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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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May 9, 2018 Campus Newsletter

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Spring 2018 Commencement

Approximately 1,600 students participated in three spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 5 in Taylor Center’s Bresnan Arena.

Students in the colleges of Arts and Humanities and Science, Engineering and Technology were recognized in a 9 a.m. ceremony; those in the colleges of Allied Health and Nursing and Education were recognized in a noon ceremony; and students in the colleges of Business and Social and Behavioral Sciences were recognized in a 3 p.m. ceremony.

The University awarded 2,335 degrees at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

For more information on the spring commencement ceremonies, including a link to a video stream of all three ceremonies, click here.

May is 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 four bicycle pump and repair stations. The Greater Mankato area has been adding bike lanes near campus and across town, and more are on the way. Minnesota State Mankato was awarded the "Bronze Bicycle Friendly University" status this past fall.

"Bike-to-Work Day" is Friday, May 18, and "National Bike-to-Work Week" is May 14-18.

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

DREAM RSO Wins 5 Awards

Students from Minnesota State Mankato's DREAM (Data Resources for Eager Analytical Minds) registered student organization won five awards at an April data analytics competition at Hennepin Technical College.

The Data Derby competition was organized by the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence.

The competition included 18 teams from throughout Minnesota and had two parts: a six-week data analytics challenge (Datathon) and a three-hour data analytics sprint (Datagon). 

Minnesota State Mankato's student teams won first prize in three categories and second prize in two categories:

First prize in the Datathon novice category ($500)
   Team: DREAM Analytics (Sahaytha Rayamajhi, Bridget Yokiel, Minhaz Uddin, Faical Rayani)

First prize in the Datagon novice category ($500)
   Team: DREAM Analytics (Sahaytha Rayamajhi, Bridget Yokiel, Minhaz Uddin, Faical Rayani)

First prize in the Datagon advanced category ($500)
   Team: MNSU Data Diggers (Parker Scott)

Second prize in the Datathon novice category ($320)
   Team: DREAM Data Reapers (Manish Kumar Verma, Khuzaima Shahid, Ali Abbas Niitsu)

Second prize in the Datagon novice category ($225)
   Team: DREAM Data Reapers (Manish Kumar Verma, Khuzaima Shahid)

Explore STEM Day Camps

The Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence, in partnership with the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture along with the University's College of Science, Engineering and Technology and Women's Center, is holding four youth day camps this summer. The camps include:

  • June 11-15: Girls Explore STEAM: Computer Science
    During this day camp, youth will explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics through hands-on activities. The theme for 2018 is Regenerative Medicine and Computer Science. Youth will explore ways in which biomedical engineers and computer scientists are working together to improve lives.
  • June 26-28: Explore STEAgM: Animals & Food
    During this day camp, youth will explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics through hands-on activities. The theme for 2018 is Animals and Food: Cows, Milk, Cheese, and CANDY!?. Youth will explore ways in which agricultural engineers, food scientists, and animal caregivers are working together to improve the lives of animals and the safety and quality of food products.
  • July 9-13: Explore STEM
    During this day camp, youth will explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) through hands-on activities. Youth will explore STEM careers and ways of which STEM is part of everyday life.
  • July 16-19: Explore Engineering: A Reaction Contraption
    During this day camp, youth will explore the engineering design process while developing a fun and whimsical change reaction contraption out of everyday objects. Youth will explore the endless career possibilities of being an engineer.

The camps are for ANY youth entering grades 6-9 this fall. Each camp, held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, can accommodate up to 25 students. Costs range from $120 to $200, with lunch and snacks included. For more information, visit the camp Web page.

Stomper Move Crew

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Residential Life is seeking faculty and staff volunteers to help greet students and parents as they arrive to move into the residence halls Thursday, Aug. 23.

Faculty and staff will greet students and parents, direct them to the correct buildings to get keys and information and watch heaps of belongings that are piled in front of residence halls. Volunteers will receive a free T-shirt to wear during their shift.

Volunteers are needed from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Entire shifts are from 7:45-11:45 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. If a volunteer cannot work an entire shift, he or she is welcome to volunteer for just a few hours.

Those interested in volunteering or who have any questions are asked to contact Torin Akey, associate director of residential life, at or 507-389-1011 by June 29. Volunteers should include their T-shirt size (S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL) and shift preference. Additional information will be provided to move crew volunteers in August.

Sesquicentennial Events

University departments or units hosting a sesquicentennial event are asked to submit event information to the 150th committee so it can be included on the 150th events page. The same form may be used to request the 150th portable exhibit panels.

After events, departments are asked to consider submitting photos with captions to be included on the past events galleries page.

Gallery submissions may be sent to

More information is available on the sesquicentennial page:

May 22: Annual Flower Planting & Campus Beautification

Facilities Management has announced that the University's 18th annual spring planting and campus beautification day will be Tuesday, May 22 at 11:30 a.m. (Monday, May 21 is the weather back-up date if rain is predicted for Tuesday, May 22.)

The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. Volunteers are asked to check in at the mall for tools, planting instructions and beverages. The event will kick off around 12 p.m. when “volunteer teams” arrive at their assigned area 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 at

May 25: 'SciGirls' Workshop

The Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence and College of Science, Engineering and Technology are holding a free local educator workshop, "SciGirls," Friday, May 25 from 1-3:30 p.m. in Centennial Student Union, Room 245. Those wishing to participate may register online here.

Participants attending this workshop will:

  • Learn the latest research for exciting and engaging girls (and boys) in STEM
  • Experience hands-on STEM activities
  • Leave with curriculum that puts a creative twist on teaching STEM
  • Learn how to modify activities to engage kids in STEM using the SciGirls Seven
  • Discover additional online resources that enhance teaching and learningexperiences for all kids

"SciGirls" is an Emmy-Award winning PBS KIDS television series and website dedicated to changing the way millions of girls think about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). For more information, contact Melissa Huppert at

June 4-29: Camp Maverick – Rec N' Read

Minnesota State Mankato's Colleges of Allied Health and Nursing and Education are partnering to offer a literacy intervention and recreation camp on the University campus throughout the month of June to help children in grades kindergarten through fifth grades make important gains in literacy and well-being over the summer.

The camp, called Camp Maverick – Rec N’ Read, will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from June 4-29. The camp will feature four themes – "Fun in the sun," "Underwater World!," "Let’s travel" and "Wacky World of Science" – intended to keep children interested in reading and recreation.

The camp costs $170 weekly, but financial assistance is available to those in need. Registration is available online. The Mankato Clinic Foundation is also providing support for the camp.

Concurrent with camp, Assistant Professor Megan Mahowald (Department of Speech, Hearing, and Rehabilitation Services) will be hosting a comprehensive professional development opportunity for professionals where they will be learning about literacy development, assessment and intervention. Professional development participants will be able to work with children and receive coaching and mentorship. Continuing education units will be available. For more information, click here.

For additional information, contact faculty members Megan Mahowald or Brooke Burk at Additional information is available on the camp’s Facebook page.

June 14: Summer Outdoor Film Series Begins

For the third summer in a row, the Centennial Student Union and Student Activities will again be sponsoring a free outdoor film series on campus that is open to the local community as well as students, faculty and staff.

The series opens Thursday, June 14 at 9 p.m. with a showing of "Black Panther" (PG-13) in the amphitheatre, which is located between the Centennial Student Union and Memorial Library. Other movies in this summer's series include "Space Jam" (PG) at 9 p.m. Thursday, July 19 and "Frozen" at 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2.

During the series, movies will be projected onto an outdoor screen, and spectators are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs on which to sit. Click here (broken link) for a University parking map.

Theatre popcorn, candy, and beverages will be available for purchase. All films will start at 9 p.m., and all will be rated PG-13 or lower. In case of inclement weather, the films will be shown inside in Ostrander Auditorium.

For more information contact Student Activities Assistant Director Bill Tourville at 507-389-6076 or

Student News

Olmsted County Adult Detention Center Corporal Eric Williams, a student in the Applied Organizational Studies program, completed an individual study project in Rochester that was recently featured by Olmstead County. A video about Williams' project that runs about two minutes in length is available here.

Two master’s students in the Department of History were recently awarded significant financial assistance from the department’s William E. Lass Research Grant. They will travel this summer to the American south and to England to conduct archival research for their master’s projects. The projects study history to address problems related to our understanding of poverty, civil rights, colonialism and ethnic nationalism.

  • Jonathan Soucek (Minnesota State Mankato ’17) will visit Memphis, Tenn., to conduct research for his thesis project “Highway 61 Revisited: A Social History of the Poor People’s Campaign in Memphis and the Mississippi Delta.” Soucek’s thesis will examine how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final civil rights campaign, which targeted poverty, affected the people of Memphis, Tennessee and the Mississippi Delta, an area located in the northwest corner of Mississippi.
  • Pheeraphong Jampee (Bemidji State University ’17), will visit London, England to conduct research for his thesis project entitled “Thai Irredentism and the Shan States Freedom League, 1946-1962.” The Shanland/Shan States region of modern Myanmar was once a part of Thailand. The Shan people share a language and, since the 1940s, television and radio airwaves with neighboring Thais. Jampee’s thesis will examine how Thai nationalist propaganda of the post-war period influenced the Shan “freedom” campaign in the Union of Burma, the successor state to the British colony of Burma.

Members of the Minnesota State University, Mankato forensic program attended the National Forensic Association National Championship Tournament from April 19-23. Senior accounting major Alex Mathiowetz (Marshall, Minn.) advanced to the the octafinal round (top 48 speakers) in Persuasive Speaking. The tournament concluded the 2017-2018 season for the Mavericks.

The University Advancement student employee scholarship selection committee recently announced that two students had been selected as the division's $400 scholarship recipients for Fall 2018. They included Nabin Nakarmi (Printing and Photocopying Services) and Kaleb Larsen (Development/Annual Fund).

Harley Ries, a College of Business student who graduated Saturday, May 5 with a bachelor's degree in marketing, was featured in a Des Moines Register story on Wednesday, May 3.

Faculty/Staff News

Chris Veltsos, professor in the Department of Computer Information Science, has joined the North American Advisory Council (NAAC) at (ISC)². (ISC)² is the organization that oversees the CISSP, one of the top cybersecurity certifications. Veltsos has been a CISSP-certified professional since 2007.

Steven Kipp, professor of astronomy in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was recently featured in a Mankato Free Press article.

Department News

The Institutional Review Board announced that the guidelines that relate to institutional review boards have changed, and the changes should go into effect in late June. Information regarding the changes can be accessed by clicking here and scrolling to “CITI Ethics Training,” where information is available on the changes to the Common Rule.

Minnesota State Mankato's Concurrent Enrollment Program recently received re-accreditation through the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP).

From August 2017 to April 2018, Minnesota State Mankato's Career Development Center facilitated 1,622 career counseling sessions, 66 career events for students and employers and 59 on-campus interviews. In addition, 5,549 students/alumni logged into their Handshake accounts, 626 seniors have their public resumes posted to their Handshake profiles, 27,999 jobs and internships were posted on Handshake and 10,926 Minnesota State Mankato student applications were processed for jobs and internships on Handshake. To learn more, visit the Career Development Center website.

Human Resources has published its [PDF] May 2018 newsletter (693 KiB).

University Dining Services announced a promotion for a new QUENCH VIP beverage program for faculty and staff. For $100 plus tax, faculty and staff may receive free unlimited refills from May 2 - Aug. 17 on drip coffee and fountain beverages along with a commemorative tumbler. Beverages are available at Jazzman's and the MavAve and the membership may be purchases at Jazzman's, the MavAve or the University Dining Services office at 7 CSU.

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, June 6. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (June 1).

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