Saint Mary's University Campus News
WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota student-athlete Jase Pater will be the first to admit … he never expected this.
What started out as a class project—a senior thesis in his Case Studies in Public Relations course—Pater’s efforts to organize and coordinate the “Jogging For Jack Superhero 5K” earned national attention on Monday, when Saint Mary’s was selected as an honorable-mention award-winner of the NADIIIAA/Jostens Community Service Awards for the “One Time Project” category.
The awards program is co-sponsored by the NADIIIAA and Jostens and is intended to recognize the many contributions Division III student-athletes regularly make to their campuses and local communities. Recognition is given for projects in three categories: One-Time Projects, An Array of Projects, and Ongoing Projects.
The “Jogging For Jack Superhero 5K,” which was held on April 10, 2016, was a fundraiser for Jack Cassidy, the 2-year-old son of Cardinal head women’s soccer coach, Neil Cassidy. Jack was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer—Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH)—and required chemotherapy, steroids, and steroid injections. Since Jack was a huge fan of super heroes—especially Superman—Pater and other members of the Saint Mary’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) came up with the Superhero 5K theme.
Representatives from each of the institution’s 21 varsity athletic teams were among the 50-plus student-athletes who were involved in the logistics of the event. And over 100 student-athletes were among the more than 300 people from the Saint Mary’s community, members of the Winona community, and friends of the Cassidy family, who turned out to show their support.
The event raised more than $9,500 to help assist the Cassidy family with Jack’s medical expenses.
“I am really honored to have helped Saint Mary’s receive this award—and grateful to everyone who was involved in making it a success,” said Pater, a four-year member of the Cardinal cross country and track/field team, who graduated in May. “This award is just the icing on the cake—since I know how appreciative the Cassidy family was for all our efforts putting this event together.”
“I am very proud of our student-athletes for earning yet another national community service award—the department’s fifth in the last seven years,” said athletic director Nikki Fennern, who will accept the award at the NCAA national convention in Nashville, Tenn. “Our student-athletes’ commitment to service and leadership continues to be among the best in the nation, and is a testament to the university’s Lasallian mission.
“I am extremely grateful for the leadership of Jase Pater and our SAAC in leading this event—as well as all of the student-athletes who volunteered and participated in the event.”
As a child in Kenya, Gideon Nyakundi learned his ABCs by scrawling the letters in the sand using sticks.
Pencils and books, he said, were luxuries only available to teachers.
Never stifled by this humble beginning, Nyakundi will graduate Saturday, Jan. 14 with a B.S. in Healthcare and Human Services and Management from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Simultaneously, he is employed full time as a certified biomedical technician, is working toward his master’s degree, has developed a program for optimizing hospital staff and workloads, and is being published nationally (in the Online Journal of Ethics in Nursing) for his findings.
Nyakundi will cross the Saint Mary’s commencement stage along with 250 other adult learners this winter. He is one of three students who will share a reflection story during two commencement ceremonies Saturday at Saint Mary’s Twin Cities Campus in Minneapolis.
Yet, even as he obtains his bachelor’s degree, Nyakundi is already working toward his master’s. He credits Saint Mary’s for supporting and molding him on his path to becoming a healthcare leader.
The first step in his journey included earning a two-year biomedical technician degree from a local technical college, which led to a position at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis. As a certified biomedical technician, he spends his workday repairing and maintaining simple to complex equipment and machines, such as ultrasound and anesthesia machines and neonatal incubators, and offering support to the modern patient monitoring telemetry system. His ability to work on complex equipment, because of his extensive continued training, made Nyakundi a sought-after employee. But he lacked one thing—a bachelor’s degree.
“My experience and education laid the groundwork for my career here, but I needed a bachelor’s degree to move up in the organization,” Nyakundi said.
When researching graduate schools, Nyakundi said he examined cost, time commitment, convenience, and graduation rate, as well as the school’s learning atmosphere. “Saint Mary’s stood out,” he said. “When I looked at the degree courses to suit my healthcare profession and steer me toward leadership, the bachelor’s in Healthcare and Human Services Management program fit perfectly.”
Nyakundi said he is fortunate to work for an organization that values education. As an added bonus, Nyakundi receives a 10 percent discount because HCMC and Saint Mary’s have a corporate partnership, he explained.
For his capstone workplace internship project, HCMC asked Nyakundi to develop a program for optimizing hospital staff and workloads. Using two software programs, Nyakundi is tracking the hours worked by individuals in different departments and evaluating how much was completed during that time. He is using the data to determine where the hospital is understaffed and overworked.
The hospital will be able to use his results to make decisions about hiring extra staff, redistributing resources, or offering work-life balance opportunities. This pilot project, titled “Capacity and Demand,” will eventually be implemented throughout the hospital.
“I will use the project management and communication skills I’ve learned in class to train the department managers to use the new program,” he said.
Nyakundi began working on his master’s degree during the last semester of his bachelor’s completion program. The M.A. in Health and Human Services Administration program is further developing his project management and communication skills, among other things.
“The evening courses have worked well with all my work and family obligations and I’m learning new things that will help me be a leader,” Nyakundi said.
“Our degree programs are designed for busy working adults—and our professors are working professionals in the field of healthcare who bring real-world perspectives into the classroom,” said Susan Jarosak, program director and assistant dean of the Graduate School of Health and Human Services. “And so do the students—just ask Gideon Nyakundi.”
By Susan Jarosak
The landscape of colleges is changing by the student population. 61 percent of all undergraduate college students will be over the age of 24 or above by 2019. The Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL.org) reports that “non traditional” students (those aged 24 years and older, who are employees and caregivers with multiple responsibilities), are the fastest growing population in higher education. This number is significant for corporations and organizations because their employees are likely in college or planning to pursue a degree in the near future. These employees are seeking advancement in their career and know a degree is necessary. It’s a win-win for employees and employers because education is essential for the economic development of the workforce.
But are colleges ready for them? Adult learners who are juggling work, family, and college have needs that traditional age students do not, namely: flexible course schedules, class locations that are convenient, advisers who can support them in their career pathways, maximum transfer credit policies, options for earning college credit for knowledge gained in the workplace, and accelerated course formats to complete the degrees in a timely manner. A limited number of colleges and universities fulfill these needs. Adult learners completing either their bachelor’s or master’s programs are succeeding due to getting their needs met at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Saidiyo Yusuf is a student successfully balancing her busy life with family and career while attending college. Saidiyo started the BS in Healthcare and Human Services Management program at Saint Mary’s University while working full time because she sought career advancement opportunities. She chose the program because of the flexible, accelerated course format and the convenient location near downtown Minneapolis. At Saint Mary’s, courses in the program are offered one night a week for eight weeks. Two of the eight class sessions are online which is an added bonus for students. “I was able to complete courses in 8 weeks and since the program was only 36 credits, I finished it in four semesters.” Saidiyo worked closely with a Saint Mary’s adviser prior to enrolling while attending a community college for maximizing her transfer credits. “I was concerned about time and money, said Saidiyo, but it worked so well because Saint Mary’s is geared for adult learners and understands our needs. I received personal advising throughout the program which was key to my progress.” Saidiyo completed her bachelor’s degree in December 2016 and is now a graduate student in the MA Health and Human Services Administration program with the goal of getting a promotion as an administrator in social services.
The realities of who goes to college today is changing – but so is higher education…and it’s paying off for Saidiyo Yusuf at Saint Mary’s University.
WINONA, Minn. — Praise!, A. Eric Heukeshoven’s sixth and final composition for the Faith Partners Composer-in-Residence program, has been selected as a showcase work by Avid/Sibelius at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) annual exhibition in Anaheim, Calif. The NAMM Show runs from Jan. 19–22 and gathers 100,000 members of the music product industry from around the world to preview new products from every category of music making.
Avid/Sibelius chose Praise! based on its creative use of score layout and formatting. Heukeshoven’s music will be used for demonstration purposes in the Avid/Sibelius exhibit area during the four-day show. Sibelius 8.5 is the latest generation of the world’s best-selling music notation software used by composers, arrangers, publishers, educators, and students worldwide.
Heukeshoven is a faculty member in the Saint Mary’s University Department of Music. More information about the NAMM show is available at: www.namm.org.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Starting in January, Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center in Rochester will launch a monthly speaker series, featuring presentations on environmental topics impacting the Southeastern Minnesota region. The series will be held the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the lower level of Cascade Meadow, located at 2900 19th St. NW. The events are free and open to the public, and no RSVP is needed.
The first few speakers are all professors of biology at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Jan. 19: “Climate change impacts to southeast Minnesota fishes” with Dr. Josh Lallaman
The projected rise in surface temperature and precipitation patterns caused by global climate change will have significant effects on fish and aquatic habitats. Projected changes to climate will have negative consequences ranging from trout streams to the Great Lakes. Research from fish movement and temperature selection in Cascade Meadow Lake will be used as just one of several examples discussing the effects on local fish populations.
Feb.16: “Recovery of Henslow’s sparrows at Great River Bluffs State Park through habitat management” with Dr. Ray Faber
Dr. Faber has studied Henslow’s sparrows at GRBSP since 1994 and recommended habitat modifications that were successful in restoring a resident population. Henslow’s sparrows are on Minnesota’s list of endangered species and are found in only a few locations in the state. They have traditionally been found at GRBSP since its establishment, but disappeared in the early 1990s because of deterioration of their habitat.
March 16: “Why are these ants on my plants? A brief exploration of ant-plant interactions” with Dr. Moni Berg-Binder
Interactions between ants and plans are abundant in nature. What are the outcomes of these interactions? Who are the “winners” and “losers”? Explore several different common types of interactions between ants and plants, including several interactions happening in Southeastern Minnesota.
For more upcoming events at Cascade Meadow, please visit our events calendar online at www.smumn.edu/cascademeadow/events/.
The Mayo Clinic is the ultimate dream destination for those practicing medicine.
Physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers at Mayo are quick to mention the benefits of having access to the world’s best doctors and healthcare providers; of working for a clinic with a world-renowned reputation; of being able to utilize state-of-the art equipment and stay informed about the most current research findings. Most of all, they are proud to work for an organization that believes in putting patients first.
Hundreds of Saint Mary’s alumni have found a home at the Mayo Clinic, in positions across the board: from cytogenetics to emergency management, public affairs, healthcare administration, sports medicine, IT, public relations, and beyond.
Dr. Debra Martin, biology professor, said that each year she takes her Molecular Biology Class to tour the PGL and the Cytogenetic, FISH, and Microarray laboratories at Mayo Clinic. “I am fortunate that Mayo Clinic provides this opportunity for our students to see molecular biology in action at a world renowned, innovative research facility that is so close to our campus. It is also a time that I can introduce our current science students to the alumni who work in these labs. I am amazed at the percentage of employees in these labs who are Saint Mary’s alumni!”
Let us introduce you to just a few.
Dr. Tom Stewart ’06
Dr. Stewart first meets his patients in the moments before they go into surgery—when they are anxious and at their most vulnerable. An anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Dr. Stewart does his best to calm and comfort their nerves during one of the most stressful periods of their lives.
“We have to gain our patients’ trust in a short time, a very scary time,” he said. “It’s very rewarding. We are the patients’ advocate before, during, and after surgery. We’re the protector of the patient and the last line. We’re focused on keeping them stable and safe throughout surgery, even when things don’t go perfectly as planned.”
In addition to regulating life functions, anesthesiologists give patients medications or blood transfusions, playing a critical—but often unnoticed—role during surgery. When seconds count, anesthesiologists must make snap decisions and keep calm under pressure.
“A lot of our colleagues don’t even know what we all do behind the curtain,” he said. But Dr. Stewart is happy not being in the spotlight. “We didn’t go into anesthesiology for recognition but to put the patients first,” he said.
Dr. Stewart is one of 231 doctors at the Mayo Clinic who specialize in anesthesiology.
He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2016 and started on staff at the Mayo Clinic in July, although he began doing his residency at the world-renowned medical facility in 2012.
Dr. Stewart’s pager is always near. Although scheduled to work elective surgeries Monday through Friday, Dr. Stewart must work at least two to three night call shifts each month and one weekend shift a month. As a level-one trauma center, the Mayo Clinic is always prepared to provide patients with the most advanced and comprehensive care available.
“You need to be at the ready if something happens. And it often does,” he said. “When we work overnight, we definitely work, we’re not sitting around waiting.”
To be working at a place considered the No. 1 hospital in the United States by U.S. News & World Report is a dream come true for Dr. Stewart.
“To be honest, it is by far the best place in the world—the camaraderie and connection between specialties and being able to communicate with cardiologists or oncologists or anyone else involved with your patients’ care. It makes the care really seamless. On top of that it’s the level of safety and security knowing you have the world’s best colleagues working with you and with the same patients. With the culture here, people really do live and breathe the motto that the patient comes first. Everyone wants to do what’s best for the patient. It makes it an easy and fun place to come to work every day.”
Dr. Stewart had always been attracted to the sciences, but didn’t look at medical school until late in his college career. Fortunately, he said, the academic programming at Saint Mary’s prepared him for medical school.
“The classes I took prepared me academically for the challenges of medical school,” he said. “My undergraduate courses were graduate-level caliber. It felt like we were reviewing the same material that we had already gone over at Saint Mary’s. That was obviously a big advantage going through medical school.”
Additionally, Dr. Stewart said getting to know faculty one-on-one, small class sizes, and the accessibility of faculty outside of class all helped to catapult his academic career.
“I had fantastic advisers. Dr. Deb Martin and Dr. Dick Kowles were huge sources of motivation. Dr. Martin’s biochemistry class was the most academically challenging. That prepared me for the academic rigor of medical school.”
As a 4-year hockey player, Dr. Stewart also learned about time management. “You learn very quickly how to best manage your time and be successful academically, as well as on the ice or playing field. Playing sports at Saint Mary’s was a benefit, never a hindrance.
“I owe all my mentors and professors a big thank you,” he added. “It was very clear they were excited to see people be successful and wanted to nurture students and put them on the right path.”
Dr. Stewart said he frequently runs into other Saint Mary’s alumni at the Mayo Clinic, sometimes at unlikely times, like when working a rotation in pediatric anesthesia during one of the last months of his residency. Somehow he mentioned in conversation that he had gone to Saint Mary’s, and the surgeon poked her head up to let him know she had gone to Saint Mary’s as well.
“I constantly come across people who have connections to Saint Mary’s. It’s very cool.”
Luis Escobar ’12
The biology major knew his end goal was to help others. To him, becoming a physician assistant seemed like the best way to do that.
“It is a career that fits my interest in medicine and my interest of being of service to others in a very direct way,” he said.
Escobar said no two days for him at the Mayo Clinic Health System in St. James are the same.
Physician assistants, he explained, are able to practice medicine in a variety of settings and have many roles. Physician assistants typically practice medicine in teams with physicians and other healthcare providers and are able to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients. Physician assistants may practice medicine in a primary care setting but may also practice in a specialty department, such as cardiology or orthopedics, for example.
“There is no routine day,” he said. “We see patients of any age, from little children to nursing home patients. One of the things I like about this job is that there is a lot of variety.”
Escobar said he must always strive to keep up with the latest medical knowledge. “There is no other field that forces you, in a good way, to stay up to date and to keep learning,” he said. “I enjoy that.”
Escobar said he feels honored to be part of the Mayo Health System. “The resources that this organization provides are unbelievable,” he said. “It has helped me grow as a medical provider and has given me all the tools that I need to continue to grow professionally. Every medical provider working within Mayo Clinic Health System is equipped to give our patients the best care. I am very lucky to be a part of this organization so early in my career.”
His first connection to the organization was when he served as a Mayo Innovation Scholar while attending Saint Mary’s.
“That was an eye-opening experience,” he said. “That really gave me and my whole team a taste of what it would be like to be part of a special organization like Mayo.”
Escobar reflects back to his advisers, Dr. Jeanne Minnerath and Dr. Deb Martin, who were helpful and encouraging while simultaneously pushing students to do their best.
“Dr. Martin encourages students to set their goals pretty high. I think the faculty at Saint Mary’s does an amazing job preparing students for the next level.”
Escobar echoes Dr. Martin’s comments about the large number of Saint Mary’s alumni working within Mayo.
“I work with a couple of providers in the Southwest Minnesota region who both graduated from Saint Mary’s within a couple of years of my graduation year. We have a nice Saint Mary’s alumni connection,” he said.
Dr. Amy (Korkowski) Oxentenko ’94
“I was the child who hated going to the doctor,” she said. “I was horribly phobic of needles and you needed six nurses to hold me down to get a shot. My family thought it was paradoxical that I was going into medicine.”
Dr. Oxentenko has been on staff at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester since January of 2006; however, she and her husband, also a Mayo doctor, completed their training with Mayo beginning in 1998 and never left.
“Many people who come to Mayo never leave because it’s such a great place to work,” she said. “I’ve had fantastic support throughout my training and my career. I work hard; I put in a lot of hours, but I am also able to find balance to raise my family as well.
“You almost forget you’re working among the world’s experts because it’s such a collegial environment,” she added. “I can call up anyone without hesitation because of the warm nature of everyone’s interactions here.”
She too sees Saint Mary’s in all aspects of her work with the Mayo Clinic. “Sometimes I clearly know who they are,” she said. “Other times you have that déjà vu moment and you wonder how you know them. I see people who I’ve worked with or had classes with at Saint Mary’s for sure.”
Dr. Oxentenko said that in the past 10 years her job has evolved. In the beginning, she spent most of her time in clinical medicine.
“As time has gone on, the education part of my career has grown,” she said. “I initially took over running the gastroenterology fellowship program and oversaw all the trainees who came to Mayo in gastroenterology. Then I transferred as program director for the internal medicine residency program. I also still have a clinical practice and have a regular presence in the GI clinical aspect, but have a much larger role in educational administration over internal medicine, which is the biggest one in the country.”
Dr. Oxentenko said she is thankful for the comprehensive overall liberal arts experience she gained at Saint Mary’s.
“When I look at students coming into medical school, it’s not all about the fact that they were in biology and chemistry, the most typical majors,” she said. “Fortunately some have completely different degrees, and that adds a nice diversity to the individuals who are in medicine. Saint Mary’s provided that. All the Lasallian classes that I took and the books I read by authors that I probably never would have picked up on my own—that all exposed me to a broader education and gave me a more cultured experience.
“I think about the professor who had the most influence on me long-term, Brother Robert Smith,” she said. “He was the hardest teacher that I ever had. But those classes taught you how to approach things in life and relate to people, and that’s going to get an individual farther than learning a particular biology formula … . Those things are more helpful long-term.”
Dr. Oxentenko said med schools particularly look at whether students have consistently performed well through college, not just in prerequisite science classes but also whether or not they are well-rounded, and not just academically. “Those individuals who volunteered, for example, have a level of professionalism and have demonstrated a giving of themselves which is a mark of someone who will do well in medicine,” she said.
Another individual who made a significant impact on Dr. Oxentenko while she was a student is Nikki Richmond, whom she affectionately calls her “dorm mom.” As a hall director back then, Richmond and her family lived next door. Dr. Oxentenko remembers vividly when their young son, Taylor, was diagnosed with Ataxia Telangiectasia. “Seeing her family go through the whole medical evaluation, their longitudinal contact with medicine, and their journey with Taylor deeply influenced me,” she said.
Watching the interaction that the Richmonds had with their healthcare team helped guide her to be the doctor she endeavored to become. “That experience showed me how important medical providers are for each patient,” she said. “Each patient isn’t a name or a number; each patient has a story and a family beyond a story. Watching the relationship that developed between them and Taylor’s caregivers was a moving testament.”
WINONA, Minn. — In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Saint Mary’s University is hosting a variety of events throughout the week. The public is invited to attend these free events
Dr. H. Yvonne Cheek is making a return visit to Saint Mary’s Monday, Jan. 16, to speak about inclusivity, respect, and solidarity. Dr. Cheek will present “Stuck on Hope” from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in Page Theatre. The president of the Millennium Consulting Group, Dr. Cheek is a strategic change consultant, master trainer, and facilitator. Committed to civic involvement, Dr. Cheek is currently a member of National Center for Black Philanthropy and is a trustee with the Blandin Foundation and the Sundance Family Foundation. One of the highlights of her career was co-designing and facilitating a White House Conference on Women and Leadership.
Tall Paul, an Anishinaabe and Oneida hip-hop artist enrolled on the Leech Lake reservation in Minnesota, will perform 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, in the Performance Center’s Figliulo Recital Hall. Born and raised in Minneapolis, his music strongly reflects his inner-city upbringing. From personal expressions of self, to thought-provoking commentary on issues affecting indigenous and diverse communities as a whole, Tall Paul’s music evokes a variety of substance and soul.
Author and motivational speaker Dr. Tommy Watson M’05, D’14 will present “Got Hope? Moving Forward Together!” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in Salvi Lecture Hall, located on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall. Dr. Watson grew up with parents who were drug addicts and professional shoplifters. In fact, his mother was arrested 11 times during his first year of life while his father was incarcerated. By the time he was a senior in high school, he was homeless and had lived in nearly 30 different locations. Despite the many transitions and challenges, he was one of the top football players in the nation and went on to obtain four college degrees.
Dr. Watson inspires audiences to new ways of thinking and helps them to access their untapped potential. He has been featured on many news media outlets including Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC, and the Big Ten Network. His latest book, The Resilience of Champions™: Secret Habits of Highly Resilient Individuals and Organizations, chronicles his personal experiences. The book also reveals the secrets of success contained in the journeys of peak performers such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, McDonald’s, and Mary Kay Cosmetics. The Resilience of Champions describes how readers can use key habits of resilience to make their individual and organizational dreams come true. He is also the author of the award-winning book A Face of Courage.
The full schedule (subject to change) includes:
Monday, Jan. 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
7:30 a.m. — Donuts and coffee, Saint Mary’s Hall
12:45-1:45 p.m. — Dr. H. Yvonne Cheek, “Stuck on Hope,” Page Theatre
7 p.m. — Tall Paul music performance, Figliulo Recital Hall
Tuesday, Jan. 17
7 p.m. — Dr. Tommy Watson M’05, D’14, “Got HOPE? Moving Forward Together!”, Salvi Lecture Hall, third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall
Wednesday, Jan. 18
4:15 p.m. — Conversations with Minnesota author, William D. Green, Degrees of Freedom: Civil Rights in Minnesota 1865-1912, President’s Room, Toner Student Center
7 p.m. — Collection for Winona Food Shelf at men’s basketball game
8 p.m. — Movie: Selma, Common Room, third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall
Thursday, Jan. 19
7:30 p.m. — Drum & Dance from Guinea West Africa, Common Room, third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall
Friday, Jan. 20
7:30 a.m. — Fair Trade Friday with donuts, Saint Mary’s Hall
7 p.m. — Collection for Winona Food Shelf at men’s hockey game
Times and locations are subject to change. Check back to www.smumn.edu/mlk17 for the most recent schedule.
MINNEAPOLIS — More than 250 adult learners will graduate from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs in January. Two commencement convocations are planned for Saturday, Jan. 14, to honor these graduates.
The ceremonies, to be held at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Saint Mary’s University Center on Park Avenue in Minneapolis, will feature three graduates who have been invited to provide reflections as part of the ceremonies. Another three graduating students will be honored with Saint Mary’s Outstanding Final Paper Awards.
The following graduating students will provide reflections:
- Gideon Nyakundi, B.S. in Healthcare and Human Services Management
- Melissa Meyer, M.A. in Management
- Riaz Adnan, B.S. in Information Technology
The following graduates will be honored with Outstanding Final Paper Awards:
- Nancy Jarrett, M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy, “The Digitalization of Relationships: Effects of Technology on Couple and Family Life and Implications for Treatment.
- Brian Olson, M.A. in Management, “The Impact of Generational Differences In Recruitment and Retention of Millennials in the Workplace.”
- Denise Lecy, B.S. in Human Resource Management, “Perspectives in Human Resources Management.”
WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) will hold four open auditions in Wisconsin and Minnesota for its Summer Dance Intensive boarding summer camp. The Dance Intensive will be held July 9-22 in Winona. MCA, an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, invites intermediate and advanced dancers between the ages of 11 and 22 to audition.
There is no pre-registration or fee to audition. Interested dancers should plan to arrive around 30 minutes prior to auditions to sign in, get a number, and warm up. The auditions will be lead by MCA’s Director of Dance Tammy Schmidt and will be run like a full ballet class. Students with pointe experience should bring pointe shoes to the audition class.
Following the ballet class, students have the option to show a prepared jazz, tap, modern, tap, or character dance center combination of at least 64 counts or 16 bars.
MCA’s 2017 Summer Dance Intensive Auditions
• La Crosse, Wis. — Jan. 28, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at La Crosse Dance Center, 2716 Commerce St., La Crosse, Wis.
• Minneapolis — Feb. 11, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Cowles Center/James Sewell Ballet, 528 Hennepin Ave Suite 218, Minneapolis
• Rochester, Minn. — March 25, 2 to 4 p.m. at Allegro School of Dance & Music, 2342 Superior Dr. N.W., Rochester, Minn.
• Winona — April 1, 10 a.m. to noon at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, 1164 W. 10th St., Winona.
*Please note that any student who has previously participated in MCA’s Summer Dance Intensive is invited back at a 25 percent discounted rate and is not required to attend auditions unless they want to be considered for a talent-based scholarship. For those who are unable to attend a live audition, videos auditions are welcome. For more information, call 507-453-5500 or visit smumn.edu/mca.
WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will hold auditions Saturday, Jan. 21, for the Dance Repertory Company’s (DRC) spring production, Deeply Rooted Dance: Celebrating Our Connections. The company is MCA’s pre-professional dance troupe, composed of intermediate and advanced dancers ages 13 and older.
Auditions—free and open to the public—will begin at noon at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 W. Howard St. The final performances will be April 20-23 at Saint Mary’s University’s Page Theatre.
There may also be one or two additional pieces that involve younger dancers; please check back or call at a later date for more information.
The 43rd annual spring concert of the Dance Repertory Company, Deeply Rooted Dance celebrates our connections to family, to environment, to community, and to our world. Suitable and engaging for all ages, works range from classical to contemporary and ballet to hip hop. The event includes re-staged works, as well as new choreography created by MCA faculty and regional guest artists.
Those cast will be required to pay a $75 performance fee to cover costume costs; additionally they must be enrolled in at least one dance or theatre class at MCA during the winter session. All area college students who are enrolled in any university dance class are exempt from the class requirement, and Saint Mary’s University students are also exempt from the performance fee.
This 2007 photo is from “Southern Ties that Bind” by Tammy Schmidt—one piece that will be restaged for the Dance Repertory Company’s spring production.
WINONA, MN, — Chicago’s legendary sketch and improv comedy theater returns to Saint Mary’s University’s Page Theatre Saturday, Jan. 21, at 7:30 p.m. with “The Best of The Second City.”
Fresh, fast, and always spectacularly funny, The Second City produces cutting-edge satirical revues and has launched the careers of generation after generation of comedy’s best and brightest. This must-see show features the best sketches and songs from The Second City’s 55-year history, made famous by superstars like Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, and more, as well as their trademark improvisation. Come see where it all began during this special one-night-only engagement.
The Second City will also offer a free improv workshop at 2 p.m. on Jan. 21 Figliulo Recital Hall, located in Saint Mary’s Performance Center. Participants may join company members in improv games, or just watch and learn about the essential elements of Second City-style scenic improvisation. No experience or registration is necessary for this workshop, but space is limited.
Tickets for The Second City are $27 for adults and $24 for students and senior citizens. For more information or to order, visit pagetheatre.org, or call or visit the Saint Mary’s Performance Center Box Office at 507-457-1715 (noon to 6 p.m., weekdays).
Page Series activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Additional support comes from the Xcel Energy Foundation.
Photo by Kirstin Miccoli
Psychotherapist, Holistic Health Provider
Hometown: Walnut Grove, Minn.
Cheryl Weber has had a passion for helping others since childhood. Prior to opening a private practice two, Weber worked as a psychotherapist for 10 years at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. A psychotherapist specializing in helping others transcend trauma, anxiety, grief, and stress, Weber opened the AWAKEN Higher Brain Living Center™ in Eagan, Minn., in 2013, and practices as an Advanced Higher Brain Living® facilitator. This is a revolutionary development focused on shifting brain physiology and applying that to the integral dimensions of life (mind, body, relationships, and environment). She obtained her master’s in social work from the University of Minnesota and has Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker credentials.
Major League Baseball Player, Active Volunteer, Business Leader
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.
Major: Business Administration
David Thies has had many roles throughout his lifetime. During a brief but successful career as a major league baseball player, Thies played for Kansas City in the early 1960s. Now retired, Thies had a successful career in business and investments, serving as president of Thies and Talle Enterprises from 1977 to 1996. At first the business developed and syndicated rental properties, and later expanded into property management. But the hallmark of his life’s journey has been his devotion and commitment to charitable work. A trustee emeritus, Thies served Saint Mary’s for more than 20 years. A generous benefactor, the David R. Thies Court on the Winona Campus is named in his honor. He also served in the highest leadership positions in three consecutive capital campaigns for Saint Mary’s. He has received numerous honors from the university including the Alumni Appreciation Award, being named to the Athletic Hall of Fame, and becoming an affiliated member of the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
As a shy, 4-year-old curly-haired blonde, Ania McNamara’s life was changed forever. She and her three older sisters were adopted by Bill ’76 (now deceased) and Grace McNamara ’77 who brought their new daughters back to the United States from Poland in 1993.
In 2009, McNamara—then a sophomore at Saint Mary’s University—underwent another life-changing experience. While studying abroad in Italy, she decided to extend her stay and make her way back to the orphanage she and her sisters had called home for four years.
With some heavenly guidance and knowledge of a few key Polish phrases, she found her way to Chotomow, a small town outside of Warsaw. There a local woman directed her to the orphanage with a hand-drawn map, scrawled on a napkin.
When McNamara saw the green gates of the orphanage’s entrance, a flood of memories came back. She was quickly reunited with a nun who raised her and instantly recognized McNamara’s face as belonging to one of their “pearls of the orphanage.” One of the other nuns briefly left the room and returned clutching a framed photograph of the four sisters with their adoptive parents.
During her brief visit, McNamara met with the children of the orphanage who instantly took hold of her heart. That year, with the help of her friends and support from the Saint Mary’s community, she organized a massive gift-giving program for the orphans of the Dom Dziecka Chotomow (Home of the children). Salvi Lecture Hall was transformed into Santa’s workshop.
For the past seven years, McNamara ’11 has continued the gift exchange. In her spare time, the marketing major has put her skills to use with the small non-profit CCF4Orphans Project. She also expanded the gift exchange to a second orphanage, Dom Dziecka Oswiecim.
“We sponsor an average of 60 kids a year, who are ages 3 all the way to 20,” she said. “The best thing is that every October, I write the orphanages and ask the directors to ask the children what they would like. The kids submit simple wish lists from sports equipment to clothing and from cosmetics to toys and necessities. A lot of them ask for shoes because they all share the same shoes so if it’s a gift, they get to keep it. Some kids really like cooking, so we’ll get them some baking stuff.”
Each year, she operates the program by trial and error, navigating the language barrier, as well as sizing and shipping issues. This past year, she invited people to directly sponsor children.
“This year everybody bought their own gifts, wrapped them and included cards and photos and even pictures of their pets,” she said. “They customized them and made them fun.
“The really cool thing is the sponsors get to be creative,” she added. “They often get items embroidered with the kids’ names or find out the colors they really like. They get to know a little more about the kids.”
McNamara also has traveled back to be with the children in Poland during Christmas time. “I wanted to not just be a person who sends gift but also be a face they can connect with,” she said. “I want them to understand I’m not some sort of government assistance. I was supposed to be them. That was supposed to be my life. My birth mother and father gave us up, and the odds of all four of us being adopted together was 1 in a million.
“When I went back first time in 2009 and connected with those orphans and saw these kids, it hit home for me. I try to go back every year. Some of these kids have been there for many years, and I’m watching them grow up. It’s impossible for me to pretend they aren’t there.”
McNamara said her work with the orphans is both emotional and overwhelming.
“It’s very rewarding but sad at the same time,” she said. “There’s this sense of wanting to do more and to bring them back to America. I constantly want to do more. When I was in Poland last year, I found myself extremely overwhelmed with emotions and holding back tears.”
McNamara is able to continue her program—both in Minnesota as well as in her current Tampa, Fla., location—with the financial generosity of others, as well as volunteer support, but she is hoping to branch out to other partners.
She is thankful for those at Saint Mary’s who have been supporting her since the beginning. “Dr. Mary Fox inspired me to follow my heart,” she said. “I had so much support from Saint Mary’s and I still do. That’s the incredible thing about Saint Mary’s—it’s a community of people who follow you, and seven years later they’re still there.”
To learn more about the project, go to www.facebook.com/ccf4orphans.
Successful Architect, Talented Artist
Hometown: Macao, South China
Antonio “Tony” Maio’s passion was sculpture, and he was commissioned to complete many pieces throughout the United States. Also a talented architect, he worked for Armstrong, Torseth, Skold and Ryde in the Twin Cities area, and worked on both the Met Center renovation in Minneapolis and Sharks arena in San Jose. He designed the original Saint Mary’s Press building in Winona in 1967, while still a student, as well as the addition and remodeling project in 1989. He designed the McEnery Center, the front portion of the Winona Campus library, which contains study and meeting rooms and features a unique design. He also designed the university’s plaza, which serves as a popular gathering spot in the center of the Winona Campus. Never one to want recognition, he believed his work served as his signature.
WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is having a “FREE-4-ALL”—a day of free classes on Jan. 7, 2017 for the whole family. This event will feature classes for both youth and adults, so bring some friends and try a class or two. All classes are free, but space is limited so preregistration is recommended online, by phone, or in-person.
Participants should wear clothing that is easy to move in; no dance shoes or special attire is required. For tap class, MCA will have tap shoes for use with socks. All other classes may be taken barefoot or in the case of hip hop classes, clean gym shoes (that have not been worn outside) may be worn.
This is also an opportunity to tour classroom and performance spaces, learn about the dance program, meet faculty, and get fitted for dance shoes and tights. Participants who register on this day for any dance or theatre class in the winter session will receive $10 off. Classes Jan. 7 include:
My Grown-up & Me (for children ages 18 months to 3 years, with an adult); only 30 minutes
Ballet I (for 7- to 13-year-olds)
Ballet 101 (All ages can learn about MCA’s ballet program.)
Hip Hop Cardio (for 14-year-olds through adults)
Musical Theatre Acting (for 7- to 13-year-olds)
Barre Sculpt (for 14-year-olds through adults)
Tap and Jazz (for 6- to 13-year-olds)
Pre-Ballet (for 4- to 6-year-olds)
Hip Hop (for 6- to 13-year-olds)
Boys in Motion (for 4- to 6-year-olds)
Dance Technique for Boys (for 7- to 12-year-olds)
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University, is a nonprofit organization, offering programming in dance, music, visual art, and theatre. Classes, lessons, workshops, and camps are offered for youth ages 18 months and older through adults at the Valéncia Arts Center, located at the corner of 10th and Vila streets. For more information, go online to www.mnconservatoryforthearts.org, email email@example.com, or call 507-453-5500.