Recent News from Campuses

Hamline Alumni Make Their Mark

Hamline University Campus News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am
Hamline students and alumni make their mark in countless ways. The new Make Your Mark campaign captures and shares those stories.

Alumnus publishes leadership book

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 4:01pm
Reinvention is something that executive coach Chuck Bolton ’80 knows about firsthand, and it is the topic of his latest book. In 2000, Bolton transitioned from a 20-year career as a senior executive at one of the world’s largest medical device companies to found The Bolton Group, LLC, an executive assessment and development firm. The [&hellip

An exciting time for Cardinal athletics

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 10:39am
Saint Mary’s qualifies three teams for MIAC playoffs When a Saint Mary’s sports team qualifies for postseason play, the entire Saint Mary’s community rallies around that group and the atmosphere on campus turns electric. Imagine that excitement times three and you’ll get a feel for what the Saint Mary’s campus is like this week. Can’t [&hellip

Visiting Artist Series feature potter Victoria Christen

St. Kate's Campus News - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 8:00am
St. Kate’s welcomes Victoria Christen this week as artist-in-residence for the 2015 Amy Marie Sears Memorial Visiting Artist Series. More »

Depth of Field Icons: Rosa Parks

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 6:00pm

Anticipation swept the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium Tuesday, Feb. 11, 1986. At 1:05, as part of a weekly lecture series sponsored by the student government, the St. Thomas community welcomed civil rights activist Rosa Parks to campus.

In an article for The Aquin the following week, reporter Sean Higgins wrote, “Parks was not bitter, but spoke with a great deal of regret for the ‘oppressive racial segregation’ in the (U.S.).” She also “spoke hopefully of the current movement,” he said, quoting the activist: “I have faith and hope and confidence that one day, the good will overcome the evil and we will know what we call and what Dr. King mentions as the ‘beloved country.’”

Parks accepted cards from elementary school students in attendance and an award from the Minnesota State Legislature. Her encouraging words added to “Apartheid Awareness Week,” the campus-wide event to recognize the atrocities transpiring in South Africa at the time.

Historical myth often portrays Parks, born in 1913, as an unassuming, quiet seamstress whose tired feet motivated her to refuse her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama; however, Parks, in her 1992 autobiography, “Rosa Parks: My Story,” gives a more salient version of those December 1955 events: “I was not tired physically … No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” After a childhood filled with stories about the fight for equal rights, Parks had spent her adult life defending unjustly accused African-Americans throughout Alabama, hosting Voters’ League meetings and serving in the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, where she investigated and documented cases of racism and sexism.

Following Parks’ refusal of her seat and consequent arrest, the Montgomery African-American community, under the galvanizing leadership of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., organized a boycott of city buses, which ended a year later with the November 1956 Supreme Court ruling that bus segregation was unconstitutional.

Parks moved to Detroit in 1957 and continued to work toward equal rights and fair treatment for all, including the creation of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in 1987 as a tribute to her late husband. She died in 2005 at the age of 92.

Positivity permeated Parks’ life work, as she showed the St. Thomas crowd on that frigid February 1986 afternoon: “It is very gratifying to know … that if we continue the struggle, perhaps there would be, in time, no need for the type of demonstration, the type of struggle that we have had to face over the years.”

While the struggle isn’t yet complete, perhaps Parks’ words can continue to touch each of us as we work for justice and peace.

Student Diversity and Inclusion Services is hosting events throughout February in celebration of Black History Month. Find the details here.

Depth of Field Icons brings you historical images of noteworthy cultural, political or artistic personalities who have visited campus.

Read more from Depth of Field.

Deputy Director of the North Korea International Project presents “How Do We Know What We Think We Know About North Korea?”

Carleton College Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 4:55pm

On Tuesday, March 3 from 5 to 6 p.m., Carleton College will present a public lecture by James F. Person, Deputy Director of the Wilson Center North Korea International Documentation Project, entitled “How Do We Know What We Think We Know About North Korea? Using Archival Records of Former Communist Allies to Challenge the Received Wisdom.” Person’s presentation will take place in Leighton Hall, Room 304.

Gary Wynia Memorial Lecture uncovers "The Crisis of Political Representation in Latin America"

Carleton College Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 4:53pm

The 2015 Carleton College Gary Wynia Memorial Lecture, entitled "The Crisis of Political Representation in Latin America," will be presented on Friday, Feb. 27 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Gould Library Athenaeum by esteemed Cornell University professor Ken Roberts. A reception will follow Roberts' presentation. This event is free and open to the public.

Cardinals’ Brown is making a name for herself

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 1:35pm
When Octavia Brown stepped on the Winona Campus as a freshman in the fall of 2011, the First Generation Initiative was in its second year at Saint Mary’s and the Cardinal women’s basketball team was coming off a losing season. Fast-forward almost four years and Brown has seen—and helped—both of those programs flourish tremendously. Since [&hellip

Forensics Team Wins Fourth Straight State Championship

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 1:26pm

Members of the Gustavus forensics team pose with their hardware after the MCFA State Tournament on Feb. 22.

For the fourth straight year and for the seventh time in the last eight years, the Gustavus Adolphus College forensics team won the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Tournament on Feb. 21-22 at Southwest State University. The Gusties won the team sweepstakes with 543 points, while Concordia College in Moorhead took second place with 306 points.

“I am proud of this team’s commitment to excellence and their commitment to the team concept. Our success can be attributed to placing the team ahead of the individual. To see them working together crafting arguments, selecting the most compelling language, identifying the best evidence, isolating poetic elements, adding humor, internalizing literature, and discovering delivery elements to give each speech impact has been a pleasure to watch,” said Kristofer Kracht, Director of the Gustavus Forensics Program. “They are committed to and enjoy the process required of a champion, a lesson that will serve them well in life. They truly enjoy every opportunity to share their message.”

Gustavus students took first place in eight of the 12 individual events, while senior Karin Nordin had a hand in five of those individual championships. Nordin placed first in Dramatic Interpretation, Impromptu Speaking, Oratory, and Prose Interpretation. She also combined with teammate Wilson Fields to take first place in the Duo Interpretation category.

First year student Andrew Boge also had a strong tournament as he placed first in Communication Analysis, second in Extemporaneous Speaking, and fourth in Program Oral Interpretation.

First year student Caleb Merritt took first place in the Slam Poetry event—a new and experimental event during this year’s state tournament. Merritt added a third place finish in Program Oral Interpretation.

Gustavus’s individual state champions: Alekhya Tallapaka ’18, Andrew Boge ’18, Karin Nordin ’15, Wilson Fields ’16, Caleb Merritt ’18.

First year student Alekhya Tallapaka won Gustavus’s other individual championship in the After Dinner Speaking category.

Senior Brittany Knutson was a big factor in the team’s success as she placed in the top six in five different events. Knutson picked up a pair of third place finishes in both Impromptu Speaking and Oratory. She placed fourth in both Extemporaneous Speaking and Informative Speaking and added a sixth place finish in After Dinner Speaking.

Junior Kari Roll placed second in After Dinner Speaking and fourth in Impromptu Speaking. Junior Emily Meyer took second in Oratory, while first year student Clay Sletta placed second in Slam Poetry.

Fields placed third in Slam Poetry and added a sixth place finish in Poetry Interpretation. In the Duo Interpretation event, first year students Aurora Vautrin and Madison Klein placed fourth, while first year students Kenzie Shofner and Noelle Anderson placed fifth.

Other top performances included sophomore Lizzie Hjelle’s fourth place finish in Slam Poetry, sophomore Kellen Andersen’s fifth place finish in Communication Analysis, first year student Sarah Peterson’s fifth place finish in Program Oral Interpretation, Vautrin’s sixth place finish in Informative Speaking, and Anderson’s sixth place finish in Prose Interpretation.

As a result of Nordin and Meyer placing first and second in the Oratory category, they will represent the state of Minnesota at the Interstate Oratorical Association National Contest—the oldest and most prestigious collegiate oratory competition in the United States. That contest will take place April 24-25 at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. This year marks the third time (2007, 2010) that Gustavus students have earned both slots from the state of Minnesota. Knutson, as a result of her third place finish in the Oratory category, is the first alternate.

The team will now turn its attention to the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET), which will take place at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, on April 3-6. The Gustavus team will be looking to build off its sixth place finish at last year’s AFA-NIET, which is the highest the program has ever finished at the national tournament.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas

History lecture focuses on Islam’s origins in light of new Papyrus evidence

Carleton College Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 7:54am

Carleton will present well-known Near East historian and author Fred Donner on Friday, Feb. 27 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Leighton Hall Room 304. His lecture, entitled “Islam’s Origins in the Light of New Papyrus Evidence,” is free and open to the public.

Convocation presented by Saru Jayaraman, founder of Restaurant Opportunities Center, seeing to improve wages and working conditions for restaurant workers

Carleton College Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 7:46am

Saru Jayaraman, founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers, will present Carleton College’s weekly convocation on Friday, Feb. 27 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Entitled “Behind the Kitchen Door,” her presentation draws attention to servers, bussers, runners, cooks, and dishwashers across the country struggling to support themselves and their families under the shockingly exploitative conditions that exist in most restaurants.

This event is free and open to the public. Carleton convocations are also recorded and archived online at

Carleton presents “The Odyssey: A Folk Opera,” an original musical adaptation of Homer’s classic tale told in 24 short songs

Carleton College Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 7:43am

Carleton College will present a performance of Joe Goodkin’s original musical composition, “The Odyssey: A Folk Opera,” on Thursday, Feb. 26 from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Gould Library Athenaeum. Goodkin’s 30-minute adaptation for solo voice and acoustic baritone guitar and voice tells the story of Homer's “Odyssey” in a series of 24 short songs, invoking the spirit of the ancient Greek bards who originally brought forth the timeless stories of Odysseus and the heroes of the Trojan War. This event is free and open to the public.

Renowned Catholic poet and peace activist Rose Berger to speak on social activism and faith

Carleton College Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 7:14am

Renowned Catholic poet and peace activist Rose Berger will present "When Your Faith Gets You in Trouble: Sojourners and Other Strange Stories" on Tuesday, March 3 from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in the Gould Library Athenaeum. An award-winning religion journalist, author, public speaker, poet, and Catholic who specializes in writing about spirituality and art, social justice, war and peace, Berger is senior associate editor and regular columnist at Sojourners Magazine, the national ecumenical magazine based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on "faith in action for social justice."

In her lecture, Berger will speak about three times her faith got her in trouble -- and invite questions from the audience to engage in discussion about social and spiritual issues that matter to us. This event is free is open to the public. 

Dr. Marilyn Reineck Returning to Concordia as VP of Academic Affairs

Concordia University Campus News - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 4:02am

Concordia University, St. Paul is pleased to announce that Dr. Marilyn Reineck has accepted a call from the Board of Regents to serve as CSP’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. Dr. Reineck, who is currently serving as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Concordia University Chicago, will begin her duties June 15, 2015.

“I’m honored and blessed to return to Concordia St. Paul, a university rooted in the Gospel, with a mission of preparing students to be equipped, ethical and global citizens who positively touch and transform their communities,” Dr. Reineck said. “I look forward to supporting faculty and staff in using their gifts to help students discover and affirm their call to be what God has created uniquely for them.”

Dr. Reineck is no stranger to academic and administrative roles at Concordia University, St. Paul, serving as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (2009-11) and as the department chair of Communications Studies (1995-2009). A tenured faculty member in the communications department, she began teaching at CSP in 1980.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Reineck back as part of our leadership team at Concordia,” said Dr. Eric LaMott, Concordia Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Her experience in higher education and familiarity with our mission will be an excellent fit as we move forward with the strategic direction of our university.”

Pre-Dental Students Thriving at Gustavus

Gustavus Campus News - Sun, 02/22/2015 - 9:58pm

Kyle Hunt ’10 attended dental school at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

When Kyle Hunt ’10 received his admission acceptance letter from Gustavus, a family friend told him that Gustavus would teach him how to think. “For some reason that struck a chord with me at the time and I can still remember it to this day,” Hunt said. “He was very right. Being a liberal arts college, Gustavus does a great job of making sure their students are well-rounded and that they know how to think.”

In the eight and a half years that have passed since that conversation took place, Hunt has received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, completed dental school at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and started his career as a dentist at Personal Care Dentistry in Roseville. He is part of a growing list of Gustavus alumni who have taken advantage of one of the College’s pre-professional tracks—in this case the College’s pre-dental program.

“Gustavus has a number of strong science departments, and I was really pushed as a student during my four years as a chemistry major. Although difficult at times, it made dental school a much easier transition for me,” Hunt said. “I would strongly recommend any student considering dental school to consider Gustavus. Having such a strong science background from Gustavus made me much more prepared and ready to handle the dental school workload. The biology and chemistry courses at Gustavus were on par, if not more in depth, than some of my dental school courses.”

In addition to the academic knowledge that Hunt received at Gustavus, he also grew in other important areas due to his involvement on campus with organizations such as the Peer Assistants, the Sexual Assault Education Team (SAET), the Epsilon Pi Alpha fraternity, and the Gustavus Pre-Dental Club. His time as a P.A. and as a member of SAET allowed Hunt to work closely with Gustavus staff members Judy Douglas and Patty Dawson—two people who he now considers to be important mentors.

“Judy really helped me develop my interpersonal and leadership skills and she also worked extensively with us to become excellent communicators. The communication skills I learned from her have turned out to be invaluable to me as a practitioner,” Hunt said. “As one of the only student members on SAET, Patty really instilled a lot of confidence in me, and taught me to have a voice amongst a group of administrators and faculty.”

Dr. Kyle Hunt ’10

While Hunt admits that coursework is a large component of being successful in dental school and as a professional, he also maintains that becoming a well-rounded individual is just as important.

“With all of the organizations you can join, variety of classes offered, study abroad opportunities, and diversity amongst the students, you really become a well-rounded individual at Gustavus,” Hunt said. “You will deal with patients from all walks of life as a dentist, and the more well-rounded you are, the better you will be able to connect with the patients you serve.”

When it came time to apply for dental school, Hunt’s resume from Gustavus made him an attractive candidate. Out of 1,200 out-of-state applicants the year he applied, Hunt was one of six students accepted at the University of Illinois-Chicago in a class of 68 students.

“I chose UIC because it is a very strong program and it sees more patients than any other dental school in the country,” Hunt said. “I really wanted to have a strong clinical experience before going into private practice, so going to UIC allowed me to see a large number of patients during the two and a half years I was in clinic.”

Getting into dental school is no easy task. According to data from the American Dental Education Association, in 2013 there were 12,162 applicants to various dental schools across the country and only 5,769 matriculants, for an acceptance rate of 47 percent. In comparison, pre-dental students in the class of 2014 at Gustavus achieved an acceptance rate of 72 percent.

Erik Blomquist ’14

Erik Blomquist ’14 is in the middle of his first year of dental school at the University of Iowa. He credits the small classroom settings at Gustavus and close relationships with professors as two of the reasons why he was able to realize his goal of attending dental school.

“One course that was particularly helpful in preparing me for dental school was Quantitative Chemical Analysis with Dr. Dwight Stoll, where I had a chance to improve my manual dexterity skills by working on accuracy and precision in lab,” Blomquist said. “Heather Banks, the pre-health adviser, helped me greatly along my journey to apply to dental school, from conducting a mock interview with me to helping me make my personal statement the best that it could be.”

Megan Raiber ’14

Megan Raiber ’14, a first year dental student at the University of Minnesota, echoed Blomquist’s and Hunt’s sentiments about how Gustavus prepared her for dental school.

“Having now started my first year of dental school, I can truly say that I am very lucky to have received a Gustavus education,” Raiber said. “My classes at Gustavus challenged me and pushed me to dive deeper into the material, beyond the general processes and outlines and into the small details that tie everything together.”

Cameron Clause ’14 is another first-year dental student at the University of Iowa. Like Hunt, he says a combination of coursework in the chemistry department and being involved in activities like Gustie Greeters, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and G.O.L.D., has led him to where he is today.

Cameron Clause ’14

“I was able to do a lot of personal development through these programs and classes, learning about my strengths as an individual and how to incorporate them into my career,” Clause said. “My chemistry adviser, Amanda Nienow, helped a lot with planning the right classes to take in order to meet the requirements for dental school. I also worked with Heather Banks to improve my interviewing skills and my personal statement. Gustavus definitely played a large role in my application and acceptance into dental school.”

In three years, Blomquist, Raiber, and Clause all hope to be where Hunt is today: helping others, one smile at a time. He now works with his father, Dr. Walter Hunt, who founded Personal Care Dentistry in 1977. At PCD, the Hunt’s practice what they call the golden rule of dentistry: to treat each patient as they would want to be treated.

“Gustavus really prepared me for a life of serving others and dentistry is a vehicle for me to do that,” Hunt said. “Your smile is the first thing people notice about you, and it’s pretty special to help people feel confident about their smiles. As Dr. Seuss said, “Teeth are always in style.”

For more information about the Gustavus pre-dental program, visit the program’s website or contact Heather Banks in the Career Development Office at or 507-933-7272.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas

Baking (and Blogging) From Scratch

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 11:31am

Monique Volz remembers the day a cookie crashed her blog.

Ambitious Kitchen – the food and recipe blog Volz launched three months after graduating from St. Thomas in 2011 with a B.A. in marketing management and business communication – was bombarded by hungry foodies.

“I hadn’t checked my traffic that day, because I didn’t think it was possible to go from 5,000 visits to 30,000 in a day. It was the best worst problem to have, right?” she recalled.

The culprit? A combustible mix of her recipe for brown butter Nutella-stuffed chocolate chip cookies with sea salt, and the wildly popular lifestyle blog, Cup of Jo, which had featured her recipe that day.

“People were writing to me that this cookie changed their life. It was crazy. (New readers) were popping up on my Facebook page demanding, ‘Where’s your cookie recipe?!’ I had to get a new server,” she said.

For the last three years, Volz has had to relegate her beloved cooking and baking time to weekends following a 40-hour work week. And an additional five hours a week for photographing her finished creations, writing posts and updating her social media.

But that limited schedule has come to an end.

Volz, who has no formal culinary experience, has been drawing nearly one million page views per month. That’s enough traffic to make her, in blogosphere parlance, an “influencer,” who attracts not only scores of readers but also dollars in ad and sponsorship revenue.

In September she took a leap of faith, quitting her well-paying, stable job as social media strategist for Pillsbury at General Mills, to devote herself full time to Ambitious Kitchen.

“I never thought this would turn into something I could do full time, and now I can,” she said. “I’m still in disbelief that when I wake up every day, I get to bake and cook things that people will love, and hopefully inspire them.”

Self-rising star in the blogosphere

A novice to the world of blogs, Volz prepared herself by diving into a stack of how-to books on blogging during her last semester at St. Thomas. She also taught herself WordPress – today’s gold standard in website- and blog-building software.

In August 2011, while contracting in social media and public relations for General Mills, she quietly launched Ambitious Kitchen. “I didn’t know what I was doing at all,” she recalled. “I kept posting my recipes, but I didn’t think people would actually visit. Little by little, though, they did.”

Her unrelenting pursuit of “opportunities for discovery” separated her from the throngs of would-be bloggers who burst daily onto the scene. Volz reached out to owners of local food blogs, such as Pinch of Yum, for advice and support. Online, she especially was active, submitting her recipes to Foodgawker, commenting on other food blogs, consistently updating her brigade of social media and, most importantly, learning the art of ad monetization.

She was working long hours for an engineering firm in Washington, D.C., when she made her first dollars from her blog in spring 2012.

“I started making $50 here, another $50 there. It was so exciting!” she said. Though the new income wasn’t a windfall, for Volz, it was electrifying – the spark she’d been craving while braving her unfulfilling job. “It gave me the incentive I needed to realize that I wanted to work in food,” she said.

After six months in D.C., she moved to Los Angeles, where she took up contracting again and continued to post on her blog. There, she made a friend savvy in ad monetization who became a mentor and planted the seed in her imagination that with nobler effort and better tools of the trade, she could build Ambitious Kitchen into a full-time, money-making career.

Volz started publishing more often, and she bought a Canon Ti3 Rebel to boost the quality of her food photography.

“As soon as I made my first $1,000 (in a month), which was a year later, I thought, ‘OK. I can do this,’” she said.

Upping her ante paid off. Since she raised her bar, Ambitious Kitchen has been featured on BuzzFeed, PopSugar, and The Huffington Post, which named her among the Best Food Blogs of June 2013, among other websites and publications. And this year Mpls.St.Paul magazine featured her as one of Minnesota’s major social media standouts.

‘Sweet Treats and Healthy Eats’

While Ambitious Kitchen contains plenty of wickedly toothsome treats, Volz emphasizes that her focus is on “healthy eating and lifestyle without being overly restrictive, and making the sweets we all love a little bit healthier.”

Likewise, her motto – the tagline of her blog – is Sweet Treats and Healthy Eats.

“I work out almost every day, and I try to eat clean and healthy, so that’s my whole approach,” she said. She also hopes her message has a proactive effect on her readers: “I want to inspire people to get in their kitchens and try to cook a little bit healthier and make something they’ve never tried before.”

One reader’s comment stands out in her memory. “He wrote that since he discovered my blog a year ago he’s lost something like 50 pounds from using my recipes and that I was such an inspiration. Comments like that mean the world to me,” she said. “They help me know that what I do matters.”

Family influence

Though both of Volz’s parents loved to spend time in the kitchen, it wasn’t until her stretch at St. Thomas that she discovered her passion for cooking and baking.

Throughout high school and her early undergraduate years, Volz remembers eating out too often. Fluctuations in her weight and energy, which made her unhappy, were the consequences of those years of unhealthy eating.

“I had a poor understanding of nutrition,” she said. “After I started college, I realized I’d gained 15 pounds. When I moved off campus, I thought, ‘I need to start cooking for myself.’ I was so busy with classes and an internship (at Minnesota Monthly), but I knew I needed to change my approach to eating.”

To be fair, Volz also found herself coping with a heartbreaking stroke of “awful timing” when she received a call, three days before her first day of class as a freshman, that her father had passed away.

“My dad was the baker,” she said. “My parents divorced when I was younger, and every time we got together, we’d make pie, we’d make cake … he made the best yellow cake and would always make homemade chocolate frosting … whenever I bake, I feel closer to him.”

Volz would draw from those experiences – as well as time with her mother, a native Puerto Rican whom she calls a “fantastic cook” and gets together with often for cooking marathons – to overhaul her eating habits and, eventually, launch Ambitious Kitchen.

Yes, blogging is a ‘real job’

At first, Volz shied away from being called a success story.

“You really think so?” she asked, genuinely surprised, her tone flecked with uncertainty.

After a long pause, she granted that perhaps hers really is a success story. Her skepticism, she explained, is not rooted as much in self-doubt as it is in the persistent consensus that blogging is not a legitimate profession.

“When people ask me what I do, I’ll often say, ‘I have a recipe website,’ because they don’t get it if I tell them I’m a blogger. I know my mom’s friends don’t!” she said.

Volz recalled her co-workers’ reactions when it was announced she had quit her job. “They were wishing me good luck on my project, so I had to correct them: ‘Nope. It’s not my project. It’s my job.’ A lot of people don’t get that I can make money off of blogging and support myself.”

As the top “sampler” of Volz’s kitchen creations, Tony Bucciferro, Volz’s boyfriend and a pitcher with the Birmingham Barons – a AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox – can attest to her stalwart work ethic. “Since I met Monique, she’s only skipped one day, maybe two, of cooking, and I don’t think there’s a single day that she’s not talking about or developing a recipe,” he noted.

Though she wouldn’t divulge her income, Volz noted, “I could have quit (my job at General Mills) a long time ago. I was just scared about having to think about health insurance and all the other stuff you have to deal with when you’re self-employed.”

Volz named fellow Minnesotan Lindsay Ostrom, a networking friend and former fourth-grade teacher, and her husband, Bjork, as evidence of blogging’s potential. The couple’s hit food blog, Pinch of Yum, has raked in more than $200,000 this year, according to the online income reports they publish each month. The Ostroms, like Volz, also made the leap to full-time blogging earlier this year, after launching in 2010.

To emphasize her point, Volz added, “And there are a lot of bloggers making a lot more than they’re making, let me tell you.”

Volz’s income comes from a blend of advertising and sponsorships. To monetize the ads that appear on her site, she works with several ad networks, which pay her either by CPM (cost per mille), which means she’s paid a flat fee for every 1,000 clicks, or CPC (cost per click).

Sponsorships are another source of income. Food brands – including Just Bare Chicken, Ghirardelli and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, to name a few – have been keen on having Volz incorporate their products into recipes and share them with her wide circle of influence.

Ambitious kitchen heads to Chicago

With her Facebook followers topping 28,000, Volz hopes to grow her blog followers by another 20,000 over the next year and will increase her posts to between three and five per week. In the meantime, she plans to hire an assistant to handle her administration and social media so she can devote all of her time to recipe development, content strategy and, the cherry on top: cooking and baking.

Since making the leap to full-time blogging in September, Volz made another leap in November – to Chicago where Bucciferro has lived since signing with the Barons.

“It’s been a challenge trying to remain organized during my move,” she said. But despite her frenetic schedule of late, she’s remained committed to posting consistently and monetizing her advertising, which is critical to her success as an entrepreneur.

“I’ve been able to continuously bring people to my site in order to make income, and since going full time, I’ve been able to say ‘yes’ to more client projects, too. It’s kept me extremely busy,” she said.

She also has an agent, who is helping her develop a cookbook she hopes will be published in 2016, and she’s toying with another entrepreneurial idea to sell muffins online.

Among the best perks, according to Volz, since making blogging her real job? The tax break on her gargantuan grocery bills – the average of which she would divulge only as “too much.”

Read more from St. Thomas magazine.

THIS IS YOUR TIME… to start your college search!

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 9:31am
It’s time to think about life after high school. Sophomores and juniors — get your college search going at Spring Preview Day (March 28 and May 16) at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minn. Tour campus, learn about academics, and meet staff and students. We’ll explain the college search timeline, review scholarships and financial aid, [&hellip

New History Center Exhibit to Feature Artifacts from Center for Hmong Studies

Concordia University Campus News - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 7:08am

A new exhibit opening March 7 at the Minnesota History Museum honoring the 40th anniversary of the Hmong arrival in Minnesota will feature several artifacts on loan from the Center for Hmong Studies at Concordia University, St. Paul.

Director of the Center for Hmong Studies Lee Pao Xiong, who played an instrumental role during the planning process of the exhibit, is pleased the public will have the opportunity to learn more about the Twin Cities Hmong community.

“Our ultimate goal for the exhibit it to educate the non-Hmong community about Hmong history, culture, and society, as well as showcase the positive contributions that the Hmong have made to the state of Minnesota.” Xiong said.

Xiong was first approached by Hmong historian Noah Vang about a year ago asking if he thought it would be a good idea for the Minnesota History Center to feature an exhibit on the Hmong. After encouraging Vang to pursue the proposal the History Center eventually indicated they had a lot of interest in doing such an exhibit.

Since the museum decided to move forward with the exhibit Xiong said he has had a great deal of involvement with the project, offering suggestions on content for the exhibit and serving on a community advisory committee. Xiong also indicated the Minnesota History Center’s exhibit team made numerous visits to the Center for Hmong Studies on CSP’s campus.

Titled “We Are Hmong Minnesota”, the exhibit will run March 7 through November 28, 2015.  More information can be found on the Minnesota History Center’s website

Winter WonderJam

Hamline University Campus News - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:00am
The Hamline community and general public are invited to Winter WonderJam, Hamline's student run concert event of the year featuring Smallpools, Yonas, and Step Rockets on Saturday, February 21.

MBA program introduces study option in India

St. Kate's Campus News - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 4:43pm
Students have the opportunity to complete their practicum abroad in January 2016. More »
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