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September 2010 Archives

By Dorothy Cheng

The Bell Museum of Natural History is opening a new exhibit on October 16 called "Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature."  This exhibit will focus on innovative building technologies and strategies. There will be a number of different components - graphics, computer games, mock shelters - but I think the most exciting part of the exhibit will be the ICON solar house.

One of the competitive project teams in the College of Science and Engineering is the solar house team, which competed in the Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon in 2009.  Students from the College of Science and Engineering, College of Design, and College of Continuing Education worked together for two years to design and build a solar house on campus. 

In the summer of 2009, they transported the house to Washington D.C., where they competed in a solar decathlon. The U of M's ICON solar house took first place in lighting design, first place in engineering, and fifth place in the overall international competition.

Now, this house is being reconstructed across the street from the Bell Museum to be a part of their exhibit. I wasn't on campus last year to see the ICON house when it was initially built, so I'm really excited to walk through it!

Check out this video to learn more about the design and construction of the house:

By Matt Sabongi

The summer before my senior year here at the University of Minnesota, I was able to volunteer on medical mission trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Along with 18 other U of M students, I worked for a non-profit company called VIDA Volunteer as a medical assistant traveling to underserved communities around the two countries for 20 days. Within these communities, we provided basic healthcare with the assistance of a licensed physician. We learned how to perform a basic physical examination, write patient charts and prescriptions (in Spanish), administer shots, and much more. Without a doubt this was the most rewarding experience I had as a student. I had always dreamed of what it was like to be a physician. This experience actually made that dream a reality!

 This video was made by the College of Biological Sciences. Check out the photos taken by yours truly!

The group of students I traveled with were part of Minnesota Medical Leaders, a pre-medicine student group here at the University of Minnesota. If you are interested in going to medical school, I would highly recommend this group. Not interested in medical school? The University of Minnesota has tons of pre-professional organizations for students of all interests. Make sure to check out our students groups website for listings of all our student organizations.


By Hilary Baril

My entrepreneurship professor shares a lot of real-life examples to help students understand concepts we learn in the class. Now I know why my professor always mentions Steve Flagg, an alum of the Carlson School of Management. After Flagg graduated from the U of M, he started a little shop in downtown Minneapolis selling hard-to-find bike parts. His unique idea took off and there are now over 50,000 Quality Bike Parts (QBP) dealers in the world. He recently received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the University of Minnesota. Read the full story here. Success stories like Steve's make me feel confindent about going out into the job market with a degree from the U of M! 

By Matt Sabongi 

Studying the biological sciences is a great way to open doors to many kinds of opportunities. Whether you are interested in working in the health sciences, industry, or academia, studying biology can prepare you both academically and professionally to succeed in various careers.

In this Studying Biology video, Professor Dr. Susan Wick of the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) explains how a biology degree from CBS can help you achieve your goals and dreams.

It did not take me long realize the abundant opportunities available for students in CBS when I first began here as a student. As mentioned in the video, research is a big part of the University of Minnesota community. Throughout my four years as an undergraduate, I was able to conduct research in two labs on campus. One of the labs was in the medical school, where I studied cell signaling pathways between white blood cells. The other lab in which I worked conducted structural biology of an inner-membrane protein. 

Both these experiences were extremely rewarding. It was fascinating to use concepts I was learning in my courses and apply them at a completely different level. I highly recommend getting involved in research no matter what major you choose to study. Check out the University of Minnesota's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program to learn more about undergraduate research on campus.

Every day I pick up a copy of the Minnesota Daily, the University of Minnesota's student-run newspaper. I like reading the Daily to find out about events in the Twin Cities and happening on campus. It's always a good read, and this past year was named the "Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper" in the country

Today, I opened up the Daily to find an interesting article about a team of College of Science and Engineering students and faculty.

This spring, Professor Jian Sheng and a team of College of Science and Engineering students applied for a National Science Foundation grant to study flow fields around coral regions. They began developing a submersible high speed camera. In April, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico required them to change their plans.

The CSE team is now planning on using their camera to determine if microorganisms are eating oil droplets. If they can discover which microorganisms eat oil, scientists would be able to use them instead of chemical dispersants.

Yan Ming Tan, an aerospace engineering student in his fourth year said, "BP claims there is no more oil on the surface, so definitely there are some microorganisms that eat them. We just don't know which microorganisms."



Read the MN Daily article to learn more about the team's unique camera!

This story goes to show that you can never be sure where your research will lead you. One innovation can be used in many different ways to further discovery in every field. This team was driven enough to change the focus of their project and their discoveries could change the way the world handles oil spills. Amazing!

Welcome everyone!

My name is Nyemadi Dunbar, and I am a senior. Throughout the 2010-2011 school year I will be updating this blog with exciting news and events that take place on our campus! I hope that all of you will join me as I take you on a wonderful journey throughout this school year.

Check out my very first video blog (vlog, for short!) below:

By Matthew Sabongi

I studied biochemistry as an undergraduate. During my many hours of studying conversions, mechanisms, and chemical structures, I always tried to visualize and contextualize what I was learning. For instance, the periodic table of elements. Studying trends and physical properties of alkaline earth metals, noble gases and halogens, I imagined what it was like to see and feel these elements with my own eyes and hands. The Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota has made this possible!

Periodic Table of Elements5

In Kolthoff Hall on the East Bank of the Minneapolis campus, there is a huge display of the periodic table with compartments containing each of the elements. Neon lights representing the noble gases and solids for many of the metals, you can see and actually touch many of the elements that make up our natural world. If you're like me and like to visualize what you're learning about, check out this great display on campus!


By Zack Haas

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to represent the University of Minnesota at La Familia, an annual Latino family festival and expo in St. Paul. 

September 2010 Events 11.jpg

During the event, I was able to meet a diverse crowd of students and families as they stopped by our booth. Carolyn Reyes, Miss Minnesota International 2010 and a 2007 alumna of the School of Journalism, also stopped by our booth. As part of her platform "Empowering our Youth," Carolyn makes appearances at various community events to encourage students to tackle the challenging problems they will face in life by teaching personal development lessons that she gained through her experiences. 

She will also be speaking at the opening session of Experience Minnesota, a multicultural event on our campus on Saturday, October 9th. (We'd love to see you there! You can sign up here.) As a student at the University of Minnesota, Carolyn was also an active participant in multicultural groups such as Student Excellence in Academics and Multiculturalism (SEAM), the Martin Luther King, Jr. Program, and the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence.

I know I'm looking forward to seeing Carolyn again at Experience Minnesota, and I hope you'll be there too!

When I think back to registering for classes as an incoming first-year student, I remember being overwhelmed with literally thousands of course options. Luckily, my academic adviser had some tips to get me headed in the right direction. One great opportunity that my adviser encouraged me to consider were freshman seminars.

Freshmen seminars are small classes (capped at 15 students) that concentrate on developing a deep, multidementional understanding of a unique topic. These classes are taught by some of our top faculty members and are generally regarded as some of our most interesting course options. The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) offers a number of different freshmen seminars each year. Here are a few examples of the  seminars that are being taught this year through CFANS:

CFANS 1905 - Antioxidants: How Do They Protect Your Food and Your Body?
This seminar reviews how changes take place in food and biological systems in the absence and presence of antioxidants, concentrating on what antioxidants are, how they act, and how they protect food from deterioration and the body from deteriorative changes.

CFANS 1942 - By the Harvest You Shall Live
This class looks into how human survival is dependant on "the harvest," and how human society has transformed the way that we gather food. This seminar will include field trips to hunt and gather on natural sites using 1840 technology.

BBE 1906W - Technology and Business of Bioenergy and Bioproducts
With the growing concerns about climate change and the declineof oil reserves, there has been considerable interest in renewable energy. This class looks at the vision for a bioeconomy of the 21st century. They take an integrated approach into looking at the utilization of our natural resources for not only energy, but also for products that we use such as biocomposites.

FW 1901 - Carp and Culture
The common carp is both reviled as a pest and revered as an almost mythical creature. This course explores the interactions between humans and the common carp. Along with class discussions, students will dissect carp, exercise in gyotaku (fish printing), visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and attend two field trips including a carp collecting trip on the Mississippi River.

Information about all of our freshman seminars can be found in the 2010-11 Freshman Seminars Handbook.

By Dorothy Cheng

The University of Minnesota has the largest study abroad program in the nation. This means our students have countless opportunities to study, research, intern, and work abroad in almost every corner of the world. 

The College of Science and Engineering strongly encourages all of our students to travel abroad, whether they take classes, work, or just have fun and experience new cultures.

When I started college, I knew I wanted to study abroad but it wasn't on the forefront of my mind. I didn't start planning it until the middle of my second year. At that point, I was working on a double major and I had a full class schedule. I was applying for full-time summer jobs and considering taking classes over the summer as well. I didn't have time to leave the country for a semester, a year, or even a whole summer. I was really happy to learn about study abroad programs called Global Seminars.

Global seminars are three-week programs which take place during May term. I left for my global seminar the day after my last spring final and got back two days before summer classes and my summer research job started. I was able to take an electrical engineering class in China! I traveled with about 19 other U of M students and two professors. Here are some of my fellow CSE travel companions on the Great Wall:

great wall.bmpThat was an incredible view! We spent three weeks traveling through China, starting in Beijing, then taking a train to Shanghai, and a bus to Shenzhen and Hong Kong. We spent about a week in each city. 

While we weren't checking out the sites, eating delicious food, and exploring markets, we toured nanotechnology labs at major universities. As a math and statistics student, I didn't know anything about electrical engineering before taking this class. Nanotechnology is a fascinating subject. I not only learned about a new culture, I also learned about a new field!

My favorite university that we toured is the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.  The campus is beautiful, and due to weather in Hong Kong, is very open and breezy. The university is also built right on the sea so there are amazing views. I was warned not to go swimming in the water though - beware of sharks!

HKUST 2.bmp

Global seminars are a great way to get an international experience if you have a busy schedule! I would definitely recommend beginning to plan your study abroad your freshman year. You can read about planning ahead for study abroad on the CSE website. If you want some more information about studying abroad in your major, you should visit our Learning Abroad Center website.

Happy travels!

One of the things I love about going to the University of Minnesota is its diverse student body. Our campus is home to students, faculty, and staff from many different countries, backgrounds, and cultures. 

We come to college to learn from professors and experts, but we also have much to learn from each other. The U of M is a place where you can explore other cultures and celebrate your own. Of our 600+ student organizations, over 100 have a multicultural focus! We also offer academic studies in African and African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, and American Indian Studies. 

Come experience our diverse and vibrant campus community for yourself! You and your family are invited to the fourth-annual Experience Minnesota: An Open House for Multicultural Students on Saturday, October 9, 2010 on the U of M campus. You can register online or call us at 612-625-0000 to sign up.

Here are some more details about what you will do at the event:

  • Learn about majors, student life, and financial aid and scholarships.
  • Tour our historic campus in the heart of the Twin Cities.
  • Submit your application for admission at an optional Application Workshop (high school seniors only).
  • Meet current U of M students and hear about their performances.
  • Tour our student cultural centers, see a step performance by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and hear spoken-word group Voices Merging.

I have worked at Experience Minnesota the past two years and will be there again this year. It's a ton of fun, and I hope to see you there! 

By Hilary Baril

The University of Minnesota Marching Band, also nicknamed the "Pride of Minnesota," recently entered a contest to win a $25,000 scholarship. The band is competing with many other college marching bands across the country to create the best rendition of the "Hawaii Five-O" theme song. Take a look at this video from WCCO's Kerry McNally to learn more:


Next week is the University's homecoming and I could not be more excited! Especially because this year, I'm on the homecoming committee. Our committee has been planning homecoming events since last March and working hard to get people excited for it. In August, we were at the Minnesota State Fair passing out promotional items such as backpacks, pins, and water bottles to people that stopped by the University of Minnesota booth. During Welcome Week, we announced the artist set to perform at the homecoming concert, Kid Cudi.

Homecoming is a great tradition at the University of Minnesota. It starting in 1914 with the theme "Back to Campus." This year, our theme is "Paint the Town Gold," which is about exemplifying the strength, power, and leadership of the University of Minnesota. There are many events and competitions throughout the week to celebrate our school and our alumni!

Campus-wide scavenger hunt: We are kicking-off homecoming this Friday with the scavenger hunt. Students, staff, and alumni explore campus, traditions, and receive prizes.

Thank-U: Thank-U is an event happening on to celebrate community service. Competition teams are given various service projects to do around campus and the Twin Cities that are relative to the service theme. This year's global service theme is HIV/AIDS awareness and education.

Gopherfest: This is one of the events that I helped coordinate! It is a festival held on our Northrup Mall. There will be food, sumo suits, a Velcro wall, and a dunk tank.

Cheer competition: Teams have been practicing their routines for weeks for the cheer competition. They perform stunts, original cheers, and dance.

Flag football: The flag football tournament is one of the biggest and most competitive events of homecoming.

Lip sync competition: Lip sync is always a ton of fun, and draws a huge crowd. Teams put together a song and dance routine. Students must tell a story with their performance and tie it in with the "Paint the Town Gold" theme.

Parade: Students, staff, families, and alumni gather around University Avenue for the parade. The Greek teams line University Avenue with their house fronts, which are huge pictures that cover the front of their houses made out of tissue paper stuck into chicken wire.

Pep fest: This is the other event that I helped plan. At the pep fest, we will give out awards for the competitions, the band and spirit squad will perform, and we will announce the homecoming royalty. There will also be notable speakers, such as President Bruininks and Joel Maturi (our athletic director).

Concert: Last but not least, the homecoming concert! This is new even for 2010, but we hope it becomes a tradition. Everyone is excited to see American hip-hop artist Kid Cudi perform.

And last but not least...

Football! The Golden Gopher football team will compete with the Northwestern Wildcats to complete the week's activities. Stay tuned into the blog as I cover the events throughout the week!

To learn more about homecoming, visit http://www.homecoming.umn.edu

By Dorothy Cheng

Meet Laura Gagliardi, chemistry professor in the College of Science and Engineering:

inventive women.jpg

This photograph of Professor Gagliardi, along with a written statement about her research will be on display at Walter Library along with those of 30 other scientists and engineers.

Inventive Women, a photography exhibit featuring female faculty members from the College of Science and Engineering, is having an opening reception this Friday, September 24, in Walter Library from 3:00-3:30. The exhibit will be open until December 24th. It's free and open to the public, so be sure to check it out if you're around campus. (If you're thinking of doing a campus visit this fall, you could attend our information session and tour, grab some coffee, and then check out the exhibit!)

If you're not able to make it onto campus to see the exhibit in person, take a look at the pictures and written statements online. They are fascinating and inspiring.

This is a really great photo project which showcases the work of our faculty members and displays each in their research labs. Just think--as a U of M student, you could be conducting research with these amazing women in just a few years!

By Matt Sabongi

Did you know that Minneapolis was ranked "Best Bicycling City in the Nation" by Bicycling Magazine? No matter whether you're living on or off campus, getting around the University of Minnesota and the Twin Cities is very easy when riding a bicycle. In fact, according to the City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis actually has over 120 miles of bikeways, with 83 of those being off-street bike trails.

I am a big fan of biking. It's a healthy, affordable, and convenient way to get around. When I was living both on and off campus as a student, my bike would take me where ever I needed to go, whenever I needed to be there. Whether I was heading to class, running some errands, or simply riding around the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, biking was always my top choice of transport!

Don't think twice about bringing your bike to campus. The University of Minnesota is extremely biker-friendly! You can find bike lanes and free bike racks all over campus. Check out the U of M Parking and Transportation website for bike maps, rack location, routes, safety tips and repair services.

Everyone knows that you are supposed to follow the food pyramid for a healthy diet, but have you ever wondered if your diet should change at different points of your life, or if you need to eat more or less, depending on your age? There is a class the University of Minnesota that is all about healthy eating for your age and body called Life Cycle Nutrition. The class is in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition in College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

Every person should have a specific diet depending on their age, body composition, immunity, and amount of physical activity. During different parts of the lifecycle, nutritional changes should be made. The course covers everything from sports nutrition for athletes to nutrition for pregnant women.

Students in this class are required to volunteer for five hours at a food-related organization for one of the assignments of the course. The professors recommend many different organizations to volunteer at including Meals on Wheels, a food service for the elderly, and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), a program that gives groceries to low income pregnant women. Through the volunteering assignment, students get an inside look at how this nutritional knowledge is put to good use.

Another one of the assignments is to complete a "nutritional makeover" for someone with a nutritional problem specific to the lifecycle. For example, a child that is a very picky eater or an athlete that is not getting enough calories out of their diet. Students then write a paper summarizing a solution to the individual's problem.

This class is not only beneficial for nutrition majors, but also anyone that wants to eat healthy and live longer!

Ever thought about how people would react if you broke out in song and dance in an everyday environment? Check out what happens when University of Minnesota theater and music student treat shoppers at the Golden Valley Byerly's grocery store to their "Mealtime Hero" skit.



Okay, so it's not exactly improptu, but talk about bringing your education to an environment outside of the classroom! You can also check out some of the other projects students in the College of Liberal Arts are working on at the College of Liberal Arts YouTube page. 

Throughout the year students, faculty and professors will post new videos highlighting the many happenings with the college. Make sure you check back frequently as new videos are posted.

By Zack Haas 

The professional mentorship program in the College of Liberal Arts matches students with working professionals in the careers that our graduates pursue. Through the program students have the opportunity to explore potential careers and build relationships with alumni. The program provides students with an excellent opportunity for career exploration by seeing first hand how the professional world operates. 

Check out what Blake Bensman, a senior studying journalism and mass communication (with an emphasis in professional strategic communication), has to say about his involvment in the program by clicking on the fourth video on the right side of the Discover CLA website. This website also offers helpful links to information about our programs, professors and student life. As you explore you college choices, I encourage you to Discover CLA at the University of Minnesota!

One of the many great ways to get involved as a student in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences is to become a St. Paul Ambassador! The Ambassadors are a student group and volunteer organization consisting of enthusiastic students from CFANS who love to share their knowledge and experience with prospective students and their families. 

The St. Paul Ambassadors prospective students, their parents, potential donors, and to alumni. They participate in events throughout the year such as the State FFA Convention and also give tours to prospective students. It is a great way to have fun with other CFANS students, not to mention fantastic volunteer experience and leadership development that looks great on a resume.

  St. Paul Ambassadors.jpg

For those of you who might be on campus next year as College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences students, remember to check out the St. Paul Ambassadors as a way to meet new friends and to get involved on campus! New members can join each fall.

The Pride & Spirit rally is a really fun event during Welcome Week, where our incoming freshman class spends some time in TCF Bank Stadium meeting Tim Brewster (the Gophers' football coach) and learning traditional U of M chants and cheers in preparation for the first home football game. I was lucky enough to attend the Pride & Spirit this year. This was my first time in TCF Bank Stadium! As you can see, I was really excited about it.

Dorothy at Pride&Spirit.jpg

It was great to see our freshman class so excited about being Golden Gophers! I also needed a refresher on the chants and cheers, and I now feel prepared for football season. At the end of the event, the Class of 2014 went on the field and created an "M". Check out this very cool time-lapse video to see it for yourself:

One of the things I love about the University of Minnesota is the diverse community of students with various interests and hobbies. While you're a student, you will have the ability to get involved in the University's amazing community by joining one or more of the many student organizations. Believe it or not, the U of M has over 600 student groups and organizations on our Twin Cities campus alone!

As a undergraduate, I was very involved in the both the University and the College of Biological Sciences communities. Some of the students groups I belonged to include the College of Biological Sciences Student Board and the College of Biological Sciences Admissions Ambassadors. Both of these groups focused on developing the CBS community by planning events and connecting with students and staff.

My extensive involvement in these two groups along with my rigorous classwork didn't leave a lot of free time, but if I was able, I would have gotten involved in even more student organizations! Here are some of fun, interesting groups I wish I had joined as a student:

1. M.A.Z.E. (Minnesota Association for Zombie Enthusiasts)

2. Ski and Snowboard Club

3. Wilderness Health Society

4. Salsa Dancing Organization

5. University of Minnesota Sailing Team

My advice to incoming students is to be sure to get involved early in your freshman year! Being part of a student group is a great way to connect with the community, meet friends, and stay active outside of class. For a complete list of all the University's student groups, visit the Student Groups and Activities website.


football 2.jpgI went to the first Golden Gopher football game of the year on Saturday, September 11 vs. the University of South Dakota. It was great to be back in the stadium with my fellow Gopher fans. I got to the game early enough to see the kick-off events. The University of Minnesota Marching Band performed our school songs. I loved it when they formed the Minnesota "M" facing the home crowd and then rotated the M and walked off the field towards the student section!

Following the marching band was a ceremony honoring the United States of America troops and September 11. The Air Force did a fly-over in their jets and Navy seals parachuted down into the stadium. During halftime, as the announcer recognized the Navy seals, a flock of birds flew overhead in a flying "V", which was a really inspiring coincidence!

The Gophers put up a pretty good fight, but the South Dakota Coyotes beat us 41-38. Hopefully the team has been studying their upcoming opponent, the University of Southern California, for the game this coming weekend. Despite the disappointing loss this week, I'm optimistic that we can battle it out with the Trojans and (fingers crossed!) come up with a victory. 

Regardless of the loss against South Dakota, I had a great time. Goldy Gopher got the crowd going with his cheers and silly antics. The Spirit Squad was in full force and the marching band was awesome as usual. It was a great way to spend my first Saturday back on campus!

football 1.jpg

I love apples. Did you know that the Honeycrisp and Zestar! apples were developed here at the University of Minnesota? Our latest creation, the SweeTango apple, officially hit the grocery stores. The SweeTango is actually a mix between the Honeycrisp and the Zestar! with a unique flavor. Last year, very few people were lucky enough to actually try the SweeTango. This was because the first round of crops were rather small (this is normal with a new variety of apple). 

I had the opportunity to talk to one of our horticulture professors, Bud Markhart, about the production of a new apple variety. He explained that process can take up to 50 years! Hearing this really gave me a new-found respect for these delectable treasures.

This year there should be a larger number of SweeTango apples on the shelves, but they will still disappear fast. The apples were supposed to have hit the shelves in the last couple of weeks, so next time you go grocery shopping make sure that you keep an eye out for these tasty treats. I know I will! (Click here to see if SweeTango apples are available in your state.)

For more information, check out the U of M Apples website!


NASA probe.jpg

Photo courtesy College of Science and Engineering

The image above is of the Solar Probe Plus, a new NASA mission to study the sun closer than ever before. The Solar Probe Plus will travel within four million miles of the sun to take direct measurements of the solar wind in the sun's atmosphere. It will travel almost seven times closer to the sun than the current record-holder, the Helios spacecraft. The measurements it takes will help researchers learn how the sun's atmosphere is heated and how the solar wind is accelerated. This is the first mission which will take us into the sun's atmosphere and the University of Minnesota gets to be a part of making this happen. Awesome!

The U of M was recently awarded a $7 million grant as part of the $180 million Solar Probe Plus project. U of M professors will participate in the FIELDS experiment, one of four instrument suites aboard the spacecraft. Keith Goetz, the associate program director in the College of Science and Engineering's School of Physics and Astronomy, and his team developed the Time Domain Sampler (TDS) as part of the FIELDS suite. The TDS will measure electric and magnetic fields, radio emissions, and shockwaves in the sun's atmosphere. Read more about the U of M's involvement!

This video gives you a good look at the probe and explains the mission in more detail: 

I think this mission is thrilling! Imagine "tasting, touching, smelling the environment of the sun"! 

You can read more about the solar probe on the NASA website or check out the Solar Probe Plus mission website, which includes a timeline of the probe's journey. The bad news is that it's going to take a long time to travel to the sun; the good news is that I now have an event on my 2024 calendar!

By Zack Haas

I received an email a few weeks ago from the Department of Recreational Sports (DRS) inviting me to assemble a team for the inaugural Alumni Flag Football Tournament at TCF Bank Stadium, which got me thinking about all of the opportunities available through their department. Maybe I'm a little partial to DRS (I worked there for a year after I graduated) but if you are looking for a nice way to meet other students, get in some exercise between classes and have fun, DRS offers opportunities for students of all levels of talent.

Intramural Sports within DRS offers options for co-rec and open leagues in a multitude of sports. Whether you are just a beginner or have been playing for years, intramural sports offers excellent opportunities to have fun in both individual and team sports, from basketball to volleyball. You can even compete for the most coveted prize for all students participating in intramurals--a free championship t-shirt! 

If you are looking for competition at a highly advanced level, I suggest checking out Sport Clubs. The University of Minnesota currently offers 25 different sport clubs that allow students to compete against other colleges while also enhancing their skills through instructional sports opportunities.

While located in a large metropolitan area, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities. The Center for Outdoor Adventure offers students the opportunity to explore their adventurous sides through trips and clinics. They even offer equipment rental and an annual gear sale for students to buy and sell their own equipment. You can also check out the bouldering walls at the Minneapolis Recreational Center and the St. Paul Gym if you are interested in learning the fundamentals of rock climbing.

If you just have some time on your hands and want to get a good workout, you can drop by the Minneapolis Recreational Center or the St. Paul Gym and utilize their state-of-the-art equipment or sign up for one of their many group exercise options. DRS also offers open swimming in the Cooke Hall pools, the natatorium, and the St. Paul Gym pools.

With almost countless ways for students to exercise on campus, the Department of Recreational Sports also offers a fantastic learning environment through their numerous employment opportunities. The Department of Recreational Sports is the largest student employer on campus and offers entry-level to advanced-level positions in all of their departments. (Such as working in the fitness center, lifeguarding, or refereeing intramural games.)

Check them out at http://www.recsports.umn.edu/!

By Hilary Baril

The Washington Avenue Bridge connects the East Bank and West Bank of the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus. Right above the traffic bridge, there is a pedestrian bridge where students walk back and forth between campuses, with an enclosure to protect walkers from the cold weather in the winter. 

Every fall, the Student Unions and Activities Board paints the entire indoor walkway white for an event called Paint the Bridge. Registered student groups and organizations are given the opportunity to paint advertisements on the inside of the walkway. Overnight, the bridge is transformed into a colorful array of artwork representing the many ways to get involved at the University of Minnesota. Every year I have painted for my sorority and it has been a ton of fun. I will be helping out again this year, in addition to helping with the 2010 Homecoming Committee's painting (I'm serving on the Homecoming Committee this year).


Paint the bridge 012.jpgPersian Student Organization


Paint the bridge 011.jpgFood Science and Nutrition Club


Paint the bridge 006.jpgAdmissions Ambassadors


Paint the bridge 010.jpgStudent Unions and Activities supplies the paint


Paint the bridge 004.jpg

Students hard at work!

For more information about Student Unions and Activities at the U of M, click here.

By Matt Coakley

In my opinion, one of the most exciting traditions that we celebrate here at the University of Minnesota is Golden Gopher football. Our campus has a long, rich history of Big 10 rivalries, and with our new TCF Bank Stadium, football fans are feeling more school spirit than ever before!

I recommend that students attend at least one football game in their time at the University. You may think that it can't be much different than watching it on TV, but it is a whole different experience. What makes attending a Gopher football game so great is the camaraderie and the pageantry: Chanting the Minnesota Rouser with thousands of students, alumni, and fans; the marching band; all the students sporting their signature gold t-shirts; and the crowd going wild after a touchdown. As a student, you will have the opportunity to buy season tickets for all of our Division I athletic events at discounted prices.

The Gopher football team has already celebrated their first victory of the year with a 24-17 win over Middle Tenessee. Their first home game is this Saturday at 11 a.m. vs. South Dakota. It will also be the one-year anniversary of the opening of the TCF Bank Stadium. As a senior in college, I was ecstatic that the new stadium opened in time for my final year at the University. The stadium is one-of-a-kind and offers great views of downtown Minneapolis and our beautiful campus. 

To learn more about Gopher athletics, visit www.gophersports.com

Go Gophers!

By Hilary Baril 

Yesterday was my last first day of school. I thought it was going to be different, but it turned out to be just like any other year! It was exciting to come back and see my journalism school classmates and meet all of my professors. This fall, I am taking five classes, one of which is online. Luckily, I was able to plan my schedule so that all my classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is perfect for me because then I can work and study on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays! 

Here are the courses I am taking this fall:

Visual Communication: This class is all about images. I will learn about the history of images in the media, how words and images compliment one another, and how to critique and create quality images. I am excited for our photography project in which we take multiple photographs of the same object, but emphasizing different elements each time, such as line, shadow, or color.

Basic Media Graphics: In this course, I will be learning basic graphic design techniques. We  started learning Photoshop yesterday and I had fun coloring different parts of a black and white photograph.

Cases in Strategic Planning and Thinking: In this class, I will be completing one of my senior projects--a paper and presentation analyzing an advertising or public relations campaign. My professor is one of the best in the School of Journalism and told us all about his experience in the corporate world. I am excited to hear more stories about his successful businesses.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship: I am excited to have one of my favorite teachers for this course. He tells funny stories about his life, makes an extra effort to get to know his students, and brings in a lot of excellent guest speakers. I have always dreamed about owning my own business, and in this class I will learn what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

Career Skills in the Professional Environment: This is the online course that I am taking. I needed a couple extra credits, and what better class to take my senior year than a career skills class!? The projects include resume writing, conducting informational interviews, and developing networking skills.

It is going to be a busy semester, but I really like all of my professors and think my classes will be challenging and fun!


Every week, each department in the College of Biological Sciences welcomes guest lecturers from around the country to speak at the University of Minnesota. Throughout the school year, students and faculty have a great opportunity to listen to researchers from Universities near and far discuss their current research and discoveries. 

As a student, I really enjoyed attending these complimentary seminars. It was fascinating to learn about developing knowledge in different fields within the biological sciences. Also, listening to a lecture without having a worry about taking notes and prepping for an exam was revitalizing and relaxing, believe it or not!

Take a glance the each of the department homepages on occasion and feel free to join students and faculty for cookies, refreshments and an intellectual experience. If you're planning to visit campus this fall, this would be a great opportunity to take a tour, learn about admissions, and then catch one of these seminars. (You can register for a campus visit at http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/visit.)

Seminars in College of Biological Sciences departments:


September 13: Dr. Andrew Camilli, School of Medicine, Tufts University

Title: Transition of vibrio cholerae into and out of the host

Plant Biology

September 14: Dr. Robertson McClung, Dartmouth University

Title: Do you know your ABCs? Arbidopsis and Brassica Clocks

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics

September 15: Dr. John Roth, University of California, Davis

Title: A molecular view of natural selection: Understanding high-speed adaptation  

Genetics, Cell Biology and Development 

September 16: Dr. Steven Leach M.D., McKusick-Nathans Institute, Johns Hopkins University

Title: Finding the Center: Centroacinar progenitor cells in mouse and zebrafish


September 18: Dr. Christopher Cowan, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Title: Molecular Mechanisms of Addiction-related Synapse Plasticity

Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

September 22: Dr. Sarah Hobbie, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota.

Title: Biogeochemical cycling through urban households: The role of human choice

By Dorothy Cheng

My first year at the U of M, I took a computer science class and was one of just eight female students in the class. I am proud to say that the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) has changed a lot since my first year here. This year, female students comprise 25 percent of CSE, the highest percentage in the history of the college! Yeah!

I have always found CSE faculty, students, and staff to be incredibly encouraging and supportive of women in science and engineering. At the end of the semester in that same computer science class, my female professor reached out to all the women in our class to welcome us to the U of M and discuss our future in CSE.

In addition to support from faculty, CSE has a number of programs for undergraduate women.  The Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) House is a Living Learning Community for women interested in the sciences or engineering. In addition to living with other female CSE students, the WISE house plans lab tours, dinners with faculty, and study groups to enhance students' experiences.

A very active student group on campus is the Society for Women Engineers (SWE). Male students are welcome to join this student group, but its core purpose is to encourage women to achieve their full potential in science and engineering careers. Check out SWE's calendar to see what they will be involved in this year.

You can also get involved in the Greek system through Alpha Sigma Kappa, a social sorority for women in technical studies. The sorority accepts women in engineering, architecture, and the sciences. Many sisters take classes together, form study groups, hold leadership positions within the sorority, and participate in philanthropic events in the Twin Cities.

Being involved in these groups is a great way to find out about events going on around the Twin Cities. I recently received an email from the Women in Mathematics (WIM) student group with information about an upcoming play from the Phoenix Theater Project. WIM has been invited to take part in a discussion about the production of Proof, an upcoming show about a young woman who struggles to establish herself as mathematician in the shadow of her late father, a world renowned mathematician.

A pre-show discussion has already taken place and a post-show discussion will occur after WIM members have the opportunity to see the play. The hope is that these dicussions will further awareness about women in mathematics. If you will be in the Twin Cities area September 10th through the 25th, you should definitely check out the play!

By Matt Sabongi

Deciding where to go to college can be a complex decision. When I was deciding where I wanted pursue my college education, I knew that I wanted to attend an institution that provided me with a lot of opportunities as well as a strong sense of community. That is why I chose the University of Minnesota. In addition to the amazing location, when touring campus I could tell that University was home to a community of students and faculty were not just interested in their studies, but passionate about them!

To see for yourself what I'm describing, check the video below entitled "Because". This video is a quick look at what makes the University of Minnesota community so special. It highlights some of the groundbreaking research that faculty and students are currently conducting at the University, and how that work could change the world.

In this video you will be introduced to a former College of Biological Sciences (CBS) student and personal friend of mine, Janaki Paskaradevan (you will see her at the end of the video holding the "Because" prop). Janaki and I have been good friends for many years. We went to high school together and both studied the biological sciences at the University of Minnesota.

Both Janaki and I were very active members in CBS. In fact, we worked together on the College of Biological Sciences Student Board. Janaki graduated from CBS with a bachelor of science in neuroscience in May 2010 and is now studying at John's Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Check it out and get inspired!

By Matt Sabongi 

One of my favorite aspects about the Twin Cities is the amazing music scene here. No matter what genre of music you enjoy, the Twin Cities hosts artists from all over the world to play intimate venues like the Cedar Cultural Center near the University's West Bank or soldout stadiums like the Target Center. Minneapolis and St. Paul are great locations for any kind of music lover.

I am a huge music fan. On a weekly basis I try to go see at least one artist that I have not seen before. Being one of the major metropolitan areas in the Midwest and a enclave for artists of all kinds, the Twin Cities attracts both upcoming and mainstream musicians throughout the year. For those of you who are new to the area, here are a few of my favorite venues around campus that I recommend:

First and foremost is First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry. This is a must-see venue! This club/danceria/concert hall an amazing spot to see any kind of concert. No matter if you're into hip hop, jazz, latin, dance, indie, or folk, First Avenue has a diverse giglist that will interest every music buff. From campus, getting to First Ave. (as we locals like to call it) is an easy 15-minute bus ride into downtown.

Another one of my favorite venues in the area is the Varsity Theater. Conveniently located in the heart of Dinkytown, the Varsity Theater is within walking distance for students anywhere on campus. According to the theater's webpage, this historical venue has been hosting gatherings since 1915. With an amazing sound system and intimate, ballroom setting inside, the Varsity is a phenomanal spot to see any show.

One of my most memorable experiences as a music fanatic actually occurred while seeing a show the University of Minnesota's own venue, The Whole. During my sophomore year, I was able to meet Minneapolis's own Brother Ali during a private Q&A hosted by our student radio station, Radio K. Located on the basement floor of Coffman Memorial Union, The Whole is a quaint, coffeehouse-like venue that hosts local artists from the Twin Cities and small groups traveling around the area. Most weekends throughout the school year, Student Unions and Activities invites artists from all over to perform.

I hope this small list of venues sparks your interest for the vibrant music culture here in the Twin Cities. In addition to these 3 venues, I encourage you to visit some of the many great music establishments while living on or near campus.

By Zack Haas

The new Science Teaching and Student Services Building (STSS) opened just in time for classes to start. I had the opportunity to tour the building and take a look at the newest classroom spaces on our campus.

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The STSS building combines artistic design with sustainable features. Built on the original foundation of the previous Science Classroom Building, it also reused portions of the orginal foundation walls, which reduced the amount of waste produced by the destruction of the old building. It also uses a storm water management system that filters water before it flows into the Mississippi River.

The building also utilizes natural sunlight and features ceramic window dots and a state of the art natural convection system to heat the building during the winter months. Inside the building you will find stylish modern architecture and art work. This piece of public art was created by Alexander Tylevich, a Minnesota-based artist.

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The new STSS building is not only eye-catching for its beauty, but for the services and classrooms inside. The new building features interactive classrooms that provide a learning experience that facilitates discussion and exploration around the classroom. These interactive classrooms utilize state-of-the-art technology that allows students to share their findings on monitors all around the room.

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The building now houses our OneStop Student Services, which handles registration and financial aid, among many other things. Their office is located on the third floor, so if you have questions about financial aid, your student account, tuition or registration you can stop in and speak with a Onestop Student Services representative.

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You can also find the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Career Services Office in the new STSS building. Located on the fifth floor, CLA's Career Services office provides support for students interested in finding internships or jobs. You can stop by and speak with one of our career services professionals and employee partners. This is an excellent resource for students to start their career planning.

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To learn about the Science Teaching and Student Services building, click here

By Matt Coakley

On August 25th, the new Princess Kay of the Milky Way was crowned at the Minnesota State Fair. The winner was none other than our very own Katie Miron! Katie is a student at the University of Minnesota studying Agricultural Education. 

Katie was awarded the title of Princess Kay based on her knowledge of the dairy industry, communication skills, personality, and enthusiasm for dairy promotion. This is important, because she will now be the goodwill ambassador for all of Minnesota's dairy farmers.


Photo courtesy Midwest Dairy Association                         

Princess Katie's first task was to have a likeness of her head carved out of a block of butter. The evening of the first day of the fair, I happened to wander into the dairy center and caught a first-hand look at the newly carved head of butter. It is rotating on a large stand that is protected by large panes of glass. It was surely a sight to behold. If I had known that I was going to see this pasteurized piece of art, I would have definitely brought a camera. 

If you're local, I encourage to to go to the Minnesota State Fair and see it for yourself! For those of you who can't attend, check out this interesting article on butter sculpture making.

Click here to read more about Katie and the Princess Kay of the Milky Way competition.

By Hilary Baril

It's that time of year: Campus is bustling with new students moving into the residence halls. Seeing the first-year students moving in this week brought back such fond memories of when I lived in Territorial Hall my very first semester at the U of M. It was such an exciting time!

Have you ever wondered what a residence hall room is actually like? Check out the video below of U of M student reporter "Minnesota Miles" touring Middlebrook Hall....MTV Cribs-style!

One of the new facilities on campus this year is the Science Teaching and Student Services (STSS) Building. This is an amazing new facility which houses lecture rooms, active learning classrooms, and many student services, including the U of M's One Stop Student Services office. I recently attended the grand opening of the STSS building and took some pictures to share with you!

Upon entering the building, students are greeted by staff at an information desk. 

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One Stop Student Services is located behind this desk. One Stop brings all student services together in one place. If you have questions about finances, class registration, or your student record, One Stop counselors can help you.


STSS Grand Opening15.jpgThe windows facing the Mississippi River provide beautiful natural lighting and use a natural convection system to heat the building in the winter. Ceramic window dots cover every window to acheive maximum convection effect.

There are amazing views of the river from both inside and outside this building!

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Of course, there are also classrooms in the STSS building. There are lecture halls as well as a new type of classroom called an "active learning classroom."

The lecture halls are comfortable, functional, and look pretty snazzy with multi-colored seats!

STSS Grand Opening28.jpgMy favorite feature of this building is the active learning classrooms. These rooms have really neat technology that facilitates group problem-solving. Rooms are filled with circular tables which can seat about eight students.  Students can work on projects on their computers, then connect their group's computer to a monitor and display their work to the rest of the class.

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The professor is able to take one table's monitor, and send the image to every monitor in the classroom. This enables peer review on the fly! Some assistant admissions counselors were eager to try out the new technology:

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I am excited to sit in on some of these classes this fall. Check out this video to see what a class will be like in this type of classroom!

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