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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

COVID-19 campus response and Return to Learn news and updates.



February 26, 2021 Campus Newsletter

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March 24: 'Exonerated Five' member keynoting Biomedical Sciences conference

Dr. Yusef Salaam, a member of the Exonerated Five and an award-winning motivational speaker, will deliver the keynote at the this year’s Health and Biomedical Sciences Summit on March 24.

Dr. Salaam’s presentation, “Social Justice Within the Social Determinants of Health,” will draw on his experience as one of four Black and Latinx young men who were tried and convicted in the “Central Park Jogger” case.

The Exonerated Five spent between seven to 13 years behind bars for crimes they did not commit until their sentences were overturned in 2002.

With a mix of live and on-demand content, the March 24 Health and Biomedical Sciences Summit will provide students, educators, community organizations and practitioners with insights and information that can be applied in closing the health equity gap.

This year’s conference is titled “Creating Health Equity: Social Justice & the Social Determinants of Health” and will examine the Social Determinants of Health—economy, education, health care, neighborhoods, and community—through a social justice lens.

This event is free and open to the public but registration is required. Register here.

March 3: 'The Central Park Five' screening and discussion

A screening and discussion of the documentary “The Central Park Five” will take place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday March 3.

The film, by Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sara Burns, tells the story of the five Black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989.

The film chronicles The Central Park Jogger case, for the first time, from the perspective of these five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice.

Learn more and register here.

The screening and discussion are provided by the College of Allied Health and Nursing and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Encourage Students to Apply for Scholarships

Scholarship applications open for students on Feb. 1, and faculty and staff are encouraged to remind students to apply through Scholarship Finder.

University Advancement Operations staff report that a number of past scholarship recipients have said they weren’t going to apply because they didn’t think they would receive a scholarship. In many cases, a faculty or staff member recommended that they apply anyway—which resulted in an award for the student.

With Scholarship Finder, students can find and apply for scholarships based on unique accomplishments and involvement such as:

  • Major

  • Interests

  • Background

  • Academics

  • Personal circumstances

  • Financial circumstances

  • Much more

Students are encouraged to go to Scholarship Finder at to see a listing of all scholarships that are available. Keyword searches make it easy to find scholarships unique to them.

Most opportunities are open Feb. 1-28, but students should check back periodically.

COVID-19 Updates

Minnesota State Mankato’s COVID-19 Web page is intended to provide the latest information on COVID-19 to all members of the campus community.

The page includes FAQs, messages from campus and system office leaders, a link to submit questions and much more.

On Feb. 3, the University moved its safety level from orange to yellow. More information on safety levels is available here.

Student News

Creative writing MFA student Pete Stevens received the Rachel Wezsteon Chapbook Award for his collection titled “Tomorrow Music,” from William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J.

Judge Wendy Oleson wrote: "I'm taken by the musicality of the language, the
yearning of the characters for something flashier, more interesting than their
sensible, comfortable lives ...These pieces have spark."

Mansoor Ahmad, Media/Design director for The Reporter won first and second place for photo story and Second place for News photo in the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper Contest. Ahmad’s photography website can be found here.

The esports training facility, located in Wissink Hall 121, reopened Jan. 25 to all students by reservation. Students can play a variety of games using specialized gaming equipment at no cost. Learn more here.

The Student Events Team has planned numerous virtual events for the upcoming semester. The first event was a virtual scavenger hunt on Jan. 11. Throughout the first week of classes, the organization is also doing Instagram palm readings and tarot card reading. For more information on upcoming virtual events, click here.

Recent grad and international relations major Brennan Stamman was hired as an Intellectual Property Trademark Assistant at Washington D.C. Law Firm Arent Fox LLP. Brennan’s emphasis at the University was in Latin American studies.

Faculty/Staff News

Associate Art professor Josh Winkler is the recipient of a 2021 McKnight Printmaking Fellowship from the Highpoint Center of Printmaking in Minneapolis. The year-long $25,000 fellowship gives him access to Highpoint’s printshop, career development support and more. The program is open to mid-career Minnesota artists who work in printmaking.

Winkler will use the grant to create a body of prints depicting past and present environmental threats, “while celebrating the landscape and positive human connection to the earth.” He will also expand on his studio practice of woodcutting and work in screen-print and three-dimensional formats.

Assistant nursing professor Julie Frederick and nursing professor Stacey Van Gelderen have been published in the March 2021 edition of Clinical Simulation in Nursing (March 2021). Their article “Revolutionizing Simulation Education With Smart Glass Technology” discusses smart glass technology benefits for nursing education.

Microsoft recently highlighted business management professor John Kaliski’s partnership with their Business Applications Academic Community in a blog post.

The post celebrates the success of one of Kaliski’s former students, Kyle O’Malley, ’18, with Avtex as a Dynamics 365 consultant.

Business professor Connie O'Brien's paper “Pezno wines: The legal and ethical dimensions of in-kind employee compensation,” was published in the Journal of Critical Incidents. 

A fiber arts exhibit by Minnesota State Mankato English professor Gwen Westerman is on display at the Hillstrom Museum of Art at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. The exhibit, “From These Hands” also includes Westerman’s poetry and draws inspiration from her Native American heritage as a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate.

COVID restrictions require emailing to arrange a viewing, which could take several days. For more information, visit the museum website.


Department News

A special webinar series to help with Microsoft Office 365 skills is offered by IT Solutions throughout March. Learn more and register for upcoming webinars here.

The Department of Speech, Hearing and Rehabilitation Services and Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services is offering Rec N’ Read, an after-school literacy and recreation program for elementary-aged children. Rec N’ Read is designed for kids in grades K-5 who struggle with reading and writing or have disabilities. The program, run by expert faculty and supported by students, includes targeted recreation and literacy activities that boost reading, writing and social skills. Sessions run Wednesdays, Feb. 3-April 14 from 3:30-5 p.m. and are offered in person and virtually. Fees can be prorated based on number of sessions and sliding scale rates are available. Details and registration information are available here.

IT Solutions has created a five-step CyberAware Pledge as an effort to help get students, faculty and staff interested in cybersecurity and to help keep people safe online.

The Department of Dental Education is now offering a Master of Science in Advanced Dental Therapy program.

The 14-month, full-time program leads to dental therapy licensure and credentialing as an advanced dental therapist in the state of Minnesota. Applications are now being accepted for the department’s cohort beginning in Fall 2021.

The department is also featured in a new documentary, Uncovered: Minnesota's Dental Crisis. Produced by Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), the program highlights the need
for increased access to dental care in Minnesota.

CSET’s 2021 Engineering Machine Design Contest is scheduled for Friday, March

This junior and senior division competition—held virtually—is designed to give youth an opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics principles while having fun in a collaborative environment.

Registration is open through March 1. More information can be found 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 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 Joe Tougas 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 10. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (March 5.)

News can also be submitted to the University’s official Campus Events Calendar by sending an email to Shirley Piepho at