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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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June 15, 2016 Campus Newsletter

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Student Formula SAE Team

Student Formula SAE Team

(Photo above is courtesy of Brandon Lyzhoft.)

A student team from Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Department of Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology recently [PDF] finished 17th out of 120 teams (560 KiB) from 12 countries at the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) competition, held at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.

The team, whose car is pictured, finished 11th among teams from United States institutions and topped the two other Minnesota universities in the May 11-14 competition.

The event, an international student-design competition sponsored by SAE International, tests the skills of student teams in designing, building and competing with small Formula One-style racing cars.The student teams build their cars over a period of about one year and then take them to the Michigan competition to compete against other school teams.

Senior Amber Cederholm was the Minnesota State Mankato team captain this year, marking the first time the team has had a female captain. In that role, Cederholm was in charge of communications, logistics and overall management of the team.

Other team members included: chassis team captain Steven Thuening and chassis specialists Jordon Bachmeyer, Sam Bohlig, William Cahyadi, Taylor Fawley, Alex Georgacas, Joe Jaspers, Mark Krinke, L Seng PhoneAung, Alex Sheldon, Brett Thomas and Collin Stroth; engine team captain Eric Pelletier and engine specialists Dirk Holman, Olumide Ige, Jake Mehsikomer, Baylen Rifleman, Tom Thuening and Chris Vrabel; and logistics specialists Malachi McGinnis and Kyle Willette. Also helping was graduate student Sam Ertl.

For more information, contact Bruce Jones, professor in the Department of Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology, at 507-389-6700 or

Voter Outreach

I VotedThe upcoming election season will feature a variety of events and activities on campus to encourage more students to vote.

One of the effort’s main activities is the College Ballot Bowl, in which college campuses will compete to register the most students. Other tactics include recruiting paid election judges and utilizing communication techniques, such as social media, posters and other material.

The primary election will take place Tuesday, Aug. 9, and election day will take place Tuesday, Nov. 8. For more information, visit or call 1-877-600-VOTE.

Road Construction on Campus

Road WorkThere will be road construction near Minnesota State Mankato’s campus beginning mid-June. The schedule is as follows:

Stadium Road to east of Monks and Monks Avenue to south of Stadium Road: Milling and overlay paving will begin on or about June 15. Members of the campus community are encouraged to use Balcerzak Drive as an alternate route. Construction will continue into the weekend.

Stadium Road to west of Monks to Stoltzman Road: Milling and overlay paving will begin on or about June 20. Members of the campus community are encouraged to use Warren Street or Val Imm Drive as an alternate route. Construction will continue throughout the week and possibly into the next week.

Alumna Named District Court Judge

Minnesota County mapGov. Mark Dayton announced the appointments of Minnesota State Mankato alumna Shereen M. Askalani Clemens as a district court judge in Minnesota's Fourth Judicial District along with Charlene W. Hatcher and Mark J. Kappelhoff.

Askalani Clemens is an assistant Ramsey County attorney, where she works in the Prosecution Division, primarily handling criminal sexual conduct, felony domestic assault and homicide cases. Previously, she was an assistant Ramsey County attorney in the Juvenile and Child Support Divisions, a law clerk in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and a senior law clerk in the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office. She earned a bachelor's degree in political science and communication studies from Minnesota State Mankato in 1999 and a law degree from Hamline University School of Law.

She is a past president of the Minnesota State University, Mankato College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Board.

Along with the Askalani family, Shereen Askalani Clemens funds an annual scholarship in Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Economics in honor of her father, Mohamed H. Askalani, who was an economics professor.

Employee Expense Reports

Minnesota Management and Budget logoCompleted employee expense reports for business expenses incurred in FY16 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016) must be received in the Business Office by July 8, 2016. To comply with Minnesota Management & Budget regulations, expense reports for expenses incurred in FY16 received after July 8 require a written explanation which must be approved and signed by the division head before the expenses can be reimbursed. These expenses will be posted to FY17. This applies not only to travel, but any reimbursement that would be listed under “other expenses” on an employee expense report; i.e. supplies, copies, software, tuition, etc.

Also, a trip which begins in June and extends into July is charged to the fiscal year which has the most days of travel. For example, travel which begins June 28, 2016, and ends July 9, 2016, would get charged to FY17.

All FY16 business expense entry of any kind, additions, updates, advance settlements, and expense transfers must be completed by Friday, July 8, 2016.

June 13-15: SCRUBS Camp

SCRUBS Camp logoMore than 65 Mankato-area students entering grades 9-12 will participate in a June 13-15 SCRUBS Camp (from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day) at Minnesota State Mankato that aims to increase the number of students exposed to health careers.

Campers will experience a variety of interactive activities and special field trips intended to get them excited about careers in the health care field. Sessions will be led by health care professionals and/or faculty from several area colleges and universities. Students will tour Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato Clinic, South Central College, Rasmussen College and Minnesota State Mankato as part of their three-day experience.

SCRUBS Camp is a partnership between HealthForce Minnesota, Minnesota State Mankato, Mankato Area Public Schools, South Central College, Rasmussen College, MNCEME (Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence), Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato Clinic and South Central Workforce Council.

For more information, contact Stephanie Zojonc at 507-389-2110 or

June 15: Herbach Featured at Book Talk

Geoff Herbach photoMinnesota State Mankato's Library Services and Department of English, in partnership with the North Mankato Taylor Public Library, are hosting a “meet the author” event, featuring Geoff Herbach, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15 at the North Mankato Police Annex. The event is free and open to the public.

Herbach will read from and discuss his book, “Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders.” The story draws the reader into the world of Gabe Johnson as he becomes embroiled in a battle over control of the proceeds from the school’s pop machine.

Fellow young adult author Kirstin Cronn-Mills will lead a discussion with Herbach that will follow the reading. A book drawing will also be held.

Herbach, who teaches creative writing at Minnesota State Mankato, received the 2011 Cybils Award for best young adult novel and the 2013 Minnesota Book Award for Young People’s Literature. His books have been selected as among the year’s best by the American Library Association, American Book Sellers Association, and many state library associations.

For more information, contact Lisa Baures at 507-389-2255 or by email at

June 20: Red Cross Blood Drive

American Red Cross logoUpward Bound is sponsoring a Red Cross Blood Drive that will be held Monday, June 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Minnesota State Mankato’s Centennial Student Union, room 245.

Appointments can be made by calling 507-389-1211 or at and entering sponsor code MSUUPWARD.

Walk-ins will also be welcomed. Donations are appreciated, as blood supplies are low at this time.

June 29: 1000 Peace Crane Project

Blue Earth County Historical Society logoThe Community Engagement Office and Memorial Library at Minnesota State Mankato will host a 1000 Peace Crane Project at the Blue Earth County Historical Society. The project will be held in conjunction with “When Home Won’t Let You Stay,” a traveling photography exhibition by documentary photographer James A. Bowey.

Bowey will speak Wednesday, June 29, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Blue Earth County Historical Society about his display. The 1000 Peace Crane Project will take place immediately before and after his presentation, from 11:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 1:30 p.m. in a room adjacent to his presentation. In addition to small peace cranes, one larger peace crane will be made.

The 1000 Peace Crane Project is a community-engaged art project, accomplished in conjunction with the 2016 Common Read program. Participants will create a total of 1000 peace cranes at various locations around the University and Mankato until late September. The peace cranes will be used by a class to create an art installation in conjunction with a speaker for the Common Read program.

For more information, contact Karen Anderson at 507-389-6076 or or visit

In the Rankings

Minnesota State Mankato was ranked first out of 30 of the best master’s degrees in student affairs and college counseling by ranked Minnesota State Mankato third out of 25 of the most affordable master’s of statistics degrees in the country.

Minnesota State Mankato was ranked the 18th-best nursing school in the Great Plains region by More than 3,200 institutions were examined.

Student News

Minnesota State Mankato sophomore Alex Salazar (Biology, ‘18) was recently awarded an internship at Dartmouth College. Salazar will be participating in Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems & Society (EEES). According to their website, EEES is “a diverse community of scholars who conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research in the natural sciences and environmental studies, including ecology, evolution, anthropology, environmental economics, geography and earth sciences.”

Minnesota State Mankato student Olivia Robinson (Management ’18) was recently awarded the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship from the Zonta Club of Mankato. The Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship was developed “to encourage more women to pursue education and careers in business.” Any woman who is “pursuing an accredited business or business-related program who demonstrate outstanding potential in the field” is eligible to apply for the award through a local Zonta club.

Faculty/Staff News

Kristen Dulas has been appointed director of development for the College of Education. Dulas joins Minnesota State Mankato after working for over 15 years in the financial industry. Her background includes transitioning and onboarding of business clients, growing commercial portfolios, development training for various financial institutions and public relations.

Ishuan Li, associate professor of economics, and Robert Simonson, professor of economics, served as judges in the 2016 Winchell Undergraduate Symposium of the Minnesota Academy of Science. This year’s symposium was held concurrently with the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) Undergraduate Research Conference (UROP) April 29. A paper by Li and Simonson has been accepted for publicaion. Their article titled “The Value of a Redesigned Program and Capstone Course in Economics” is forthcoming in the International Review of Economics Education.

An article written by Ishuan Li, associate professor of economics, was accepted for publication by the Association of Institutional Research. The article is titled “Data Reshaping Techniques in Multiple-Response Sets Using Stata” and is forthcoming this summer. Li also presented a paper titled “THE VALUE OF CO-CURRICULAR ENGAGEMENT IN ECONOMICS PROGRAMS: EVIDENCE FROM LABOR MARKET OUTCOMES” June 1 at the National American Economic Association Conference on Teaching and Research on Economics Education in Atlanta.

Sandi Schnorenberg will serve as Minnesota State Mankato’s new Director of University Security. Schnorenberg is an alum of Minnesota State Mankato and will begin her new role Aug. 1.

Tom Inglot, professor in the Department of Government, was invited to speak at the special expert conference on the "Effects of Demographic Change in Central Europe," organized by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The conference (for policymakers and government officials only) was held May 11 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. Inglot also published an article entitled “Convergent, Divergent, and Reversible Societal Trends in Europe – A Post-Cold War Historical Approach.”

Elizabeth Sandell, professor in the Department of Elementary Education, has been elected to the editorial board of the academic journal “Otechestvennaya i Zarubezhnaya Pedagogika” (Domestic and International Pedagogy), published by the Institute of Strategy for Education Development of the Russian Academy of Education. Board members represent various universities and scientific schools from throughout the world and work to “disseminate knowledge for the prosperity of the world of science.”

An article written by Heather Von Bank, associate professor of family consumer science, was published on the U.S. Play Coalition website.

Ginger Zierdt began serving as Minnesota State Mankato’s new assistant vice president for undergraduate education, effective May 17. In this role, Zierdt will provide leadership to the Academic Affairs division in undergraduate education in the areas of curriculum and policy, student engagement and success, faculty engagement and leadership and administrative processes and practices.

Julie Nelson, associate regional director of the Small Business Development Center, is one of two recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Alumni for South Central College (SCC). She is the North Mankato Campus Outstanding Alumni honoree. Both recipients were honored at South Central College’s Graduation Ceremony May 12.

Brian Frink, chairperson in the Department of Art, and Rick Robbins, professor in the Department of English, went on a site trip to Peru and Chile to prepare and develop a study-abroad opportunity for students next year to travel and create based on the work of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and his work on Macchu Picchu. The topics covered will be creative writing and painting.

Department News

The Minnesota Center for Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence (MNCEME) at Minnesota State University, Mankato is holding a variety of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camps this summer for middle school and high school students.

The Spring 2016 Department of Educational Leadership Newsletter is now available.

Minnesota State Mankato had 13 of its athletic teams score points in NCAA postseason competition and completed the 2015-16 season ranked fifth for the second year in a row in the final Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings. It is also the 15th straight year the Mavericks have finished in the top 25 in the country in the national standings and eighth time Minnesota State has posted a top-five placing.

The Glen Taylor Nursing Institute for Family and Society was featured in a video shown at the Purple Gala hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association. A shot of Minnesota State Mankato appears at about the 5:57 mark of the video along with an interview with faculty member Kristen Abbott-Anderson.


Former professor and Department of English chair Eddice Barber died May 3. She was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 28 years and served on many committees. Read her full obituary here.

Former administrative assistant and women’s bowling coach LaVon “Bonnie” Krueger died May 29. She was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 25 years. Read her full obituary here.

Online TODAY Magazine

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, July 20. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, June 15.

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