is where the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health come into play. The two organizations, which have been assisting Martinovic-Weigelt’s firefly research for several years, provide access to expensive robots that can generate hundreds of types of chemical data from her samples in a dizzyingly short amount of time. Armed with this data, she and her collaborators, St. Thomas faculty Kerri Carlson, Ph.D. (Biology Department), and Erin Curran, Ph.D. (Computer and Information Sciences Department, are better equipped to delve into their areas of expertise, and their imaginations, to connect which chemicals might be responsible for which effects.

The other novelty in her research – this particular type of cell also has been used in many unrelated studies, including medical studies – is that the human health and ecological health communities typically have no interaction, according to Martinovic-Weigelt.

“Fortunately, in Minnesota, we understand how both areas are interconnected; our state agencies [namely the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, under which Martinovic-Weigelt studies, and the Minnesota Department of Health], work together, and I am one of the people involved in those conversations,” she said.

Martinovic-Weigelt’s firefly studies are funded, in part, by a National Science Foundation grant. In addition to Carlson and Curran, she has collaborated with numerous colleges and universities and environmental agencies and departments, including Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Health, the EPA, U.S. Geological Survey and even the U.S. Army, as well as with undergraduate students Abigail Lukowicz and Nicholas Cipoletti ’15, who won a national award for best undergraduate student presentation at the annual meeting of Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in November. 

Faculty member Rodger Narloch to receive third annual Collegium Visionary Award

Honor to be presented to associate professor of psychology at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 25, at the Founders Room, SJU.

McGough Construction to receive Colman J. Barry Award April 22

St. Paul-based company built Abbey and University Church, and is renovating Alcuin Library and building the Dietrich Reinhart Learning Commons.

New honor society arrives on campus

CSB/SJU inducted 36 global business leadership and accounting and finance students into the Sigma Beta Delta honor society on Monday, April 18. The national society recognizes scholarship and accomplishment among students of business, management and administration.

Schaefer and Greenman Receive Byrne Grant

Hamline University Campus News - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 12:00am
The Bureau of Justice Assistance selected Professors Shelly Schaefer and Sarah Greenman of Hamline’s Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science to be the research team for a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program Planning Grant.

Peterson, Johnson and Forness, Oh My!

Concordia College Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 11:00pm
Emma Peterson, Olivia Johnson and Mikayla Forness all posted top 7 marks in Division III at the Lee Krough Gustavus Invitational.

Dease, Alumnus, Student Receive Minnesota Campus Compact Awards

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 7:00pm

Father Dennis Dease, alumnus Charles Lugemwa and senior Molly Amundson have received awards from Minnesota Campus Compact for their work in Uganda.

The organization, which annually confers awards that recognize effective leaders who develop campus-community partnerships, cited the St. Thomas trio on April 7 during the Minnesota Campus Compact annual summit at Macalester College.

Father Dennis Dease

Dease, president of St. Thomas from 1991-2013, was honored with the Presidents’ Civic Engagement Steward Award for his efforts in opening a hospital and two medical clinics for the poor in the Kampala area. As founder of the Friends of East Africa Foundation, Dease independently raised funds to construct the hospital, which will dedicate its fourth building next month.

Charles Lugemwa

Lugemwa, a 2003 master’s graduate in software engineering, was Dease’s partner in co-founding the hospital and clinics and received the Presidents’ Community Partner Award. He is a data management manager with the Uganda Revenue Authority and lives in Kampala. The St. Thomas Alumni Association previously recognized Lugemwa’s efforts with its Humanitarian Award in 2013.

Molly Amundson

Amundson received the Presidents’ Student Leadership Award for her role earlier this year in a January Term course with 32 students, including 16 from St. Thomas and St. Catherine and 16 from universities in Uganda, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. The course, taught by Dr. Amy Finnegan of the Department of Justice and Peace Studies at St. Thomas and Dr. Michael Westerhaus of the University of Minnesota, involved a global health immersion experience that examined how health and disease emerge through the interaction between biology and the social environment.

“Molly is a strong, curious, humble student [who] articulates her ideas clearly, solicits the insights and experiences of others, and leads by example,” Finnegan wrote in nominating Amundson for the Campus Compact award. “In Uganda, she volunteered and served on the student leadership council and played a critical role in soliciting, sharing and responding to feedback from her peers. She asks excellent questions about the injustices of the world and her role in addressing them.

“Finally, she was [an] extraordinary leader in her capacity to challenge herself outside of her comfort zone and build relationships with her Ugandan counterparts. Through her example, she inspired other students to also integrate and seize opportunities to build relationships.”

Advocate for women survivors of war to speak at St. Olaf

St. Olaf Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 3:57pm

Humanitarian, author, and media commentator Zainab Salbi, a survivor of war who is dedicated to helping women in war-torn communities rebuild their lives, will speak at St. Olaf College April 21.

Her lecture, titled The Other Side of War: Women, Wartime, and the Dream of Peace, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Tomson Hall 280. Sponsored by the St. Olaf Political Awareness Committee, it is free and open to the public. It will be streamed and archived online.

At the age of 23, Salbi founded Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian and development organization dedicated to serving women survivors of wars. Under her leadership as CEO from 1993 to 2011, the organization grew to help more than 400,000 women in eight conflict areas around the world, distributing more than $100 million in aid and loans and impacting more than 1.7 million family members.

Salbi is the author of the national bestseller Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny — Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam (with Laurie Becklund). Salbi has also authored The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope and If You Knew Me, You Would Care.

She currently serves as editor-at-large at Women in the World Media, a news platform in collaboration with the New York Times that is hosted on the paper’s website.

Salbi is known for bringing international women’s issues to mainstream attention in the U.S., making philanthropy accessible to women at the grassroots level, and pioneering microcredit programs to post-conflict areas. Her mission had always been to build programs that combine access to knowledge with access to resources.

In 2010 former President Bill Clinton nominated Salbi as one of the 21st century heroes featured by Harper’s Bazaar. She has been named among the 100 most influential women in the world by Newsweek, The Guardian, and Fast Company, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Salbi has been featured by media outlets around the world, including CNN, The New York Times, and Financial Times, and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show 10 times.

Joey Wiley ’16 Receives Fulbright Grant to Malaysia

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 3:38pm

Joey Wiley ’16

Gustavus Adolphus College senior Joey Wiley has been named a winner of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant to Malaysia for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Fulbright’s ETA program places recent college graduates and young professionals as English teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools or universities overseas. ETA participants improve foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while increasing the U.S. students’ own language skills and knowledge of the host country.

A native of St. Paul, Minn., Wiley spent a semester in Malaysia as a sophomore through the College’s Semester in Malaysia program. The exposure to the country and its people led him to apply to return after graduation. Wiley recalled a moment during his first trip to Malaysia when, as a struggling Malay learner, he was supported by students who shouted “Malaysia boleh! (Malaysia Can!)” to encourage him. “I hope to show my appreciation by returning to Malaysia to give back to a community that has taught me to open myself to unique cultural experiences through education,” he said.

“Malaysia is a place where people from different ethnic backgrounds, cultures, languages and religions live together and form a peaceful, stable society,” physics professor and Semester in Malaysia program leader Steve Mellema said. “For over a century Malaysia has faced many of the tensions that we see playing out in the headlines today – problems of immigration and citizenship, poverty and wealth, religious tension and misunderstanding, peace and justice.”

“I am incredibly excited to return to Malaysia in a new and even more challenging context than before. Along with this new challenge, I am immensely excited to visit the island of Penang where I last studied to catch up with professors and students that made my experience one I want to live over and over again,” Wiley said.

A political science major, Wiley was supported throughout the Fulbright application process by Mellema, political science professor Alisa Rosenthal, Gustavus fellowships coordinator Amanda Nienow, and the staff of the Center for International and Cultural Education.

Wiley in Malaysia.

“There are many factors that aided me in gaining this fellowship, but most of all was the Gustavus spirit and community,” Wiley explained. “At Gustavus I’ve been challenged to think, act, and learn in new and challenging ways.”

“Joey has the analytical tools to think through his experiences and his observations critically, to put those experiences in a larger world context, and to recognize the deep and complicated connections between the political, economic, religious, and social realms,” Rosenthal said.

Outside of the classroom, Wiley is the principal tubist for the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra and Gustavus Wind Orchestra, a member of the Chapel Brass and tuba/euphonium ensembles, and vice president of the Omega Kappa fraternity. He hopes to use his global experiences and political science studies to inform a future career in government or politics.

“When I met Joey as a first-year student, I was immediately struck by his enthusiasm, his openness, his warmth, and his friendliness,” Rosenthal said, “but I think I’ve been most impressed by his commitment to figuring out who he is and who he wants to be and by his recognition that it takes intention, effort, and reflection to make those two align.”

Wiley is the second Gustavus student to be named a winner of the Fublright ETA grant this year. For more information about the Gustavus Fellowships Office and the support it gives to students, please visit the fellowship website.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin

Welcome to Spring Preview Day, April 23

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 12:17pm

It’s time to think about life after high school. High school sophomores and juniors — get your college search going at Spring Preview Day on Saturday, April 23.

At this introduction to Saint Mary’s University you can tour our Winona campus, learn about academics, and meet staff and students. We’ll explain the college search timeline, review scholarship opportunities and financial aid, and show you why Saint Mary’s should be at the top of your list.

Find out more and register now for Spring Preview Day (until midnight on Wednesday) at

Come see the world of opportunities at Saint Mary’s University!

Tommie Territories: Getting to Know the States and Countries of St. Thomas

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 12:00pm

As St. Thomas continues to focus on globalization as one of its themes for the strategic plan of St. Thomas 2020, there has been plenty of recognition on where the university stands today: For the 2015-16 academic year, 79 countries and states outside Minnesota are represented in the student bodies of St. Thomas’ different schools. That’s some 1,700 students who bring unique ideas, hopes, dreams and knowledge, all of which were shaped in part by the places they come from. Their contributions now help shape the St. Thomas community and make it what it is every day: a growing, constantly evolving group of people who recognize the value of what they can learn from someone who is from somewhere different than themselves.

To help get a sense of what some of their ideas are, we asked students from across those countries and states four questions: What brought them to St. Thomas for school? What is their favorite thing about going to school and living in Minnesota? What do they feel is the most important thing people should know and recognize about their home state or country (a difficult question, to be sure, but one that gave students the chance to articulate what they believe others should most know about their home)? What is the best food from their home state or country (humans’ shared love of food is too strong a connection not to ask this one!)?

Check out the map below and get to know, one state and country at a time, some of the places St. Thomas students call home.

Tackling Health Care Shortages is Priority

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:58am

By Susan Jarosak and Marcia Hines

By the year 2025, the number of people in Minnesota aged 85 years and older will double. Randy Snyder, Executive Director of the Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators (BENHA) shares this startling statistic from the state demographer’s office when he talks about the need to educate and train leaders in the field of long term care. Snyder wants to highlight the opportunities and the need to create new models for efficient and quality services to meet the demand of the aging population. “New models for leaders will be needed to work in this field as it blends both business and compassion for people. It blends both the heart and the brain.”

Additionally, national trends are emerging that require administrative academic preparation and skillsets across the continuum in home healthcare and assisted learning communities. At this time, only Nursing Home Administrators must be licensed in the state of Minnesota by BENHA.  As a result, health and human services administration is a dynamic, growing field that needs highly capable, empathetic leaders. It offers skilled individuals the opportunity to put their talents to use by improving the lives of those who need it most. 

Currently, there are nine institutions offering the requisite BENHA coursework. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers the only master’s degree with this coursework embedded within it. Kristel Lastine, a current student in the Master’s of Health and Human Services Administration program, is completing her practicum course — a 400 hour experience in a nursing home offering experiential, hands on learning and a requirement for licensure. As a result of her preparation, Lastine has already passed her state and national licensure examinations. She also feels ready to tackle the large issues facing long term healthcare facilities–such as addressing huge turnover rates that can often diminish the level of care given to residents. “One huge issue is the lack of pay,” she said. “It’s difficult to keep CNAs, LPNs, and RNs, and turnover rates are tremendous. I want to have a place that residents call home, and where employees can have a career and continue advancing in their careers,” Lastine said, ready to model and lead with both her heart and her brain.


Stiles '86 wins Pulitzer Prize for "Custer's Trials"

Carleton College Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 3:00am

Carleton class of 1986 member wins second Pulitzer, this time for history category.

2016 Bush Fellows

Hamline University Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 12:00am
Three Hamline Doctorate of Public Administration (DPA) students are among those honored as recipients of the 2016 Bush Fellowships: Camerann Daisy Foster, Giovanni Veliz, and Hamse Warfa.

Hamline First-Generation Student Featured on KSTP

Hamline University Campus News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 12:00am
KSTP-TV aired a story about how Hamline supports first-generation students which featured undergraduate Nadia Al-Mosawi who will be the first in her family to graduate from college in May.

Spring walk in Cowling Arboretum

Carleton College Campus News - Sun, 04/17/2016 - 10:38am

Student photographer Daniel Atkins '18 captures these images, including a Barred Owl.

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