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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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February 26, 2020 Campus Newsletter

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Schmitz Lecture to Feature Women Leaders in Agriculture


Minnesota State University, Mankato’s College of Business will host a fireside chat with Kristin Duncanson and Sheryl Meshke, two prominent women leaders in agriculture, Monday, March 16 from 3:30-5 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium, located in Centennial Student Union.

The entrepreneurial-centered event is free and open to the public.

Duncanson is owner and partner of Highland Family Farms, a Minnesota-based corn, soy and hog farm. Meshke is co-president and CEO of Associated Milk Producers, Inc.

According to a College of Business preview of the event, attendees will “learn how innovation, supply chain management, sustainability and consumer needs are at the forefront of their daily decision making.”

Duncanson and Meshke both serve as board members for the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council.

For more information, please contact Jen Cucurullo, director of marketing and communications in the College of Business, by phone at 507-389-5424 or by email at

The Richard R. and Mary L. Schmitz Endowment for Opportunities in Food Entrepreneurship, which was founded in 1999, creates scholarships and supports the annual Richard Schmitz Food Entrepreneurship Series. This includes executives within a broad range of food processing, retailing and wholesaling industries.

IT Solutions Announcements

Apple® One Day Sale at the Campus Computer Store: The newest Apple® products are available at the lowest prices this semester in-store and online on March 27 only at the Campus Computer Store. Pricing is available online. Those who pre-order by March 16 will receive a free dual-sided flash drive and $20 Campus Computer Store gift card.

Learn About Office 365 During Microsoft March: IT Solutions is offering information on Microsoft Office 365 tools throughout March. More information is available here

Encourage Students to Apply for Scholarships Feb. 1-29

Minnesota State Mankato students are encouraged to apply for scholarships starting Feb. 1 on Scholarship Finder.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to make students aware of Scholarship Finder.

Scholarship Finder offers easy, one-stop access to all of the University’s scholarships. Students can find and apply for scholarships based on their major, interests, background, academics, personal circumstances, financial circumstances and more.

Once students sign in, they complete a general application; the site then gives them customized recommendations that match their records. Key word searches assist students in finding scholarships that are unique to them.

Most opportunities are open between Feb. 1 and Feb. 29, but students should check back periodically.

Maverick Diversity Institute

The Maverick Diversity Institute, a workshop series hosted by Diversity & Inclusion, is offering five upcoming challenging and unique workshops and programs for faculty and staff this spring that will help participants become a diversity certified expert on inclusivity, access and equity in the workplace and classroom environment.

Those who attend four programs and write a short reflection are able to have their “Diversity Passport” stamped by a Diversity & Inclusion staff member. At the end of the semester, the passports can be used to receive a certificate of completion that can be used as part of one's professional development plan or report.

Remaining spring 2020 sessions include:

  • Thursday, March 26, 1-3 p.m. (CSU 238): “Forging a New Path: Identity Development for First-Generation College Students,” Alex J. Lucier, graduate assistant, American Indian Affairs
  • Monday, March 30, 2-4 p.m. (CSU 238): “Bridge to Benefits,” Liz Steinborn-Gourley, director, Women's Center
  • Monday, April 13, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (CSU 238): “SNAP Advocacy Training,” Tina Englad, SNAP outreach specialist
  • Tuesday, April 28, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (CSU 238): “Microaggressions,” Kennethy Reid, director of African American Affairs, and Rosalin Cobb, interim recruitment & retention advisor

For more information or to register to attend any or all of these sessions, please visit:

A student track is also offered. Those with questions may contact Megan Heutmaker at or 507-389-5230.

Feb. 27: Music Therapy and Trauma Workshop

Minnesota State Mankato’s Violence Awareness and Response Program is sponsoring a music therapy and trauma workshop Thursday, Feb. 27 from 9-10 a.m. in Centennial Student Union, Room 201.

This event is intended to provide attendees an opportunity to learn more about music therapy and the ways individuals who have survived trauma can engage with this treatment modality from an internationally recognized practitioner and presenter, Annette Heiderscheit.

Following a brief overview of the professional field of music therapy, the event will look at the role of music therapy when working with individuals who have experienced trauma. The workshop will include discussion and experiential exercises and is open to all levels of interest and ability.

According to a provided biography of the presenter, Annette Heiderscheit (Ph.D., MT-BC, LMFT, fellow in the Association for Music and Imagery) is the director of music therapy and associate professor of music at Augsburg University, where she oversees both the undergraduate and graduate music therapy programs. She has nearly 20 years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses and almost 30 years of experience in a variety of healthcare and clinical settings. 

For more information about this event, contact Laura Schultz, director of the Violence Awareness and Response Program, by phone at 507-389-5127 or by email at

Feb. 27: Good Thunder Reading Series

Minnesota State Mankato will host performance poet Bao Phi (pictured at left) and freelance writer Liz Lanier on Thursday, Feb. 27 in the next event of the University’s 38th annual Good Thunder Reading Series.

Phi is the featured writer in the Robert C. Wright Minnesota Writer Residency. Lanier is the winner of the 2019 Robert C. Wright Award.

All Good Thunder Reading Series events are free and open to the public.

Feb. 27 activities will begin with Phi holding a workshop from 10-11 a.m. at the Emy Frentz Gallery (523 S. 2nd St. in Mankato), and then a “Talk on Craft” from 3-4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium.

That evening, Lanier (pictured at right) will read from her work from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium.

Phi is the author of two poetry collections: “Thousand Star Hotel,” which was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, and “Sông I Sing.” Phi has been a performance poet since 1991 and is a two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist. He has performed all over the U.S. and has appeared on “HBO Presents Russell Simmons Def Poetry.” His first children’s book, “A Different Pond,” won both the Caldecott Medal and Charlotte Zolotow Awards in addition to the Minnesota Book Award for Children’s Literature. His second children’s book, “My Footprints,” is forthcoming.

Lanier is a master’s candidate in fiction at Minnesota State Mankato, where she also teaches composition. She is a freelance writer and has bylines in Variety, Polygon, The Mary Sue, Game Informer magazine and other publications. Lanier is a co-host for “The Weekly Reader,” an author interview program and podcast on KMSU FM Radio, and a creative nonfiction editor of the Blue Earth Review. She is the winner of the 2019 Robert C. Wright Award for Creative Writing.

Feb. 27-28: Pan African Conference

The 44th annual Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Student Leadership Conference will be held Thursday, Feb. 27-Friday, Feb. 28 at Minnesota State Mankato.

Registration for the conference is closed.

The theme of this year's conference is “Understanding Voters’ Rights Through Voters’ Education.”

The Pan African Conference provides students, academic scholars, professionals and community leaders the opportunity to discuss issues that affect descendants of Africa on a local, national and international level.

This year's theme focuses on the urgency of voters’ rights and voters' education, past, present and future. According to conference organizers, the conference will revisit historical moments that influenced the Voting Rights Act of 1965, examine the evolution and current state of the country’s political climate and galvanize the masses to propel American democracy in a direction that represents the belief that all people are created equal.

Feb. 29: Middle School & Senior High Regional Science & Engineering Fair

The 69th annual Southern Minnesota Middle School and Senior High Science and Engineering Fair will be held on Saturday, Feb. 29 in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom on the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus.

The exhibit hall will be free and open to the public from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and all are welcome to stop in and support the hard work of these future scientists. An award ceremony in Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium will begin at 3 p.m. and is also open to the public.

The Southern Minnesota Regional Science and Engineering Fair, hosted by Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Science, Engineering & Technology, will include approximately 80 students and 50 projects. The participating students represent 27 southern Minnesota counties.

Students will display projects and provide oral presentations while competing to earn awards from event sponsors and the opportunity to advance to state and international science and engineering competitions.

An elementary school science fair will be held Saturday, April 25 at Minnesota State Mankato.

For more information about any of the science fairs held at Minnesota State Mankato, please call 507-389-2849 or send an email to

Feb. 20-29: ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Theatre & Dance will wrap up the final weekend of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” Feb. 27-29 in the Ted Paul Theatre. Based on the award-winning book by British writer Mark Haddon, the play won the 2013 Best Play Olivier Award in London as well as the 2015 Best Play Tony on Broadway.

The lights come up as Christopher, 15 years old, stands beside Mrs. Shears’ dog Wellington, who has been killed with a garden fork. Christopher is under suspicion and records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain and is exceptional at math, but he is ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, detests being touched and distrusts strangers. Christopher’s detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that turns his world upside-down.

This production is the final show that Paul J. Hustoles will be directing during the academic year. (Tickets will soon go on sale for his final finale at Highland Summer Theatre.)

Chris Kind, an alumnus of the Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre and Dance, designed animations for the production which will be projected on the set throughout the performance.

Remaining performances of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” are Feb. 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 29 and March 1 at 2 p.m. in the Ted Paul Theatre at the Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Tickets are $16 regular; $14 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16 and groups of 15 or more; and $11 for MSU students. The Box Office is open 4-6 p.m. weekdays in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center. Single tickets can be purchased at Call the Box Office at 507-389-6661.

This production contains mature language and occasional violence, and therefore is not suitable for all children.

March 1-2: ‘The Word Rises’ Choir Performance

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Music winter choral concerts will take place on Sunday, March 1 at 3 p.m. with a repeat concert on Monday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

The concert, titled “The Word Rises,” features an evening of word and song in collaboration with Minnesota State Mankato’s creative writing program. Geoffrey Herbach will act as literary curator.

The choral groups consist of three ensembles; the concert choir and chamber singers conducted by Aaron Humble, and the university chorale conducted by Charlie Leftridge. The groups include students from all areas of the University.

Concert admission is $9 for the public and $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

March 5: University Jazz Mavericks Concert

The Minnesota State Mankato jazz Maverick big band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5 in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Avenue. The group is directed by Douglas Snapp, director of jazz studies.

The concert features saxophonist David Halliday. Halliday’s musical persona is characterized by passionate enthusiasm, whether performing, composing, arranging, producing or educating. Halliday has performed with a wide variety of top artists, including Jeff Coffin, Kurt Elling, Ben Folds, The Four Tops, Wynton Marsalis, among others. His performance travels include 46 of the 50 United States as well as eight European countries, Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

An avid composer and arranger, Halliday’s original compositions have aired in 24 countries worldwide and on numerous American networks such as CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports, HBO, MLB Network, NFL Network, Showtime and many more.

He has performed on the soundtracks of a wide variety of television shows, music videos and DVDs including Josh Groban’s “Awake Live,” “Saturday Night Live” (NBC) and commercials for Corona Light, Subway, Meadow Gold, and many more.

Concert admission is $9 for general admission and $7 for K-12 students and children. University students are admitted free with a valid MavCARD. 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.

Student News

Natasha Nett, a junior nursing student from Rochester, Minnesota, has been named the recipient of a $9,750 Dr. Donald and Marjorie Meredith Nursing Scholarship for 2020-2021. She will receive $3,250 each semester for the last three semesters of the program, allowing her to participate in School of Nursing and Student Nurses Association in addition to serving on the College of Allied Health and Nursing Advisory Board.

University Dining Services announced its two spring semester interns. Gabbie Keeran, a junior from Prior Lake, Minnesota, will serve as marketing intern. Kenedy Ferkingstad, a senior from Cokato, Minnesota, will serve as food and nutrition intern.

Student Government is seeking candidates to participate in Student Government. Every seat is up for election, and all students are eligible to run for office. The application and listing of positions can be found at Student Government addresses the concerns of students and is committed to solving student problems, improving student services and giving a voice to the entire student body. Those interested in more information may reach out to current senators, stop by the Student Government office in CSU 280 or visit the Student Government website.

Aleksei Terin, who was an exchange student at Minnesota State Mankato during the 2018-2019 academic year, wrote an article that was recently featured in the Global Gazette, a publication of World Learning’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program. The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State and implemented by World Learning.

Five Minnesota State Mankato students performed with the Intercollegiate Honor Band prior to the Minnesota Music Educators Association midwinter clinic on Feb. 15. The students, according to the College of Arts and Humanities, included Hiedi Lambrecht, Alicia Oren, Mark Pettinger, Michael Thompson and Harly Lentz.

The Minnesota State Mankato speech & debate team traveled to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to compete in the 2020 Lovefest Swing from Feb. 8-9. Minnesota State Mankato placed third in team sweepstakes on day one, second in team sweepstakes on day two and third in combined team sweepstakes for the weekend. As of Feb. 9, the team currently had 33 events qualified for the national tournament. Individual results from Feb. 8-9 included:

  • Annie Ward – 2nd in Duo Interpretation with Kaylee Matuszak (qualifying for NFA); 6th place in After-Dinner Speaking (qualifying for NFA); 4th place in Duo Interpretation with Matuszak; 3rd in After-Dinner Speaking; 3rd in Dramatic Interpretation (qualifying for NFA)
  • Elizabeth Neagle – 6th place in Poetry Interpretation (qualifying for NFA)
  • Emma Roggeman – Tournament champion in Prose Interpretation
  • Jacqueline Tomas – 5th place in After-Dinner Speaking (qualifying for NFA); 3rd place in Duo Interpretation with Kassidy Tocco
  • John Sandstede – 7th place in Prose Interpretation
  • Kassidy Tocco – Tournament champion in Poetry interpretation (qualifying for NFA); 3rd in Communication Analysis; 4th in Duo Interpretation with Jacqueline Tomas (qualifying for NFA); 4th in Individual Sweepstakes; 3rd place in Persuasive Speaking (qualifying for NFA); 4th in Poetry Interpretation
  • Kaylee Matuszak – 2nd place in After-Dinner Speaking; 3rd place in Prose Interpretation

Faculty/Staff News

McKenzie Bohan, community advisor in Julia Sears Residence Community, recently won the healthy habits bulletin board category at the 30th annual UNI RA Conference. Votes were cast by attendees of the conference.

Chris Brown Mahoney, professor in Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Management, is the lead author of an academic article, “Turnover, Burnout, and Job Satisfaction of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists in the United States: Role of Job Characteristics and Personality,” that was published in the February 2020 issue (Vol. 88, No. 1) of AANA Journal. Co-authors of the article include Joshua Lea; Paul L. Schumann, a professor in Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Management; and Irene Anne Jillson. 

Michael Thursby, David Gadberry and Michael Olson, faculty members in the Department of Music, gave presentations Feb. 14 at the Minnesota Music Educators Association annual professional development conference. Thursby presented “Marching Band Techniques Refresher.” Gadberry and Olson presented “Just Wanna Make Beats? Expanding General Music with Production Skills.”

More than 100 alumni, faculty and students attended the Department of Music reception at Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis on Feb. 13, The reception was in conjunction with Minnesota Music Educators Association’s annual professional development conference and to celebrate the career of music department faculty member John Lindberg, who will be retiring at the end of the spring semester, according to the College of Arts and Humanities.

Justin J. Rudnick, assistant director of the Minnesota State Mankato speech and debate team and a communication studies faculty member, was awarded the Grace Walsh Award at the Feb. 8-9 forensics tournament at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The award is given to a coach who has made contributions to the field of forensics or who exemplifies leadership and dedication to forensics beyond competitive success.

Kevin Parsneau, professor in the Department of Government, was recently interviewed by KEYC TV about the state of Minnesota switching to using primary elections instead of caucuses to award delegates.

Sun Kyeong Yu, professor in the Department of Philosophy, and Chang-Seong Hong, a faculty member in MSU Moorhead’s Department of Philosophy, co-authored a Korean-language book, “How Bioscience Meets Buddhism,” and have recently published it in Seoul Korea. In the book, Yu and Hong discussed and provided solutions for the philosophical issues of Aristotelian essentialist biology, Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and contemporary molecular biology in light of Buddhist concepts of dependent arising and emptiness. This book is Yu’s third book published.

Gregory T. Wilkins, assistant director for student activities and the Centennial Student Union, was selected to be an accuracy judge for the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Out Loud 2020 regional state of Minnesota competition.

Department News

African American Affairs at Minnesota State Mankato is holding a number of events throughout February to celebrate Black History Month. The remaining events include: 

  • Feb. 1-29: “Pub 500 Partnership,” (500 S. Front St., Mankato). During February, when Pub 500 customers buy an entree, Pub 500 will donate $5 to the University's Multicultural Center, and customers will receive a dessert. The official partnership coupon MUST be printed and provided with one's bill. Partnership coupons are available in the Multicultural Center (CSU 269), on African American Affairs' Facebook page or at
  • Thursday-Friday, Feb. 27-28: 44th Annual Pan African Conference, visit
  • Saturday, Feb. 29, 9-11:30 p.m. (CSU Ballroom): Silent Party. Tickets are $10 in advance (order at and $12 at the door.

The Department of Music awarded cash prizes to the top three participants in the recent 24th Annual Bunny Just Piano Festival Competition for their performances Saturday, Feb. 15 in E. J. Halling Recital Hall. Kathleen Thompson finished first and was awarded $300, Steven Yang finished second and was awarded $200 and Jiansong Ding finished third and was awarded $100. Thompson performed Frédéric Chopin’s Berceuse in D-flat Major, Op. 57. Yang performed Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata No, 2, Op. 14, Mvt. 1. Ding performed Franz Schubert’s Impromptu in E-flat Major, Op. 90, No. 2. 

The Department of Theatre and Dance will be performing one public performance of “A Knight's Tail” on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $5 and available at the door.

The Mavericks for Clean Air Task Force shared the results from a recent [PDF] employee tobacco survey (274 KiB). The task force invites the campus community to visit the interactive display of the results of two studies in the Memorial Library lobby from March 16-27. The task force also asked campus community members, as part of the University's policy review process, to read and submit comments on the University's tobacco-free policy.

The Veterans Resource Center announced that it is holding a financial planning session Thursday, Feb. 27 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. in CSU 203. The session is geared toward veterans but open to all. It will be led by Jack Culbertson, a Minnesota State Mankato alumnus who is currently a planner with Northwestern Mutual. Culbertson is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

The Feb. 21, 2020 edition of the Community Engagement newsletter is now available. An email subscription sign-up link is available here.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Minnesota State University, Mankato announced the following about “Documented Consent and Qualtrics”: Those needing to obtain documented (signed consent forms) consent from folks at a distance, Qualtrics can be set up to obtain signatures on a consent form. See information in this “Qualtrics” link.

For the latest news on Maverick Athletics, visit

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 Joe Tougas at 507-389-1369 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, March 18. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (March 13).

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