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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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April 26, 2017 Campus Newsletter

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Data Derby Teams Fare Well


Minnesota State University, Mankato had two teams in the recent Data Derby competition, a data analytics competition that was organized and put on by Advance IT Minnesota. The first team was awarded third place and a prize of $500, with the second team receiving honorable mention. Team one consisted of Yun Ha Seo, Eun Hye Lee, Sunkyeong Lee, and Yoonjoung Shin Suter, with team two made up of Alycia Holwerda, Parker Scott, Ana Konatar, and Brandon Haan. Various other universities and colleges from across Minnesota competed in the event.

Pictured in the photo above are (from left to right): Sunkyeong Lee, Yoonjoung Shin Suter, Yun Ha Seo, Rajeev Bukralia (faculty advisor), Eun Hye Lee, Parker Scott and Alycia Holwerda.

The students are members of the registered student organization DREAM, which stands for Data Resources for Eager & Analytical Minds. The students regularly learn about data science topics from guest academics and industry professionals. There are currently more than 100 students involved in DREAM.

Campus Beautification

Facilities Management has announced that this year's 17th annual spring planting and campus beautification day will be Tuesday, May 2 at 11:30 a.m. (Wednesday, May 3 is the weather back-up date.)

The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. with a lunch of hot dogs and chips served up by Facilities Management staff on the Performing Arts Plaza. At noon, “volunteer teams” will be assigned to their campus areas for planting, cleanup, raking, etc.

The enthusiastic response and teamwork seen on previous campus beautification days has greatly contributed to making the Minnesota State Mankato campus the lovely place that it is.

For information on how to sign up, please contact Becky Gahler, office administrator in Facilities Management, by phone at 389-2267 or by email.

2017 Common Read Book 

"Out of Chaos" by James F. Nickerson has been selected as 2017's common read. "Out of Chaos" is a collection of reminiscences about historical events that took place at Minnesota State Mankato in the 1960s and 1970s. The book highlights student engagement with social and political issues and shows how students can influence history. Faculty members who plan to use the book in their classroom may request a free copy from Library Services while supplies last.

View learning activites to accompany "Out of Chaos" here. Topics include: the Vietnam War, the Draft, Kent State, James F. Nickerson, Abbas Kessel, Law Enforcement, LocalBusiness and the Chamber of Commerce, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Bomb Threats and Tear Gas, Main Street Bridge and North Star Bridge Protests and more.

'Two Weeks in May'

On Nov. 1, the premier of the documentary film, "Two Weeks in May," will be shown at the 2017 Common Read Keynote Event in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. This event is free and open to the public.

Minnesota State Mankato students created the documentary based on the events described in the Common Read book, "Out of Chaos."

The film tells the story of student protests at Mankato State College in May 1972 through historic photos, documents, newspapers, recorded interviews and film footage.

Employee Expense Reports

Completed employee expense reports for business expenses incurred in FY17 (7/1/16 – 6/30/17) must be received in the Business Office by July 6, 2017. To comply with Minnesota Management & Budget regulations, expense reports for expenses incurred in FY16 received after July 6 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 FY18. 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, 2017, and ends July 9, 2017, would get charged to FY18.

All FY17 business expense entry of any kind, additions, updates, advance settlements, and expense transfers must be completed by Friday, July 7, 2017.

In addition, Minnesota State Mankato's Business Services office would like to encourage a timely submission of their employee expense reports. Employee business expenses must be submitted for reimbursement within 60 days after the expense is incurred or the trip ends. If a request for reimbursement is not submitted within 60 days, the reimbursement becomes taxable income to the employee. Consequently, federal, state, FICA and Medicare withholding taxes must be taken from the reimbursement and submitted to the IRS. The withholding taxes can add up to nearly 40% of your total reimbursement request. Those who travel over the summer are still required to submit their expenses within 60 days in order to avoid being taxed on reimbursements. 

For any questions regarding travel or business expense reimbursements, please contact the university’s travel claims clerk, Tami Liebl (389-5006) or view the travel website.

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month, and Minnesota State Mankato's Environmental Committee encourages the University community to consider biking to and from the campus in May during National Bike Month.

Minnesota State Mankato now has 85+ bike racks across campus and three bicycle pump and repair stations. The Greater Mankato area has been adding bike lanes near campus and across town with more in the works.

"Bike-to-Work Day" is Friday, May 19, and "National Bike-to-Work Week" is May 15-19.

More information on Minnesota State Mankato's bicycle resources is available online. 

Employee Appreciation Breakfast

On behalf of Minnesota State Mankato's Employee Recognition Committee, and to express gratitude for a great year, all employees are invited to the employee appreciation breakfast Monday, May 8 from 8-9:30 a.m. at the new University Dining Center. There will be a program at 8:45 a.m.

A breakfast buffet will include pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit, coffee and orange juice.

Offices may be closed for the period of time all staff are at the event.

This is intended to be a day that the University's employees can enjoy.

Health Professions Autism Network

Twin Cities nursing instructor and doctor of nursing practice student Carrie Dickson has created a learning community for health professionals on the care of individuals on the autism spectrum. The learning community is called the Health Professions Autism Network.

The Health Professions Autism Network’s goal is to help health professionals provide patient-centered care for those on the autism spectrum in any setting. It provides resources and networking opportunities on the topic.

It is free to join, and participants are welcome to be involved in any way or amount they like. Dickson created the learning community as her clinical practice project in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

A community kick-off and continuing education session on the Health Professions Autism Network is being planned for the morning of Tuesday, May 23 in St. Paul.

Those who would like more information on the event and those wishing to join the community can learn more on the HPAN website

Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Presentations

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering will be holding its class of 2017 spring design project presentations Thursday, April 27 from 4:50 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The presentations are open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend. Students will be presenting their final designs for eight projects involving local industry, a non-profit and an ongoing research project.

April 27: Department of Music Jazz Bands

Minnesota State Mankato's Jazz Maverick Big Band and the University jazz combo will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27 in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Avenue.

The jazz big bands will perform traditional jazz charts along with arrangements of contemporary pop songs. The group is directed by Douglas Snapp, director of jazz studies.

The University jazz combo strives to expand beyond traditional jazz genres, performing a wide variety of pop/rock and contemporary styles.

General admission is $9 and $7 for students with a valid MavCard. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is encouraged.

Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to

April 28-29: Spring Dance Concert

Minnesota State Mankato's spring dance concert will feature diverse works choreographed by faculty, students and guest artists Zenon Dance Company.

Presented by the University's Department of Theatre & Dance, the program will feature ballet, tap, modern and jazz.

The dance concert will run 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, in the Ted Paul Theatre, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State Mankato.

The "Student Dance Showcase," exclusively featuring student work, will be 2 p.m. April 30 in the Ted Paul.

About Zenon Dance Company: The Zenon dancers are recognized for their stylistic diversity, fearless physicality and emotional intelligence. Under the direction of Linda Andrews, one of the most powerful choreographic voices in Minnesota, Zenon continues to build its eclectic repertory by commissioning significant works from such acclaimed American choreographers as Bill T. Jones, Doug Varone, Bebe Miller, Tere O’Connor, Danny Buraczeski and Seán Curran.

Tickets for the spring dance concert are $10 regular; $9 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16 and groups of 15 or more; and $8 for Minnesota State Mankato students. Tickets for the student showcase are $5 and available at the door.

April 29-30: ‘Rock & Pop in a Coffee Shop’

Students from Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music vocal studios will perform Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. and again Sunday, April 30 at 3 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

“Rock & Pop in a Coffee Shop” features vocal and instrumental students performing in a contemporary combination of rock, folk, pop, musical theatre, and classical vocal genres. Musical selections range from J.S. Bach, Stephen Sondheim, Sara Bareilles, Fleetwood Mac, to John Lennon and many more.

Concert admission is $12 and $11 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

April 29: Elementary Science and Engineering Fair

Nearly 900 students in grades 3 through 6 from more than 100 Minnesota elementary schools have registered approximately 770 projects for the annual elementary division of the Southern Minnesota Regional Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held Saturday, April 29 in Myers Field House on the Minnesota State Mankato campus.

The exhibit hall is free and open to the public from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. April 29, and all are welcome to stop in and support the hard work of these future scientists. An award ceremony that begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Taylor Center’s Bresnan Arena is also open to the public.

The Southern Minnesota Regional Science and Engineering Fair is hosted by Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Science, Engineering & Technology, and the fair is intended to foster a passion for exploration and discovery in students from 3rd grade through high school.

April 30: Annual Sprint Triathlon

Minnesota State Mankato’s Office of Campus Recreation will be hosting its annual sprint triathlon—featuring a 300-yard swim, 14-mile bike segment and 5-kilometer run—on Sunday, April 30.

The annual sprint triathlon, which has been part of campus recreation for more than 30 years, is open to both Minnesota State Mankato students and to the greater Mankato community.

The triathlon will start and end on the Minnesota State Mankato campus. Check-in April 30 begins at 8 a.m., and the race begins at 9 a.m. The event cost is $25/individual or $60 for a team of 2-3 participants.

Online registration, route details and more information is available here

For more information, please contact Carly Hopper, program coordinator – fitness and wellness at Minnesota State Mankato, by phone at 507-389-3269 or by email.

Student News

The Maverick Machine marching band played at the Minnesota Wild playoff hockey game on Friday, April 14. They were the only band in the state to be invited to perform.

Junior Mara Soupir (History/Anthropology, ‘18) was recently [PDF] awarded a position (75 KiB) in the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship Student Congress. Mara will spend a week this June honing her leadership skills in Lexington, Ky., with 50 other college students.

Sarah Aldrich, (Spanish Education ’18), a student in the Honors Program, was selected as one of the Associate Editors for UReCA, the official undergraduate research and creative activity journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council. Aldrich will be a part of a national editorial team charged with “the selection and acquisition of articles, creative works, art, and videos, and editing manuscripts that have been selected for publication” for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Luke Krynski, graduate student in exercise physiology, was selected among 65 studies as the Outstanding Research Award for the Northland Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine in April 2017. His study was titled "The analysis of critical speed derived from 'all-out' shuttle and continuous running." The award includes an all-expense paid trip to Denver, where he will compete at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Conference in June. Nine research studies involving students and alumni from the master's in exercise physiology program were accepted for presentation at the conference.

Sarah Johnson, a history major and political science minor who expects to graduate in spring 2018, earned a $1,000 scholarship to attend the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Conference: Social Studies/History at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Johnson was selected by the Levine Institute for Holocaust Education at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She is one of only three undergraduate students selected to receive the scholarship. 

Sophomore Lauren Hesser (Biomedicine, '19) was awarded a position in the 4th Annual Regenerative Medicine Summer School at the McGowan Institute. Hesser will spend a week at the University of Pittsburgh participating in lectures, laboratory activities and social networking events. 

Faculty/Staff News

David Sharlin, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded a research grant from the American Thyroid Association for his project titled "Thyroid Hormone and Local Insulin-like Growth Factor Production in Developing Brain."

Thad Shunkwiler, assistant professor in the Department of Health Science, was recently appointed to the Minnesota Task Force on Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research by Governor Mark Dayton. The task force was created to conduct an impact assessment of medical marijuana research.

Steven Gilbert, professor and department chair in the Counseling Center, was recently awarded the Susan T. Rydell Outstanding Contribution to Psychology Award at the Minnesota Psychological Association Annual Conference. The award recognizes an MPA member who has made distinguished contributions to the field and discipline of psychology in the state of Minnesota. Gilbert was also awarded the Distinguished Elder award at the conference.

Daniel Houlihan was appointed the Center for Excellence in Scholarship & Research (CESR) director beginning in the fall of 2017. Houlihan is a professor in the Department of Psychology with specialization in clinical and school psychology.

Kuldeep Agarwal was appointed director of the Undergraduate Research Center beginning in the fall of 2017. Agarwal is an assistant professor in the Department of Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology.

Cherie Pettitt, assistant professor in the Department of Human Performance, will be co-presenting at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Conference in June in Denver with Elizabeth Joy, current president of the American College of Sports Medicine, on the topic of reimbursement for exercise science professionals.

Department News

The Student Events Team has announced its lineup of upcoming movies that will be shown in Ostrander Auditorium. Admission is free with a Mav ID card or $1 for the general public. Concessions are available, and parking in Lot 11 or the Pay Lot is free after 4 p.m. on Fridays.

The April 14 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.

Student volunteers with the Campus Kitchen shared their ideas to address rural hunger and combat food waste at a local level as part of the Campus Kitchens Project. View the press release here.

In the Rankings

Minnesota State Mankato was identified by as having one of the top "bachelor's in anthropology" degrees in the country, ranking 46th out of 50 universities in the website's rankings.

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, May 10. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, May 5.

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