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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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2015 Summer Educate

Summer Edition



Spring is a time for celebrations. We are thrilled to recognize the hard work and celebrate the accomplishments of our students, faculty, partners and donors. This summer, after a little time to recharge, our teams continue working, researching, planning and collaborating. Keep watching for exciting things from the College of Education!

~ Jean Haar, Dean, College of Education







In celebration of Cinco de Mayo 2015, more than 200 local children visited the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato for a special Spanish and Spanglish-themed literacy event. Hosted by the College of Education, university students led literacy-related activities from stories to crafts to songs.







Last fall, College of Education Professor Steven Reuter quickly collected as many literacy materials from friends and colleagues that he could reasonably carry. His original plans to travel to Ghat, Nepal to help with vision testing had expanded to include education. “Education is not required in Nepal, so the families who send their children to school have made it a priority,” he said. “Their resources are really limited and we wanted to help.” The Ghat school serves ages 4-10.


Slide show of Dr. Reuter's visit to Nepal 
Nepalese school children singing 






Minnesota State University Mankato’s Army ROTC program commissioned ten Second Lieutenants into the U.S. Army on Friday May 8, 2015. The ceremony was held in Ostrander Theater on the Minnesota State Mankato campus and featured Congressman Tim Walz as the keynote speaker. An Army commissioning ceremony consists of three separate events for each individual. First is the Oath of Office, which is administered to the new Lieutenant by an officer where they swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The pinning on of rank is the second step in the ceremony. The pinning of the Second Lieutenant rank by their loved ones is a visible sign of this appointment and of the commitment made by the officer. The last part of the ceremony is the first salute. The newly commissioned officer receives their first salute from a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) of their choosing. The new officer gives the NCO a Silver Dollar as part of the tradition of the first salute to show the officer’s respect and loyalty to the NCO Corps. Following the ceremony family, friends and instructors got together at the Mankato Event Center to celebrate with food and cake.

The ten newly commissioned Second Lieutenants and their branches are listed below:

2LT Amber Eden, MN Army National Guard, Quartermaster
2LT Connor Haugen, Army Reserves, Military Police (Gustavus Adolphus College)
2LT Jeffrey Henry, Army Reserves, Military Intelligence
2LT Benjamin Johnson, Active Duty, Chemical
2LT Alexis Liston, Active Duty, Adjutant General (Gustavus Adolphus College)
2LT Evan Masters, MN Army National Guard, Aviation
2LT Luke Sandersfeld, Education Delay (Gustavus Adolphus College)
2LT Joshua Sonnenburg, MN Army National Guard, Armor (Gustavus Adolphus College)
2LT Bennett Thrash, Active Duty, Chemical (Gustavus Adolphus College)
2LT Matthew Wagle, MN Army National Guard, Medical Service Corps (Gustavus Adolphus College)





On March 31, 2015, more than 90 high school juniors from six school districts attended the first AVID Student Summit at Minnesota State Mankato. A great example of partnership, the event was planned and implemented by 40+ volunteers—teachers and counselors in our PDS partner districts, as well as university faculty and graduate and undergraduate students. “At the AVID Student Summit, attendees learned that college really isn’t as scary as it seems, and with the AVID strategies they are learning now, they will succeed in college. In addition, by hosting the Summit on campus, we were able to show students who are making these life-changing decisions that they are not alone.” ~Brooke McMahon, KSP teacher candidate


Thoughts about the 2015 AVID Student Summit at Minnesota State Mankato

Bre Meger, AVID student, St. Peter, MN

It was the first gathering of its kind, and it definitely lived up to its expectations. Going into the Summit as an AVID student myself, I didn’t really know what to expect from this event, and I’m sure my peers had the same thoughts.

The first thing: we were greeted with was a large poster, giving us the opportunity to write down our name, dream college, and desired major. I’m sure that being juniors in high school, we have all thought about this before, but this really helped us visualize our goals and what we want for our future college life.

There were several classes that arrived, each of them different and unique from different places. After being separated from the comfort of our familiar AVID classmates, we were shuffled into three groups that were filled with new faces.

After doing a selection of activities, one of the opportunities we had was to really learn about the people in our groups and hear their stories. We quickly gained a sense of community and made connections with other AVID students. It also put a new perspective on the AVID community as a whole. We found that this program is so widespread throughout our state and even across the country.

The entire Summit was held on a college campus. It even offered a mock college lecture, where the students were able to try taking notes in a fast-paced setting. Overall, the 2015 AVID Summit was a great opportunity to meet and collaborate with new AVID students, get a sense of the life of a student on campus, and get a grasp on how important our AVID community is to us and other students in the program.

Reflections on the AVID Student Summit 2015

Brooke McMeen, Summit planning committee, KSP student, communication arts & literature, AVID tutor

At first I really had no idea what AVID was all about; I hadn’t been trained in as a tutor. As a KSP student, there was no doubt in my mind that I needed to get involved in some sort of way. The first planning committee meeting was brainstorming ideas about what students not only want to know about post-secondary but also what they need to know. There is absolutely nothing I would change about my involvement in the first annual AVID Student Summit. This event was so incredibly important to put together for the sake of getting these students excited for college.

I think what really helped the whole Summit come together were the people who planned it. Not only did we have college students, who are experiencing college first-hand, we had university faculty, Laura Bemel, and surrounding AVID instructors from local schools (Le Sueur- Henderson, Mankato East, Mankato West, St. Peter, Sibley, Waseca and Faribault). Interacting with all of these teachers and administrators really helped the planning committee understand what we could to get these kids excited for college.

I think the influence from the Minnesota State Mankato students regarding activities and advice helped attendees understand that college really isn’t as scary as it seems and with the AVID strategies they are learning now, they will succeed in college. A main lesson I learned from 2015 AVID Student Summit is that all these kids are facing the same challenge—there is a lot to learn about how to handle college. By hosting and planning this student summit on a college campus, students learned that as they are making these life-changing decisions, they are not alone.

All of these students walked in the CSU Ballroom with their old group of friends but throughout the day it was really rewarding to see these students branch out, step out of their shells and make new friends all thanks to the AVID Student Summit.



With support from the Kenneth C. Pengelly Opportunity Fund, the College of Education hosts a reception honoring its Summa Cum Laude graduates each spring. Honorees are encouraged to act as ambassadors and champions of Minnesota State University, Mankato as they blaze their own trails. Books inscribed with each honoree’s name are dedicated to Memorial Library. Retired College of Education faculty member Ken Pengelly established the Kenneth C. Pengelly Opportunity Fund.



Support our efforts to prepare successful teachers. For more information, contact Margaret Li at or call 507-317-1264.

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