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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

November 7, 2018 Campus Newsletter

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Student Forensics Success

Minnesota State University, Mankato's forensics team competed in several tournaments on the final two weekends of October, with numerous highlights.

Minnesota State Mankato finished first out of 13 schools that competed in the Vocal Viking tournament Oct. 26-27 at Bethany Lutheran College. (Participating students are shown in the group photo above.)

On Oct. 21, the team finished third among nine teams in the Southwest Minnesota State University Mustang Stampede tournament, which was held at Minnesota State Mankato.

On Oct. 20, the forensic team hosted its historic Larry Schnoor Invitational Tournament. This year, the theme was the “Story-Schnoor,” as the tournament was honoring Minnesota State Mankato alumni and the legacy and history of the team. Twelve schools from across the Midwest traveled to campus to compete in the tournament.

Individual results from all three tournaments are posted under Forensics Results below.

Crawford Pinewood Derby

Nearly 120 students in Crawford Residence Community participated in a Pinewood Derby, a tradition that began in Crawford in 2013. Each floor community made a derby car, in addition to area director Brice Matthews and hall directors Maddie Jarmola and Alexis Paladini.

Designs of the cars were as unique as each floor community, with a bumble bee, a MavMOBILE, a “Rockstar” rocket with a full can of Rockstar on it, a pineapple, a lollipop and a Chet’s Place basket.

Cars were placed in random brackets with each floor facing off and the best of three races took the win. Cars were judged on speed and appearance. Crawford C4 won for speed and Crawford B2 won for best design.

Writing Fellows Program

Ten faculty members have completed the Writing Fellows Program, the signature Writing Across the Curriculum faculty development program at Minnesota State Mankato. Faculty members dedicated six weeks to strengthening a writing component in a course that they teach. They then shared their accomplishments through an on-campus presentation and summative capstone project.

Fall 2018 graduates of the Writing Fellows Program (and their departments) include: Josh Berkenpas (Government); Evan Bibbee (World Languages and Cultures); Amy Brugge (Human Performance); Matt Connolly (English); Leslie Darmofal (Nursing); Jameel Haque (History); Julie Kerr-Berry (Theatre & Dance); Mary Kramer (Community Health); Jennifer McCutchen (History); and Corey Selland (Human Performance).

Unions United Food Drive

Bargaining units on campus are once again holding the “Unions United Food Drive” to benefit the ECHO Food Shelf.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to make food and financial donations for ECHO Food Shelf. The food drive will run from Nov. 26 to Dec. 17.

The traveling cutting board trophy will be awarded this year to the campus building that collects the most food and cash donations during this time period.

The winner will be announced at the president’s chili luncheon on Dec. 17, and donations will also be accepted Dec. 17 at the chili luncheon.

The Unions United Food Drive is sponsored by: AFSCME Local 638, ASF, IFO, MAPE, MGEC, MMA and MNA.

Donations may be dropped off with the following University staff members at the following campus locations: 

  • Cindy Arndt, AF 126
  • Sue Darge, IFO Office, MH 240
  • Julie Dornack, ML 3104
  • Bonnie Hanson, MF 124
  • Robin Langemo, PS 103
  • Valerie Roberts, HU 101
  • Katie Roeder, WA 132
  • Deb Spreng, TN 131
  • Vicki Hanson, WA 238

Forensics Results

From Vocal Viking Tournament (Oct. 26-27):

  • Kylee Johnson — Tournament champion in Duo Interpretation with Kaylene Kruse (qualifying for NFA national tournament); 4th place in Poetry Interpretation; 4th place in Prose Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament); 2nd place in Program Oral Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament); and tournament champion in Individual Sweeps.
  • Kaylee Matuszak — 2nd place in Duo Interpretation with Jacqueline Tomas; 2nd place in Dramatic Interpretation; 3rd place in Program Oral Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament); 2nd place in Prose Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament); and 2nd place in Individual Sweeps.
  • Emma Roggeman — 2nd place in Poetry Interpretation and 3rd place in Dramatic Interpretation.
  • Elizabeth Neagle — 5th place in Poetry Interpretation.
  • Kassidy Tocco — 2nd place in Informative Speaking and 8th place in Impromptu Speaking (qualifying for NFA national tournament).
  • Jacqueline Tomas — 2nd place in Duo Interpretation with Kaylee Matuszak, and 3rd place in Prose Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament).
  • Kaylene Kruse — 5th place in Program Oral Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament), and tournament champion in Duo Interpretation with Kylee Johnson (qualifying for NFA national tournament).
  • Sam Scholl — Tournament champion in Prose Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament).

From Southwest Minnesota State University Mustang Stampede tournament (Oct. 21):

  • Emma Roggeman — 4th place in Poetry Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament), 5th place and Top Novice in Dramatic Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament), and 2nd place in Improvisational Duo
  • Elizabeth Neagle — 5th place in Poetry Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament)
  • Kassidy Tocco — 2nd place in Informative Speaking (qualifying for NFA national tournament) and 3rd place in Editorial Impromptu
  • Kylee Johnson — 4th place in Duo Interpretation, 2nd Place in Improvisational Duo and tournament champion in Poetry Interpretation (qualifying for the NFA national tournament)
  • Kaylee Matuszak — 2nd place in Duo Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament) and 4th place in Dramatic Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament)
  • Jacqueline Tomas — 2nd place in Duo Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament)
  • Kaylene Kruse — 3rd place in Program Oral Interpretation and 4th place in Duo Interpretation

From Larry Schnoor Invitational (Oct. 20):

  • Maggie Falkowski — 5th place in Communication Analysis and 4th place in Prose Interpretation (qualifying for NFA national tournament)
  • Caitlin Trabant — 3rd place in Program Oral Interpretation

Student News

Fourteen students from a Minnesota State Mankato agroecology class taught by faculty member Christopher T. Ruhland toured Guardian Energy on Oct. 25 to get a closer look at clean renewable energy production. It was the second time in October that students from the University toured Guardian Energy. On Oct 11, students from a biological engineering analysis class taught by faculty member Gregg Marg visited the facility.

Alicia Utecht, a student in the Department of Communication Studies, is scheduled to present “Fangirls United: An Autoethnography Performance” at the National Communication Association conference, which will be held Nov. 8-11 in Salt Lake City.

Faculty/Staff News

Two staff members, Amber Power (College of Arts and Humanities) and Dan Vorwerk (Department of Residential Life), were honored in the City of Mankato's annual photo contest. Vorwerk's photo, “Mornings in Mankato at Lion’s Park Neighborhood,” was the second place Silver Circle winner and Power's photo, “Fall afternoon walk at Minnesota State University, Mankato,” was the third place Award of Excellence winner.

Stephen Hunt, an English instructor in the Center for English Language Programs, will present at the annual Minnesota English Learner Education Conference on Nov. 16. The presentation is titled “Lights, Camera, Action: Implementing Feature Films in the ESL Classroom.”

An original piece of poetry and art honoring the Dakota people by Gregory T. Wilkins, associate director for the Centennial Student Union & Student Activities, was unveiled Saturday, Nov. 3 at Frost Plaza (515 N. Riverfront Drive, Mankato). The work can be seen at Frost Plaza in the alley behind Friesen’s Family Bakery and Bistro.The art, titled “Land of Memories,” will become part of the City of Mankato’s permanent art collection. Wilkins collaborated with Dakota elders Dave Braveheart, Glenn Wasicuna and Gwen Westerman in the translation and art rendering. Inscribed in English and Dakota, Wilkins honors the past, celebrates the present and looks to the future. Cut into steel, his words surround a medicine wheel created in stained glass and embraced by eagle feathers – “Silence, bravery; We are Dakota people; United as One” – “woinina wowaditika; daunkotapi; unwanjipida.”

Minnesota State Mankato alumnus and current doctoral candidate Alexander Tomes and Minnesota State Mankato Professor of Biology Christopher Ruhland co-authored a publication with colleagues at Arizona State University in the November issues of Global Change Biology. Global Change Biology is currently ranked second in Environmental Science journals. The research was funded by NSF Grants DEB-1256129 and DEB-1256180. Read more here.

The first album of Michael Olson, professor of music industry and technology in the Department of Music, will be available on streaming services and Olson’s website in November. The album, “What Comes After,” consists of ambient electric guitar and electronics with subtle beats and chord progressions. A video of Olson playing an entire show is available here.

Doug Snapp, professor of music jazz studies in the Department of Music, is the artistic director of the JazzMn Orchestra, which recently made its CD, “The Commission Project,” available for purchase through CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Apple Music. The CD can also be streamed through Spotify and Pandora.

Tom Inglot, professor and director of the Political Science program in the Department of Government, presented a public lecture on “Trumpism – The Origins and Future Perspectives,” at the discussion club of the Polish weekly news magazine, Tygodnik Powszechny, in Wroclaw, Poland, on Oct. 12. Inglot also participated in the conference on the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence:,“1918-2018 - Poland in a Changing World.” At the conference, he delivered a paper titled “Strengths and Weaknesses of the Polish Welfare State, 1918-2018.” The event took place at the University of Warsaw, Poland, on Oct. 18-19.

Department of World Languages and Cultures faculty members Evan Bibbee and Kimberly Contag made presentations in the department’s recent colloquium series. Bibbee presented “Pin-Ups and Poems: Protestant Propaganda in the French Reformation,” and Contag presented “Academic Olympics in Brazil and Chile.”

Department of English faculty presented their sabbatical and Nadine B. Andreas Research Grant presentations Nov. 1. Candace Black read from one of her sabbatical research projects –ekphrastic poetry she wrote in Bologna, Italy. Nancy Drescher reported on the research and outcomes of her sabbatical, during which she worked on research projects, worked in schools with K-12 EL teachers/students in Southern Minnesota and completed a program needs analysis or the MA: TESOL and ESL licensure programs at Minnesota State Mankato. Abi Bakke gave an Andreas Grant Presentation, “Everyday E-Health Researchers.” Bakke studied how people use the internet to answer health and medical questions.

Department of Communication Studies faculty members involved in the National Communication Association conference, which will be held Nov. 8-11 in Salt Lake City, include Christopher Brown, Katie Marie Brunner, Daniel Cronn-Mills, James P. Dimock, Anne E. Kerber, Deepa Oomen, Justin J. Rudnick, Emily S. Sauter, Sachi Sekimoto and Leah E. White and Larry G. Schnoor, an emeritus faculty member.



Global Education announced the following faculty and staff members as recipients of the University's 2018 Global Citizens Award for making a major contribution to globalization efforts at Minnesota State Mankato: Brigette Cooper; Anne Dahlman; Kari Doffing; Brenda Flannery; Diane Hamilton; Han-Way Huang; and Diane Huettl.

Faculty member Phillip Larson, an associate professor and the director of earth science programs in the Department of Geography, was featured in a Sunday, Nov. 18 Mankato Free Press article about research done by Larson, colleagues and students on slope failures locally and across the state. The article is available online here.


Department News

A fall sociology course, Animals & Society, is holding a movie series on select Thursdays this fall to learn more about the relationship between humans and other animals. The films, shown at 5 p.m. in Armstrong Hall 101, are free and open to the public. The remaining date and film title is Nov. 29, when "Love & Bananas" (documentary) will be shown. After each film, there will be a class discussion and/or presenter.

The Nov. 9, 2018, edition of the Community Engagement newsletter is now available. The newsletters can be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of the page at this link or by sending an email to and requesting a copy.

Online TODAY Magazine

Visit the online TODAY magazine at for alumni news and stories about the people who help make this University great.

The mission of TODAY is to entertain, to inform and to connect the reader to the campus. The print TODAY is mailed to 95,000 alumni and friends.

TODAY welcomes story ideas supporting this mission. Contact Sara Frederick at 507-389-6981 or to share ideas.


Do you have faculty, staff, student or departmental news for the campus newsletter? Send news items to the Media Relations Office at The newsletter is published every other Wednesday during the academic year (except during scheduled break weeks) and monthly during the summer. The next newsletter will be published Wednesday, Dec 5. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Nov. 30).

You should also submit your event to the university's official Campus Events Calendar by sending an email to Shirley Piepho at