Recent News from Campuses

Students Care for Community Gardens

Hamline University Campus News - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:00am
This summer, Hamline students are learning to grow and share vegetables as part of collaborations with three community garden sites.

Washington Monthly Rankings

Hamline University Campus News - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:00am
Hamline ranks first in Minnesota in its category by Washington Monthly for its commitment to service, research, and social mobility.

Jenny Marquette ’15: A Senior Leader

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:24pm

Jenny Marquette made a presentation at the 2014 NACA National Convention in Boston.

Athletic coaches like to use the term “senior leader” when referring to an experienced player on their roster who leads not only verbally but by example for the overall benefit of the team. Gustavus Adolphus College senior Jenny Marquette ’15 doesn’t play any varsity sports, but the “senior leader” term describes her perfectly.

Marquette’s story begins in the small town of Foley—population 2,600—just Northeast of St. Cloud. As a high school senior, she had no idea where she wanted to attend college, but had heard about Gustavus from a couple of her friends on the speech team.

“My dad, two of my friends, and I took advantage of Minnesota Private Colleges Week and decided to make Gustavus one of our stops,” Marquette said. “I ended up touring Gustavus three different times and fell in love with the campus a little bit more each time.”

That love for the campus has only grown over the last three years as Marquette has immersed herself in a lengthy list of student organizations. On the top of that list is the Gustavus Campus Activities Board—known by most Gusties as CAB. The mission of CAB is to enrich the campus life experience for Gusties by encouraging the involvement of all students in entertainment that is engaging and enjoyable.

“At the fall involvement fair during my freshman year I stopped at the CAB booth and I just knew that it was what I wanted to do,” Marquette said.

She signed up for two committees and became highly involved with CAB’s Special Events committee. By spring semester of her freshman year she was already accompanying senior executives to the Landmark Center in St. Paul to help plan for the College’s annual President’s Ball.

Marquette and Gus the Lion

During her sophomore year, Marquette served as a special events executive and began planning events and activities for the College’s student body. She and several other students helped develop the event D.A.N.C.E. (Dance All Night Challenge for Everyone) which has become a popular event on campus.

“Completely creating a new event and seeing it be so successful was definitely one of the highlights of my sophomore year,” Marquette said. “Serving as an executive on CAB helped me with my communication skills as well presenting myself professionally. Because I would love to be an event coordinator one day, there are some obvious parallels to how this will help me in the future.”

Last year Marquette served as the Co-President of CAB and will do so again this year along with Andrew Paul ’16. This experience has helped Marquette develop her leadership and team development skills.

“Anyone can see within the first minutes of meeting Jenny that her enthusiasm and dedication to CAB is through the roof,” said 2013-14 Co-President Grace Balfanz ’14. “Her passion and hard work has made CAB what it is today. This year’s CAB Executive Board is lucky to have such an experienced and devoted leader by its side.”

Due to her experience and success working with CAB, Marquette has seized an opportunity to gain additional experience by working with the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA).

Last year she was one of seven nationally selected board members who regularly participated in meetings to provide input to the NACA Board of Directors regarding issues and concerns from the student perspective. She also had an opportunity to travel to Boston to give a presentation about the Gustavus CAB training retreat at NACA’s national conference. This past summer, Marquette was selected to serve as a National Student Advisory Group Facilitator for NACA. She was the only student in the nation who had the privilege to attend NACA’s Board of Directors meetings to provide input from the student perspective.

Despite her many commitments on campus, Marquette was able to study abroad in Peru during the College’s January Term in 2014.

In addition to her work with CAB and NACA, Marquette has been involved with G.O.L.D. (Gusties in Ongoing Leadership Development), the Gustavus Mentoring Program, Gustavus Women in Business Leadership, the Crossroads Program, Gustie Guides, the Gustavus Tobacco Free Initiative, the Cultural Reclamation Program, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and the Inter-Greek Senate. She was inducted into the College’s Guild of St. Lucia during the spring of 2014 and the Order of Omega in the winter of 2013.

“Jenny is the epitome of a well-rounded, liberal arts college student,” said Gustavus Director of Campus Activities Andrea Junso. “She is deeply respected by her peers, is wildly passionate about the organizations she represents, and is a known leader among her peers.”

Extra-curricular involvement is of course only one half of the experience at Gustavus. Marquette is on track to graduate this spring with a double major in communication studies and business management. Marquette says that classes taught by professors such as Sarah Wolter from the Communication Studies Department and Kathi Tunheim, Kristian Braekkan and Sheng Ping-Yang from the Economics and Management Department have been particularly valuable to her.

“I really loved Sarah Wolter’s Media and Society and Communication and Gender courses. Taking Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management with Kathi Tunheim has been amazing,” Marquette said. “Having Sheng Ping-Yang as my advisor has been incredibly helpful. As a first-year in his Micro- and Macro-economics classes, he really helped me not only with those classes, but helped me decide to declare a management major. Whenever I need help with anything I know that I can go to him for advice. I highly recommend that underclassmen take at least one class with Sheng.”

When Marquette starts to apply for jobs this winter and spring in the event planning field, she will have several advantages on her side. Along with her double major and proven leadership experience, Marquette spent the past five months working as a Summer Events Intern with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund in Edina and as the Marketing and Client Development Intern for Good Leadership Enterprises.

“Preparing for my last CAB retreat and my last year at Gustavus has given me a lot of time to think back on and remember all of the amazing experiences that Gustavus has given me. From each and every CAB event I’ve worked on, to helping students discover their leadership abilities with GOLD, to traveling to Peru, South Carolina, Boston and Florida,  I know I have been very lucky to be a part of so many amazing programs at such a great school,” Marquette said. “Gustavus has given me so much these past four years and I could not be more thankful. I know everything I have learned and worked on out of the classroom will help me out down the road, and that’s what you come to a school like Gustavus for: an education that stretches outside of the classroom and shapes your life. It’s weird when I think about it that I once wasn’t sure if Gustavus was the right place for me, but as Sheng would say, ‘It’s so obvious.’”


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

Carleton Welcomes Class of 2018; 526 Students Hail From 47 States and 19 Countries

Carleton College Campus News - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 3:10pm

On Tuesday, September 9, Carleton College welcomes the Class of 2018 to campus. There are 526 students in the class, selected from a pool of 6,296 applicants. The students represent 47 states and 19 countries, with 70 students coming from Minnesota, followed by California (62), New York (38), Illinois (36), Washington (26), Massachusetts (25), Texas (19), and Wisconsin (18). Twenty-nine students hail from China.

Alumnus Eric Butorac ’03 Named President of ATP Player Council

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 2:22pm

Eric Butorac ’03

Gustavus Adolphus College alumnus and professional tennis player Eric Butorac ’03 has been elected by his peers to serve as the next President of the ATP Player Council. Butorac will succeed Roger Federer, who served as President of the Council since 2008.

The 12-member ATP Player Council meets several times a year to make recommendations to ATP management and the ATP Board of Directors. Besides Butorac, current Council members include Stan Wawrinka, Kevin Anderson, John Isner, Gilles Simon, Jurgen Melzer, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Raven Klassen, Bruno Soares, Andre Sa, Yves Allegro and Claudio Pistolesi.

Butorac was a three-time All-American at Gustavus who won the NCAA Division III singles and doubles titles in 2003. The Rochester, Minn., native compiled a 24-4 singles record and 23-5 mark in doubles during his senior year en route to the pair of national titles.

Since turning professional in 2003, Butorac has tallied a 215-197 career doubles record and has won 15 titles throughout his 12-year career on the ATP Tour. He has been ranked as high as No. 17 in the world, and is currently ranked No. 28. Butorac and his current playing partner, Raven Klassen of South Africa, advanced to the finals of this year’s Australian Open—one of four major tournaments on the ATP schedule. Butorac and Klassen are the No. 12 seed in the men’s doubles draw at the U.S. Open, which begins play today.


Butorac’s election as President of the ATP Player Council was featured by The New York Times on Aug. 29 by reporter Ben Rothenberg.

Butorac and his doubles partner, Raven Klaasen of South Africa, are into the quarterfinals at this week’s U.S. Open–the fourth and final grand slam tournament of the 2014 season. Butorac and Klaasen will face the unseeded duo of Americans Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram in the quarterfinal round in a match that will likely be played on Tuesday, Sept. 2. If they can beat Lipsky and Ram, Butorac and Klaasen would likely face the top-seeded tandem of Bob and Mike Bryan in the semifinals.


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

Catch all the Cardinal action

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 8:04am
Cardinal sports fans:It’s hard to believe, but the 2014 fall sports season is here. That means plenty of Cardinal action — and many ways to stay informed.   Check out these options:   The Athletics Website  Daily Game Recaps & Previews  Live Stats & Streaming Video  Instant Text Results   Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter YouTube Interviews [&hellip

Nick Hupton ’99: Impacting Today’s Youth as a Teacher, Coach, and Author

Gustavus Campus News - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 3:55pm

Nick Hupton ’99 lives in Minneapolis and teaches in Bloomington.

Benjamin Franklin once uttered the following on the subject of mentoring: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Those are words to live by for anyone trying to make an impression on today’s youth. They are words that Gustavus alumnus Nick Hupton ’99 has embraced in every aspect of his life.

Hupton is a high school English teacher at Bloomington Jefferson High School where he also coaches the boys’ tennis team. He is also a published author and is getting ready to release his third young adult novel in early September.

“First and foremost, I am passionate about helping kids. Watching a kid learn and grow, both academically and emotionally, is why I got into education in the first place,” Hupton said.

Hupton first started thinking about pursuing a career in education when he was in high school. His mom is a teacher and his 11th grade American literature teacher had a profound influence on him, which he says fueled his passion for helping and teaching others. After graduating from high school in Des Moines, Hupton came to Gustavus to earn his undergraduate degree.

“I had a wonderful experience in the Gustavus education department. I have always felt that the classes I took and the field experiences I participated in helped me prepare as thoroughly as possible for the world of education,” Hupton said. “Anyone who hopes to pursue education as a career should consider Gustavus as an undergraduate option. The program will not disappoint.”

Along with his academic pursuits, Hupton was a four-year member of the Gustavus men’s tennis team. During Hupton’s four years, the team won four MIAC championships, while Hupton was named an all-conference performer in 1998 and 1999. While the team’s success was something that Hupton enjoyed, the life lessons learned from the experience and from former head coach Steve Wilkinson are things that he carries with him today.

Hupton (middle) is the head boys’ tennis coach at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

“Playing tennis for Gustavus had a profound impact on my life. Coach Wilkinson is legendary for a reason: he teaches young men the values of respect and integrity,” Hupton said. “I learned a lot about tennis and became a much better player, and in time, a better coach, because I participated in the Gustavus tennis program. But most importantly, I became a better person and I try to relay the messages of sportsmanship, integrity, and respect to my players today.”

Wilkinson’s biography is dotted with impressive statistics such as the fact that he retired as the winningest coach in the history of men’s collegiate tennis with 923 victories. He led the College to two NCAA Division III titles as well as 35 MIAC championships. He was also recently inducted into the United States Professional Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame. But perhaps the crowning jewel on Wilkinson’s resume is the fact that he founded the Tennis and Life Camps at Gustavus which have taught tennis, life values, and sportsmanship to more than 50,000 students since 1977.

“I use many of Wilk’s philosophies and techniques in my day-to-day coaching and it has become an integral part of the Jefferson tennis program,” Hupton said. “I owe Wilk a great deal. His impact on Minnesota tennis is incalculable. I continue to coach because I love the game, but like teaching, I treasure the evolution I see of the young men in my program. They don’t only grow as tennis players, but as people too. It’s nice to think that I had a small part in that.”

While teaching and coaching in the Bloomington Public Schools, Hupton decided to pursue his master’s degree in 2008. He enrolled at Hamline University in a Liberal Studies program with a concentration in creative writing. During his master’s program he began to write what would eventually become his first published novel, If I Know It’s Coming.

The book tells the story of Tim Hansen, a perceptive, but fairly average 13-year-old boy. Hansen’s mother, an Army reserve nurse is deployed to Iraq and Tim, his father, and sister Jenna, have to deal with the separation of their close-knit family. Tim goes to extremes to fill the void left by his absent mother and he is desperate to create some normalcy again.

Hupton’s third novel, Stone Ridge, will be released on Sept. 5.

“The book is told from Tim’s perspective, so anyone of that age can relate to the voice and the constant middle school adventure,” Hupton said. “But it is also for anyone who has experienced separation, whether it be due to military deployment or for another reason.”

Hupton took a group of seventh graders to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in northern Minnesota for a three-day field trip when he got the inspiration for his next book. While telling ghost stories in the woods, Hupton made up a story about an old hermit who would kidnap Wolf Ridge campers. Ten years later, Hupton turned that story into a much more elaborate and detailed novel titled The Ridge. The story focuses on Zach Sutton, an eighth grader whose brother has been missing for over a year. When Zach travels to northern Minnesota on a school field trip, he begins to piece together the disturbing truth about his brother’s disappearance.

Stone Ridge, which will be released on Sept. 5, is the sequel to The Ridge. It continues Zach’s quest for his brother and his ongoing battle with the antagonist, Victor Leppla. Hupton says that both books are paranormal mysteries, but they also contain serious thematic issues such as separation, family dynamics, and good versus evil.

“Some of the proudest moments in my writing career have come when I see otherwise reluctant readers picking up my books and diving in,” Hupton said. “It’s all about getting young people to read and I hope I have aided in that endeavor at least a little bit.”

In addition to teaching, coaching and writing, Hupton is also a husband and a father. He is married to Tara Anlauf Hupton ’00 and the couple has a son and a daughter. You can read more about Hupton’s books by visiting his website,


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

Jenni Harms ’14: Lifelong Gustie Starts Next Chapter at Cargill

Gustavus Campus News - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:53pm

Jenni Harms ’14

With two Gustie alumni as parents, Jenni Harms ’14 needed no introduction to Gustavus when it came time to make her college choice back in 2010. She had attended the College’s Tennis and Life Camps for seven years and had also attended signature events like Christmas in Christ Chapel since she was a young child.

That familiarity was definitely a factor in Harms’ decision, but it was something else about Gustavus that eventually sold her on the school.

“A major reason why I wanted to go to Gustavus was because of the student to faculty ratio (12:1),” Harms said. “I did not want to be a number at a large university. I wanted to be recognized as a person and have the opportunity to build relationships with my professors.”

Harms built those relationships with faculty members, traveled the world as a member of two music ensembles, studied abroad for a semester in Ireland, developed close relationships with peers as a member of a sorority, obtained two valuable internships, and is now in the early stages of her professional career at Cargill—one of the most respected corporations in all of Minnesota.

“Gustavus helped prepare me in so many ways for post-grad life. The work ethic that was needed to succeed in classes at Gustavus is what has been most prevalent to me,” Harms said. “Going into work already knowing how to multitask and delegate time has helped me so much with my full-time job at Cargill. Also, the ability to learn things quickly and having a liberal arts education is really beneficial in the business world.”

After starting her four years at Gustavus as an environmental studies major, Harms decided to switch courses and become a mathematics major with a minor in management. She was also able to remain involved in music as a flutist in the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra.

Harms said her involvement in the two ensembles provided her with a great community of friends and many opportunities to travel the world. She went to South Africa in 2012 with the Symphony Orchestra and to Eastern Europe in 2014 with the Wind Orchestra. Being part of a world-class music program and traveling the world was a rewarding experience, but Harms also harkens back on the mentoring relationship she developed with Dr. Douglas Nimmo, the now retired conductor of the Wind Orchestra.

Harms and fellow 2014 alumna Janelle Derbique on graduation day.

“Almost every faculty member at Gustavus positively influenced me in some way, but Dr. Nimmo was a particularly strong mentor for me,” Harms said. “He was always willing to talk and give me advice about music, school, post-grad decisions, and just life in general. Having a professor who cared so deeply about things that weren’t just related to band was something very special that Gustavus provided me.”

Gustavus also provided Harms with a chance to study abroad. Almost half of Gustavus students study abroad during their four years and Harms chose to do so in Galway, Ireland during the spring semester of her junior year. Harms calls it the best decision she made during her four years at Gustavus.

“It opened me up to so many different cultures and really shaped me into the person I am today,” Harms said. “Many of my job opportunities wouldn’t have happened if I did not study abroad because companies look so highly on candidates who have international knowledge and the ability to adapt.”

Her experience in Ireland helped Harms land an internship as a business analyst for Delta Airlines the summer after her junior year.

“Since Delta works consistently with partners that are international companies, it was important to them that I studied abroad in Ireland for six months,” Harms said. “I absolutely loved the internship. I learned so much about the business world and was able to work on many different projects that helped me grow professionally.”

With her undergraduate degree from Gustavus and her impressive resume that she was able to build during her four years at the College, Harms landed her first job at Cargill—the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue. Harms, an Apple Valley native, has relocated to Nebraska and is an Associate Buyer for the company.

Her primary responsibilities involve managing the timely and cost-effective procurement of maintenance and repair materials and services and requisite contracts and agreements to support the company’s production activities. Harms is assigned to the North American Oils Canada plants and recently spent a week in Canada to help facilitate the implantation of SAP (Systems Applications and Products) software to two of the company’s plants.

“The trip was a great experience and I enjoyed being able to put faces to names for people I communicate with daily in Canada,” Harms said. “I have only been working at Cargill for a month, but it is such a wonderful company to work for. I am learning so much and am looking forward to all the opportunities for growth.”


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

Kathy Lund Dean Named Erskine Fellow for Spring 2015

Gustavus Campus News - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 2:51pm

Dr. Kathy Lund Dean

Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees Distinguished Chair in Leadership and Ethics Professor Kathy Lund Dean has been awarded a Visiting Erskine Programme Fellowship for the 2015 spring semester by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her second Erskine award, Lund Dean will partner with faculty at the University of Canterbury’s School of Business & Economics to determine best practices in embedding experiential learning within large, traditionally lecture-based courses.

The Erskine Fellowship Programme ranks among the most prestigious educational awards in New Zealand and is made possible by a visionary bequest from Canterbury alumnus John Angus Erskine. Erskine, along with fellow Canterbury alumnus Ernest Rutherford, performed pioneering work in magnetic screening in the late 1800s. The Fellowship Programme was designed to bring renowned scholars from all over the world to Christchurch, enriching the University’s ability to serve its students and scholarly community.

Lund Dean utilized her first Erskine award in 2009 by teaching a wholly experiential management course in Canterbury’s executive MBA program.

“While experiential learning techniques such as class discussion, role-play, and community fieldwork are well integrated into American business courses, the New Zealand educational system has held to a tradition of lecturing,” Lund Dean observed. “It took a class session or two for the students to feel comfortable interacting with me and with each other.”

For most students, even on a graduate level, it was the first time they had ever participated in an experientially-based course, and the results were transformative—so much so that the University of Canterbury’s School of Business & Economics is deliberately building experiential learning capacity and expertise.

“I was so proud of the students’ willingness to take risks. They had never even had classroom discussion before, and there they were, doing role-plays in front of their peers. It was one of the most humbling teaching experiences I have ever had,” Lund Dean noted.

Lund Dean works with three students in a Beck Hall classroom.

The School of Business & Economics’ commitment to building experiential learning expertise in its faculty led to Canterbury lecturer Sarah Wright’s professional development goal of learning American techniques in experiential teaching. Wright, with whom Lund Dean worked during her 2009 Erskine stay in Christchurch, became determined to hone experiential learning expertise after observing significantly improved MBA student learning outcomes.

In 2010, Wright and Lund Dean participated in the OBTC Teaching Conference for Management Educators, run by the most innovative management education experiential learning society in North America. Additionally, Wright earned a 2011 Erskine visit to Lund Dean’s U.S. institution at the time, Idaho State University, to team-teach a summer course.

“We are honored to host Kathy in 2015,” Wright said. “She brings a wealth of knowledge in experiential learning, and injects enthusiasm and energy into our classrooms here at UC. Her willingness to mentor faculty in experiential learning is extraordinary, as is her dedication to help others engage in professional development opportunities. We look forward to welcoming her back in 2015!” Lund Dean and her family will be in Christchurch from mid-February to the end of April.

At Gustavus, Lund Dean is the inaugural holder of the Board of Trustees Distinguished Chair in Leadership & Ethics. She teaches courses in the College’s Department of Economics and Management, is responsible for internal and external stakeholder engagement in order to grow College programs, and is also charged with creating new experiential learning opportunities for Gustavus students. In addition, the Chair supports Lund Dean’s long-term leadership positions in the Academy of Management, OBTS Teaching Society for Management Educators, and the Journal of Management Education to enhance Gustavus’ international scope and reputation.


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

<i>Free Press</i> Features Gustavus Senior Daniel Venn

Gustavus Campus News - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 11:17am

Daniel Venn

Gustavus Adolphus College senior elementary education major Daniel Venn has had a rewarding last 15 months. Venn decided to push back his anticipated graduation date from Gustavus by a year in order teach English to students in South America. Venn’s experiences were chronicled on the Gustavus website in October of 2013.

Venn was recently featured by the Mankato Free Press and reporter Jessica Bies after being named one of the most influential college students in the United States by the website Here is an excerpt from Bies’ story:

A Gustavus Adolphus College student was recently named one of the top 11 most influential college students in the U.S., singled out for volunteer work undertaken during what would have been his final year as a Gustie.

Daniel Venn, from Cannon Falls, spent the summer of 2013 working in an elementary school in Riobamba, Ecuador, teaching students as well as planning and implementing an English-intensive summer camp for young children.

Instead of returning to college in the fall, he moved to the Galapagos Islands, recognizing a need for the students there to learn English, especially if they wanted to become a part of the islands’ tourism-driven economy.

Venn spent the fall semester on San Cristobal Island, teaching in a local high school during the day and offering free English lessons for adults at night. In January, he moved to Peru, where he joined with a group of Gustavus students working to provide both health care and education to citizens of the impoverished community of Chimbote.

You can read the entire article on the Mankato Free Press website.


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

Research Project Takes Students and Professor to France

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 4:52pm

Senior Amy Christiansen, junior Alexa Peterson and Associate Professor of Chemistry Amanda Nienow.

Story by Erin Luhmann ’08

Intensive lab work by day, culinary explorations by night – this sums up the week Alexa Peterson ‘16 and Amy Christiansen ‘15 spent in France to assist Associate Professor of Chemistry Amanda Nienow in a foreign lab.

The trio recently traversed the Atlantic to collaborate with their French counterparts on an herbicide photochemistry research project that cuts across borders. Professor Nienow secured funding through the National Science Foundation in 2012 and elected to bring both Christiansen and Peterson abroad this summer from June 15 to 22. While the research is ongoing, this leg of the collaborative experience yielded some unique opportunities for professional and personal development.

“Going to work in another lab, especially one abroad, is a unique and eye-opening opportunity for students,” said Professor Nienow. “They have the chance to connect with other scientists, see how science is done in other labs, and to explore slightly different research questions. This exploration can have a profound impact on a student discerning their career aspirations and short-term goals.”

Opportunities like this start from a place of passion. For Professor Nienow, her focus has always been on environmental chemistry issues. At Gustavus, she has concentrated on the degradation of imidazolinone herbicides, which are commonly used in U.S. farming. Initially, her research centered on how various herbicides degrade in water when introduced to sunlight or lamps in the lab. Now, she has scaled-up her research project to explore the photodegradation of imazethapyr on soy and corn waxes.

“Our projects provide a more realistic picture of the fate of herbicides in the environment by examining their chemistry when sorbed to cuticular waxes and plant foliage,” she explained. “The research has implications for environmental modeling and pesticide regulation and our methods can be extended to other environmentally relevant organic molecules and surfaces.”

Christiansen and Peterson

Beyond the research, Professor Nienow holds a strong appreciation for her two lab assistants. Through the course of their partnership – more than a year – she has come to know both students well, and recognized their potential for growth through an international lab collaboration experience.

Peterson, a biology major who plans to pursue a career in medicine and health care, said the invitation to travel abroad to study the photoproducts and the photodegradation mechanism of these herbicides in France seemed like a “no brainer.”

“Personally, I think it gave me a lot more confidence in the lab – being able to know that I can conduct myself in a professional way,” she said.

She was impressed with the English language skills of their French colleagues and was energized from engaging in a week of cross-cultural communication and collaboration. This experience has left her eager to pack her suitcase again.

“I think health care work or medical work abroad would be an amazing experience,” she said. “It’s something that I’m looking forward to.”

Christiansen, an environmental studies and chemistry double major, also saw it as an asset to her future ambitions – to pursue a PhD in chemistry, followed by a career in industrial research and development.

“I think being able to collaborate with people in different countries and having that experience will set me apart from other students applying for graduate school, or in my career, because I’ll have that experience of being able to deal with other researchers in a professional way,” she said.

From a cross-cultural standpoint, both students were intrigued by the fact that their counterparts used similar lab equipment at the University of Blaise-Pascal, but followed different procedures when it came to conducting research. For instance, they logged roughly 10-hour days.

Peterson, Nienow, Christiansen and Claire Richard.

“I think their actual work ethic and practices are pretty similar to us. The timing was just very different,” said Christiansen.

Everyone put in long days – jet lagged or not – but they still found time to enjoy the local sites and culture. Professor Nienow enjoyed dining at a couple of French homes and exploring the countryside surrounding Clermont-Ferrand, where she hiked among a chain of 80 active volcanoes.

For all three Gusties, learning to communicate in an environment where English isn’t the default language posed a welcome challenge.

“It was interesting to experience a new culture and to have that language barrier and have to work through that,” said Christiansen.

Language issues aside, this research team – comprised of partners at Gustavus, in France and others in Minnesota – has collected high-quality data that’s being used to write a co-authored paper. This paper will be sent out for peer review in the fall of 2014.

“We learned many lab techniques, saw how other researchers are approaching similar research questions, and were inspired by the intense periods of work,” said Professor Nienow. “We returned home with a long list of research ideas and things to do!”

About the Author

Erin Luhmann graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2008 with a major in English and a minor in peace studies. She then taught English in Kyrgyzstan as a Peace Corps Volunteer (’08-’10) and completed a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. As a graduate student, she won a New York Times contest to travel and report alongside columnist Nicholas Kristof in West Africa. She now works as a freelance reporter in Minnesota.


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

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