Recent News from Campuses
In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, Eclipse focused on the fundamentals, leading them to a second straight USA Ultimate D3 women's national title.
Eight recent St. Olaf College graduates have been named Fulbright fellows for 2017–18.
The recipients of the prestigious award include five members of this year’s graduating class, as well as three 2016 graduates.
Three will use their Fulbright awards to conduct research, and the other five will take on English teaching assistantships.
Three members of this year’s graduating class were also named alternates in the prestigious program.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is sponsored by the Department of State and awards more than 1,500 grants to U.S. students every year. The program operates in more than 140 countries, seeking to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries” and “contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.” Program participants are chosen based on many factors, including leadership potential and academic merit.
The St. Olaf Fulbright recipients and their projects:
Rinnah Becker ’17 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Asturias, Spain. She also plans to join or create a musical ensemble that she hopes will allow for intercultural collaboration and understanding. She majored in music and Spanish at St. Olaf.
Wendy Bindeman ’16 will work with a laboratory at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas in Madrid, Spain. Her project investigates the role of specialized cells called “reactive astrocytes” in the growth of cancer cells that have metastasized to the brain. Outside the lab, she hopes to volunteer in English-language classes and join a cycling or running group. While at St. Olaf, she majored in biology and Spanish. Since graduating, she has been working in a Mayo Clinic research lab.
Sophie Breen ’17 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Argentina. She also plans to organize a pen-pal project between the school there and a school in Minnesota where she worked. After studying abroad in Argentina her junior year, she is thrilled to go back and dive deeper into the culture. She majored in Spanish with concentrations in educational studies, linguistics, and race and ethnic studies at St. Olaf.
Serena Calcagno ’17 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan. She will teach and learn at the intersection of education, China studies, and biology. She will volunteer in Taiwan’s national parks, where she will learn about the peoples of Taiwan through a lens of the island’s mountainous coastal ecology. She will also join and create dancing communities in which to teach Lindy Hop and learn about the traditional dances of Taiwan. She majored in biology at St. Olaf.
Olivia Haines ’16 will return to Dehradun, India, to work as an English Teaching Assistant at an all-girls boarding school for students from underprivileged families who have earned a scholarship to attend the rigorous school. She also plans to lead a girls choir and volunteer with a women’s empowerment organization, teaching financial literacy and assisting with micro-banking initiatives. At St. Olaf, Haines majored in social studies education and concentrated in English as a second language education, receiving licenses in both areas. Since graduation, she completed two student-teaching practicums — one in India at a school just 40 minutes from her Fulbright placement school — and one in St. Paul. She is currently substitute teaching in St. Paul.
Susan Hoops ’17 will be conducting research and teaching English at a secondary school in Linz, Austria. She is the recipient of the Fulbright Program’s Combined Award, which involves both teaching 13 hours a week and conducting a research project. Her research is titled “Visualization of the Scientific Workflow.” She will collaborate with a computer scientist, Professor Marc Streit, at Johannes Kepler University in creating a data visualization tool to describe the scientific data analysis process. She majored in mathematics at St. Olaf.
Hannah Lemberg ’16 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Sofia, Bulgaria. While in Bulgaria, they will use their time in the school and community to gain greater knowledge of Bulgarian culture and the multiple identities that this encompasses. Additionally, they hope to volunteer with an NGO working with the Roma population in Bulgaria. They majored in political science at St. Olaf.
Mary Studer ’17 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Mexico. During her time there, she also plans to volunteer with a service organization where she can work alongside community members. In both the classroom setting and the volunteer setting, she hopes to use the skills and knowledge she has gained through her social work major. She majored in both social work and Spanish at St. Olaf.
Elaine Macon ’17 (alternate) submitted a proposal to conduct research in Melbourne, Australia, at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. She majored in biology at St. Olaf.
Mary Katherine Maney ’17 (alternate) submitted a proposal to work as an English Teaching Assistant in Thailand. She majored in vocal music education at St. Olaf.
Madison Okuno ’17 (alternate) submitted a proposal to conduct research on urogenital tract infections at the University of Buea, Cameroon. She majored in biology and French at St. Olaf.
Gustavus Adolphus College biology professor Pamela Kittelson was named the winner of the 2017 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching at the College’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 28. She was presented the award by history professor Eric Carlson, the 2016 winner of the award.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by people that I hold in such high esteem,” Kittelson said. “Teaching at Gustavus is fulfilling because of the people I work with across campus that come together for the good of our students and their education.”
“[Kittelson] is reflective, innovative, thoughtful, intentional about teaching, and constantly works to improve,” Carlson said. “She is the model of the teacher-scholar.”
A member of the Gustavus faculty since 1999, Kittelson teaches courses ranging from introductory biology to advanced plant physiology, plant systematics, and ecology. She attended Colorado College and Humboldt State University before receiving her doctorate in plant biology from the University of California, Davis in 1998. At Gustavus, Kittelson has been a mentor for new faculty members, served on the Writing Across the Curriculum Advisory Board, and is an active participant in determining the College curriculum. In addition, she has co-authored numerous articles with Gustavus students and led or participated in multiple joint research projects and conference presentations.
“My objectives are to help students weigh evidence, read and think critically, reflect thoughtfully and express ideas with precision and grace,” Kittelson wrote previously. “I help them become persons who have learned how to learn, who love connections among ideas, and who revel in the intellectual journey as much as the destination.”
“Pamela practices and models the qualities that embody the Carlson award,” Provost and Dean of the Faculty Brenda Kelly said. “She engages her students in ways that both challenge and support them and adapts her teaching practices to reach students with a diverse set of learning styles. Finally, she takes what she has learned and experienced in the classroom and laboratory and shares this information with early career faculty members to help them develop and adapt their own teaching strategies.”
A first-generation college student herself, Kittelson hopes that students have a life-changing experience during their undergraduate years. “I hope they appreciate every opportunity that they get,” she said. “I love that I get to learn everyday alongside my students.”
The Edgar M. Carlson Award was established by the Gustavus Board of Trustees in 1971 to honor former President Edgar Carlson for his years of distinguished leadership and in recognition of his commitment to academic excellence. Gustavus faculty, staff, administrators, and students nominate professors for this award, and each year at commencement a faculty member, selected by the Provost based on the recommendations of previous award recipients, is honored for their exceptional skill and effectiveness as an instructor.
Recent Carlson Award Recipients
2016: Eric Carlson, History
2015: David Obermiller, History
2014: Matt Panciera, Classics
2013: Rebecca Fremo, English
2012: Alisa Rosenthal, Political Science
2011: Barbara Zust, Nursing
2010: Leila Brammer, Communication Studies
2009: Rick Orpen, Music
2008: Richard Leitch, Political Science
2007: Claude Brew, English
2006: Paul Saulnier, Physics
2005: Rob Gardner, Theatre and Dance
2004: Lisa Heldke, Philosophy
2003: Cindy Johnson, Biology
2002: Max Hailperin, Mathematics and Computer Science
2001: Gretchen Hofmeister, Chemistry
2000: Eric Eliason, English
A full list of past Carlson Award winners dating back to 1971 is available online.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
What do basketball and square dancing have in common? For Pete Bakker-Arkema '17, both helped define his Carleton experience.
On May 28, 2017, degrees were conferred upon the graduates of the class of 2017 at the 155th Commencement exercises of Gustavus Adolphus College.
It was a sunny and windy day—“appropriate weather for a Gustie graduation”—quipped Rev. Dan Poffenberger ’82, chair of the Board of Trustees, in his welcome remarks.
“Class of 2017, you have made a terrible mistake,” said Rev. Brian Konkol in his Baccalaureate homily. “You have committed the grave tactical blunder of obtaining the required number of credits to graduate, and now you must go.” Acknowledging a natural nervousness about the future, Konkol asked that graduates trust. “The act of graduating itself is about trusting—believing you are ready to offer something significant in this world,” he said. Four years at Gustavus should strengthen their trust in themselves. “What you have learned at the top of this hill will help in all that is below it.”
What graduates learned at Gustavus was through coursework in a rich liberal arts tradition, developed within the core values of excellence, community, justice, service, and faith. Through these things, Provost Brenda Kelly told the graduates, “You leave ready to lead purposeful lives, and to act on the great challenges of our time.”
(The grads also leave having learned the alphabet, apparently. “Good job alphabetizing yourselves,” Professor Richard Leitsch jokingly told the 518 grads as they assembled for the processional. And then he added, “We’re going to miss you. And we’re not kidding.”)
Of the Gustavus core values, it was community that provided the pedestal for the day’s senior send-off. Said Lily Benge-Briggs ’17 in her commencement speech: “In my happiest times of success and lowest times of grief and sorrow, my Gustavus community has been here for me.” Benge-Briggs urged the Class of 2017 to be there for everything and everyone: “Leave places and people better than we found them. Gustavus made me better than when it found me.”
Biology professor Pamela Kittleson, who was awarded the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching at Commencement, also called out the power of the Gustavus community to work for and with each other, praising the “mutualism between Gustavus students and faculty,” and thanking the students, “for challenging us to hone our craft and bring
our best to you every day.”
Gustavus president Rebecca Bergman (proud mother of graduate Laura Bergman ’17) molded these multiple messages of community, courage, and learning into a message of action. “You are fully equipped with a liberal arts education that will be the foundation of your life,” Bergman told the Class of 2017. “Be purposeful about that life. Keep your head up. When you see something you love, grab that opportunity and run with it. Commit to being a person of action.
“Always, always, always do the right thing. Even when no one is looking, and especially when it is difficult.”
The graduating seniors of the Gustavus Choir sang the Remember song. (For your belong to GA College/and Gustavus belongs to you.) The band, led by graduating music ensemble members, struck up the Alma Mater and the Gustie Rouser. And Rev. Siri Erickson blessed the crowd, saying, “Let us be mindful that all we have achieved is made possible by a community of so many other people.”
And with that, the Class of 2017 was formally launched into their future.
After, graduates, faculty, staff, family, and friends gathered on Eckman Mall to celebrate the graduates’ years at Gustavus. “I can’t think of a better way to spend the day then on this beautiful campus celebrating Liv and her accomplishments,” said Caryn Peterson, mother to Olivia Peterson ’17. “The Gustavus community has helped her grow in tremendous ways over these last four years. We can’t wait to see what’s next!”
What’s next is a future of purposeful action, bolstered by the support of a wide network of Gustavus alums around the world. Because, notes new graduate Karolina Stark ’17, “Gustavus gets bigger after you graduate.”
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
UPDATE | Sunday, May 28, 8:30 a.m.: The weather is clear and today’s commencement exercises will be held outside on Hollingsworth Field as scheduled.
Gustavus Adolphus College will conclude its 155th academic year with the 2017 commencement exercises at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, May 28 at Hollingsworth Field.
Tickets are not required for guests if the ceremony is held outdoors. If the weather forces commencement to be moved indoors to the Lund Center Arena, each student will receive three tickets for family and friends to sit in the indoor ceremony area. An overflow area will be available in the Lund Center Forum for attendees to watch a live telecast of the ceremony.
During the ceremony, senior Lily Benge Briggs of Grantsburg, Wis. will deliver remarks on behalf of the Class of 2017. The Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching will be presented to a member of the faculty by last year’s winner, Professor of History Eric Carlson. After crossing the stage, graduates will receive their diplomas from faculty members in their respective majors, continuing a Gustavus tradition that began in 1973.
Earlier in the morning, the College will host a pair of baccalaureate services at 9 and 10:30 a.m. in Christ Chapel. Complimentary tickets for the baccalaureate services can be reserved online at gustavustickets.com. A commencement buffet will be held in the Evelyn Young Dining Room of the Jackson Campus Center from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets for the buffet are $16 each and $7 for children under the age of six. Buffet tickets are available at gustavustickets.com.
For more information about commencement, including a list of answers to frequently asked questions, please visit gustavus.edu/commencement. A full schedule of the weekend is also available online. Questions can be directed to the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.
WATCH LIVE: The 2017 commencement exercises will be streamed online at gustavus.edu/commencement.
Social Media: Use #Gusties17 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share pictures and thoughts from commencement. Follow the conversation online at the College’s #Gusties17 social stream.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Tim Viet recently organized What the Pho?, serving more than 200 bowls of the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup to the Carleton community.