St. Olaf Campus News
St. Olaf College Vice President for Enrollment and College Relations Michael Kyle ’85 has announced the appointment of Katie Warren ’95 as its first chief marketing officer.
Warren, who is currently president and director of strategy at the Minneapolis-based marketing services agency Gabriel deGroodBendt (GdB), will begin at St. Olaf July 5.
Warren has spent the past 16 years leading brand strategy, innovation, and marketing communications plans in both the advertising and retail industries.
Prior to joining GdB, she was vice president of brand marketing at SuperValu, where she led banner brand marketing and advertising, private brands marketing, health and wellness marketing, and strategic planning. She also worked at Campbell-Mithun and Br&nd Innovators, assisting clients like Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Land O’Lakes.
“Katie is strategic, accomplished, and down-to-earth,” Kyle says. “The experience she brings will drive stronger integration across campus, enabling the group she leads to provide effective, authentic, and compelling communications.”
This new role at the college is intended to strategically elevate the role of marketing in the college’s communications plan to increase awareness and visibility of the college and support the college’s strategic plan.
“St. Olaf has long had a place in my heart and I’m thrilled with the opportunity to leverage my skills and experience to take the St. Olaf brand to the next level,” Warren says.
Warren holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf, where she majored in English, and a master of marketing communications certificate from the University of St. Thomas.
By day, Mike Fuerstein is an associate professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College. By night, he lays down a beat like nobody’s business.
Fuerstein plays drums in a band named, appropriately enough to anyone who dabbles in philosophy, The Counterfactuals. He is joined in the band by three more professors, all of whom teach at neighboring Carleton College.
The band recently released its second album, eponymously titled The Counterfactuals.
Daniel Groll, the band’s vocalist, and Jason Decker, the guitarist, also teach philosophy. Thus, one would be forgiven in assuming the fourth and final member of the band also happened to be a philosophy professor, to complete a very philosophical quartet. Yet one would be wrong in making that assumption — in fact, they would be counterfactually thinking. Andy Flory, the bassist, teaches music at Carleton.
Fuerstein did not follow the typical path to becoming a professor of philosophy. He completed a dual-degree program in philosophy and saxophone performance from Tufts University and the New England Conservatory of Music.
After years on the New York City jazz scene, playing and teaching the saxophone, while also completing a Ph.D. at Columbia University, he joined the St. Olaf faculty.
Upon arriving in Northfield, he came to find out about a band named The Counterfactuals that was in need of a drummer. So, of course, the saxophone-playing philosopher signed up to play drums.
The band released its debut album, Minimally Decent People, in 2013. The album garnered critical acclaim, leading Minnesota Public Radio’s 89.3 The Current to label it “must-hear music.”
A string of tour dates all across Minnesota, in addition to profiles and reviews in a raft of publications, including the Star Tribune, cemented the band’s position among the finest of the burgeoning Northfield music scene.
On the back of the first album, the band had every reason to take a break and return to their “normal” lives. However, its members were still committed to practicing as much as they could — culminating in the band’s new album.
If the band’s first album represented a bubbling to the surface, their recently released second album — curiously titled The Counterfactuals — is an explosion of artistry and musicality. The band will play an album release show on Saturday, June 25, at Icehouse in Minneapolis. The show will feature Joey Ryan and the Inks as their special guest.
The eponymous album title is normally reserved for an group’s first album. Fuerstein admits that the decision to self-title the band’s second album was a “recognition that we were trying to be a little quirky and a fruitless bout of toying with other titles.”
Nonetheless, there is no evidence of a lack of ideas when it comes to the important business: the music. An eclectic range of sounds pervades onto each of the nine songs on the album — no surprise, given the eclectic methods of making music that the band employed.
“We’ve used stairwells to get echoes, recorded in offices to get more of a dry sound,” Fuerstein says.
Evidently, the band is as resourceful as it is talented.
Ten recent St. Olaf College graduates have been named Fulbright fellows for 2016–17.
The recipients of the prestigious award include seven members of this year’s graduating class, as well as three 2015 graduates.
Six will use their Fulbright awards to conduct research, and the other four will take on English teaching assistantships.
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:
Elizabeth Bews ’15 will conduct research on archeological work in the Middle Strymon River Valley in Southwestern Bulgaria, whose history has been neglected despite its pivotal position in the ancient world. She will compare patterns of surveys and excavations in this area with nationalist trends in the Bulgarian government in order to determine why some sites have been neglected. She hopes that her research will encourage collaboration between Bulgarian and American archaeologists. While at St. Olaf, Bews majored in French, history, and Russian area studies.
Mason Braden ’15 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Mexico. He has also proposed a supplemental project that will involve creating and coaching a local basketball team. Having spent four years as a member of the St. Olaf basketball team, he has experienced the power of athletics to bridge cultural and linguistic differences. Braden majored in Spanish and psychology at St. Olaf.
Sophia Butler ’15 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia. She also plans to lead a community music ensemble that she hopes will build strong relationships among people with many different backgrounds. She majored in music at St. Olaf.
Andrew Hoffman ’16 will analyze the atmosphere chemistry of surface snow layers of Northeastern Greenland’s ice sheet. He will conduct this research as part of the East Greenland Project Ice Core (EGRIP) while studying for a master’s degree in climate change at the University of Copenhagen. He majored in mathematics and physics.
Lisa Koetke ’16 will study the diet composition of livestock and wild ungulates through the Wildlife Institute of India. Her research will be used to determine whether the two groups compete for food and whether such competition affects their diets. The results will inform management decisions in the Indian Himalayan region. She majored in biology at St. Olaf.
Sophia Magro ’16 will study teacher-student interactions in elementary schools in Kiel, Germany. The research will examine how communication between native German teachers and Syrian refugee students is related to the development of students’ self-control. She majored in music and psychology with a concentration in educational studies.
Mari McClelland ’16 will conduct research on forest tenure and national forest policy at the local level in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. Last year, she was named a Udall Scholar, an award given to students who have demonstrated leadership, public service, and a commitment to careers related to the environment. She majored in Asian studies and environmental studies at St. Olaf.
Erin McHugh ’16 will work as an English Teaching Assistant at the university level in Croatia, which gives only one teaching grant to a U.S. citizen. During the 2016 Interim, she taught U.S history at Kalani High School and Kamehameha Middle School in Oahu, Hawaii. She majored in history with a concentration in educational studies.
Cameron Rylander ’16 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in South Korea. In furthering his experience while in South Korea, he hopes to immerse himself in Korean culture by engaging in K-pop dance performances and joining middle-aged communities to cook authentic Korean cuisine. He majored in Asian studies.
Nora Uhrich ’16 will investigate Norway’s response to victims of sexual violence seeking asylum from other countries. Her research involves examining the factors that influence policies and practices for accepting or rejecting refugee women as well as interviewing women who have gone through the asylum process. In conjunction, she will take psychology courses at the University of Oslo. She majored in psychology, religion, and Norwegian.
St. Olaf College student Oleksandr (Sasha) Dmytrenko ’17 has been selected to conduct cutting-edge stem cell research this summer through the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) Internship Program.
Dmytrenko will spend 10 weeks in the laboratory of Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Vijay Sankaran. Sankaran and his colleagues are studying hematopoiesis, or blood cell production, in order to develop potential treatments for blood diseases.
Dmytrenko, who received funding from the St. Olaf Piper Center for Vocation and Career for the internship, is looking forward to the active role that he will play in such important research.
“They really want to get the student involved in all of the aspects of the project,” he says. “The lab is very interested in me actually learning and doing things.”
An essential component of Dmytrenko’s work is modern genome editing through the CRISPR/Cas9 system, a powerful tool for modeling diseases and testing drugs. Dmytrenko explains that it is “unusual for an undergraduate student to work on a project of this scope and to use techniques this novel.”
What excites Dmytrenko most about the HSCI internship, though, is the opportunity to collaborate with Sankaran, who holds both Ph.D. and M.D. degrees. As a student planning to become a physician-scientist himself, “working with someone who is bridging two fields is an amazing experience” for Dmytrenko.
“I would like to combine the fields of clinical medicine and basic science in my profession, which I believe allows researchers to better guide their research toward patient needs,” he says.
Dmytrenko’s participation in research projects at St. Olaf has prepared him well for the HSCI program. Through the Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) program, he and St. Olaf Professor of Biology Eric Cole spent a summer studying the single-cell organism Tetrahymena. “I was exposed to molecular biology, microscopy, biochemical research — all of these things while working with the same organism,” says Dmytrenko.
“I saw how all of these interdisciplinary tools line up together and how they can be used to answer bigger questions. That was definitely something that allowed me to grow,” he says.
Dmytrenko, a chemistry major with concentrations in biomolecular science and statistics, has taken several courses at St. Olaf that have also prepared him for HSCI. He says that his upper-level classes in cell biology, genetics, and bioanalytical chemistry have “really allowed me to see what’s out there beyond the textbook examples.”
In addition to their laboratory research, HSCI interns participate in a stem cell seminar series, a career pathways presentation, and a weekly stem cell companion course. They present their summer research findings, both orally and in poster format, at an end-of-program symposium.
Dmytrenko says that he can’t wait “to participate in an entirely new project in an entirely new setting, working in the field that I’m passionate about.”
The Harvard Stem Cell Institute is a unique scientific enterprise that brings together leading scientists and clinical experts working to advance the use of stem cells in basic research and regenerative medicine.
St. Olaf College student Barite Gutama ’17 is one of just 12 college students from across the country who have been selected to conduct cancer research this summer through the Northwestern University Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE) program.
CURE, which takes place at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern, is designed for underserved students interested in pursuing careers in the biomedical sciences. In addition to hands-on research with top cancer experts, the program includes weekly seminars presented by faculty members that introduce students to the basics of cancer biology.
Gutama heard about CURE through the St. Olaf Piper Center for Vocation and Career, which worked with Northwestern Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery Kevin Bethke ’78, a St. Olaf alumnus and regent, to encourage students to apply.
Gutama, whose own interest lies in chronic diseases, was drawn to this “firsthand research experience in the biomedical field at a national cancer institute.” As a student planning to pursue a career in medicine, she believes that experience in research is essential for her future profession.
“I want to have some research in my practice because that will help me to stay up-to-date and to better care for my patients,” she says.
In addition, Gutama is looking forward to “the opportunity to apply and extend my course knowledge in a real-world setting.” As a chemistry major with a concentration in biomolecular science, she has taken various classes at St. Olaf that have prepared her well for CURE, including those in organic chemistry, biochemistry, and genetics, as well as a seminar course in stem cell research and development.
Gutama participates in the TRIO McNair Scholars program at St. Olaf, which aims to increase doctoral degree attainment and participation in the professoriate by low-income and first-generation college students. She is also active in the TRIO Student Support Services program, which aims to support students in overcoming social or cultural barriers and achieving academic success.
These experiences have proved valuable in preparing Gutama for CURE as well. She emphasizes how greatly her faculty advisors have helped her think about her interests, reflect on her experiences, and envision where she sees herself in the future.
“All of the resources at St. Olaf helped me to seek out and find this internship,” she says.