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November 2010 Archives

In the last twenty years, the Internet has changed the way we communicate with one another and has brought global societies closer together. Using the Internet, organizations can reach customers across continents and individuals have the ability to share their opinions and ideas with the world. Geographic location does not exist as a barrier for business, making friends, or for communication. Internet and Global Society is a class at the University of Minnesota that explores the social, economic, cultural and political impact of the Internet around the world.

The class is taught through the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the College of Liberal Arts. I took this course last year and really enjoyed it. Class time was spend in discussions, watching videos, and working in groups. Some of the assignments included:

  • Comparison paper of two different social networking sites
  • A paper on the positive and negative implications of globalization
  • Creating a custom Google Map of a specific area's attractions, featuring information on each location.
  • A paper on digital divide (the growing divide between people that use the Internet and those that do not)

For our final project we created a website that explored a specific topic that highlighted the social, political, economic, or  cultural implications of new media technologies on the global society in more depth. My group's website presented the Internet's effect on communications professions, such as public relations, advertising, journalism, and graphic design.

Do you remember my blog post back in October about Chris Hui, the University of Minnesota student who designs custom sneakers? Chris has been designing award-winning sneakers since he was 14 years old and has created shoes for celebrities like LeBron James (basketball star), Lupe Fiasco (rapper), Carson Daly (television host), and Prince Fielder (of the Milwaukee Brewers). 

Well, Chris has made headlines again! He recently designed sneakers for Goldy to wear for when he competes in the College Mascot National Championships in Florida. Check out this video of Chris designing the shoes: 



I hope they start selling these at the U of M bookstore so that I can buy a pair! :)

As a recent graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of Minnesota, I get excited everytime I speak with students interested in journalism. The School of Journalism offers a few different areas of study with excellent opportunities for students to get involved both on and off campus.

Professional Journalism:
Includes both broadcasting and print journalism. Within these programs students are able to gain knowledge and expertise to be successful as a professional journalist in areas such as magazine writing, newspaper writing, editing, photojournalism and television and radio broadcasting.

Professional Strategic Communications:
The strategic communications track in the School of Journalism provides students with learning opportunities that build strong critical thinking and communication skills and professional skills in the fields of advertising and public relations.

Internship/Job Opportunities:
Located in a large metropolitan area, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities offers excellent opportunities for students to gain professional experiences in journalism, public relations, and advertising.

The College of Liberal Arts Career Services Office offers support for students looking for internship and job opportunities. They offer walk-in hours, tips for major and career exploration, on-campus interviews for jobs and internships and even a website with internship and job opportunities.

The Minnesota Daily is a campus newspaper run entirely by U of M students offers students jobs in advertising, editing, and newspaper writing both for print journalism and online media.

Radio K is the University of Minnesota's student-run radio station that plays eclectic array of independent music. These are two excellent opportunities for students to gain valuable professional experiences while staying within the comforts of the campus.

Student Groups:
The University of Minnesota offers over 600 student organizations. A quick search of the Student Unions and Activities website displays 10 other student organizations under the Publication and Communications category, including our award-winning National Student Advertising Competition team.

With countless opportunities to get involved its easy to see why the School of Journalism attracts some of the most articulate, passionate students in the country!

Hi everyone!

Each fall, the Black Student Union hosts a wonderful event called the Unity Dinner. Each year, the dinner has a special theme.This year's theme was "An Autumn Affair: Building Pillars of Diversity". The purpose of the event was to bring people and resources together for an evening of delicious food, inspirational speakers, talented artists, and networking opportunities to promote, service, leadership, community development, and diversity. The event took place on Sunday, November 14th, in Coffman Memorial Union on our campus. 

Below is a video of highlights from the event. I hope you enjoy!


Hi everyone!

This is the third and final video for the Dia de los Muertos event that I attended on campus. In this video, you will see two cultural dances performed in honor of the event. The outfits and the dance moves were wonderful and intricate. I hope you enjoy it.


CLA Student Ambassadors is a student group that provides an excellent way for students in the College of Liberal Arts to build leadership skills, share their thoughts and opinions with prospective students, and gain valuable experiences working with a diverse group of students and staff at the University and in the community.

CLA Ambassadors.jpgCLA Ambassadors get involved on campus in numerous ways, including participating in student panels, assisting with a variety of campus events, and blogging. As a prospective student, you can get to know each of the Ambassadors, stay up-to-date on happenings around campus, and find out what it's like to be a student in the College of Liberal Arts by following them on Facebook! (Make sure to check back frequently as new content is added weekly.)

One of my favorite things about Minnesota is the seasons. I like to tell everyone that "we get the most of all the seasons in Minnesota!" As the cold moves in and the snow begins to accumulate, winter fun in Minneapolis begins to blossom.

Nestled in the heart of the Twin Cities, students at the University of Minnesota have a wide variety of winter activities at their fingertips. Here are a few of my favorite things to do during these cold Minne-snow-ta winters: In my opinion, there is no better winter pastime than ice skating. All around Minneapolis, there are great places to show off your skating skills. Only a short bus ride from campus, The Depot Rink is a historic downtown Minneapolis train station that now houses a modern, indoor rink with floor-to-ceiling glass walls showcasing views of the downtown city skyline. According to their website, The Depot was named one of the Top 10 Best Places to Ice Skate by the USA Today and MSNBC. U of M students can purchase discount tickets through the University's Student Union and Activities office in Coffman Memorial Union.

Another one of my favorite cold-weater activities is winter's answer to the Minnesota State Fair. At the end of January, the city of St.Paul gears up for one of it's biggest gatherings, the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Going on 124 years, the Winter Carnival is a celebration like no other. With events like a parade, ice maze, and dog sled rally (to name just a few) the event has activites for all ages and interests.

Both the Depot and the Winter Carnival are just a short bus ride from campus, so students can check them out on a whim!

People say that your college years are some of the best years of your life. So far, I agree. Now that I'm a senior, I look back at my time in college...at all the great memories I have made and all the things that I have learned. I have learned so much about myself and about the world.

One of the most important things you gain while in college, of course, is your degree. Our campus culture supports and understands the importance of extracurricular activities, but it has always been made clear to me that academics must come first. As a student at one of the nation's top research universities, I've had the opportunity to learn from award-winning professors and attend classes in state-of-the-art facilities.

Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal noticed that the University of Minnesota's television advertisements "stand out from the crowd" because of their focus on academics. I think that the advertisements are an excellent reflection of the studious atmosphere I've experience here at the U of M. 

Massoud Amin, the director of the Technological Leadership Institute and an electrical engineering professor at the U of M, is working on developing a smart grid to deliver electricity to the U.S. The term "smart grid," which Dr. Amin coined 12 years ago, refers to using computer, communications, sensing, and control technology combined with an electric power grid to make electric power more reliable.

The Midwest contains some of the most reliable states which average only 92 minutes of power outages each year, but New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey average 214 minutes without power each year. Instead of just learning to cope with these power outages, Dr. Amin is trying to solve the problem. It is possible to have more reliable electricity - Japan averages only 4 minutes without power per year!

To highlight the work being done by Dr. Amin, the U of M created a 30-second advertisement to run during the halftime of college football games. Many colleges create these ads because they are free for schools in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision. This year the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) finally settled the debate: Who has the best college ad?

WSJ created a four-person panel consisting of a representative from Ogilvy and Mather, an international advertising, marketing, and public relations agency, along with an associate professor from NYU's film school, and two high school students who are currently choosing where they want to attend college. They judged 112 of the 120 ads produced by schools.

The ad graded the highest overall by the panel was the U of M's which features Massoud Amin explaining his smart grid research. The panelists gave the U of M's ad top marks for its powerful images and words about academics.

Read the WSJ reviews for yourself!

I am proud to represent an institution that has such strong academics and produces innovative research. There are certainly a number of factors in choosing a college, some of which are not academic, but the reason you attend college is to learn! And at the U of M, you will learn from some of the best minds in academia and industry.

So....what do you think of the ad?

 

Hi everyone! Below is link for part 2 of the Dia de los Muertos event that I attended on campus. The overall theme for the event was social movements, then and now. The event was hosted by three organizations: Casa Sol Living Learning Community, the Chicano Studies department, and La Raza Student Cultural Center. Each of these organizations created an altar with a specific theme in honor of the event. This video highlights the altar created by La Raza Student Cultural Center.

 

Enjoy, and stay tuned for part 3!


Earlier this month, College of Biological Sciences undergraduate students traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, to compete with students from universities all over the world in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition. Occuring annually at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this year's competition attracted 130 teams from 25 countries for a total of more than 2,000 students. Teams were challenged to design, build, and test a biological system that could operate within a cell.

According to the University of Minnesota's iGEM team's webpage, the team researched how to build protein-based micro-compartments in E coli bacteria that could be used as nanobioreactors to carry out metabolic functions or synthetic reactions. The team hopes to use further imaging experiments to demonstrate and model the formation for these structured microcompartments inside a micro-organism. For their efforts, the U of M team won a gold medal for the "Best New BioBrick Part, Natural." Read more about the project here.

The iGEM project is only one example of the exciting research being conducted in the College of Biological Sciences. Throughout the University of Minnnesota, research is a very important part of our community. As an undergraduate, there are lots of ways you can get involved with research--beginning with your first semester on campus. Students can do research for credit, as a job, or by volunteering. To learn more about research opportunities, visit the College of Biological Sciences Student Services Research webpage.

Every Friday, the Department of Astronomy holds free public viewings with their HUGE telescope. Each week there is a presentation about a different topic by astronomy graduate students. When there are clear skies, the large green dome on top of the Tate Lab of Physics Building on Northrop Mall opens up and you can look out the historic telescope kept there.  You can even take small telescopes out onto the roof!

I recently got to visit the astronomy lab on top of the Tate Lab of Physics building with some College of Science and Engineering Ambassadors.  Here are some of our ambassadors posing with the historic telescope!


CSEAmb telescope.jpg

Though I like to picture astronomy being done with telescopes like this, unfortunately they're not used anymore.  All telescopes used by astronomers today utilize mirrors instead of lenses. That means that this telescope has one part that is truly irreplacable: the 10-inch glass lens. These lenses are not manufactured anymore, so if it cracks or breaks the telescope will never again be operational.

The skies were cloudy when we visited the lab, but we still got to walk around on the roof of Tate. There was an amazing view of Northrop Mall! It was hard to get a good photo of the Mall at night, but our ambassadors were enjoying their first trip to the Tate rooftop!


CSEAmb roof of Tate.jpg

We were a little disappointed that we didn't get to see stars, but the astronomy department made up for it. They have 3D computer simulations of planets in orbit and light and dark matter to educate visitors. An astronomy graduate student started up the computer and showed us the simulations. To see them in 3-D we had to wear polarized glasses...and we looked pretty slick!


CSEAmb 3D glasses.jpgThis was a really fun experience, and I certainly learned a lot about astronomy. These visits are free to the public every Friday while classes are in session. Even on cloudy nights, you can check out the telescope and hear a presentation from our astronomy department. If you're in the area for a campus visit, I highly recommend attending the free public viewings


The U of M has recently teamed up with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to help increase food security and to fight global hunger. The FAO is excited to take advantage of the dozens of programs already established at the U of M in food and agriculture. The goal of this partnership will be to find a way to feed the world with a global population that is growing exponentially. Within the next 40 years the population of the world is expected to grow by about 2.2 billion people. Many steps will have to be taken for us to continue to fight hunger with such a boom in the world population.

Some steps that will be taken include controlling wheat rust which is damaging wheat crops in Africa and Asia, enhancing distance education through e-learning, protecting our food supply through the U of M's National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and by increasing environmental stewardship through efficient farming practices. Some of these efficient farming practices will include farming with less water which will help to ensure the safety of our watersheds, and by better utilizing our agricultural byproducts.

This new partnership between the U of M and the FAO will open many doors for U of M students to get involved in research. Every one of the steps that I explained above will be an opportunity for students to get a hands on-learning experience while also helping to stop world hunger. This is a very exciting time here at the University of Minnesota, and this partnership is a great example of the solution-driven science that takes place every day here in in the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences. Check out the UMNews website to learn more about our new partnership with FAO.

Our very own Goldy Gopher competed in two mascot competitions recently. To those familiar with Goldy, this comes as no surprise. Our favorite furry friend appears at over 500 outings a year, entertains young and old with his humorous nature, and fires up the crowd during athletic events! Capital One selected Goldy Gopher and 16 other NCAA mascots to compete in the challenge based on the interaction with fans, creativity, enthusiasm, and some other criteria. Each mascot selected received $5,000 for use in scholarships and funding.

Goldy also is competing with mascots across the country in the 2011 Universal Cheerleaders Association College Mascot National Championships. The mascots had to create videos showcasing the following talents:

  • Character development
  • Game situations
  • Crowd involvement
  • Cheer/Dance/Band integration
  • Community Service
  • School activities (non-sporting)
  • Overall impression

 He created this video and tied for first place!  

 

Goldy will be competeing in Orlando in January at the National Championship. We love Goldy and hope he wins!

In the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) you will be taught by world-renowned professors. These folks are not only outstanding teachers and scholars, but also are engaged in research and creative works. U of M undergraduates are often involved in these projects, working side-by-side with faculty and graduate students. You can get to know some of our amazing professors by taking a look at our professor profiles.

This week, I would like to highlight some of the accomplishments of Chris Uggen, chair of the sociology department and a Distinguished McKnight Professor. Professor Uggen advocates for more boldness from professors. He "believes that faculty are too timid; that they should be bold in tackling the issues people care about. And perhaps more to the point--issues that many of us haven't been asked to care about."

Dr. Uggen co-wrote the book Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy with Jeff Manza, which agrues for the restoration of voting rights for criminals. "The outline of the book was based on a series of articles, and it was going to close with a public opinion poll and not formulate a policy stance. But the evidence was just very powerful on a number of fronts, and so we ended up taking a position that would lead to re-enfranchisement," says Uggen. 

As a professor held to the standard of "advocating with facts," Uggen came to the conclusion, supported in part by public opinion, that voting rights should be restored to criminals who have completed their sentence, are on probation or on parole. He supports his claims in his book and has more recently written articles that focus more specifically on disenfranchisement in Minnesota which currently denies the right to vote for anyone convicted of a felony who is incarcerated, on probation, or on parole.

You can read more about about about Professor Uggen by checking out his profile.

Robert Bruininks was officially named president of the University of Minnesota on November 8, 2002. This will be his last year in that role. Our search for a new president has yielded one final candidate, Eric Kaler.

Dr. Kaler would be the 16th president of the University and only the second to be an alumnus.  The first alumnus to serve as president was Malcolm Moos in 1964. Dr. Kaler received his Ph.D. in 1982 from the College of Science and Engineering (known then as the Institute of Technology) in chemical engineering.

Dr. Kaler is certainly well-prepared for the position, having been a professor at the University of Washington and the University of Delaware, the dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Delaware, and finally a provost at Stony Brook University.

His qualifications look good on paper, and this week Dr. Kaler is participating in a public question-and-answer session and also an hour-long public interview with the University's Board of Regents. These will help demonstrate if Dr. Kaler is a good fit for the U of M.

I'm happy to hear that one of CSE's alumni may be returning to campus to lead our University!  The Minnesota Daily has been following the presidential search: Read the MN Daily article introducing us to Dr. Kaler.

Exciting update! Since I wrote this entry, it has been announced that Dr. Kaler will be the 16th president of the University!  Read about the decision here.

Hi everyone! Below is a video I created about an interesting campus event that I attended on campus recently. The event is called Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The video will give you a brief history of Dia de los Muertos, an annual holiday celebrated in Mexican culture--and on the University of Minnesota campus. I'll be posting more footage of the event soon!


The Black Student Union, commonly known as 'The BSU', around campus is an organization that I hold dear to my heart! Since my freshman year of college, I have been an active member and have served on its board all four years. The Black Student Union provides an intellectual, cultural, and social environment for students to grow, learn, network, and more!  It exists to encourage a positive image of Black people and to support its members in achieving their educational goals. Founded in 1969, The BSU has rich traditions and strong presence on the University of Minnesota campus!

The video below is a snapshot of the kick-off event that The BSU hosts every September to welcome incoming freshman, transfer students, and current student back to campus! The event featured great speakers, an introduction to some of the different organizations on campus, music, spoken word, step performances, and free food!

If you ever happen to be on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota and have some spare time, visit the amazing plant collection at the College of Biological Sciences Greenhouse. This beautiful 10,000 square foot facility is masterfully divided into 8 spacious rooms thriving with 1,200 different species of greenery!

According to their webpage, the greenhouse is home to plants of distinct aquatic, desert and tropical communities. The facility provides students to experience an array of plant life throughout the year. For instance, come see the Ananas comosus, commonly known as the pineapple, growing in Minnesota during the winter! With laboratories housed in the facility, students can get hands-on experience working with hundreds of species while discovering the beauty of plant biology.

If you are at all interested in visiting, the University of Minnesota's Greenhouse offers tours of the plant collections throughout the year. To schedule a visit or find out more information, please visit the University Greenhouse website for more information. 

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) in the College of Liberal Arts has over 10,000 alumni. Every year, students have the opportunity to be paired with a mentor. The mentorship program helps students get acquainted with various communications professions and make connections with practitioners in that field. I applied for the program about two months ago and finally met my mentor on Saturday at the kick-off event!

The Alumni Society Board tries to match students with professionals that have a job that is similar to the students' career aspirations. The board did a great job matching me with a very accomplished individual that has a dream job at firm that I would love to work for someday. The program strives to make the transition from college to career easier for students by providing advice, job search planning, and networking opportunities. It is recommended that the student and mentor meet at least once a month, but we are planning to meet about every two weeks. This week I get to go to my mentor's office and meet her co-workers!

The program is one of the many ways that the University of Minnesota assists students with life after college. Other colleges and alumni associations have followed in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications' footsteps to provide their own professional mentorship programs. Learn more about the SJMC's mentorship program at http://sjmc.umn.edu/ugrad/mentor.html and other ways alumni are involved at http://www.minnesotaalumni.org/s/1118/index.aspx.

As I learned in my Natural Resources Consumption and Sustainability class in 2008, the definition of sustainability is "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to be able to meet their own needs." I am always striving to follow this ideal. Whether is it reducing the amount of waste that I am throwing away, reusing the containers and bottles that many would consider garbage, or recycling aluminum and plastic that can no longer be used, I hope to reduce my impact on the environment.

Looking at sustainability from the perspective of a single person can be pretty straightforward, but looking it in the context of an entire community with trade-offs between economic growth, social equity, and environmental integrity, sustainability can become much more complicated.

The sustainability studies minor was created in 2006 by the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Initiative (ESSI). The ESSI drew together faculty members from colleges and departments across the Twin Cities campus to develop and implement sustainability programs in undergraduate education, interdisciplinary research, and outreach to teachers and journalists. The minor immerses students in the study of real-world problems from a variety of academic perspectives, incorporating disciplines from across the natural, social and applied sciences.

Students, faculty, and staff at the U of M understand the importance of sustainability, its impact on our lives, and the benefits that an education in sustainability offers. To learn more, check out the sustainability studies minor website!

The College of Biological Sciences is continually researching and discovering ways to better our communities and environment. Over the last few years, the college has been planning to renovate and expand on the Itasca Biological Station and Laboraties, one of the University's field research stations located in Itasca State Park in Northern Minnesota. 

The Itasca Station has been a vital tool for biologists all over the world for over 100 years now. This expanision will not only include new laboratories, classrooms, and teaching facilities, but it will also strive be to a zero-emission, carbon-neutral campus! The plan is the for this new facility to be a environmentally sustainable research and teaching facility for both the University of Minnesota and Itasca State Park.

Students in the College of Biological Sciences have unique opportunities to take courses at the Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories throughout their college careers. Courses are typically offered during the summer and consist of field biology and research. This is a great opportunity for anyone studying biology, because Itasca State Park is a biologist's dream come true! From its unique location at the pristine headwaters of the Mississippi River to the incredible biodiversity found in this living laboratory, the Itasca experience has come to define biology education at the University of Minnesota. In fact, all first-year CBS students participate in the Nature of Life program held at Itasca before their freshman year. 

As a fan of horror films, I was very excited when I recently had the opportunity to go to the opening of Paranormal Activity 2. Have you ever wondered what horror films say about us? Why do we enjoy them so much?

Robert Silberman, associate professor of art history in the College of Liberal Arts, attempts to explain both the entertainment and social value of horror films. He describes them as avenues to experience controlled fear and likens them to roller coaster rides. "[They] allow us to engage dark issues without the real life situation," and "[to] work through our fears and anxieties." In this manner we can address our own fears in a controlled environment.

Check out the video below to learn more about Dr. Silberman's research on why we like to be scared!

On October 22, the College of Education and Human Development's Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies program hosted the first "Gopher Adventure Race." It was modeled after the popular television show "The Amazing Race." Students traveled all over campus to complete various challenges.

Nearly 100 students participated in the 13 challenges that were a part of the race. These challenges included canoeing down the Mississippi River, shooting rifles at the University Armory, and milking a cow on the St. Paul campus.

The teams were given six hours to complete the course. The first place team, Phillip Kelly and William Nielson, completed the race in two hours and 40 minutes. They were given $800 merchandise from The North Face for winning.

This event was the first collegiate event to be classified as a Green Event by FitPlanet, a sustainability consulting organization. Recycled materials were used for the race and participants were allowed to use the city bus system for free. Also, $5 of each $30 registration fee was given to Three Rivers Park District.

The Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies program in the College of Education and Human Development explores subjects that are central to people's lives, such as how they spend their free time, how they experience nature, and how recreation activities can bring a community together. The program instructors hope to have their students host the event again next year and hopefully with even more participants.

Check out this footage from the race:
 

This Saturday, November 13, the Math & Science Family Fun Fair will be held in Coffman Memorial Union. This is a free event for anyone interested in math and science. It begins at 10 a.m. and the first 750 people to arrive will receive free U of M backpacks!

The fair will feature hands-on exhibits and science-based presentations for students of all ages. I am excited to see the "Mystery Science Room," a new exhibit this year. It will be presented as a haunted laboratory and with spooky demonstrations. 

Student groups from the College of Science and Engineering will have exhibits, too.  Engineers without Borders, the U of M Steel Bridge Competition Team, and the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers will be there showcasing some of their groups' projects.

Physics Force will be performing at 10:30 a.m. and at noon in the Coffman Theater. This group is made up of local high school teachers and faculty from the School of Physics and Astronomy. They perform fascinating physics demonstrations; I learned some new tricks when I saw them last month.

There will also be a session by the Department of Chemistry called "Energy and U," which will explore different types of energy, how you can get it, where you can get it, and how you can store it. They will talk about the challenges that energy presents and their session (like every good chemistry demonstration) will include explosions, bright flashes, and flames! "Energy and U" will be performed twice--at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m in Coffman Theater.

Here are some of the exhibits I'm most excited to check out:

Uniting Water and People, presented by the students of Engineers Without Borders 

EWB is working with a community in Guatemala to get clean drinking water to their homes.

Sound Sandwiches, presented by The Works

This exhibit explores sound and vibration. Visitors can make their own wind instruments to make silly sounds.

Dam Busters, presented by the National Center for Eath-surface Dynamics (NCED)/Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL)

Learn about dam removal and river restoration projects performed by NCED and SAFL.  See a scale model of a current project at the Elwha River in Washington state where U of M scientists are researching the best ways to remove the dam without damaging the ecosystem.

Bridge Making, presented by the U of M Steel Bridge team

Build a model bridge from only newspaper and toothpicks! You will have 30 minutes to construct a bridge which will be tested for strength by members of the U of M's own Steel Bridge Competition Team.

Papermaking, presented by the U of M Bioproducts/Biosystems Engineering Student Chapter

Learn how to make paper from three types of fibers: white, recycled newspaper, and recycled cardboard boxes. You can make your own paper, and take it home with you!

I hope to see you there!


Research serves a vital role in the education of College of Liberal Arts (CLA) students. CLA Discovers highlights examples of teaching and research, creative work, learning and innovations from CLA faculty, staff and students.

For example, students studying Chinese had the opportunity to use their skills in translating the 1602 Ricci Map. Professor Ann Waltner, who has taught Chineses history since 1987, gathered a group of students and faculty to work on translating Classical Chinese from different departmental materials--one of which was the famous 1602 Ricci Map.

The map itself is one of only seven to have survived from the early 17th century and students here at the U of M had the privilege to work with this rare item! To read more about the map, check out "Veni, Vidi, Ricci" by CLA staffer Kelly O'Brien.

At the U of M, there are many students and faculty studying renewable energy. Some examples include building solar cars, designing solar houses, and researching wind power.  

We also have some professors and students studying another type of renewable energy: movement.

Professor Bill Robbins, associate head of the electrical and computer engineering, is an "energy scavenger." He is studying how to store and use electricity generated by people.  For example, pressing on a piece of plastic that can fit in the sole of your shoe can generate enough power to run a cell phone.

Rusen Yang, professor of mechanical engineering, is studying how to use nano-generators to produce electricity from anything that moves. By attaching pieces of plastic covered in nano-wires to a bridge vibrating from traffic, electricity can be produced. Even a hamster running in a wheel can produce electricity.

Just think...one day, this research might make it possible to charge your iPod by simply walking to class!

The Golden Gopher athletes are not only great at sports--our teams are also known for their giving spirit. Maroon and Gold Impacting the Community, known as M.A.G.I.C., provides student-athletes with volunteering and service opportunities. The group volunteers for Special Olympics, it has toy and food drives, visits hospitals, and more. 

Last year, student-athletes volunteered over 8,668 hours through M.A.G.I.C.! I think it's great that our student-athletes take time out of their very busy schedules to give back to the community. This Saturday, a bus will be parked outside Mariucci and Ridder Arena during the Golden Gopher mens and womens hockey games. M.A.G.I.C. will attempt to fill the bus with food items for Second Harvest Food Bank. 

Check out this article from KARE 11 news about the food drive.

Volunteering and community service are an important part of the U of M student experience--for athletes and non-athletes alike. For information on volunteer opportunities available to U of M students, check out www.engage.umn.edu/twincities, where you'll find student volunteer profiles, volunteer opportunities by interest, and more! 

The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) Dean's Engaged Leaders Program is a two-year program for incoming CFANS students who are committed to developing their potential to enhance our civic spaces through leadership, diversity, and stewardship of the urban, rural, and natural environment. 

This programs offers students the opportunity to explore multicultural communities around Minnesota and to learn how to improve community spaces through civic leadership.

The Dean's Engaged Leaders earn one credit every semester as they take a seminar involving community leaders from around the state of Minnesota. Students visit the White Earth Indian Reservation in the Fall, attend a retreat in the spring, and work on a number of different service projects.


DELP.jpg

                 Dean's Engaged Leaders at the White Earth Reservation. Photo courtesy of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.


The first year of the program focuses on mentorship opportunities and creating a strong foundation through the use of assessment tools to discover personal leadership styles. The second year of the program takes these newfound leadership skills and puts them to use with a long-term service learning experience and through close interactions with community leaders. This program can be a great fit for students who have an interest in leadership, community service, and diversity. 

If this sounds interesting to you, check out the Dean Engaged Leaders website for additional information about the program, including how to apply.

What do you get when you cross ice hockey with water polo? Underwater hockey, of course! The University of Minnesota's Underwater Hockey Club is one of many teams across the world that enjoy this innovative sport. The Minnesota Daily, our student-run campus newpaper, reported today on this incredible sport.

According the article, written by Ian Larson, "Underwater Hockey breaks ice at U," the game is played in a pool with a puck, sticks, goals and six players to a side. Under the water, players wear flippers, snorkels, goggles and swimwear. Players dive to strike the puck that glides across the bottom of the pool competing the score as many underwater goals as they can. (To see what this amazing sport looks like while being played, check out the photo accompanying the article!)

I had never heard of the sport until reading this story. Now, I'm fascinated! Apparently, it has been around for years and there's a national team that competes with many European nations as well as Australia and New Zealand. After four years here as a student, and several months as a staff member, I constantly amazed by the new things that I discover happening on our campus.  

I've never had a migraine and I consider myself very lucky. A lot of my friends and relatives get them frequently, and they sound incredibly painful. As a former math major, I was very interested to read about a math professor at the U of M who is using math to cure migraines.

Because cells use electricity to communicate with each other, Professor Mori is trying to model the electrical activity of cells and tissue. These models can help other researchers better understand migraines and heart disease. His research furthers our quest to cure migraines, hearth arrythmias, and other ailments.

yoichiro mori.jpg

Photo courtesy the College of Science and Engineering

One of the great advantages to being at a top public research university like the U of M is the opportunity for collaboration between so many different fields. Professor Mori is working very closely with researchers in our biomedical engineering department to further his research.  The cooperative efforts between science and engineering disciplines in the College of Science and Engineering make amazing advances like this possible!

Because Professor Mori's research is so promising for biomedical research, he has been named a McKnight Land-Grant Professor. This award is given to our most promising junior faculty to support their research.

Read more about Professor Mori's research.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute just released their College Sustainability Report Cards for over 300 colleges and universities throughout the US. The University of Minnesota was one of just three schools to recieve an 'A' grade in all nine categories, and placed first among schools in the Big Ten Conference. See the complete list of the sustainability report cards.

Much of the research being conducted in the the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) focuses on ways that we can reduce our environmental impact. According to the Minnesota Daily (our campus newspaper), "The report card cited 16 sustainability-themed student groups, a student-run organic farm, and the option of living in a sustainability-themed hallway as a reason for the A grade." 

Many of the student groups, the student-run organic farm, and the Environment House are based in CFANS. CFANS is also proud of its use of biodegradable fountain drinking cups in the St. Paul Student Center, biofuel research on algae, and the University's future plans to power University vehicles using excess cooking oil procured from our dining facilities. In addition, the U of M offers an interdisciplinary Sustainability Studies Minor that has become very popular among students in a wide variety of majors. (Stay tuned for a future blog post on the Sustainability Studies Minor!)

Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) is one of the most prominent student groups at the University of Minnesota. This organization hosts various events and fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for cancer research. Members also volunteer and spread cancer awareness throughout the community. CAC often volunteers at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, a homestay for cancer patients that live far away from the treatment centers in the Twin Cities.

Colleges Against Cancer's biggest event every year is the Relay For Life. Relay For Life is an overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs for the American Cancer Society. Last year, the overall theme was "Fight for your Right to Birthday Party!". I participated on the Public Relations Student Society of America's team and had a great time. It is a really moving event and I was proud to be a part of it. The U of M raised over $201,000 for the American Cancer Society. This year CAC's goals for the Relay For Life are to raise $222,000, have 222 teams participate, and attract 2,600 individual participants.

CAC's next event is to promote lung cancer awareness. The event is called "Kicking Ash" and will feature a talent contest that students can enter by submitting an audio recording of how they use their voice for singing, poetry, acting, etc. The top six entrants chosen will perform at the event. In addition to the contest, bands will be performing throughout the night. The event is free, and there will be prizes!

To learn more about Colleges Against Cancer, visit its website or Facebook page.


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