shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Campus Community: click here for COVID-19 news and updates.


November 11, 2015 Campus Newsletter

Page address:

Picture Perfect

The city of Mankato recently announced the winners of its annual photo contest, and Minnesota State University, Mankato student Megan Westermayer’s photo of the fountain on the University mall was named “Savvy first place winner.”

Westermayer’s photo is showcased as a wrap (pictured above) on the signal box at Warren Street and Stadium Road. The photo wrap was done in partnership with Twin Rivers Council for the Arts and made possible by a contribution from Sign Pro. Pat Christman, a Mankato Free Press photographer, judged this year’s contest.

Mankato’s annual photo contest encourages citizen involvement and showcases Mankato’s quality of life and spaces. Winning photos may be used in city of Mankato communication pieces and on the city’s website.

StudyMN/Mexico Reception

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton held a reception on Monday, Nov. 2 to honor Mexican exchange students attending academic institutions in Minnesota.

Students, Study Minnesota members and Minnesota Trade Office staff attended to celebrate and advance education ties between Minnesota and Mexico. The event also included traditional Mexican music played and sung by students attending McNally Smith College of Music.

Minnesota State Mankato faculty and staff attendees included Associate Provost of Academic Affairs Robert “Bobby” Fleischman, Dean of Institution Diversity Henry Morris, Director of Community Partnerships (Institutional Diversity) Guadalupe Quintero and Director of International Student and Scholar Services (Kearney International Center) Thomas Gjersvig.

Minnesota State Mankato student attendees included Rodolfo Correa Abogado, Sofia Espana Perez, Macarena Garcia Soto and Diego Villalpando de la Garza.

Green Card Voices' Kick-Off

The Minnesota State Mankato Human Relations in a Multicultural Society class is holding a Green Card Voices' exhibit from Nov. 17-Dec. 17 and is presenting a kick-off event on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 3:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit is titled “Come Meet Your Neighbors: Immigrant Voices in the Community.” 

The goal of Green Card Voices is to share the various stories of America’s immigrants, put a human face to the current immigration debate and portray the diversity of the immigrant experience.

Learn more about the organization at the Green Card Voices website.

Civil Engineering Student Presentation

Civil engineering seniors at Minnesota State Mankato will present their design project feasibility study on Nov. 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium.

The presentation is about building a highway extension between County State Aid Highway 90 and Minnesota Highway 60. The meeting will consist of a 45-minute presentation followed by time for questions. The public is encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact faculty member W. James Wilde, a licensed professional engineer and professor in Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, by phone at 507‐389‐5252 or by email at with questions.

Global Citizen Awards

Dean of Global Education Stephen Stoynoff (pictured) announced that 12 Minnesota State Mankato faculty and staff members will be honored as “Global Citizens” in a Global Citizen Award ceremony and reception on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The ceremony is by invitation only.

The award recognizes faculty and staff who have made a major contribution to globalization efforts at the University. This year’s honorees include Cheryl Azarbod, Kristie Campana, Donna Casula, Melissa Chhoun, Ishrat Kamal-Ahmed, Patsy Lueck, Juan Meng, Saeed Moaveni, Kristi Montandon, Julie Rabaey, Renee Shellum and Tamara Wilkins.

This is Minnesota State Mankato’s ninth annual Global Citizen Award ceremony, a regular event during the celebration of Diversity and International Education Week.

The following Fulbright students will also be recognized with a certificate at the ceremony: Mamadou Belem (Burkina Faso); Hamed El Haj (Mauritania); Stefanus Angga Badara Prima (Indonesia); Mafina Sy Assanata Sanou (Burkina Faso); and Hong Thi Tuyet Vo (Vietnam).

Valley Writing Project

Applications for the 2015-16 Valley Writing Project are now available for Minnesota State Mankato faculty. This year’s workshop theme is “Using Technology to Support Student Writing.” Now in its 36th year, the Valley Writing Project helps faculty find new ways to bring writing to the center of teaching.

This year’s program will be split into a planning session in December 2015 and a debriefing session in May 2016. The December workshop will focus on resources and on-campus populations and will include speakers that are experts in addressing linguistically and culturally diverse students.

The schedule will be Tuesday, Dec. 15 and Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Tuesday, May 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The application deadline has been extended to Friday, Nov. 20, and there are only 20 spots available. CLICK HERE TO APPLY. All Minnesota State Mankato faculty are eligible, with priority given to those who did not participate in 2013 or 2014. Participation includes a $350 stipend.

Those with questions may contact Kirsti Cole (English), director of Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), at, or another member of the Valley Writing Project Committee: Kristie Campana (Psychology), Sarah Henderson Lee (English, Director of ESL), Joshua Preiss (Philosophy) or Heather Von Bank (Family Consumer Science).

Forensics Team Accomplishments

The Minnesota State Mankato Forensic Team recently competed in two tournaments.

The team traveled to Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn., on Oct. 20 to compete in the year’s first Twin Cities Forensic League tournament. Mankato placed second out of 11 teams. Individual placements are listed:

  • Brady Taylor: 3rd in Informative Speaking, Finalist in Impromptu Speaking
  • Aletta Arndt: 1st in Informative Speaking
  • Ariel Smith: 1st in Prose Interpretation, 3rd in Dramatic Interpretation

The forensic team also competed in the Vocal Viking on Oct. 30 and 31 at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minn. Individual placements are listed:

  • Jordan Carrillo: 1st in Communication Analysis
  • Alex Mathiowetz: 2nd in Prose Interpretation
  • Bianca Walton: 3rd in Informative Speaking
  • Karissa Blum: 4th in Poetry Interpretation, 5th in Program Oral Interpretation

Lifelong Learners Fall Programs

There are a number of events remaining in the Mankato Area Lifelong Learners 2015 fall presentations program.

Included are presentations on genetically-modified organisms, living and teaching in China, global warming and climate change, the history of religion and a barn/house tour.

For more information, call the Lifelong Learners Office at 507-389-2011 or visit the Lifelong Learners website.

Social Work Honors Day

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Social Work celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend Program on Nov. 6. The program, first offered in spring 2005, supports the “recruitment, education and retention of a well-prepared public and tribal child welfare workforce.” More than 90 students have graduated from the program, including 70 bachelor's scholars and 21 master's scholars.

There were a variety of honors awarded to students and alumni. Social Welfare Paper Scholars included Jolynne Brockman (1st), Caroline Kienlen (2nd) and Nou Yang (3rd). The Outstanding New Social Worker was given to Christine Davis (MSW) and Melissa Luna (BSSW). The Social Work Alumna of the Year was given to Nancy Lange ('76). Brown County Family Services was named Collaborative Agency of the Year.

The 2015 Child Welfare Scholars that were recognized included Bailey Alston (MSW), Jada Burch (BSSW), Jeremiah Burnham (BSSW), Alexa Chouinard (BSSW), Shelby DeWall (MSW), Abigail Goskeson (MSW), Rhonda Haugstad (MSW), Megan Krippner (MSW), Margaret Madison (BSSW), Ashley Mettler (BSSW), Ashley Mosser (BSSW), Krista Moore (MSW), Danielle Myers (BSSW), Leah Nyirashishi (BSSW), Callie Rose (MSW), Ashley Stender (BSSW), Kristin Weber (BSSW) and Lauren Zappitello (BSSW).

The 2015 HRSA Stipend Recipients that were recognized included Alexis Cote-Sands (MSW), Krystina Christanson (MSW), Sarita Ennis (MSW), Jewels Lindholm (MSW), Fiona Swanson (MSW) and Jacquelin Tohal (MSW).

The 2015 Scholarship Recipients that were recognized included Nicole Burlie-Burg (BSSW), Kayla Clark (MSW), Amanda Hansen (BSSW), Bryce Hansen (BSSW), Mary Hoisington (BSSW), Erin Linschied (BSSW), Stephanie Little (MSW), Hailey Matthys (BSSW), Ezequiel Nava (BSSW), Leah Nyirashishi (BSSW), Ali Peterson (BSSW), Katherine Rosell (MSW), Kimberly Wallgren (BSSW) and Nau Yang (BSSW).

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Minnesota State Mankato will participate in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week from Nov. 11 to Nov. 22.

There are a variety of events throughout the week, including the Placemat Project on Nov. 16 and the Fifth Annual Chili Cook-Out on Nov. 17. More information and additional events can be found at the Campus Kitchen website.

Best Online Master's Programs

Minnesota State Mankato made’s list for the top online master’s programs in communication. Minnesota State Mankato is ranked 31st nationally out of 50 colleges and universities in the rankings.

Each pick was evaluated based on reputation, flexibility, affordability and return on investment.

Nov. 5-15: 'A Christmas Story,' The Musical

"A Christmas Story," the Musical, is the next Mainstage play that will be performed at Minnesota State Mankato. The book is by Joseph Robinette, with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The play is based on the motion picture.

Set in the 1940s in the fictional town of Hohman, Ind., the musical follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts—an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Ralphie plots numerous schemes to achieve his desperate desire for the coveted BB gun. This is its Minnesota State Mankato debut.

For showtimes and dates and ticket information, please visit the Department of Theatre & Dance website, or contact Amanda Dyslin at 507-389-6663 or for more information. 

Nov. 9-Dec. 4: Senior Art Exhibits 

Senior Department of Art students at Minnesota State Mankato will display their art on campus at Conkling Gallery in two separate shows, the first from Monday, Nov. 9 through Wednesday, Nov. 18 and the second from Monday, Nov. 23 through Friday, Dec. 4.

All artwork will be on display at 139 Nelson Hall, the Conkling Gallery, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and some evenings as coverage permits. The public is welcome to meet all students on the first night of each show.

Show 1 (Nov. 9 to Nov. 18) will feature an opening reception at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9. Students whose art will be displayed in Show 1 include Ashley Beth Comstock, Bryce Andrews, Sam Halvorson, Kari Jean-Lewis, Ntxhw Lao, Katie Peterson, Rebecca Porter, Tiana Runck, Lindsey Schaefer and Madison Thomas.

Show 2 (Nov. 23 to Dec. 4) will feature an opening reception at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23. Students whose art will be displayed in Show 2 include Heather Castner, Ann Eiden, Jeffrey Henning, Danielle Johnson, Trevor Perreault, Chelsey Pittman, Alicia Ragan, Kate Russell, Jessica Stelzner and Jeffrey Thorstad.

For more information, call the Minnesota State Mankato Department of Art at 507-389-6412.

Nov. 11: Upward Bound Blood Drive

Upward Bound is sponsoring a Red Cross Blood Drive Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom at Minnesota State Mankato.

To make an appointment, call 507-389-1211 or visit and enter sponsor code MSUUPWARD. Walk-ins are also welcomed. All donors will receive a Pub 500 coupon.

Nov. 12-13: Good Thunder Reading Series Alumni Reading

Poet Jenny Yang Cropp and fiction writer Luke Rolfes will visit Minnesota State Mankato on Nov. 12-13 for an Alumni Reading event that is part of the 2015-2016 Good Thunder Reading Series. All Good Thunder Reading Series events are free and open to the public.

On Nov. 12, Cropp and Rolfes will lead a creative writing workshop from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in room 202 of the Centennial Student Union and present a talk on craft from 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. in the Ostrander Auditorium. They will read from their work at 7:30 p.m. in room 245.

On Nov. 13, Cropp will give a talk on “Writing Against the Grain: Subverting Gender Violence Through Poetry” from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room 202. Rolfes will give a talk on “Catching Weather: Writing the Midwest” from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the Emy Frentz Arts Guild, 523 S. Second Street.

For photos or more information, contact Diana Joseph at or 507-389-5144 or visit the Good Thunder Reading Series website.

Nov. 14: Kato Krusher Climbing Competition

Minnesota State Mankato’s Adventure Education Program will host its 4th annual Kato Krusher Indoor Rock Climbing Competition at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14. The competition will take place at the indoor rock wall in Myers Field House at the University campus.

Registration for the Kato Krusher is $30 and spectators are welcome to attend and watch the event for free. Free parking is available in gold parking lots 7 & 8 adjacent to the Myers Field House and Blakeslee Stadium throughout the event.

Competitors of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in divisions ranging from beginner to advanced. The modified Redpoint scoring format challenges climbers to climb a marked route without weighting their rope, slipping on a climbing hold or using unmarked holds. Competition scoring is not based on speed.

Those who want more information may contact Ben Nelson, program coordinator in Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Campus Recreation, by phone at 507-389-1330 or by email at Additional information is available online at

Nov. 16: 'Farm to Fork: The Sibley East School Garden'

Jeff Eppen and Tim Uhlenkamp, agricultural educators at Sibley East High School in Arlington, Minn., will present the keynote address “Farm to Fork: The Sibley East School Garden,” on Monday, Nov. 16 from 6-8 p.m. at Minnesota State Mankato in Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium.

In their presentation, part of the University’s 2015 Common Read program and free and open to the public, Eppen and Uhlenkamp will present information on their school garden and its impact on the community. Their presentation will be followed by a brief discussion on regional food system issues and what steps can be taken for improvement.

The evening presentation by Eppen and Uhlenkamp will follow three Nov. 16 afternoon discussion sessions on the subject of food gathering that are also free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Monika Antonelli, associate professor and reference/outreach librarian at Minnesota State Mankato, by phone at 507-389-2507 or by email at

Nov. 17: Truman Wood Memorial Lecture

Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Advisory Board will present the Dr. Truman Wood Memorial Lectureship on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 12:30 p.m. in Centennial Student Union's Ostrander Auditorium.

The lecture, titled “Cutting Edge: Social Sciences as a Path to Success,” will be presented by Great Clips CEO Rhoda Olsen. Olsen was honored with a 2015 Executive of the Year Award by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Olsen’s lecture will focus on how social science has helped to shape her career.

Nov. 18: International Poetry Recital

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of World Languages and Cultures will be holding an International Poetry Recital on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 2-3:30 p.m., during the International Education and Cultural Diversity Weeks, in the Casual Lab of Memorial Library (ML 45).

Faculty, staff, students, and other members of the Mankato community are all invited to attend.

There will be snacks and refreshments, sponsored by the Kearney International Center.
Those with questions should contact Enrique Torner, professor of Spanish, by phone (507-389-5519 or 507-389-2116) or by e-mail at

Nov. 18: GIS Day

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Geography will celebrate its annual GIS Day on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The event will take place in room 253 of the Centennial Student Union and will feature an open house from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and a student competition from 11 a.m. to noon. It is free and open to the public.

GIS Day focuses on exploration of geographical information systems (GIS) and promotes “Geospatial Thinking: Real World Solutions.” There will be numerous local government agencies and private companies promoting information tables displaying GIS-related work.

For more information, visit or contact Rama Mohapatra, assistant professor in the Department of Geography, at 507-389-6223 or

Nov. 18: Food for Folks Charity Concert

The Minnesota State Mankato Concert Production Team will present Dick Kimmel, Andrea Lyn, Erin Kaylor and Sydney Frank in concert for the benefit of ECHO Food Shelf on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The show starts at 7:45 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. at Pub 500, located at 500 South Front Street, Mankato, Minn.

As part of National Hunger Awareness week Nov. 14 – 22, the Concert Production Team will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items. All donors will receive one raffle ticket for each food item and be eligible to win drawings for gift cards, gift certificates and other merchandise generously provided by local sponsors. The grand prize drawing will occur at 10 p.m.

Food for Folks is an all-ages event, free and open to the public. Call the Performance Series Office for additional information at 507-389-5549. 

Nov. 19: University Jazz Ensembles

The Department of Music will host a performance of the University Jazz Bands Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for the Performing Arts.

The Jazz Lab Band is conducted by student Adam Maurer. Director of Jazz Studies Douglas Snapp directs the Jazz Mavericks. The ensembles will perform jazz literature ranging from classic jazz to contemporary jazz styles including jazz arrangements of popular tunes.

Concert admission is $9 for community members and $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for university students. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549. 

Nov. 21: The Jimmys Concert

Award-winning band The Jimmys perform on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Hooligans Neighborhood Pub at 1400 East Madison Ave., Mankato (Madison East Center). The concert kicks off at 8 p.m. with The Jimmys performing two sets.

The Jimmys are a festival and fan favorite in the upper Midwest and Canada. The Madison Area Music Awards and Wisconsin Area Music Awards have recognized and honored The Jimmys with 19 MAMA and WAMI awards including Blues Artist of the year, Blues Song of the Year, Bassist of the Year, Brass Player of the Year and Keyboardist of the Year.

Concert admission is $15 in advance and $18 day of show. Tickets are available at Hooligans, online at, or call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549. 

Nov. 22: University Concert Bands

The Symphonic Band and Concert Wind Ensemble members will hold their fall concert on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 3 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

The Symphonic Band will open the concert with musical imagery, magic and mystery. Composers Frank Ticheli, Robert Sheldon and Jan Van der Roost will take you on a musical journey from the magician’s stage to Ireland for Celtic folk songs and finally, to the rich landscapes on the edge of the Black Forest in Germany.

The Concert Wind Ensemble will perform Johan de Meij’s Symphony No. 1 "The Lord of the Rings." While this music was composed more than 15 years before the movies were filmed, this spectacular symphony will bring the imagery of Tolkien’s epic novel to life. Each of the five movements perfectly describes the majesty, magic, mystery and mischief found in the novel and on the silver screen. This concert closes a fantastic fall semester of music making by the university concert bands.

Concert admission is $9 for community members and $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549. 

Student News

Urban and Regional Studies Institute international students Maryam Moeiniam, Jade Adade and Amr Mirza and public administration student Kouliga Koala recently spent two days hosted by the city of Plymouth and its city manager, Urban and Regional Studies Institute alum Dave Callister, learning firsthand about governance and operations of an American city. 

Faculty/Staff News

Department of Art faculty member Amy Toscani was featured on a PBS show called “The Art Assignment.” Watch the episode here.

A "Your Voices" piece written by English instructor Geoff Herbach was featured in the Star Tribune. Read the article here.

Associate Professor of Economics Ishuan Li was elected director of Missouri Valley Economic Association (2015-16). The MVEA held its annual conference on Oct. 22-24 in Kansas City, Mo. Li also discussed a paper, “Natural Resources and Civil Conflicts: Policy Analysis Under General Equilibrium,” by Didarul Hasan. Read more at the MVEA website.

Department of Finance faculty member Yilin (Leon) Chen’s paper, “An Investigation of the Short-Run and Long-Run Stock Market Responses to Insurer Rating Changes,” co-authored with two colleagues from the University of Georgia, has been accepted by Journal of Risk and Insurance, a top academic journal on insurance and risk management. Chen also received an “Exemplary Peer Reviewer Service Award” from the Financial Planning Association.


Former Physical Plant Director Robert “Bob” Arnold Isdahl died on Oct. 29. He was employed with Minnesota State Mankato for over 32 years. Read the full obituary here.

Thomas G. Gustafson, an emeritus faculty member who was employed by Minnesota State Mankato from 1987 until 1998, died on Oct. 1. Read the full obituary here.

Online TODAY Magazine

Visit the online TODAY magazine at to keep up-to-date with news, alumni 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 twice per year to 95,000 alumni and friends.

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

Content is updated regularly, so check back often!


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, Nov. 25. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, Nov. 20.

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