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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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April 29, 2019 Campus Newsletter

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National Student Nursing Conference Delegates

Minnesota State University, Mankato's Student Nurses Association recently sent five students, four as delegates, to the National Student Nurses Association Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Conference attendees included nursing student delegates Taylor Batsche, Sarah Meyer, Izzy Nocton and Matthew Gohman and student Gao Ja Yang, along with faculty advisor Julie Frederick.

The Student Nurses Association is a student-led organization consisting of nursing and pre-nursing students. Minnesota State Mankato's local chapter is an important part of a larger organization (National Student Nurses Association) designed to help contribute to nursing education, influence health care through legislative activities and encourage community activities that improve health care and foster relationships. The national association is dedicated to fostering the professional development of nursing students and with 60,000 members nationwide, is the voice of the future of the nursing profession.

During the conference students had the opportunity to speak on topics such as the opioid epidemic, safety in practice, violence in the work place and ethics in health care.

In addition, at Minnesota State Mankato's 15th Annual Student Leadership Awards on April 14, the Student Nursing Association won the RSO Program of the Year award for work completed on the first health career fair. Batsche won the Outstanding Collegian award.

Social Work Day at the Capitol

A large contingent of graduate and undergraduate students attended Social Work Day at the Minnesota Capitol on April 8.

The students met with Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Sen. Nick Frentz, Rep. Jack Considine, Rep. Jeff Brand and other legislators.

Among the topics the students discussed with the elected officials were:  pathways to mental health care in rural Minnesota; expanding full-service community schools into rural Minnesota; a proposed paid famiy and medical leave policy; voting rights and felon disenfranchisement; moving beyond a protective approach to stopping sexual violence of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and supporting transition-age youth living with mental health conditions.

Data Derby Winners

Minnesota State Manakato students recently won seven awards at an April data analytics competition held at Hennepin Technical College. The annual Data Derby competition was organized by the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence. The competition included teams from throughout Minnesota and had two parts: a 6-week data analytics challenge (Datathon) and a 3-hour, on-site data analytics sprint (Datagon).

All of the students who represented Minnesota State Mankato are members of DREAM (the data science registered student organization) and most of them are information technology or statistics majors. Many of them are international students. 

All four Minnesota State Mankato student teams won prizes:

  • First prize in the Datathon Graduate category
    Team: Mining League (Anahita Bahrami, Satya Deep Tekumudi, Sai Swaroop Valligetla)
  • First prize in the Datathon Undergraduate Advanced category
    Team: DREAM (Alycia Holwerda, DJ Hakimi, Christopher Zuelsdorf, Nayeem Imitiaz)
  • Second prize in the Datathon Undergraduate Novice category
    Team: Data Dorks (Salija Dahal, Jhony Blanco, Rabin Burlakoti, Jonathan Pintar)
  • First prize in the Datagon Graduate category
    Team: Mavericks (Shuk Ping Wong, Maggie Kelly, Zhenhan Fang, Zhuoning Li)
  • Third prize in the Datagon Graduate category
    Team: Mining League (Anahita Bahrami, Satya Deep Tekumudi, Sai Swaroop Valligetla)
  • Second prize in the Datagon Undergraduate Advanced category
    Team: Data Dorks (Salija Dahal, Jhony Blanco, Rabin Burlakoti, Jonathan Pintar)
  • Third prize in the Datagon Undergraduate Advanced category
    Team: DREAM (Alycia Holwerda, DJ Hakimi, Christopher Zuelsdorf, Nayeem Imitiaz)

Basic Life Support Course

A Basic Life Support course is being offered monthly on various dates from now through August through the College of Allied Health and Nursing and Continuing & Professional Education.

There are 12 slots in each course, which is is offered in both Mankato (at the University's Clinical Science Building) and in Edina (at 7700 France Ave., Suite 360).

Upcoming Mankato sessions are from 12-4:30 p.m. on May 15, June 12, July 10 and Aug. 7.

Upcoming Edina sessions are from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on May 17, June 14, July 12 and Aug. 9.

Although the course is focused for those who provide care to others, anyone can take the course.

Click here to register for the "BLS for Healthcare Providers with Family Module." For more information, contact Tiffany Gordon at 507-389-1031 or by email at

Web Express

IT Solutions announced the launching of Web Express, a series of upcoming open work sessions aimed at giving the campus faculty and staff an opportunity to ask specific questions about their department's website and work one-on-one or brainstorm ideas with IT Solutions staff.

The sessions are aimed at the NEW content management system and are for anyone at any point in their web journey, whether just planning or fully launched.

IT Solutions can assist with content planning, site mapping, best practices, how-tos and more. The work sessions are also designed for participants to learn from peers across campus.

Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP online (RSVPs are not required, but are preferred). Participants are asked to bring a laptop if they have one available. Sessions will be held in 3012 Memorial Library (located inside the IT Solutions department entrance).

Upcoming Sessions

  • Wednesday, May 1 -- 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Lifelong Learners Spring 2019 Program

The Mankato Area Lifelong Learners will be hosting a series of presentations and speakers from April through June.

Topics include a session on “Understanding Minnesota's Climatology”; a session that will address “History Does Matter: Considering the Renaming of Sibley Park”; a six-part series of “Spring Bird Walks”; a presentation titled “Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe”; and many more sessions.

Cost of quarterly presentations and the speaker series are $5 for members and $10 for non-members.

Online registration is available at Choose “Class Schedule,” and then click on “Register Online Now.” For more information, call 507-389-2011.

April 28: Spring Choral Farewell Concert for David Dickau

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music hosted a farewell concert for David Dickau Sunday, April 28 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 623 South Broad St., Mankato.

It was Dickau’s final concert at Minnesota State Mankato as he plans to retire at the end of the school year.

Dickau has served as director of choral activities at Minnesota State Mankato since 1991. As a part of his duties, Dickau conducts the concert choir and chamber singers and teaches conducting and composition.

During the April 28 concert, the University's choral groups, under the direction of Aaron Humble and Dickau, sang a variety of selections from English Renaissance art songs to contemporary works, and performed a diverse range of music celebrating the rich diversity of the American choral tradition.

April 30: Singer-Songwriter Dave Simonett

Minnesota State Mankato's College of Arts and Humanities welcomes Americana folk singer-songwriter Dave Simonett (pictured) to the Minnesota Storyteller artist-in-residence and performance series at Minnesota State Mankato.

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Simonett, lead guitarist and lead vocalist for Minnesota string band, Trampled by Turtles, will appear in a unique concert format. In addition to performing his original music, Simonett will tell stories about his motivation to become an artist, his creative development and the inspiration to write music.

The Minnesota Storyteller series was launched in Spring 2019 by the College of Arts & Humanities and is supported by the Nadine B. Andreas Endowment fund. The series features Minnesota artists who are invited to campus for a three-day residency which includes time in our various college classrooms for lectures, panels and intimate clinics. Students get the opportunity to hear the artist’s stories and experiences and are able to ask questions and get feedback on various projects on which they are working.

General admission for the concert is $12; Minnesota State Mankato students will be admitted free with a valid MavCARD. Advance purchase or advance student registration is encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to

For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

May 1: Static Panic

Minneapolis-based Static Panic will give a free performance in the Centennial Student Union Serendipity Music Series on Wednesday, May 1 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. outdoors on the University's Fountain Mall. Rain site is the CSU Flex Programming Space.

Among the rising stars on the Twin Cities music horizon, according to the CSU Serendipity Music Series, Static Panic was among the featured bands at First Avenue’s Best New Bands concert in January. Bringing a fresh dance beat that blends Prince-inspired funk with an electronic/synth-heavy sound, Static Panic is defined by City Pages as “funk and soul and R&B with addictive danceability.”

The CSU Serendipity Music Series offers free mid-week, mid-day performances for the campus and Mankato area community that spotlights Minnesota musicians with “street-corner serenade” style performances. Passers-by can stop to listen or bring their lunch and enjoy some of Minnesota’s finest musicians. The performances are sponsored by the Centennial Student Union with support through the student activity fee.

May 2: University Jazz Mavericks Band Concert

Minnesota State Mankato's Jazz Maverick Big Band and the University Jazz Maverick Lab Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2 in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Avenue.

The University Jazz Maverick Big Band 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 Maverick Lab Band strives to expand beyond traditional jazz genres, performing a wide variety of pop/rock and contemporary styles. The group is directed by Jacob Kaukola, a graduate assistant in the Department of Music.

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

For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

May 3-5: Spring Dance Concert, Student Dance Showcase

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Theatre & Dance will present the 2019 Spring Dance Concert May 3 & 4 and the Student Dance Showcase on May 5 in the Ted Paul Theatre in the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

The May 3 and 4 performances will be a full-length concert featuring eight pieces choreographed by both faculty and students, and featuring 39 student performers. The May 5 performance is a student dance showcase, which is choreographed, produced and performed by students.

The dance concert will feature a tap dance performance presented by Andreas guest artist Karla Grotting of Flying Foot Forum. Grotting is a dancer. choreographer, educator and producer with 37 years of experience.

The 2019 Spring Dance Concert is at 7:30 p.m. on May 3, and 2 p.m. on May 4. The Student Dance Showcase is on May 5 at 2 p.m.

Tickets 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 for the Spring Dance Concert. Tickets for the student showcase are $5 and available at the door.

The Box Office is open 4-6 p.m. weekdays in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center, or buy single tickets online at Call the Box Office at 507-389-6661.

May 4-5: Opera 'Hansel and Gretel'

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music will present two performances of the opera "Hansel and Gretel" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4 and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 5 in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Avenue.

Composed by Engelbert Humperdinck and based on the popular Brothers Grimm fairy tale, "Hansel and Gretel" is a charming children's opera featuring beloved characters and delightful melodies. When brother and sister Hansel and Gretel get lost in a forest, they are lured into a mysterious candy house, where they must outsmart the evil gingerbread witch. This fun production is a wonderful introduction to the magic of opera — perfect for elementary school children or anyone young at heart.

Music department students Molly Schumacher and Megan Littlepage will play the parts of Gretel and Hansel, respectively. The production is directed by Stephanie Thorpe, with musical direction by Aaron Humble, and Ben Marti as the accompanist.

When asked about her thoughts about playing the part of Hansel, Littlepage said, “I am delighted to be a part of the music department's production of 'Hansel and Gretel.' This is the very first opera that I've ever been in, and I couldn't ask for better fellow cast members or co-directors to share the experience with. With each rehearsal, my excitement for our performances only increases!"

General admission is $12 and $11 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

For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

April 29-May 7: Senior Art Exhibits

Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Art students are displaying their art at the University’s Conkling Gallery in three annual senior exhibits through Tuesday, May 7.

All artwork will be on display at 139 Nelson Hall, the Conkling Gallery, during gallery hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and some evenings as coverage permits). The public is welcome to meet all students with art in the final exhibit in the gallery April 29 at 7 p.m.

Exhibit 1 was held April 1-9 and exhibit 2 was April 15-23. Exhibit 3 will be April 29-May 7 with students Ian Clawson, Spencer Driver, John Grabko, Megan Hoffman, Shea Lahr, Ellie McNamara, Edson Rosas and Cecelia Schieffer.

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

Student News

Ellyson Long, an earth science major, accepted a Student Conservation Association AmeriCorps position for summer 2019 as an interpretive field ranger at Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forest, in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Long is working toward certificates in geoarchaeology (anthropology), geomorphology and earth surface processes (earth science) and geographic information science (geography).

Faculty/Staff News

Elizabeth Whitcomb, assistant director of financial aid, received an Outstanding Service Faculty Member award April 17 during the Minnesota State system's 2019 Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in University Service program. Whitcomb was one of six MSUAASF members throughout the Minnesota State system to be honored at the event.

Jennifer Monroe McCutchen, a faculty member in the Department of History, received a 2019 Samuel and Marion Merrill Graduate Student Travel Grant from the Organization of American Historians. Monroe McCutchen is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Texas Christian University, where she expects to receive her doctorate in June. The Organization of American Historians, founded in 1907, is the world's largest professional association dedicated to American history scholarship.

Matt Cecil, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, wrote a podcast series on J. Edgar Hoover's FBI for Wondery Media's show, American History Tellers. The show has millions of listeners each week. The first episode written by Cecil is available online here.

Jose Javier Lopez, professor in the Department of Geography, was the keynote speaker at the 2019 8th Conference on Social Science and Humanity. The conference was at Osaka, Japan, in early April. In his presentation, Lopez discussed the use of spatial statistics to fight human trafficking. More information on the conference is available here.

Doug Snapp, faculty chair of the Department of Music, received a certificate of recognition from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz honoring the 20th anniversary concert by JazzMN, a nonprofit arts organization that Snapp founded in 1998. This certificate is presented to JazzMN Orchestra in recognition of celebrating their 20th Anniversary. The certificate read: "This certificate is presented to JazzMN Orchestra in recognition of celebrating their 20th Anniversary. Your commitment to serving the community and dedication to promoting, preserving and perpetuating America's indigenous art music, jazz, through concert performances and educational experiences to Minnesotans across the state. Therefore, with the appreciation and respect of the people of Minnesota, this certificate is presented to: JazzMN Orchestra," and was signed by Walz.

Phillip Larson, associate professor in the Department of Geography, director of Earth Science Programs, and co-director of the Archeology, Geography and Earth Science (AGES) Laboratory, and four colleagues from across the United States received the Grove Karl Gilbert Award on April 4 at the 115th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers held in Washington, D.C. The award was presented to Larson and colleagues for their scholarly research on erosion and sediment supply in the Upper Mississippi River basin. Their multi-year study titled “Autogenic Incision and Terrace Formation Resulting from Late-Glacial Base-Level Fall, Lower Chippewa River, Wisconsin, USA” was recognized as the best single significant contribution to the published research literature in geomorphology during the past three years.

Cindy Janney, director of Residential Life, will assume duties as dean of students and director of Residential Life beginning July 1. Janney has more than 30 years of student affairs experience, including more than 20 years of service at Minnesota State Mankato.

Aaron Budge, associate dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, was appointed acting dean of the College, effective April 17. Budge joined Minnesota State Mankato as an assistant professor in 2005 and was promoted to associate professor in 2009 and professor in 2014. He has served as associate dean since 2016.

Heather Von Bank, faculty chair of the Department of Family Consumer Science, Child Development Studies, was featured in a Mankato Mom's Blog post about play.

Brian Zins has been appointed director of development for the College of Arts and Humanities. He will begin his duties May 8. Zins is a Minnesota State Mankato alumnus, graduating in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in mass communications, with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in marketing and speech communication. He later received a master's degree in physical education with an emphasis on sports management from the University in 2008.

Leah White, who has served as interim director of the Honors Program for the past year, has been appointed to a three-year term as director of the Honors Program.

Department News

The Department of Family Consumer Science announced that for the second year in a row 100 percent of its dietetic students (15 students) have matched for spring internships at locations throughout the United States.

The Institutional Review Board requires faculty, staff and students to provide proof of training before IRB will review submissions.

For the latest news on Maverick Athletics, visit

RASP Spotlight

The following principal investigators made submissions in March 2019:

College of Allied Health and Nursing
  Brooke Burk – Recreation, Parks & Leisure Services; Kristen Abbott-Anderson – Nursing;
  and Sheen Chiou – Communication Disorders
  Spring EngAGEment
  “This program is designed specifically for youth and aging adults to participate in meaningful gardening experiences with one another.”
  Submitted to: Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation for $1,925

College of Science, Engineering, and Technology
  Ryan Wersal – Biological Sciences
  Readiness Response Framework for Aquatic Invasive Plants
  “This project will develop detailed response plans for individual invasive species with a focus on Starry Stonewort, Eurasian Water Milfoil, Hybrid Water Milfoil, and Hydrilla.”
  Submitted and Awarded: Pelican River Watershed District for $3,000

  Sarah Kruse and Guarionex Salivia – Computer and Information Sciences; and Brian Martensen, Interim Associate VP for Faculty Affairs
  Student Projects and Applied Research eXperiences (SPARX) Scholars Program
  “This program is designed to recruit incoming students with academic potential, where a demonstrated financial need is creating barriers to access and academic success in pursuing an undergraduate Computer Information Science degree.”
  Submitted to: National Science Foundation for $1,000,000

  Jianwu Zeng – Electrical & Computer Engineering Technology
  Development of an Integrated Energy Conversion System for the Next-Generation Zero
  “The objective of this research is to build an integrated power conversion system for the next-generation zero energy building (ZEB) which has multiple energy sources.”
  Submitted to: IEEE Industry Applications Society and the IEEE Foundation for $24,992

If you have thoughts on how to further promote these achievements, please email the RASP director at


Jessica Flatequal, director of Gender and Sexuality Programs at Minnesota State Mankato, died April 9. Flatequal served the University in various roles since 2004. An obituary is available here.

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, May 8. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (May 3).

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