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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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July 17, 2019 Campus Newsletter

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2019 Global Experiences Program

Nine international visitors from National Tsing Hua University and National Kaohsiung Normal University in Taiwan attended Minnesota State University, Mankato’s 2019 Global Experiences Program (held from mid-June to mid-July), with a main focus on speech-language pathology in the United States.

The Taiwanese visitors learned about speech-language pathology in the U.S. medical system in all levels of care – including inpatient care, outpatient care, assisted living, memory care, university program training and university services in the community.

The program also offered a global learning opportunity for the Taiwanese visitors and Minnesota State Mankato graduate students majoring in communication sciences and disorders. For example, the Taiwanese visitors and Minnesota State Mankato graduate students exchanged ideas about health care insurance choices and service delivery issues in the United States and Taiwan.

Associate Professor and Global Experiences Coordinator Sheen Chiou (top row, first from left in photo) from the Department of Speech, Hearing and Rehabilitation Services was the lead instructor of the program.

During the visit,  the Taiwanese visitors enjoyed an American dinner with Acting Dean of Global Education Anne Dahlman (top row, fifth from left in photo), Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Marilyn Wells (bottom row, first from left in photo) and College of Allied Health and Nursing Dean Kris Retherford (top row, second from right in photo).

More information about the Global Experiences Program can be found on the Communication Sciences and Disorders Facebook page.

Students Develop Agricultural Tractor

Eight Minnesota State Mankato mechanical engineering students successfully developed the University's first-ever agriculture tractor, named Maverick One, from scratch in less than 10 months.

According to Shaobiao Cai, the students’ faculty advisor and an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, the completion of the project was a demonstration of our engineering students’ capability of application of what they learned – the students designe and developed a complicated real system under realistic constraints.

Cai said completing the project was a testimony of student success and was built upon dedicated student teamwork and multi-resource support.

A team of six students were able to participate and present their work on Maverick One at the 2019 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International 1/4-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition Conference held in Peoria, Ill., from May 29-June 2.

Cai said it was the first team from Minnesota to enter the contest, and that the students learned a great deal in the real large-scale machine system competition event. Cai said the students learned machine design, manufacturing, safety, economics and more.

The student team members included Nick Hartung (captain, senior), Spencer Velzke (captain, junior), Brandon Turgeon (outreach manager, junior), James Goldade (senior), Ashim Adhikari (senior), Mark Jirak (senior), Eric Anderson (junior) and Jake Martig (junior).

Cai said the tractor is currently on campus and will be used as a “live” instrument for this fall’s ME433 DFMA (design for manufacturing and assembly) class, which will address DFMA principles, economic and ergonomics in heavy machinery design in the agriculture area. The tractor may also be used as a student recruitment tool to demonstrate the University's engineering student activities. is Becoming LinkedIn Learning is upgrading to LinkedIn Learning late this summer. Just like, LinkedIn Learning is a customizable learning platform that will allow users to view hundreds of video courses on a wide variety of topics. Benefits to expect from LinkedIn Learning include:

  • Ability to integrate with LinkedIn profile
  • More personalization options
  • Intuitive recommendations
  • Customizable video playlists
  • Smoother interface
  • Easier sign-on

The platform will remain free for students, faculty and staff, and no previous account information will be lost with the upgrade. For those who are brand new to the platform, creating an account will be easy.

Note to faculty: All the same content will be available but all links will no longer work after the transition. Those who currently reference or link to any page on will need to update their links. Further instructions will be provided soon.

As the upgrade approaches, IT Solutions will provide the latest updates on its website and on Facebook and Twitter.

2019-20 Theatre Mainstage Season Opens Sept. 26

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Theatre and Dance will open ot Mainstage season with “Newsies” on Sept. 26.

The 2019-20 season includes six mainstage productions, five studio productions, two mainstage dance concerts and two student dance showcases. The Mainstage season will close with “Mamma Mia!” in April.

The full season can be found online at

Season ticket brochures will be available from the Department of Theatre and Dance in mid-August, and individual tickets will go on sale Sept. 3.

For more information, contact Corrie Eggimann, director of public relations for the Department of Theatre and Dance, by phone at 507-389-6663 or by email at

July 18: 'Apollo 13' is next Summer Outdoor Film

For the fourth summer in a row, the Mankato-area community is invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs along with families and friends to a free summer outdoor film series at Minnesota State Mankato.

Student Activities, with assistance from the University’s Centennial Student Union, is hosting three outdoor films on campus. The series' second film, “Apollo 13,” will be shown Thursday, July 18. Films will begin at dusk (approximately 9 p.m.).

“Apollo 13” was selected as one of the summer films because the 50th anniversary of the first astronauts to walk on the moon (Apollo 11) is July 20.

The outdoor films (all rated PG) are free and open to the public as well as the campus community. Each film will be projected onto an outdoor movie screen in the amphitheatre, located between the Centennial Student Union and Memorial Library. Free parking is available in Gold Lot 4.

Theatre popcorn, candy and beverages will be available for purchase.

Donations to Campus Kitchen and Campus Cupboard will be collected. For each non-expired food donation, participants will receive a free small popcorn (limit two popcorns per family).

In case of inclement weather, films will be shown in Ostrander Auditorium, which is located in Centennial Student Union.

The final film in this summer’s series is “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” which will be shown at 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1.

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

July 20: Moon Landing Community Event

To commemorate the exact date that astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon, Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Science, Engineering & Technology will host a family community event Saturday, July 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium (located in Centennial Student Union).

Activities include kids crafts, prizes and original moon landing video footage. There will also be information tables on STEM programs offered at Minnesota State Mankato and a short talk by Michael Rutkowski, assistant professor of astronomy at the University.

Cake, popcorn and refreshments will be provided, and the public is encourage to bring cameras to the event for photo opportunities.

Free parking is available in the Visitor’s Lot as well as Lot 2. (Parking map link)

To register for this free event and add to online calendars, go to

For more information, contact Emily Frederick, director of communication and events, by phone at 507-389-1152 or by email at

Aug. 1: BBQ Demo and Maverick Meal Deal

Alumnus and former Minnesota State Mankato wrestler Pat Nelson, who is also a barbecue competitor and owner of Big Boned BBQ, will return to campus on Thursday, Aug. 1 as part of the Student Activities Summer Program Series.

Nelson will provide a barbecue demonstration, beginning at 11:30 a.m. on the campus mall, located near the outdoor fountain on the north end of the Centennial Student Union. Small samples of his award-winning meats will be available.

For the fourth year, a Maverick Meal Deal will be offered. Pre-reservation is highly recommended.

For $6, attendees will be able to enjoy either a pulled pork sandwich or a brisket sandwich, a side of coleslaw, and a side of cornbread. Cash or credit/debit card payments will be accepted, and they may be paid at the event.

Advance orders are requested by Monday, July 29 and may be reserved by visiting Department bulk orders are available. Send an email to or call 507-389-6076 to place department orders.

A limited number of meals, in addition to the advance orders placed, may be made available. 

The event will be held rain or shine. The rain location will be in Centennial Student Union on Mav Ave.

Nelson and his Big Boned BBQ team will be competing in Mankato’s annual Ribfest, taking place at Riverfront Park Aug. 2-5.

Aug. 6: Minnesota State Mankato Night at Twins Game

The Minnesota State University, Mankato Alumni Association and Minnesota Twins are holding “Minnesota State University, Mankato Night” at Target Field on Tuesday, Aug. 6, when the Twins take on the Atlanta Braves at 7:10 p.m.

Special ticket packages include a game ticket and an exclusive co-themed Minnesota State University, Mankato Twins cap. Tickets are available in various price ranges and may be ordered directly through the Minnesota Twins.

A pregame event will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. at Target Field Station, located around the corner from Gate 6 at the northwest corner of Target Field near 5th Street.

The night’s events will also include an honorary first pitch by a distinguished alum and more. A portion of each ticket purchased through this special ticket package will support the Minnesota State University, Mankato Alumni Association.

Students, Faculty Present at 2nd World Congress on Undergraduate Research

Minnesota State Mankato undergraduate researchers and faculty mentors presented research on behalf of four University colleges from May 23-25 at the 2nd World Congress on Undergraduate Research at Carl Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Neidersachsen, Germany.

During the conference, more than 240 researchers from more than 90 universities in 35 countries gave more than 210 presentations.

Minnesota State Mankato’s participants and their projects were:

  • Jonathon Arndt and Sean O’Rourke (College of Education) presented “Preparing Teachers for Diverse Classrooms.”
  • Sarah Hagar and Linnea Carlyle (College of Allied Health and Nursing) presented “Developing Intercultural Competency among Undergraduate Students.”
  • Jonathon Arndt and Olivia Thomas (College of Arts and Humanities) presented “Intercultural Competencies among Undergraduates in the College of Arts and Humanities.”
  • Zachary Koestler and Nicole Stalcar (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology) presented “Preparing Scientists with Intercultural Competence to Work with Global Communities.”
  • Faculty member Elizabeth Sandell (College of Education) presented a poster about “Elements of a High-Impact Undergraduate Research Program.”
  • Faculty member Lynnette Engeswick (College of Allied Health and Nursing) presented a poster about “Students’ Perceptions of Undergraduate Research.”
  • Interim Recruitment and Retention Specialist Elizabeth Lohrenz (Kearney International Center) exhibited at the Masters and Graduate Fair to promote attendance at Minnesota State Mankato.

Expenses for the students were supported by each college, the Undergraduate Research Center, the Honors Program and the Minnesota State University, Mankato Foundation.

SHRM Student Chapter Receives Prestigious Award

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has awarded a 2018-2019 Chapter Merit Award designation to the Minnesota State Mankato SHRM student chapter (a College of Business student organization), for providing superior growth and development opportunities to its student chapter members.

The SHRM student chapter merit award program, which began in 1972, was created to encourage student chapters to require ongoing excellence in the following areas: student chapter requirements, chapter operations, chapter programming and professional development of members, support of the human resource profession, and SHRM engagement.

“SHRM is committed to engaging the future leaders of the HR profession—HR and Business students. As we work to shape better workplaces—where employers and employees can thrive together—we are energized by the work our student chapters are doing to encourage students to choose HR as a career path,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, president and chief executive officer of SHRM. “Awarding this Chapter Merit Award designation is just one small way for SHRM to recognize and celebrate the big steps the Minnesota State University, Mankato SHRM student chapter has taken this past academic year.”

SHRM student chapters have the opportunity to earn an award based on the number of activities they complete during the merit award cycle, the most recent one of which lasted from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

Since the Minnesota State Mankato SHRM was founded, it has been recognized with the following awards:

  • 2018-2019: Merit Award
  • 2017-2018: Merit Award
  • 2016-2017: Superior Merit Award
  • 2015-2016: Superior Merit Award
  • 2012-2013: Superior Merit Award
  • 2011-2012: Merit Award
  • 2010-2011 (1st year): Honorable Mention Award

Student News

Kathryn Kueppers, an undergraduate student, was named the winner of the Miss Minnesota pageant on June 22. According to a June 26 St. Paul Pioneer Press article, Kueppers is studying family and consumer science education.

Cori Kennedy, a recent graduate and a former Maverick softball player, recently began broadcasting games for the National Pro Fastpitch league. KEYC TV produced a story on Kennedy.

Lesley Nneka Arimah, who received her master of fine arts in creative writing from Minnesota State Mankato, won the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story “Skinned,” which was published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (Issue 53). Arimah's accomplishment was highlighted in a Star Tribune blog.

Mehr “Jay” Shahidi, a Minnesota State Mankato alumnus and long-time member of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Advisory Board, has received the 2019 Arnold Goodman Lifetime Achievement Award of the United Nations Association/Foundation. The award was presented to him at the organization’s 2019 Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 2019, for 54 years of exceptional and concerted efforts to advocate for diplomacy, cooperation and peace building through the United Nations (U.N.) in tackling international problems and empowering less fortunate peoples.

Faculty/Staff News

Laura Harrison, associate professor in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, recently had an op-ed published in the Washington Post. The headline was “How pregnancy monitoriing technology contributes to the war on women.”

Karla Lassonde, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, participated in the Society for the Teaching of Psychology's inaugural Global Education Summit, which occurred in Costa Rica at the United Nations mandated University for Peace, Centre for Executive Education. APA’s Office of International Affairs published this report online. Lassonde's participation at the Global Education Summit was sponsored by Acting Dean of Global Education Anne Dahlman and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology.

Christopher Corley, professor and faculty chair of the Department of History, was named interim dean of library & learning, effective July 1. Corley has served as a faculty member at Minnesota State Mankato since 2001.

Matt Schmidt was recently named director of Maverick health & performance and the University’s head athletic trainer. He came to Minnesota State Mankato in the fall of 2015 to work with the Maverick hockey teams.

A cemetery mapping project led by Ron Schirmer, professor in the Department of Anthropology, was recently highlighted in the Belle Plaine Herald (Part 1; Part 2).

Gwen Verchota, assistant professor of nursing, has been accepted to the distinguished Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation (PF). According to the Parkinson's Foundation, the highly prestigious 40-hour accredited “train the trainer” Nurse Faculty Program improves PD nursing care by training faculty leaders across the U.S. to educate nursing students. As one of just 24 accepted faculty in 2019, Gwen will join the elite group of over 300 alumni, PF Nurse Scholars, who have completed the intensive training over the last ten years upon completion of her training.

Chris Veltsos, professor in the Department of Computer Information Science, has had three recent blog posts published on IBM's site. The posts were published April 18; May 23; and June 12.

Gregory T. Wilkins, assistant director for Student Activities and the Centennial Student Union, was interviewed for an article published in the international publication, Textile Artist. The article focuses on his creative work as an artist and influences that shape his art.

Don Friend, professor and faculty chair of the Department of Geography, is on sabbatical. The Mankato Free Press published an article about Friend's recent selection for a Jefferson Science Fellowship.

KEYC TV produced a recent story about the “Wagon Wheel Project,” a book written by Dave Engen, faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies.

Areca Roe, faculty member in the Department of Art, will be one of three artists-in-residence at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve this year.

“Hooper,” a children's book by Geoff Herbach, faculty chair of the Department of English, made the 2019 Bank Street list of best children's books, specifically for ages 14 and up.

Department News

The University broke ground on the seasonal All-Sports Dome on June 25.

The School of Nursing is holding an event over homecoming weekend. The event, titled “Advancing Family and Community Health and Healing,” will be held Saturday, Oct. 5 from 5-8 p.m. For more information, contact the School of Nursing at 507-389-6315.

Mankato Area Lifelong Learners has published its summer classes and event information.

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced its 2019 Hall of Fame class.

The Campus Kitchen is providing access to its “little fridge and bread cart” to students over the summer. It's located in Crossroads Campus Ministry (331 Dillon Avenue), which is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Campus Cupboard is open Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. over the summer and by appointment. If students volunteer with Campus Kitchen, they can take food with them when they go. For more information, contact Karen Anderson, assistant director of community engagement, by phone at 507-389-6076 or by email at

For the latest news on Maverick Athletics, visit


Marilee Rickard, who was employed at Minnesota State Mankato's radio station, KMSU, for 11 years, died June 18. An obituary is available here.

Shirley Ochsner, who was employed in Minnesota State Mankato's English Department, died March 18. An obituary is available here.

Aileen Eick, an emeritus faculty member who was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 19 years, died July 2. Eick was an associate professor in the Home Economics Department. She, along with the help of Beth Zimmer, started the University's Dietetics Program. 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, Aug. 28. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Aug. 23).

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