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Updated: 59 min 9 sec ago

Focusing on youth in crisis

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 2:04pm

Tiffany Johnson ’15 had wanted to be a lawyer since the seventh grade, back when she and her father sat in front of their living room TV each week to watch “Law and Order SVU.” But after taking college psychology classes, she changed her major from pre-law to psychology—and changed her career path from prosecutor to counselor.

“I would tell my dad I wanted to put those criminals in jail,” Johnson said. “But now I want to help the victims instead.”

Last summer, Johnson, a Harmony, Minn., resident, interned at the Winona Women’s Resource Center. After completing 40 hours of advocacy training and job shadowing, she was able to assist with a variety of tasks including filing police reports and other paperwork, sitting in on court proceedings, assisting victims with orders of protection and restraining orders, and working the crisis phone line.

She found that one of her favorite assignments was working with the community garden project and, in particular, the children involved.

“It really made me realize that working with children is my passion,” she said.

Her sophomore year of college, Johnson had already begun working at Key Kids after-school program in Winona, where she enjoyed working with special needs children with autism, ADHD, or behavioral disorders.

Last summer, while working 20 hours a week at the Women’s Resource Center and 20 hours at Key Kids, she also worked in the After School Activities Office at the Winona Middle School and completed 50 hours of training to be able to work at Safe Haven within the Winona Family and Children’s Center.

At Safe Haven, she supervises visits and monitors exchanges in domestic abuse situations. “Safe Haven’s mission is to provide a safe environment for adult victims and children so the person who has used abuse is able to see their child/children in a controlled and monitored environment—and so that the victim and the person using abuse never see each other,” Johnson said. “Every family is different, even if it’s the exact same situation. My background in psychology has been very beneficial to my work at Safe Haven, as has my experience with the Women’s Resource Center.”

This past semester, Johnson has taken a lead role in the Gender Equity Research Lab at Saint Mary’s. The co-lab, a psychology elective, is striving to prevent and educate the campus about sexual assault.

Following graduation Johnson hopes to be a counselor for children in trauma, particularly those who have been a part of domestic violence or sexual assault. She has had an opportunity to shadow a forensic interviewer and is interested in this line of work as well.

“I’m passionate about helping these children,” she said. The job isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain person to stay positive in a world of young victims. “I have to remember that these children are going to get help. These children have someone they can trust.”

Johnson been accepted into the counseling and psychological services graduate program at Saint Mary’s University in the fall. She laughs as she explains that after telling one professor the good news of her acceptance, congratulations began pouring in throughout her department.

“It’s such a close-knit community, and I come from a small town, so to have that feeling has been really beneficial,” Johnson said. “I didn’t just want to be a number in the crowd. Saint Mary’s gave me a name.

“Saint Mary’s Psychology Department prepares us so we are a step ahead of the others, whether it’s for graduate school or the working world,” she said. “I have research experience; I can do statistics by hand. I’ll brag about the department to anybody and everybody.”

Visit us during Minnesota Private College Week, June 22-26, 2015

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 6:00am

Attention, high school students and your family and friends! Have you started looking at colleges yet? Have you already visited at least 15 campuses?

No matter what stage of looking for a college you are at right now, Minnesota Private College Week, June 22-26, is the perfect time to visit Saint Mary’s.

College visits are a great way to get first-hand experience of the campus, not only to see what the buildings look like, but also to get a feel for what it will be like walking to your classes, the field-house, the theatre, or the library, having lunch on campus, or hanging out on the plaza with friends, etc. It’s also the perfect opportunity to talk to students, faculty and staff and ask questions about our areas of study, financial aid packages, study abroad programs, and more.

Sessions will be held twice daily on 17 campuses statewide, running from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m. and from 2:00 to 4:15 p.m. Register for your visit on the Minnesota Private College Week website.

Read what other students said about visiting colleges during Minnesota Private College Week.

If you can’t make it during that week, we invite you to attend any of our other upcoming events or you can make arrangements for an individual visit. Visit our Office of Admission webpage for more details.


May 30 gala designed to elevate the sciences at Saint Mary’s University

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 9:23am

John Hoffman

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Two NASA scientists and alumni of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will be honored during the university’s Celebration of Excellence Saturday, May 30.

The event—to be held at the Saint Mary’s University Center in Minneapolis—is designed to celebrate the university’s longstanding legacy of excellence in the sciences, but also to advance the sciences at Saint Mary’s.

At 5 p.m. attendees are invited to talk with current students and view their research during a cocktail reception. At the 6 p.m. dinner and program, Saint Mary’s administration will detail their vision for the future (including plans for a new science center at its Winona Campus). Additionally Dr. John H. Hoffman, a 1951 alumnus, and Dr. Robert A. Hoffman, a 1956 alumnus, will be presented with Presidential Awards for Outstanding Merit.

The Hoffmans are the only set of brothers (or any immediate family members) who have had instruments on the same NASA satellites, Atmosphere Explore C and D. The Hoffmans grew up in Winona and both majored in the sciences at Saint Mary’s. A magnetic ion mass spectrometer was John’s contribution to the NASA satellite missions and a low-energy electron detector was Robert’s. The two were inspired by their father, Professor John Hoffman, a longtime science educator at Saint Mary’s who stated the chemistry and physics departments.

Robert Hoffman

Saint Mary’s has long been a place where the study of science comes alive for men and women—whether it’s the culmination of a lifelong dream or a newly discovered passion. In Saint Mary’s small classes, students study alongside professors whose commitment to research is matched by their dedication to teaching.

Saint Mary’s is gearing up to significantly increase the capacity of its science program and unleash its full potential. With financial support of the evening’s attendees, the university plans to attract more students, meet the demands of ever-evolving fields, maintain its highly personal approach, and prepare graduates for leadership roles.

Tickets are $150 per person ($100 per person for undergraduate alumni from 2010 or later). For more information or to register, go to or call 507-457-6647.

Annual First Generation breakfast raises more than $100,000

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 4:26pm

Attendees at the third annual Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota First Generation Scholars S.O.A.R. Breakfast on May 20 saw the direct benefactors of their generosity when Nancy-Leon Morales ’15 and Jennifer Hernandez ’15 spoke at the Saint Mary’s University Center in Minneapolis.

“If it were not for the First Generation Initiative (FGI) scholarship, I would not be here in front of you,” said Hernandez, who received a bachelor’s degree during the university’s Winona Campus commencement ceremony on May 9.

Morales and Hernandez represented the second class of FGI scholars to graduate from Saint Mary’s. Continuing an annual trend of generosity, attendees at the breakfast donated more than $100,000 with the help of a matching donation from Will and Shirley Oberton of Winona. The funds will go directly toward supporting FGI scholars while studying at Saint Mary’s.

Betsy Hodges, mayor of Minneapolis, attended the event and provided brief remarks regarding her vision for the city’s youth and how it aligns with the Saint Mary’s FGI program.

“It’s important that every one of us has the opportunity to succeed,” Hodges said. “This organization and this university have been putting in a lot of extra time, attention, and care to make sure that our first-generation students have the opportunity to move forward and accelerate their lives and community.”

Brother William Mann, FSC, president of Saint Mary’s, also spoke of the importance of providing opportunities to all through education. The FGI philosophy, he said, has roots in Saint Mary’s Lasallian heritage of access to education.

“I’m very proud of what we do at Saint Mary’s,” Brother William said. “My dream is to give hope to some families. Let’s provide an awesome experience, so that this university can do its part in this country which has blessed so many of us.”

To make a contribution to the First Generation Initiative, visit the website.

Saint Mary’s University Winona campus 2015 undergraduate commencement list

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 5:38pm

These undergraduate students are candidates for graduation between December 2014 and August 2015 at Saint Mary’s University and will receive Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Sarah Adams, Mankato, Minn.

Marta Aleszewicz, Luban, Poland

Zachary Algren, Prior Lake, Minn.

Abdulelah Alsanouna, Winona, Minn.

Samantha Amatuzio, Eagan, Minn.

Christopher Anderson, Middleton, Wis.

Miriam Aragon, Minneapolis, Minn.

Mariana Arriaza, Faribault, Minn.

Emily Babikan, Mount Prospect, Ill.

David Barry, Apple Valley, Minn.

Mary Barthel, Watertown, Minn.

Nicholas Beaudoin, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Nicole Becher, Winona, Minn.

Reikel Biechler, Winona, Minn.

Dannielle Bierly, Minnesota City, Minn.

Kallie Biermaier, Maplewood, Minn.

Aleah Bingham, Eden Prairie, Minn.

Nathan Bitterman, South St. Paul, Minn.

James Boggia, Elmwood Park, Ill.

Ashley Bollig, Saint Croix Falls, Wis.

Jacquelyn Bongard, Eagan, Minn.

Maya Booker, Saint Paul, Minn.

Samantha Borawski, Stickney, Ill.

Octavia Brown, Broadview, Ill.

Jacob Bruce, N. St. Paul, Minn.

Kathleen Bryant, Carson City, Nev.

Joseph Budin, Le Center, Minn.

Luke Buehler, Altura, Minn.

Stacey Buss, Chicago, Ill.

Kacey Carlson, Chanhassen, Minn.

Daniel Carroll, Mahtomedi, Minn.

Jose Castellanos, Chicago, Ill.

Haley Childers, Ladysmith, Wis.

Ana Cholico, Cicero, Ill.

Jeremy Ciconte, Melrose Park, Ill.

Shelby Clarke, Warwick, R.I.

Mary Coghlan, Kankakee, Ill.

Taylor Collins, Apple Valley, Minn.

Sarah Collova, Maplewood, Minn.

Sampson Davis, Bayport, Minn.

Mary DeBartolo, Chicago, Ill.

Drew Denning, Saint Paul, Minn.

Kaitlyn Dickison, Chaska, Minn.

Luara Doak, Winona, Minn.

Jessica Drake, N. St. Paul, Minn.

Meredith Duda, Saint Paul, Minn.

Robeson Edwards, Walker, Winona, Minn.

Conner Ellinghuysen, Winona, Minn.

Timothy Ellis, Santa Clara, Calif.

Arielle Ems, Cornelius, Ore.

Kelsey Engesser, Blue Earth, Minn.

Christian Esposito, Saint Charles, Ill.

Matthew Faucett, Menominee, Mich.

Audrey Ferris, Austin, Minn.

Aaron Fimon, Crystal, Minn.

Skylar Finkelstein, Naperville, Ill.

Daniel Fino, Arlington Heights, Ill.

Christian Fontaine, Oakland, Calif.

Morgan Fournier, Maple Lake, Minn.

Janae Fry, Burr Ridge, Ill.

Chad Fuller, Thiensville, Wis.

Christian Gaffy, Scandia, Minn.

Ryan Gager, Woodbury, Minn.

Gregory Gardiner, Calgary, Canada

Rebecca Garrigan, Wabasha, Minn.

Cody Gill, S. St. Paul, Minn.

Kilian Gordon, Winona, Minn.

Joseph Graphenteen, Minnetrista, Minn.

Molly Grover, Zumbrota, Minn.

Sara Haecherl, Becker, Minn.

Aaron Haley, Lake City, Minn.

Alexis Hamilton, Victoria, Minn.

Keara Hannan, Roseville, Minn.

John Hansen, Edina, Minn.

Taylor Hanson, Winona, Minn.

Daniel Haugen, Waseca, Minn.

Kelsey Haugh, Box Elder, S.D.

Bridget Hayes, Chicago, Ill.

Mary Hayes, Chicago, Ill.

Michelle Heins, Theilman, Minn.

Colin Hennessy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Tracey Her, St. Paul Park, Minn.

Jennifer Daniel Hernandez, Minneapolis, Minn.

Aide Hernandez, Chicago, Ill.

Jose Herrera, Hillside, Ill.

Jacob Holzer, Mc Henry, Ill.

Otto Holzer, Wheeling, Ill.

Nelson Hough, Long Prairie, Minn.

Marissa Jacob, Lewiston, Minn.

Benjamin Johnson, Oshkosh, Wis.

Peter Johnson, Spring Grove, Minn.

Tiffany Johnson, Harmony, Minn.

Kimberley Juncewski, Dassel, Minn.

Erin Kaus, Lakeville, Minn.

EhSoe Ken, Saint Paul, Minn.

Mara Keyes, Saint Paul, Minn.

Jack Kiesner, Saint Michael, Minn.

Samantha Kleese, Kenyon, Minn.

Mackenzie Klimek, Hastings, Minn.

Joshua Korver, Little Falls, Minn.

Sean Kozuszek, Fenton, Mo.

Rebecca Kring, Littleton, Colo.

Tyler Krysiak, Bloomington, Minn.

Lucas Kubic, Coon Rapids, Minn.

Kacie Kusinski, Chicago, Ill.

Theresa LaValla, Saint Charles, Minn.

Bryan Lampkin, Weston, Wis.

Sadie Lange, Caledonia, Minn.

Brandon Larsen, Rochester, Minn.

Mitchell Lawler, Anoka, Minn.

Hannah Lawson, Park Ridge, Ill.

Katie Leisen, Kellogg, Minn.

Nancy Leon-Morales, Minneapolis, Minn.

Xin Li, Xi’an, China

Amanda Lindholm, Bloomington, Minn.

Michael Louiselle, Burnsville, Minn.

Janie Maki, Roseville, Minn.

Maia Maksymkiw, White Bear Lake, Minn.

Christopher Malay, Indian Head Park, Ill.

Robert Marx, Sioux City, Iowa

Naomi Mathias, Minneapolis, Minn.

Corrine McCallum, Shoreview, Minn.

Haylie McComb, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Jedidiah McGlasson, Kenai, Alaska

Elena McHugh, Chicago, Ill.

Patrick McKenna, Danville, Ill.

Rachel McQuiston, Minnetonka, Minn.

Christine Meeds, Marine On St Croix, Minn.

Ashling Meehan, Glenview, Ill.

Jazmine Mendez-Velasco, Minneapolis, Minn.

Jacob Merkle, Mahtomedi, Minn.

Andrew Meyer, Vail, Ariz.

Benjamin Meyer, Wabasha, Minn.

Meghan Meyers, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Michael Mielenhausen, Saint Paul, Minn.

Brody Miller, Green Bay, Wis.

Katie Miller, Rochester, Minn.

Joseph Miskowic, St. Anthony, Minn.

Zachary Mleczek, Chicago, Ill.

Mary Moats-Biechler, Roland, Iowa

Colleen Morgan, Houston, Texas

Amy Mullen, Winona, Minn.

Daniel Murphy, Woodbury, Minn.

William Murphy, Chicago, Ill.

Minh Nguyen, Rochester, Minn.

Theresa Niedzwiecki, Long Prairie, Minn.

Molly Nocera, Providence, R.I.

Mary Nordick, Dresser, Wis.

Brenna Norton, Kellogg, Minn.

Christina O’Connor, Wheeling, Ill.

Tessa Oberle, Fridley, Minn.

Stephanie Olvera, Cicero, Ill.

Amanda Patt, Cedarburg, Wis.

Lindsey Paul, Chicago, Ill.

Sarah Pawlik, Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Elizabeth Pawlowski, Chicago, Ill.

Zane Pekron, Milesville, S.D.

Nicole Pellegrene, Maple Grove, Minn.

Trevor Peterson, Rochester, Minn.

Breanna Peterson, Waterloo, Iowa

Joseph Petrich, Elk River, Minn.

Michael Picard, Green Bay, Wis.

Stephanie Pinal, Saint Paul, Minn.

Thomas Plante, Fridley, Minn.

Chanviraktola Prak, Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Danielle Pues, Lakeville, Minn.

Melissa Radermacher, Plymouth, Minn.

Anne Raecker, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Rodrigo Ramirez, Chicago, Ill.

Maija Rannikko, Duluth, Minn.

Alexandra Raske, Chicago, Ill.

Patrick Regan, Minnetrista, Minn.

Lindsey Reinisch, Hastings, Minn.

Madeline Rice, W. St. Paul, Minn.

Meagan Rice, Champlin, Minn.

Raquel Romo, Chicago, Ill.

Sandra Sahl, Nerstrand, Minn.

Armando Salgado, Chicago, Ill.

Lauren Salonek, Watertown, Minn.

Christopher Sanchez, Tucson, Ariz.

Jon Schlemmer, De Pere, Wis.

Paul Schmitt, Sebeka, Minn.

Sara Schoenthaler, White Bear Lake, Minn.

Laura Schommer, Hutchinson, Minn.

Megan Schulz, Andover, Minn.

Hannah Schwarze, St. Paul, Minn.

Anna Segner, Owatonna, Minn.

Sean Serres, Cannon Falls, Minn.

Kelly Seymour, Aurora, Ill.

Thomas Sigwalt, Geneseo, Ill.

Reid Smithe, Winona, Minn.

Krystal Souhrada, Ostrander, Minn.

Austin Steffen, Cuba City, Wis.

Katie Stein, Rochester, Minn.

Rachel Stetenfeld, McFarland, Wis.

Madelyn Stiehl, Cannon Falls, Minn.

Danielle Swanson, Oak Grove, Minn.

Patrick Sweet, Aurora, Ill.

Dana Testa, Hometown, Ill.

Brianna Theis, Dundas, Minn.

Paul Thompson, Holmen, Wis.

Robert Thompson, Lino Lakes, Minn.

Anthony Tillman, Saint Paul, Minn.

Michaela Todd, Delano, Minn.

Jenna Trio, Mapleton, Minn.

Emily Trudeau, Apple Valley, Minn.

Manire Vaughn, Chicago, Ill.

Christine Volk, Champlin, Minn.

Daniel Volturo, Westchester, Ill.

Matthew Wagner, Stillwater, Minn.

Ashley Walz, Monticello, Minn.

Ryan Weis, Long Grove, Ill.

Sydney Wilkins, Seneca, Wis.

Richard Williams, Apple Valley, Minn.

Natalie Williams, Chicago, Ill.

Nicholas Wojtynek, Westchester, Ill.

Timothy Wolande, Oak Brook, Ill.

Colton Wolf, Plainview, Minn.

Mae Yang, Minneapolis, Minn.

Santiago Zarate, Milwaukee, Wis.

Amy Zawacki, Eau Claire, Wis.

Eric Zeitlin, La Grange Park, Ill.

Scott Zengri, Cicero, Ill.

Jia Gang Zhang Zhu, Yuheng, China

Minneapolis Mayor to speak at Saint Mary’s University fundraiser for First Generation Scholars

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 5:06pm

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will speak at the Scholars S.O.A.R. (Support, Opportunity, Accountability, and Responsibility) Breakfast in support of the First Generation Initiative (FGI) at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Wednesday, May 20.

Saint Mary’s First Generation Initiative was created to break down barriers to higher education by providing high potential students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds with not only financial support, but also academic support.

The fundraiser event will be held at Saint Mary’s campus in Minneapolis.

Mayor Hodges has been an avid spokesperson for improving equity in Minneapolis and has focused her administration on reducing the education and economic gaps in Minneapolis. She states: “Our city can only live up to its economic and moral potential if we tap the talents of every individual, and call each individual in every community to work toward their best selves. Healthy and creative partnerships with our schools can help thousands more of our children receive a quality education and ready themselves for the workforce of the future. If Minneapolis is going to unite and become the city it’s meant to be, we need to do it with everybody, by everybody, and for everybody.”

Sharing that mission, the First Generation Initiative is making the dream of a college education possible to high-potential students from urban, under-resourced communities—like Minneapolis. Many of these students, after graduation, want to return to their hometowns to work and give back, helping to strengthen their communities.

Other speakers at the event will include graduates of the First Generation Initiative,  Nancy Leon-Morales and Jennifer Hernandez-Daniel, both of Minneapolis, who will speak about what the scholarship and support has meant to them.



Students named to Saint Mary’s second semester 2014-15 Dean’s List

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 2:10pm

WINONA, Minn. — The following undergraduate students were named to the second semester, 2014-15 Dean’s List at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s Winona campus. The list includes 322 undergraduate students who earned a grade point average of 3.60 or better on a 4.0 scale.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has about 5,800 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in Winona, the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, Wisconsin, Jamaica and Nairobi, Kenya.  At Saint Mary’s residential campus in Winona, the undergraduate curriculum combines traditional liberal arts and sciences with career preparation in a student-centered environment.


Kristen Ackerman, Champlin, Minn.

Emily Ahart, Stewartville, Minn.

Marta Aleszewicz, Luban, Poland

Brenden Amiotte, Rapid City, S.D.

Ashley Anderson, Owatonna, Minn.

Mariana Arriaza, Faribault, Minn.

Elizabeth Atneosen, Woodbury, Minn.

Besufekad Azage, Adis Abeba, Ethiopia

Mary Barthel, Watertown, Minn.

Sheyenne Bauer, Cannon Falls, Minn.

Marissa Bay, Holmen, Wis.

Nicholas Beaudoin, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Nicole Becher, Winona, Minn.

Michael Beery, Bloomington, Minn.

Carter Bernier, Downers Grove, Ill.

Regina Bettag, Sheboygan, Wis.

Lindsay Beyer, Coon Rapids, Minn.

Lindsay Beyer, Coon Rapids, Minn.

Liam Bickerstaff, Hahira, Ga.

Reikel Biechler, Winona, Minn.

Kallie Biermaier, Maplewood, Minn.

Luke Bing, Gallatin Gateway, Mont.

Aleah Bingham, Eden Prairie, Minn.

Brittney Birkhauser, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Jessica Bjick, Jordan, Minn.

Preston Black, Cave Creek, Ariz.

Emily Blaser, Sycamore, Ill.

Allison Blazek, Owatonna, Minn.

Kyle Blondin, Kent, Wash.

Jacquelyn Bongard, Eagan, Minn.

Emily Bonner, Centennial, Colo.

Maya Booker, Saint Paul, Minn.

Kathleen Bowlin, Winona, Minn.

Octavia Brown, Broadview, Ill.

Jacob Bruce, N. St. Paul, Minn.

Emily Brumm, Mabel, Minn.

Kathleen Bryant, Carson City, Nev.

Jessica Buckbee, Lewiston, Minn.

Joseph Budin, Le Center, Minn.

Ben Buerkle, Roseville, Minn.

Sean Butcher, Cave Creek, Ariz.

Chad Cagle, Washington, Ill.

Meagan Campbell, Mayer, Minn.

Kacey Carlson, Chanhassen, Minn.

Scott Carnahan, Saint Cloud, Minn.

Jose Castellanos, Chicago, Ill.

Cinthya Cazares, Waukegan, Ill.

Chad Cesarz, Jackson, Mich.

Kathleen Chamberland, Roseville, Minn.

Marit Christianson, Cottage Grove, Minn.

Jeremy Ciconte, Melrose Park, Ill.

Mary Coghlan, Kankakee, Ill.

Anne Colling, Jordan, Minn.

McKayla Collins, Cottage Grove, Minn.

Megan Collins, Cottage Grove, Minn.

Taylor Collins, Apple Valley, Minn.

Sarah Collova, Maplewood, Minn.

Alysa Cross, Ramsey, Minn.

Maetzin Cruz-Reyes, Taopi, Minn.

Marais Culp, Winona, Minn.

Jessica Cwik, Chicago, Ill.

Sampson Davis, Bayport, Minn.

Mary DeBartolo, Chicago, Ill.

Katherine Dean, Campbellsport, Wis.

Brandon Deutsch, Lino Lakes, Minn.

Catherine Deysach, Eagan, Minn.

Emily Diercks, Red Wing, Minn.

Laura Doak, Winona, Minn.

William Doll, Stevens Point, Wis.

Erin Doyle, Albany, Minn.

Alyssa Drake, Eau Claire, Wis.

Jessica Drake, N. St. Paul, Minn.

Marisa Eftefield, Minneapolis, Minn.

Katie Ehlenfeldt, Beaver Dam, Wis.

Madaline Eichers, Independence, Minn.

Conner Ellinghuysen, Winona, Minn.

Philip Emmerich, Mondovi, Wis.

Kelsey Engesser, Blue Earth, Minn.

Reed Evers, Appleton, Wis.

Mackenzi Fadness, Eau Claire, Wis.

Sarah Fanning, Sparta, Wis.

Matthew Faucett, Menominee, Mich.

Daniel Fino, Arlington Heights, Ill.

Stephen Fishbune, Rochester, Minn.

Rowan Flynn, Wausau, Wis.

Morgan Fournier, Maple Lake, Minn.

Alyssa Fox, Batavia, Ill.

Brittany Friedrich, Rice, Minn.

Carina Friend, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Carrie Gabrielson, Orr, Minn.

Ryan Gager, Woodbury, Minn.

Gregory Gardiner, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Brendan Garvey, Pewaukee, Wis.

Crystal Gehring, Waseca, Minn.

Gabrielle Geissler, Stamford, Conn.

Brett Giesen, Cato, Wis.

Shawn Gilbert, Rice Lake, Wis.

Aidan Goodman, Livingston, Mont.

Liam Gorman, Orland Park, Ill.

Taylor Greco, Hillside, Ill.

William Grillo, Hermantown, Minn.

Chelsea Gritz, Portland, Ore.

Molly Grover, Zumbrota, Minn.

Carly Guerra, Bloomington, Minn.

Sara Haecherl, Becker, Minn.

Aaron Haley, Lake City, Minn.

Alexis Hamilton, Victoria, Minn.

Keara Hannan, Roseville, Minn.

Misty Hanson, White Bear Lake, Minn.

Hanson Grand Rapids, Minn.

Taylor Hanson, Winona, Minn.

Andrew Hanzelka, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Kelsey Haugh, Box Elder, S.D.

Brad Hauser, Gurnee, Ill.

Bridget Hayes, Chicago, Ill.

Mary Hayes, Chicago, Ill.

Diana Haynes, Surprise, Ariz.

Alex Hefel, Winona, Minn.

Laura Hegland, Utica, Minn.

Peter Hegland, Utica, Minn.

Jeremy Heinle, York, Pa.

Michelle Heins, Theilman, Minn.

Jamie Henderson, Madison, Wis.

Grace Hendrickson, Madison, Minn.

Colin Hennessy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Ellen Hinck, Lake City, Minn.

Ryan Hippman, Bolingbrook, Ill.

Kirsten Hoffmann, Apple Valley, Minn.

Alexander Holm, Red Wing, Minn.

Otto Holzer, Wheeling, Ill.

Kathryn Homan, Mankato, Minn.

Callum Hubka, Rochester, Minn.

Evan Huebl, Jordan, Minn.

Marilyn Hughes, McKinney, Texas

Marissa Jacob, Lewiston, Minn.

Benjamin Johnson, Oshkosh, Wis.

Jared Johnson, Hartland, Wis.

Alyssa Johnson, Paola, Kan.

Tiffany Johnson, Harmony, Minn.

Darvell Jones, Chicago, Ill.

Haley Jorgensen, Yankton, S.D.

Claire Judeh, Eagan, Minn.

Kimberly Juncewski, Dassel, Minn.

Erin Kaus, Lakeville, Minn.

Brady Keller, Nashua, Minn.

Ruba Kenyi, Rochester, Minn.

Mara Keyes, Saint Paul, Minn.

Robert Kinyon, Rapid City, S.D.

Samantha Kleese, Kenyon, Minn.

Tyler Kline, North Saint Paul, Minn.

Kayleigh Kloncz, Zimmerman, Minn.

Matthew Kornegay, Glendale, Ariz.

Joshua Korver, Little Falls, Minn.

Peter Kostecka, Pequot Lakes, Minn.

Jakub Koziuk, Cary, Ill.

Samuel Kreutzfeldt, Mahtomedi, Minn.

Rebecca Kring, Littleton, Colo.

Lucas Kubic, Coon Rapids, Minn.

Theresa LaValla, Saint Charles, Minn.

Danielle Laferriere, Franktown, Colo.

Abby Lafko, Gilbert, Ariz.

Isaac Landsteiner, Fairmont, Minn.

Brandon Larsen, Rochester, Minn.

Sydney Larson, Winona, Minn.

Sarah Laska, Eden Prairie, Minn.

Anna Lattos, West Salem, Wis.

Katie LeTourneau, White Bear Lake, Minn.

Jordan Lehr, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Elizabeth Leif, Sacramento, Calif.

Peter Liavas, Niles, Ill.

Kenzie Lind, Rushford, Minn.

Sara Lind, Peterson, Minn.

Amanda Lindholm, Bloomington, Minn.

Emily Loof, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Janie Maki, Roseville, Minn.

Maia Maksymkiw, White Bear Lake, Minn.

Alejandro Martinez, Chicago, Ill.

Eric Mashak, Ridgeland, Wis.

Mathews Faribault, Minn.

Haylie McComb, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Amanda McCormick, Saint Charles, Minn.

Kory McDonald, Minnesota City, Minn.

Rachel McQuiston, Minnetonka, Minn.

Christine Meeds, Marine On St Croix, Minn.

Angela Messer, Saint Paul, Minn.

Jordyn Messling, Holmen, Wis.

Michael Mezzano, Woodbury, Minn.

Michael Mielenhausen, Saint Paul, Minn.

Katie Miller, Rochester, Minn.

Maria Missurelli, Franklin, Wis.

Ena Moats, Roland, Iowa.

Mary Moats-Biechler, Roland, Iowa.

Sherman Moga, Shoreview, Minn.

Shawn Morris, Saint Michael, Minn.

Amy Mullen, Winona, Minn.

Sarah Munns, White Bear Lake, Minn.

Jake Muzzarelli, Normal, Ill.

Minh Nguyen, Rochester, Minn.

Vianney Nguyen, Rochester, Minn.

Thao Nguyen, Da Nang Vietnam

Connor Nicholas, Las Vegas, Nev.

Theresa Niedzwiecki, Long Prairie, Minn.

Mary Nordick, Dresser, Wis.

Emily Norton, Kellogg, Minn.

Taylor Novak, West Salem, Wis.

Celeste Nygren, Seattle, Wash.

Sarah O’Connell, Spring Valley, Minn.

Daniel Olajonlu, Rogers, Minn.

Stephanie Olvera, Cicero, Ill.

Bryan Ortman, Chicago, Ill.

Olivia Osterbauer, Minneapolis, Minn.

Molly Palecek, Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Richard Palermo, Westchester, Ill.

Kendra Palkowski, Arcadia, Wis.

Monikaben Patel, Caledonia, Minn.

Amanda Patt, Cedarburg, Wis.

Sarah Pawlik, Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Elizabeth Pawlowski, Chicago, Ill.

Zane Pekron, Milesville, S.D.

Victoria Perez, Upland, Calif.

Kayla Perri, Plymouth, Minn.

Joseph Petrich, Elk River, Minn.

Kalee Petron, Royalton, Minn.

Katarzyna Plawiak, Nowogrodziec, Poland

Hanna Potter, Winona, Minn.

Paula Preo, Ramsey, Minn.

Benjamin Preusser, Henderson, Minn.

Danielle Pues, Lakeville, Minn.

Madeline Puppe, Rochester, Minn.

Rachel Putnam, Dodge Center, Minn.

Melissa Radermacher, Plymouth, Minn.

Maija Rannikko, Duluth, Minn.

Gabrielle Reinartz, Rosemount, Minn.

Lindsey Reinisch, Hastings, Minn.

Timothy Reither, Elk Mound, Wis.

Meagan Rice, Champlin, Minn.

Cassandra Ricker, Oakdale, Minn.

Megan Ringsred, Bloomington, Minn.

Thomas Ripplinger, Burtrum, Minn.

Chazz Robinson, Milwaukee, Wis.

Aaron Romportl, Stillwater, Minn.

Sydney Rudquist, Hudson, Wis.

Sandra Sahl, Nerstrand, Minn.

Marcin Sak, Lobez, Poland.

Lauren Salonek, Watertown, Minn.

Christopher Sanchez, Tucson, Ariz.

Analiese Schadler, Ankeny, Iowa.

Emma Schaefer, Falcon Heights, Minn.

Chad Schlosser, Stillwater, Minn.

Elizabeth Schmidt, Plainview, Minn.

Stephanie Schmidt, Plainview, Minn.

Paul Schmitt, Sebeka, Minn.

Sara Schoenthaler, White Bear Lake, Minn.

Megan Schulz, Andover, Minn.

Mark Schumacher, Perham, Minn.

Hannah Schwarze, St. Paul, Minn.

Mary Scott, Rochester, Minn.

Anna Segner, Owatonna, Minn.

Kelly Seymour, Aurora, Ill.

Thomas Sigwalt, Geneseo, Ill.

Noah Simmons, Algoma, Wis.

Thomas Skaja, Rice, Minn.

Matthew Smaron, Maple Plain, Minn.

Constance Snyder, Johnston, Iowa.

Raelynn Speltz, Altura, Minn.

Austin Steffen, Cuba City, Wis.

Elizabeth Steffes, Rochester, Minn.

Katie Stein, Rochester, Minn.

Bailey Steinke, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Kelsey Stenzel, Wabasha, Minn.

Rachel Stetenfeld, McFarland, Wis.

Madelyn Stiehl, Cannon Falls, Minn.

Erika Stumo, Andover, Minn.

Jenna Sullivan, Woodbury, Minn.

Patrick Sweet, Aurora, Ill.

Corrie Swenson, Houston, Minn.

Michael Tabar, Elgin, Ill.

Clarice Tack, Saint Charles, Ill.

Brianna Theis, Dundas, Minn.

Alexandra Thiel, Burr Ridge, Ill.

Colton Thomas, Greenfield, Minn.

Lance Thomas, Granton, Wis.

Colleen Thul, Hutchinson, Minn.

Michaela Todd, Delano, Minn.

Erik Tollefsrud, Janesville, Wis.

Erika Torres, Moline, Ill.

Jenna Trio, Mapleton, Minn.

Haley Trom, Hampton, Minn.

Megan Vandenberg, De Pere, Wis.

Manire Vaughn, Chicago, Ill.

Michael Vered, Canada

Evelin Vergara Zuniga, Richfield, Minn.

Gabriel Verges, Littleton, Colo.

Samuel Vetch, Rapid City, S.D.

Luis Villadolid, Palatine, Ill.

Kiya Virgin, Rochester, Minn.

Nathin Voeller, East Grand Forks, Minn.

Christine Volk, Champlin, Minn.

Abigail Wales, North St. Paul, Minn.

Rachel Waletzko, Albany, Minn.

Ashley Walz, Monticello, Minn.

Amber Wasmund, McHenry, Ill.

Kelsi Watters, Chetek, Wis.

Quinlyn Waulters, Minneapolis, Minn.

Michelle Wegrzyn, Chicago Heights, Ill.

Christina Weldai, United Kingdom

Zachary Wiechman, Freeport, Minn.

Sydney Wilkins, Seneca, Wis.

Nicolas Wilson, Dunlap, Ill.

Acacia Wimmer, St. Charles, Minn.

Emily Winter, St. Paul, Minn.

Nicholas Wojtynek, Westchester, Ill.

Jordan Wolfe, Wabasha, Minn.

Andrew Wright, Esko, Minn.

Mae Yang, Minneapolis, Minn.

Arion Yedinak, Huntley, Ill.

Saron Yifru, Addis Abab, Ethiopia

Alexander Zappa, Richfield, Minn.

Amy Zawacki, Eau Claire, Wis.

Scott Zengri, Cicero, Ill.

Alexander Zuzek, Hastings, Minn.

Abigail Zuzek, Hastings, Minn.


Minnesota Marine Art Museum teams with Minnesota Conservatory to offer new camp

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 3:11pm

WINONA, Minn. — Art, music, and theatre collide in the first integrated arts summer camp in Winona. The Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) and the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) are teaming up to offer an exciting weeklong arts camp where students will explore the theme of rhythm through music and dance lessons, hands-on art making activities, and theatre games. “Winona Arts Camp: Feel the Rhythm” will run Aug. 10-14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to students in grades two through eight.

From slinging paint to strumming a harp, from stomping in tap shoes to comedy improv, camp participants will build capacities of the imagination. Students will gain valuable knowledge of multiple art forms, as well as build skills such as teamwork and confidence as they prepare for a final showcase on the last day of camp. At the end of each camp day, campers will be treated to a live demonstration or performance by a local artist or group in each of the four arts disciplines. Families will be invited and encouraged to join their camper to enjoy this special experience. The camp will be offered at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 W. 10th Street in Winona, but will also include a tour of the MMAM.

The cost is $150 (by June 1) and $175 (after June 1) per camper, this fee includes a camp T-shirt, daily snack, and admission to the MMAM. Thanks to the generous support of the Winona Fine Arts Commission, five students will receive full scholarships and five will receive partial scholarships. To register for camp or for scholarship information, families should call MCA at 507-453-5500 or visit

MMAM is a nonprofit art museum and education center supported by more than 1,000 members, donors, granters, and sponsors. MCA, an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, is a nonprofit organization that offers programing in dance, music, visual art, and theatre.


WACS artwork now on display at MCA

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 2:32pm

WINONA, Minn. — Galleria Valéncia at Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is filled with 19 unique pieces of artwork created by LaDawn Kovala’s art students at Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS). Contributing artists range in age from first- through 12th-graders and attend Madison Elementary’s Spanish Immersion Language Program and the Winona Area Learning Center.

Visitors to the gallery will enjoy colorful artwork that was created using a variety of mediums and elements of design. Students’ work showcase projects after lessons on Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, the Chinese New Year, and more. The galleria will be open during regular office hours and while classes are in session. Visitors are encouraged to sign the guestbook, so that the young artists know who attended the show.

MCA is in the process of setting up art shows for the upcoming school year. If schools or artists are interested in displaying their work in Galleria Valéncia, contact Jamie at

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, a nonprofit organization, offers programming in dance, music, visual art, and theatre. Classes, lessons, workshops, and camps are offered for youth ages 3 and older through adults at the Valéncia Arts Center, located at the corner of 10th and Vila streets. For more information go to, email, or call 507-453-5500.

Heukeshoven to compose for Municipal Band Centennial

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 2:26pm

WINONA, Minn. — This marks the centennial year of the Winona Municipal Band. In celebration of this landmark event, A. Eric Heukeshoven, assistant professor of music at Saint Mary’s University, has been commissioned to compose a new work to be premiered at the final concert of the season on Aug. 12, 2015.

The Winona Municipal Band is the oldest continually performing city band west of the Mississippi River. Each Wednesday summer evening, the band performs a concert in Lake Park Band Shell from 8 to 9 p.m. Members of the ensemble range from talented high school and college students to veteran performers—some with 30 or more years of service to the group.

The Winona Municipal Band Centennial Committee is planning many special events and surprises to mark this important milestone. More information can be found at


Building a globally focused career

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:54am

Katarzyna “Kasia” Plawiak entered and won a highly competitive scholarship competition in Poland, offered by the Wasie Foundation, the Gostomski Family Foundation, and Saint Mary’s University. The six-month process involved writing an essay, making a presentation, and an interview. First prize was a full scholarship to attend Saint Mary’s.

“First prize was really amazing,” she said.

The Computer Science and International Business double-major hasn’t wasted any time since arriving in the U.S.

“I studied international business two years in Poland,” she said. “When I was choosing my career path, it was a few years after Poland entered the European Union. From a global aspect, I could see changes that had occurred in my own country. I thought this major would lead to a good job that would involve travel, seeing the world, and meeting new people. Businesses want people who are able to work in a global environment.”

For her second major, Plawiak said she knew that business and technology were tightly interrelated. “Technology impacts business to a large extent,” she said. “These two majors teach problem solving, critical thinking, data analysis, and creativity. The opportunities are endless. And I saw many pathways for my career.”

Plawiak put the knowledge she has acquired to work this past summer as an application developer for J.P. Morgan in Chicago, where she worked on software solutions for big clients.

“Internships are a practical implementation of knowledge,” she said. “And employers are not only looking at your GPA, they are interested in hearing about your practical training. I met great people during my internship,” Plawiak said. “It was a great learning experience. It taught me a lot about the social aspects and about collaboration; you have to know how to communicate with different personalities.”

This summer, she will intern at Credit Suisse in New York as an application developer.

Plawiak said attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing that she and other students have attended twice, once in Minneapolis and once in Phoenix, was very helpful in making business connections.

The Grace Hopper Celebration is the world’s largest gathering designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront.

“There are not enough women in I.T., and it’s visible,” Plawiak said. “At this conference women help each other, exchange ideas, network, and come up with ideas to help other women. It was a field dominated by men from the beginning, but fortunately that’s changing.”

At Saint Mary’s, Plawiak has also been involved with the business club, computer science club, and Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies activities.

In Poland, she attended a university with more than 20,000 students; classes were largely lecture-oriented and theory-based and stressed memorization. Plawiak said Saint Mary’s classes, in comparison, are more hands-on and provide useful, practical knowledge that will prepare her for the next stages of her career or graduate school.

“(In Poland), none of the teachers knew me,” she said. “Here the teachers know me and I can just stop by their offices. I value the relationships and all of the help and advice I can get from them. They are very supportive. Attending Saint Mary’s has been a great experience.”


Making positive changes in the medical world

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 11:20am

When Abdulahi Hashi was a child in Somalia, he had little access to medical care.

“I know how life is when you don’t have quality healthcare,” Hashi said. “I was one of those kids who got sick easily and ended up in the hospital. It seemed like every month I was sick with something different.”

He came to the United States eight years ago when he was 19, possessing only a high school diploma. After taking English classes and earning two associate’s degrees in community college, he enrolled in Saint Mary’s B.S. in Health and Human Services Management program with the intention of making positive changes in the medical world.

“I know what I want to do,” Hashi said. “My goal is to be a physician’s assistant. I’m finishing my four-year degree at Saint Mary’s, and then I’ll apply to graduate school. I will continue my education as long as I have the time and the opportunity. If I have the ability to become a surgeon, I will take that chance because I want to save peoples’ lives when they need me most.”

Hashi has taken a special interest in researching healthcare management and healthcare reform. His research has been augmented by his ever-improving English skills.

“English is my second language,” Hashi explained. “So when I write a paper, I bring it to Cheryl (Prentice) in the Writing Center. She finds the errors and, most importantly, gives me good advice. I’ve seen myself get a lot better, and the improvement is clear. I feel like at the Writing Center, Saint Mary’s is offering me a helping hand.”

In addition to his studies, he’s also gathering valuable experience by working as an instrument technician at a St. Paul hospital at night. After he completed a two-week clinical at the hospital, his managers were impressed with his work and retained him. For more than two years, Hashi has been preparing instruments for surgeries and watching physician teams at work, closely observing their trade and professional practices.

“Sometimes when work is slow, I can watch the operating room and see how they use certain instruments,” Hashi said. “I am always gaining experience for my future studies.”

When he’s at the Twin Cities Campus, Hashi’s work ethic shines along with his modest, friendly nature. Between classes, fellow students cheerfully greet him in the hallway, and faculty know him as a hard-working individual.

“I could tell right away that Hashi is a very motivated student,” said Susan Jarosak, interim dean of the Graduate School of Health and Human Services. “He has done exceptionally well at Saint Mary’s while balancing his work and family time. The flexibility of the bachelor degree completion degree fits him very well.”

The flexible scheduling at Saint Mary’s allows Hashi to balance all of the important things in his life. With school during the day and work at night, he added another time commitment to his life last year when his daughter was born. Hashi thanks his wife for helping with the day-to-day obligations of taking care of their baby, and he credits his larger family with helping motivate him toward a bigger goal.

For somebody who has to juggle family, work, and school, Hashi has found a great fit in Saint Mary’s.

“Saint Mary’s helped me in many ways,” Hashi said. “I have learned more about how to do
research and I’ve gained more confidence in my writing and grammar skills. I feel welcome in every department in the campus. I call it ‘home.’ Saint Mary’s gives hope to everyone who has goals and dreams.”

Hash said his older brother and he share the same goals are both are going to graduate at the same time, his brother in kinesiology. “We challenge each other to make our dreams happen while both of our parents are still watching us,” he said.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota to acquire Rochester’s Cascade Meadow center

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 12:45pm

University will expand educational offerings for schools and businesses


WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota announced today that it will assume ownership and operation of Rochester’s Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center this summer.

Jack Remick, Cascade Meadow founder and board of directors president, said he is excited at the possibilities for expanded use of the unique facility. “Saint Mary’s University will bring innovative and relevant educational programming that will benefit the area’s students, schools, and many other organizations,” he said.

Brother William Mann, Saint Mary’s president, noted that “Cascade Meadow—with its state-of-the-art facility, excellent staff, and 80 acres of restored wetlands—offers an extraordinary opportunity in Rochester to expand our educational outreach and mission to serve students and develop ethical leaders.”

The assets of Cascade Meadow will be transferred to Saint Mary’s on July 1, at no cost to the university. Remick has also made a generous financial investment with the university to assure a smooth transition, and to support future growth in programming beneficial to the Rochester area.

Scott Walker, Saint Mary’s associate vice president for partnerships – Rochester, has been named executive director of Cascade Meadow. According to Walker, the university will develop additional programming for high school, college, and graduate students with special emphasis in the sciences and allied health. Programs could also focus on science education training for teachers.

Walker said current educational partnerships with Rochester Public Utilities and Zumbro Watershed Partnership will continue at Cascade Meadow.

Cascade Meadow opened in 2011 as a 501(c)(3) environmental education facility serving primarily school-aged children and local visitors. The center has hosted field trips for elementary students learning many topics in environmental science, including energy use, water use, and waste production and elimination—all meeting current state science standards.

The Cascade Meadow facility is LEED Platinum-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizing the highest level of environmentally responsible design, construction, operation, and maintenance. The Cascade Meadow grounds, located on Rochester’s northwest side, also features a variety of wetland restoration projects in progress.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota enrolls 5,800 students at its residential undergraduate college in Winona and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, based in Minneapolis with programs offered in Rochester, Apple Valley, Oakdale, throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, and fully online.

Photo by Dana Wheelock

Nearly 300 students honored at Saint Mary’s commencement

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 9:45am

WINONA, Minn. — It was a day for high-fives, flowers, and many photos. On May 9, the Winona Campus of Saint Mary’s University hosted a joint commencement ceremony for both undergraduate and graduate students. Nearly 300 students were recognized.

Undergraduate reflections were offered by this year’s Outstanding Male and Female Seniors Lauren Salonek, daughter of Joel and Tammy Salonek of Watertown, Minn., and Joseph Budin, son of Bruce and Colleen Budin of Le Center, Minn.

Representing Saint Mary’s Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, Tara Van Eperen-Waldorf, a M.A. in Literacy graduate from New Richmond, Wis., also provided a reflection. Amanda Martin, M.A. in Human Development, from St. Croix Falls, Wis., and Tracey-Ann Myers, M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning, from Manchester Jamaica, were presented with Outstanding Graduate Final Paper Awards.

In recognition of a lifetime of faith-filled service and compassion, Sister Generose Gervais, a Franciscan sister and former Saint Marys Hospital administrator, was presented with an honorary doctorate.

Sister Generose Gervais, OSF, was awarded a Doctor of Humanities degree, honoris causa, for her commitment to Catholic health care and for her many years of service at Saint Marys Hospital, where she has inspired others by focusing, first and foremost, on the needs of the patients. The award further honors her for helping to establish and lead the Poverello Foundation, which provides support for men, women, and children who need help paying for the care received at Saint Marys Hospital.

The Saint Mary’s Nairobi campus hosted its commencement ceremony on May 2. The Twin Cities Campus will conduct three summer commencement ceremonies on June 7.

To see photos from the day, go to


Saint Mary’s honors Sister Generose Gervais with honorary degree

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 5:49pm

Photo caption: Sister Generose Gervais, a Franciscan sister and former Saint Marys Hospital administrator for whom Mayo’s Generose mental health building is named, received a Doctor of Humanities from Brother William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, left; and Michael Gostomski, chair of the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees, right.

WINONA, Minn. — In recognition of a lifetime of faith-filled service and compassion, Sister Generose Gervais, a Franciscan sister and former Saint Marys Hospital administrator, was presented with an honorary doctorate by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota at its commencement ceremony May 9 in Winona.

Sister Generose Gervais, OSF, was awarded a Doctor of Humanities degree, honoris causa, for her commitment to Catholic health care and for her many years of service at Saint Marys Hospital, where she has inspired others by focusing, first and foremost, on the needs of the patients. The award further honors her for helping to establish and lead the Poverello Foundation, which provides support for men, women, and children who need help paying for the care received at Saint Marys Hospital.

The award states that Sister Generose has, for more than 75 years, “embraced and embodied the charism of the Sisters of the Order of Saint Francis and has shared that charism through her institutional leadership and personal interactions, never failing to see Christ’s presence in those with whom she has journeyed.”

Acting to entertain, inspire audiences

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 2:59pm


Whether portraying a dashing young melodious hero who meets an untimely demise in “Urinetown,” or a modern hipster version of Hamlet’s university schoolmate, Rosencrantz, Gabriel Verges is at home on stage.

But the Theatre: Acting/Directing major from Littleton, Colo., admits to still getting a healthy dose of stage fright before opening curtain. And when the curtain goes down, he’s the first one to critique his performance.

“I always wish I had done more work, after a show,” he said. “I always think there is so much more I could have done. Through the theatre department here, I’ve learned a ton but I’ve come to understand that I need to keep learning. As a new student, the first thing you need to accept is that you know nothing.”

Verges, who had acted considerably in high school, said he never doubted his college career would revolve around the arts. From freshman year at Saint Mary’s, he’s been involved with everything from shining in the spotlight to shining the spotlight.

In the spring production of “Uncle Vanya,” he portrayed Russian professor, Serebryakov; in the London Theatre Study Abroad Program last year, he both acted and arranged the music for “How I Learned to Drive,” and in “The Government Inspector,” he served as a text coach, in addition to an on-stage role.

Through courses, he’s dabbled in scenery, costuming and lighting; he also ran sound on a show; and he has consistently worked on the Performance Center crew, which assists with professional performances.

“If you feel like you haven’t gotten enough, you haven’t put in enough,” Verges said. “The department prepares you for the real world, about how to make and maintain connections, and how to be easy to work with. So many actors are disrespectful of technicians. In this business, if someone important hears you, you might not have a future anymore. Plus, people deserve respect, and collaboration is always so important.”

Following graduation in 2016, Verges said he wants to keep acting, hopefully finding some classical work like Shakespeare, but he’d also enjoy doing some musicals.

“In high school, I wanted to perform because I wanted someone in the audience to improve their life in some way because of the performance I was in. In London, I came to realize there were some performances that I just had a really great time watching, and it made me realize how important it is for people to just be entertained.”

Verges said it’s a great feeling when he makes a joke on stage, and hears the laughter or applause of the audience. “Feeding on the energy in the room is a must,” he said.

“But different audiences help you find different jokes, different ways to feed their interests, and it just sort of happens and keeps it fresh.

“Most importantly, although I want to make a living by acting, I also want to do it for the art. I never want to stop doing good artistic work,” he said. “The best thing about Saint Mary’s for me has been the constant pushing to see things differently, to challenge myself, and push to go beyond what I’ve done and not get comfortable in any of my successes. It’s gotten harder every year, which has surprised me, but it’s good. The school has given me constant opportunities to develop my skills.”

New and improved B.S. in Nursing program

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 1:19am

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, based in Minneapolis, is now even more relevant for today’s Registered Nurse seeking to complete the baccalaureate degree.

“This program focuses on leadership, integrative therapy, and offers a student-centered capstone to help our nurses advance in their careers,” said Dr. Merri Moody, program director for the B.S. in Nursing at Saint Mary’s. “The courses and credits have been restructured for greater impact and efficiency.”

Because an R.N. licensure is required for admission to this program, students learn with other nurses who bring their experience and professional knowledge to the classroom. This 36-credit program is designed to expand an R.N.’s current knowledge while placing an emphasis on the science of nursing. Courses combine scientific with ethical, patient-centered approaches. In addition, the program includes courses designed to prepare students for a variety of advanced roles in nursing as well as preparation for work in a constantly changing healthcare system.

Core community values include academic excellence, professionalism, personal integrity, responsibility, and compassion. A shared sense of responsibility exists between the faculty members and each student to reach the goal of becoming a baccalaureate-prepared R.N.

For more information on Saint Mary’s B.S. in Nursing program, visit the program page, email, or call 612-728-5100.

Anderson finds a natural fit with GIS research

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 12:05pm

Brie Anderson grew up with the outdoors as her playground. As she got older, she loved going hunting with her father and brothers and surveying the marshlands and wildlife as they looked for ducks. It’s no surprise that she focused the capstone component of her Master of Science Degree in Geographic Information Science (GIS) on wildlife.

Anderson is researching blue heron behavior with the Winona-based Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. She’s monitoring flock movement and chick survival by analyzing aerial photography and recording trends. This GIS-based research in the spring is complemented by a summertime on-ground survey that monitors the nests and gathers data.

“Great blue herons are colonial nesters, meaning they nest in a group together in the crowns of trees. They’re pretty inconspicuous,” Anderson said. “The folks at the Winona refuge have been monitoring herons since the early 1990s because the birds are bio-indicators; they can be indicators of water quality or another ecosystem element. For instance, if a whole flock flies away after eating fish in a certain spot, that may mean that the area’s water quality is questionable.”

One of the most rewarding factors in Anderson’s research is that her work is valuable to the refuge. The results of her capstone project will help determine if the refuge needs their most experienced biologists to continue monitoring the herons or if somebody with less experience can take over—enabling top staff members to concentrate on higher-priority items.

“A successful project for me is something that’s useful and not something that sits on a shelf,” Anderson said. “I found the project interesting because I have a background in both ornithology and GIS. And to be able to partner with a wildlife refuge, that gives this a little more importance.”

In addition to studying at Saint Mary’s, Anderson works full-time at Merjent, a professional environmental and social consultancy based out of Minneapolis. Assisting with projects involving oil and gas, biofuels, renewable energy, electric utility, and mining, Anderson is responsible for compliance with protecting threatened and endangered species. She uses GIS technology to examine habitats, conservation plans, state park lines, and all of the other factors in play in order to minimize these projects’ environmental impact.

“I love it,” Anderson said. “Every project is unique and has different challenges, and I can work on several projects at once. Right now I have a workload in four different states—Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma—and I can work remotely without leaving my desk in Minneapolis.”

But even after finishing a bachelor’s degree in both wildlife biology and GIS in 2006, Anderson saw her skills gradually becoming outdated. GIS is a field where the technology is always improving, and she felt a need to tune up her skill set. After hearing about the school’s reputation, Saint Mary’s proved to be the right fit.

“A co-worker had been through the GIS program at Saint Mary’s,” Anderson said. “She suggested that I look into it because it has a specific track for natural resources. The reputation speaks for itself. This summer, I was awarded a student assistantship to the Esri User Conference in San Diego, and people immediately knew about Saint Mary’s. The respect for the program, the tradition, the quality of the students who came from here, it’s powerful.”

Students honored for academic achievements by Saint Mary’s

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 3:30pm

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University recognized outstanding senior students Friday, April 24, at the annual Honors Convocation. Highlights of the evening included the announcement of graduate and professional school acceptances, grants and fellowships, and the awarding of the following special honors:

Lasallian Honors Program Outstanding Senior — Melissa Radermacher, daughter of Tim and Amy Radermacher of Plymouth, Minn.

Creative Spark Award (art and design award) — Anna Segner, daughter of Ronald and Patricia Segner of Owatonna, Minn.

Kevin Martineau Award and Outstanding Accounting Major (business awards) — Lucas Kubic, son of Paul and Deborah Kubic, Coon Rapids, Minn.

Outstanding Accounting Student (business award) — Rachel McQuiston, daughter of Patrick McQuiston of Minnetonka, Minn.

Outstanding Business Intelligence and Analytics Student (business award) — Marissa Jacob, daughter of Kevin and Sheila Jacob of Lewiston, Minn.

Outstanding Entrepreneurship Student (business award) — Sarah Mills, daughter of Joseph and Wanda Mills of Coon Rapids, Minn.

Outstanding Finance Student (business award) — Aaron Haley, son of Tom and Wendy Haley of Lake City, Minn.

Outstanding International Business Student (business award) — LeiLani Oas, daughter of John and Joan Oas of Minnesota City.

Outstanding Management Student (business award) — Sara Schoenthaler, daughter of Sandra Schoenthaler of White Bear Lake, Minn.

Outstanding Marketing Student (business award) — Lucas Kubic, son of Paul and Deborah Kubic, Coon Rapids, Minn., and Janie Maki, daughter of Peter and Trina Maki of Roseville, Minn.

Outstanding Sport Management Major (business award) — Samantha Borawski, daughter of Richard and Cynthia Borawski of Stickney, Ill.

American Institute of Chemists Award (chemistry award) — Megan Schulz, daughter of Fred and Lori Schulz of Andover, Minn., and Patrick Sweet, son of David and Clare Sweet of Aurora, Ill.

American Chemical Society Award (chemistry award) — Greg Gardiner of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Outstanding Senior Communication Award — Sarah Pawlik, daughter of Sandra Pawlik of Hoffman Estates, Ill.

De La Salle Outstanding Preservice Teaching Awards (education award) — Nichole Becher, daughter of Patrick and Kathy Becher of Winona, and Theresa LaValla, daughter of John and Susan LaValla of Saint Charles, Minn.

Outstanding English Paper — Rachel Stetenfeld, daughter of Ernest and Elizabeth Stetenfeld of McFarland, Wis.

History Department Distinction Award — Christine Volk, daughter of Bryan and Kim Volk of Champlin, Minn.

Brother Leo Northam Award (math award) — Marta Aleszewicz of Luban, Poland.

Brother Laurence Walther Founder’s Award (music award) — Lauren Salonek, daughter of Joel and Tammy Salonek of Watertown, Minn.

Performance Award (music award) — Abigail Zuzek, daughter of Mark and Janet Zuzek of Hastings, Minn.

Saint Thomas Aquinas Award for Excellence (philosophy award) — Morgan Fournier, daughter of Ricci and Diane Fournier of Maple Lake, Minn.

Father Andrew Fabian Scholarship (philosophy award) — Matthew Faucett, son of Joseph and Sally Faucett of Menominee, Mich.

Psychology Distinction Awards — Janie Maki, daughter of Peter and Trina Maki of Roseville, Minn.; Christine Meeds, daughter of Jerome and Mary Meeds of Marine On St. Croix, Minn.; Joseph Petrich, son of Thomas and Nancy Petrich of Elk River, Minn.; Danielle Pues, son of Jon Pues and Mary Turnquist of Lakeville, Minn.; Lindsey Reinisch, daughter of Jayme and Lisa Reinisch of Hastings, Minn.; Lauren Salonek, daughter of Joel and Tammy Salonek of Watertown, Minn.; and Armando Salgado, son of Armando and Maria Salgado of Chicago.

Larry Luttmers Award (psychology award) — Christine Meeds, daughter of Jerome and Mary Meeds of Marine On St. Croix, Minn.

Millie Harrison Spirit Award (theatre award) — Molly Nocera, daughter of Christopher and Erin Nocera, Providence, R.I.

Michael G. Flanagan Ghost Light Award (theatre award) — Kathleen Bryant, daughter of Christeen Allara of Carson City, Nev., and Raquel Romo, daughter of Altagracia Monroy of Chicago.

Gerald Sullivan Award/Outstanding Theatre Major Award (theatre award) — Keara Hannan, daughter of Steven and Celeste Hannan of Roseville, Minn., and Rebecca Kring, daughter of Littleton, Colo.

Hockey player’s goal is dental defense

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 10:03am

Bob Marx ’15 isn’t just trying to keep from losing his teeth, he’s trying to help others keep their pearly whites as well.

Marx, captain of the Cardinals men’s hockey team, has his eye on the goal of becoming a family dentist.

The biology major from Sioux City, Iowa, will begin attending the Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health this July. Eventually, he’d like to join the family business in Sioux City, where his uncle and cousins have been practicing. “My uncle has seen four generations of patients,” he said. “They become more than just clients.”

But, yes, he’s heard all the jokes.

“People tease me about being a hockey player and a dentist, but I’ll always have a client base,” he said. In fact, many of his teammates (26 on varsity alone) are already asking if he’ll work on their teeth. “I’ll probably see my fair share of hockey players once I start practicing,” he said, with a smile.

With continuing advancements in dentistry, Marx can assure them it will be as painless as possible.

His teammates were happy to lend a helping hand for Marx’s senior project, for which he studied the anti-bacterial efficacy of the Pursonic portable UV Toothbrush Sanitizer © by gathering 30 used toothbrushes from faculty and students, including teammates.

After research, he found that the device did indeed kill significant amounts of bacteria. Unsanitized toothbrushes had a million bacterial colonies, and those sanitized had 1,000 bacterial colonies, showing a 99.9 percent difference.

But, he said, his research led to a bigger question: Does having the normal amount of bacteria on a toothbrush make someone more prone to tooth decay or gingivitis?

“It advertises it can kill up to 99 percent of bacteria,” he said. “I had questioned whether it was just a marketing thing or whether the sanitizer did what it was advertised to do. But now, I’m curious if it would make a difference in long-term oral health.”

Marx hadn’t heard of Saint Mary’s until he was approached to play hockey for the Cardinals (after playing in the juniors for several years), but he was sold by the lure of the ice and the reputation of Saint Mary’s strong science program, along with the community feel, smaller classes, and location near the river and bluffs.

“I accomplished everything here I sent out to do and I enjoyed my experience,” he said. “I am well prepared for dental school. All of my science professors are great. They spend a lot of time with us outside of class, and I’ve seen them at the hockey games. That played a huge role in how much I like it here. It’s nice to have teachers interested in you as an individual. I think that’s what separates Saint Mary’s from so many other schools.”