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October 2010 Archives

Facebook and other social media sites like MySpace have become an everyday part of life for many teenagers. But what happens when these websites are used with malicious intent? 

Assistant Professor Shayla Thiel Stern in the U of M School of Journalism and Mass Communications is studying the harmful effects cyberbullying and researching ways for parents, educators, and community members to help prevent and address it.

Check out her expert perspective on this very pressing topic below:

Every year during homecoming, the University puts on a series of great events for students. Many of the events have elements of fun and competition mixed in. One event that has a long tradition on campus is the annual lip sync competition. 

Lip sync is a competition to see who can best lip sync and perform to a mix of songs. The teams must "tell a story" while also promoting the overall homecoming theme. This year's theme was "Paint the Town Gold." The event was held on campus at Ted Mann Concert Hall. All of the seats were filled and the crowd was thrilled to support their friends and fellow classmates. The video below highlights three of the teams from this year's competition! 

On Thursday, space shuttle astronaut Captain Daniel Brandenstein delivered a free public lecture in Coffman Memorial Union. Captain Brandenstein has flown four shuttle missions, logged over 780 hours in space, and commanded the maiden voyage of the Endeavour. He was inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003 and now serves on the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors. 

During his lecture, Captain Brandenstein presented Astronaut Scholarships to College of Science and Engineering students Scott Isaacson, a chemical engineering major, and Matthew Coudron, math and physics major. Both students are enrolled in the University Honors Program.


Photo courtesy College of Science and Engineering

The Astronaut Scholarship is worth $10,000 and is the largest merit-based scholarship awarded to science and engineering students it the US. The U of M is one of only 20 universities to partner with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to award these prestigious scholarships. 

This is an awesome achievement. Congratulations, Scott and Matthew!

This weekend the University of Minnesota campus is going to be full of zombies, witches, Ninja Turtles, bumblebees, and more! Why? Because it's Halloween of course! Students are putting on their costumes and getting ready for a spooky, fun-filled weekend.

Last night, the first-annual Humans vs. Zombies: U of M Twin Cities began. Over 200 people are participating in this huge game of tag that goes all weekend and ends on Sunday night. The event is held by one of our official student groups, Minnesota Association for Zombie Enthusiasts. One team dresses like zombies and the other team dresses in normal clothing. Team members are armed with Nerf guns and try and hit as many opponents as possible. I'm rooting for the humans!

Another event happening on campus this Halloween weekend is the first Harry Potter Halloween Quidditch Tournament. Teams from all over the Big Ten conference will be here to battle the Golden Gophers. The tournament will feature a Harry Potter bake sale, prizes, a raffle, and the chance to watch teams compete to be the first fall champions. I'm a Harry Potter fan, so I just might have to check this out.

Saturday night, I will be wearing my Minnie Mouse costume to the home football game against Ohio State. Students are encouraged to wear costumes and before the game, food and entertainment will be provided. Last year, fans were given Goldy Gopher masks to wear during the game!

I can't wait for Halloween weekend to begin!

You've surely noticed the increasing numbers of political ads on the radio and television lately. If you have really been following political campaigns this year, you've probably be monitoring online media outlets as well.

In an age where news is published online 24/7 and anyone can instantly update his or her status through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, voters can engage with political campaigns more readily than ever before. Young voters especially are more apt to connect with campaigns online. Seth Lewis, a professor of new media journalism is studying the relationship between sources of political information and how they influence political behavior. Check out Seth's expert perspective below:


Nick Welander was one of the first students to start dancing during a College of Science and Engineering flash mob on Northrop Mall last week. In coverage by the Minnesota Daily, Nick said that, "We just want to show that engineering students can have fun too, and that we know how to dance." This is certainly true, as the flash mob's dance was choreographed by a mechanical engineering and dance double major, Lauren Butler.

Lauren is the student who kicked off the dancing in front of Northrop Auditorium. Check it out!


I love that even Goldy Gopher joined in the CSE spirit!

goldy 75th anniv.jpg

You may have heard of popular music festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Lollapalooza, but have you heard of Acappellooza? 

This past weekend University of Minnesota's men's and women's a cappella groups--7 Days, Basses Wild, and The Enchantments--performed at Macalester College in St. Paul for an annual a cappella music festival. Along with groups from Macalester College and Carlton College, these talented individuals sang some original numbers on Saturday night in front of a great crowd of music enthusiasts.

At the University of Minnnesota, students of all sorts can participate in the performing arts. No matter what you are studying, the University offers a selection of courses for students in music, dance and theater. In addition, the University of Minnesota has a wide variety of student organizations that are dedicated to the fine arts. Check out the University of Minnesota's student groups website to see for yourself!

One of the buildings on the St. Paul campus was renamed this week. The Classroom Office Building (very creative, I know!) is now named Ruttan Hall. The name change was done to commemorate Professor Vernon Wesley Ruttan's contributions to the University and academia. Professor Ruttan was a Regents professor emeritus in the departments of economics and applied economics.

Professor Ruttan concentrated his research on agricultural development. He wrote many books including the classic Agricultural Development, An International Prespective. Ruttan also received the U.S. Department of Agriculture Distinguished Service Award and the Alexander von Humboldt Award for his outstanding contributions to agriculture.

The pictures below are of CFANS Dean Allen Levine and of four St. Paul Ambassadors as they unveil the new Ruttan Hall sign.

Ruttan Hall 3.JPG

Ruttan Hall 2.jpg

I am excited to announce that the Golden Gopher men's hockey season is in full swing!

Hockey is my favorite sport to watch and play. I have had season tickets every year of college and bought them again this year. The beginning of this season has been a little inconsistent, with three wins and three losses, but I think it is going to be a successful year for our team. There are a lot of new players and a number of great seniors to lead the way.

On Sunday, I saw the Gophers beat St. Cloud State University 2 to 1. It was a close game and Mariucci Arena was surprisingly packed for a Sunday game. Mariucci Arena is one of the best hockey facilities in the nation, and Golden Gopher fans are considered by many to be the most spirited in NCAA college hockey. There are cheers and chants for just about every play, which makes for a very fun and loud game.

The games are even entertaining in between periods. The Golden Gopher cheerleading squad performs figure skating routines and of course, Goldy Gopher makes an appearance. There are various contests, such as chuck-a-puck, races, and slapshot contests. And it is always entertaining to watch the mini-mites (children's hockey teams) play a game between periods

Season tickets for students are offered at a greatly reduced price and single game tickets are usually just $15. Students get receive free t-shirts and various promotional gifts throughout the season. My favorite promotion is the Culver's Goal promotion. If the Gophers score six goals, the student section is given free Culver's custard!

It is awesome to be a part of a great tradition like University of Minnesota hockey. I can't wait to see if the team can make it to the NCAA Division 1 tournament, the Frozen Four.

Check out this video to get an inside look at Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey!

This week on Tuesday, October 19, the College of Science and Engineering celebrated its 75th anniversary!  Take a look at our gigantic banner decorating the Mechanical Engineering building:

mech e 75th anniv.jpg

We had a celebration on Northrop Mall for all U of M students to celebrate the amazing innovations which have been produced in the College's 75 years of existence. There were free sandwiches, songs from the U of M alumni marching band, and some CSE students and faculty even showed off their dance moves!

flash mob 75th anniv.jpg

I had a great time watching the dean of CSE walk through the crowd of dancers wearing a U of M scarf! The video of the dance will be posted on the CSE YouTube channel early next week--be sure to check it out.

To learn about some of CSE alumni's accomplishments in the last 75 years, take a look at this video:

At the University of Minnesota, we pride ourselves on innovation and discovery. This is especially evident in the way biology is taught to undergraduate students.Students in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota learn biology by doing biology in the Foundations of Biology course (required of all freshmen biology majors). This innovative sequence of courses introduces students to the many disciplines in the biological sciences and research starting their first two semesters on campus. Through collaborative activities in a high-tech classroom, students learn to apply the scientific method to real-world problems. In fact, this course has gained national recognition as a model for undergraduate education.

On October 13th, Tim Post of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) covered a story on the University of Minnesota's new active learning classes and how students and faculty feel about this innovative teaching method. In the story, title "Short lectures, lots of interaction in U's new classrooms," MPR explores the Foundations of Biology course. Take a look, and see what you might soon be experiencing here at the U of M as a biology student!

If you are interested in a pursuing a music, theatre, dance, or art major at the U of M, here is some important information about each department and the application process:

All students must submit their application materials including the application form, application fee, official high school transcripts, and official ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions by December 15th, 2010, to be given priority consideration. 

Students interested in the four art disciplines may also be required to submit additional materials or may be required to audition for a specific program (you do not need an admission decision in order to audition for any of the programs). 

If you are interested in any of the art disciplines, check out the following links. You can also find great information about the coursework within each of the majors at the University Course Catalogs.


Degree programs requiring a portfolio:

Bachelor of Fine Arts: Art
Art majors may apply to the B.F.A. degree program after completing the five preparatory core courses required in the major. Application is made by submitting a portfolio to a faculty committee for review. A faculty adviser is chosen upon admission to the B.F.A. program.

Degree programs not requiring a portfolio:

Bachelor of Arts: Art
Bachelor of Arts: Art History


Both the Bachelor of Arts in Dance and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance require an audition.


Degree programs requiring an audition:

Bachelor of Music: Music
Bachelor of Music: Music Education
Bachelor of Music: Music Therapy

Degree program not requiring an audition:
Bachelor of Arts: Music

Theatre Arts:

Degree program requiring an audition:

Bachelor of Fine Arts: Acting

Degree program not requiring an audition:
Bachelor of Arts: Theatre Arts

October 22nd and 29th are Fall for Minnesota Days! Fall for Minnesota Days is a special event for high school students and their families who are interested in learning what it would be like to be a student here at the U of M. The College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences will be having a special visit set up for students who are interested in our college.

Students attending the CFANS event will be attending a tour of the St. Paul campus, which will be lead by our very own St. Paul Ambassadors. Along with the tour, they will attend a CFANS information session and hear from one of our top faculty members. Lastly, students will meet with an adviser from the department in which they are most interested. (Other colleges are hosting their own special visits as well--you can see all options on the registration page.)

You can sign up for Fall for Minnesota Days online or by calling the VISITLINE at 1-800-752-1000. 

I hope to see you on campus soon!

Every year, the University of Minnesota welcomes performers and speakers from all over the world to our campus community. In the past, we have had special appearances by Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Bob Dylan, Jerry Seinfeld, and the Russian Ballet, just to name a few.

This spring, the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing and the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota will welcome the Dalai Lama to the U of M campus. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, will be speaking on May 8th & 9th, 2011, in Northrop Auditorium. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear one of the most influential figures of our generation!

File:14th Dalai Lama.jpg

As a student, I enjoyed attending special events on campus. I saw Kal Penn speak to students about voting and supporting Barack Obama's presidential campaign. I also saw the New Zealand-based musical/comedy group Flight of the Conchords perform. I highly recommend taking advantage for these very unique opportunities while you are a student on campus. (And of course, tickets are offered to students at greatly discounted prices!)

The photo above is labeled for reuse with modification at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:14th_Dalai_Lama via Wikimedia Commons.

Before I moved from Minneapolis to Kansas City, Missouri, to participate in the Teach for America program, I had never gone on a road trip longer than an hour by myself. I quickly became used to the seven-hour drive between KC and Minneapolis. The hardest part was the middle four hours through Iowa. I always knew I was getting close to Minneapolis when I passed the field of windmills near the Iowa-Minnesota border!

A research project currently underway at the U of M reminded me of that long drive...and also reminded me of how happy I am to be back in my home state again. A team of researchers led by Perry Li, professor of mechanical engineering, recently won a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The team will be studying how to store energy produced by off-shore wind turbines.

windmills.jpgA problem with wind energy right now is that it is inefficient. More energy is created at night, when wind is stronger, but the energy is needed for use during the day. The goal of this research project is to find a way to compress and store air for use during the day.

Currently, only 2 percent of the nation's energy comes from wind power, and the Department of Energy has made it a goal to have 30 percent of our energy created from wind power by the year 2030. Hopefully the research taking place at the U of M will make that a reality!

You can read more about the project in this Minnesota Daily article.

Photo courtesy College of Science and Engineering.

If you are interested studying biology abroad, the College of Biological Sciences has a fantastic program for you. Each May, Professor Sehoya Cotner leads students on an exploration of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador! This three-week learning abroad program gives students the unique opportunity to walk to steps of Charles Darwin and explore first-hand the origins of evolutionary biology.


The Biology of the Galapagos is one of 300+ study abroad programs offered by the University of Minnesota's Learning Abroad Center (the largest study abroad program in the nation!) No matter what or where you are interested in studying, the Learning Abroad Center has programs to fit your academic goals, travel dreams, and budget.

Even if you are only remotely thinking about studying abroad, talk to you academic adviser about it right when you get on campus. Planning ahead is key! The Learning Abroad Center offers First-Step Meetings that give basic information about programs, services, and resources available through their office. No need to make an appointment, just show up. I highly recommend taking advantage of the amazing experience to explore the world while earing your degree!

Why do we go to college? There are lots of reasons, but one of the most important is to build the knowledge and skills needed to secure a fulfilling job upon graduation (and hopefully one that can pay your rent, too). It's a pretty daunting task, but the U of M offers some fantastic resources for students to help them navigate the job search process--whether for a volunteer position, an internship, or a full-time professional career.

When I was initially developing my resume, I read many resume-writing website with tips and examples. I even sent my draft to my parents and older brother to edit. I can tell you from experience, though, that nothing was more helpful than the advice of a professional.

The Career Center for Science and Engineering (CCSE) is an amazing resource for College of Science and Engineering (CSE) students. CCSE helps current students find internships and co-ops, connect with professionals in the technical fields, write resumes, and develop interview skills. In fact, recruiters recently ranked schools which produce the best graduates and the University of Minnesota is within the top 10 best engineering schools. You can view the rankings here.

Real world experience as an undergraduate is essential when applying for professional jobs after graduation and we really encourage students to participate in internships, co-ops, and research as undergraduates at the U of M. In fact, 80% of CSE students do at least one internship or co-op during their time here. Read more about internships and co-ops on the CCSE website.

CCSE even has two one-credit classes for students to help prepare them for careers in science and engineering. One class is designed for first- and second-year students who aren't sure which science and engineering major is right for them. Another class is designed for third- and fourth-year students who have already chosen a major and are preparing for their careers.

I know that as high school students you're probably undecided about what you want to study in college, let alone what you want to do for the rest of your life. Rest assured that the College of Science and Engineering offers a lot of fantastic resources and advisers to help you find your direction!

Joan Baez Bob Dylan crop

The University of Minnesota offers freshman seminars to all first-year students. These small, discussion-oriented courses are developed by faculty and are usually based on topics that are relevant to popular culture and what is happening in today's society. Freshman seminars usually meet once a week and are a great way to get to know a faculty member and other first-year students with similar interests.

One seminar being offered this year explores the life and music of Bob Dylan. Mr. Dylan is known as one of the greatest musical artists of all time and is a personal favorite. Did you know he attended the U of M for a year before he moved to New York and became famous? He is also from the Minnesota iron range, just like me!

The Bob Dylan course examines the many contributions he has made to music, popular culture, literature, and film. Class time is spent listening to music; viewing videos, concert footage, and films; and having topical discussions. It is taught by Alex Lubet, a professor of music and American and Jewish Studies. The best part of this class? No exams! 

Learn more about freshman seminars at the U of M.

The photo above is labeled for reuse with modification at http://bit.ly/bOo9QI via Wikimedia Commons.


I want to let you all know about a great event happening on campus this Saturday, October 16.

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is hosting Technically Speaking, an event for young women who are interested in science and engineering. I am really excited for Technically Speaking because of all the activities SWE has planned for the day. The former president of SWE, who graduated this spring, will be speaking about her experiences in the College of Science and Engineering. Also speaking about her experiences in industry will be a professional female engineer. There will be a really neat science demonstration and a design project for students.

Throughout the day visiting students will be meeting current members of the Society of Women Engineers and learning more about opportunities in science and engineering. I think this day will be really fun--I'm most excited for the design project!

If you are interested in science and engineering, this will be a great opportunity for you to connect with other women who share your same interests and learn more about the U of M.  You can register for the event online, or call me for more information. I hope to meet you and your family on campus this Saturday!

Chris Hui, a current University of Minnesota student, was recently featured in the Star Tribune for his custom-design sneaker business. He started painting sneakers for fun as a teenager and has been refining his talent ever since. His creative designs have recently became very popular among professional athletes and famous hip-hop artists. Chris has even designed custom shoes for Lupe Fiasco and Lebron James. Check out the full article from the Star Tribune!

Golf is one of my favorite activities and has been since I was young. I played golf in high school and wanted to continue working on my game throughout college. However, those of you who play know that the game can be an expensive hobby. Shortly after coming to the University of Minnesota as a student, I quickly discovered that Les Bolstad Golf Course (the University's public golf course) offers great deals so students can hit more green for less green!

According to the University of Minnesota's Department of Recreational Sports, Les Bolstad Golf Course was established in 1929. The course is a 18-hole championship course located just next to the University's St. Paul campus. The course offers great rates for University students, staff and faculty.

I have played Les Bolstad countless times. After class or on the weekends, I would hit the links with some friends for some twilight golf. Les Bolstad's twilight rates are a great way a save some money as a student and still enjoy improving your game.

No matter if you are PGA professional and first-time golfer, the Unviersity of Minnesota's Recreational Sports School of Golf is a great new program to introduce you to the game. This program provides group and private lessons as well as competitive leagues.

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences is offering a class this fall that is concentrating on one of the biggest news headlines of the year: the Gulf oil spill. This class explores technical and scientific issues of the spill, along with ethical and societal implications. If I was a student, I would definitely put it on the top of my "must take" classes for 2010.

At the University of Minnesota, our students are not only learning about events that have happened recently--say, 5 or 10 years ago--they are also learning about issues that the world is facing at this very moment in time. The class is being lead by Ph.D. student Robert Gilmer. Robert went on a 10-day trip to the Gulf of Mexico to see, firsthand, how the spill was affecting New Orleans and the Mississippi River Delta. Here is a video of him explaining his plans for the class:


Here is a link to Robert's blog that he created during his trip down to the Gulf. 

Last week was a very busy and fun-filled week at the University of Minnesota. The memories from homecoming 2010, "Paint the Town Gold," will go down in U of M history. It was extra special for me this year because I was on the committee that helped plan the events!

The homecoming festivities started on Friday, October 1, with the scavenger hunt. Students traveled around campus to find artifacts, take pictures, and perform tasks, all related to the U of M.

Our second event, Thank U, was held on Sunday, October 3. Teams of students did various service projects around the Twin Cities to thank the greater community for supporting the U of M. The service projects were centered around cultivating HIV/AIDS awareness and education.

The homecoming kick-off event, Gopherfest, was held on Monday on Northrop Plaza. We had free pizza, games, and prizes. Gopherfest also included the T-shirt swap, in which students brought old t-shirts to be given to a clothing drive in the exchange for a new homecoming t-shirt.

The Cheer Competition was also on Monday. Teams from various student groups across the University of Minnesota showed off their school spirit and talents on stage in the Superblock. Big Ten network star, Melanie Collins, was one of the judges along with U of M spirit squad coaches. Check out this video from Big Ten Network about the Cheer Competition (featuring our very own Admissions Ambassadors!).

Tuesday night we held a flag football tournament. Teams brought their "A-game" to Bierman Field for some fun and friendly competition. The Big Ten network joined us again, this time to help coach the Admissions Ambassadors. Check out this video from Big Ten Network about U of M Flag Football

There was a blood drive on Wednesday in Coffman Memorial Union. All donations were given to the American Red Cross. The Lip Sync Competition was also on Wednesday. This was an exciting night for me because I was an emcee! Teams showed off their dance moves while the other emcees and I got the crowd going with the Minnesota Rouser.

First place Lip Sync team: The Golden Ticket

Homecoming 010.jpgFriday was the highlight of my homecoming week. It started out with a great U of M tradition, the homecoming parade, on University Avenue. The parade featured our alumni marching band, student groups, and even Mayor R.T. Rybak. Here is a video from last year's parade to give you an idea of what it's all about:

After the parade, students and alumni gathered on Gateway Plaza in front of McNamara Alumni Center for the pepfest. During the pepfest, we gave out awards to the top teams in every division of the competitions and also announced the 2010 homecoming king and queen. The pepfest ended with a speech from our athletic director Joel Maturi, a performance by the marching band and spirit squad, and a blast of fireworks!

Following the pepfest, 7,000 students crowded Williams Arena to see famous hip-hop artist, Kid Cudi. He was a great performer and it was an awesome concert. Hopefully the homecoming concert will become a long-lasting tradition at the U of M.

Kid Cudi on stage at Williams Arena

Homecoming 015.jpgThere was a football game Saturday to cap off the week. The Gophers put up a good fight, but weren't able to defeat the Wildcats this time. Students and alumni still cheered their hardest and showed off their Golden Gopher pride.

Homecoming continues to get better and better with each coming year. I'm looking forward to coming back as an alumna!

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