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August 2011 Archives

I have always been a huge fan of the T.V. show Project Runway, which is a series on Lifetime featuring real up-and-coming fashion designers. Project Runway puts these designers to the test through many design challenges in New York City.

The current season 9 has featured some of the most talented designers of all, including University of Minnesota alumna, Danielle Everine! Danielle is 26 years old and currently living in Minneapolis. She was selected as one of the top designers in the country to compete on Project Runway.

Although Danielle made it to the top 12, she was unfortunately voted "out" in the episode that aired August 25. While she is no longer in the running to win Project Runway, I'm sure she will continue to create fabulous clothes and will be very successful in her future! Visit the Project Runway website to see Danielle's previous work, photos, videos, and to learn more about the show.

Elizabeth Bye, professor and head of the U of M College of Design's Department of Design, Housing and Apparel, recently shared her expertise in regards to what it takes to make it in the fashion industry, with the UMNews team for their segment, the "U of M Moment".


Studying abroad is an extremely rewarding opportunity for students to expand their horizons and experience new cultures. The University of Minnesota's Learning Abroad Center gives students access to more than 300 opportunities in more than 60 countries, but many students think that studying abroad is limited to taking classes in another country. In fact, there are so many more opportunities to explore, including conducting research abroad.

Laura Nelson, a junior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, spent three weeks during last year's winter break in western Thailand learning how to track tigers and other large mammals. As a forest resources major, she went on this research trip with twelve of her classmates and two professors. The students hiked all day in search of tigers; their research helped Thailand's tiger conservation efforts. This adventure was not only important to tiger conservation research, but Nelson and her fellow students also learned how to take care of themselves in the rugged environment of the jungle.

Nelson chose her major because of her personal history and her love of environment and conservation. She plans to work for the forest service or the park service upon graduation from the University of Minnesota. Based upon her own experience, Nelson believes that research experience is especially fulfilling, among the opportunities available for students to pursue. At the University of Minnesota, there are many research opportunities available to all students, and you can even get paid for the experience! Nelson also advises new students to take classes outside of your discipline, meet new people, and register for freshmen seminars.

Click here to learn more about Laura Nelson and her research project. Pictured below is Nelson and part of her research team outside of Khao Nang Rum Research Station, where the students lived in a bungalow during their time in Thailand.



If you have recently visited the Twin Cities or the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus, it's easy to see why Minneapolis was recently voted America's "best bike city" by Bicycling magazine.  Besides the bustling community of student cyclists, our visitors also encounter many racks of bright green Nice Ride bikes that are available for rental to the public. 


Nice Ride Minnesota was formed through the Twin Cities Bike Share Project, an initiative started by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation in July 2008. In total, there are about 95 Nice Ride Stations in the network, and that number continues to grow.


The mission of Nice Ride is to enhance the quality of our urban life by providing a convenient, easy-to-use bike sharing program that will provide residents and visitors a healthy, fun, different way to get around town.


To use Nice Ride, users can purchase either a day subscription, or yearly subscription, and users can take as many trips as they want during each subscription. There is no trip fee for the first 30 minutes of every trip, but trips lasting more than 30 minutes will be charged hourly fees. When you are through with your Nice Ride bike you can return it to any station in the system, which makes it convenient for our students who want to rent a bike on one end of campus, and return it to a station at the other end!


The availability of Nice Ride bikes in the Twin Cities is great, especially for those looking for a day trip into the city from campus, hitting a dirt trail, or riding around the Chain of Lakes. Nice Ride provides a chance to see a bigger part of our beautiful location. Many students bring their own bike to campus, but if you choose to leave it at home, take advantage of Nice Ride on your next visit to Minneapolis. For more information, including subscription and hourly pricing, visit the Nice Ride Minnesota website today.


Pictured below is one of the Nice Ride bike racks that I see every day as I walk to work, class, or anywhere else that my day might bring me. Nice Ride is everywhere!




The Energy Management team at the University of Minnesota works hard to preserve the environment, and their efforts have finally paid off! The Donhowe Building on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus has been rated as an Energy Star Building by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The building is home to University offices for capital planning, facilities management and human resources.


To earn the rating, the Donhowe Building's energy consumption data were compared to hundreds of similar buildings. The EPA looked at the Donhowe Building's hours, size, number of occupants and types of lighting system and compared the data to similar buildings. Buildings ranking in the top 25 percent qualify for the Energy Star label. Donhowe's was listed in the top 12 percent of all office buildings.


The Donhowe Building's high energy efficiency came about as the result of the U Energy Management group's recommissioning project in 2009. This is the first building on campus to receive such a prestigious rating; however, the Energy Management team is still working to create an energy-efficient environment on campus.


The many research facilities at the U of M that use a great deal of energy, which makes it difficult to continue in our efficiency progress. Nonetheless, a University sustainability committee plan is scheduled to be published this summer highlighting lab strategies. Energy Management intends to continue to use the EPA's Energy Star rating system and the state of Minnesota's "B3" (Buildings, Benchmarks and Beyond) database to benchmark and compare University buildings' energy performance against similar buildings. Collectively, these tools will facilitate the recognition of the U's achievements in energy efficiency and help direct future efforts and resources to buildings where significant efficiency improvements are possible. I'm lucky to be a part of such an environmentally friendly campus!


For more information, see Donhowe. Pictured below is the Energy Star Donhowe itself!



The University of Minnesota is one of the nation's top public research universities, with opportunities that all undergraduate students can benefit from--including personal experiences working with faculty mentors in research and creative activities. Earlier this week, I visited the University of Minnesota TRiO Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program Nineteenth Annual Poster Presentation and Reception to honor and showcase student participants and their faculty mentors. At this event, students who have participated in research with faculty mentors at the U of M presented their findings on a variety of issues.

The McNair Scholars Program seeks to increase doctoral program application, matriculation, and degree attainment by underrepresented and first-generation college students. The students who took part in this program are looking to later obtain a masters degree. Through the McNair Scholars experience, students develop higher-level academic and research skills necessary to gain admission to and successfully complete graduate study. This year there was a diverse group of 20 first generation college students who studied with distinguished University of Minnesota faculty research mentors.

I was able to meet and speak with the student researchers, and I learned about the very interesting ideas and information that resulted from this research. The poster presentations displayed findings in policy effectiveness in addressing women's inequality throughout Africa, trauma in the lives of college students, how reality T.V. prevents teen pregnancy, and much more. As I spoke with the students about their research, it was easy to see that every student actually cared about and had a passion for the issue that they addressed.

This event provided an excellent forum to display the research efforts of these exceptional McNair Scholars and their University of Minnesota faculty mentors. I was happy to be able to attend and recognize these outstanding students and their faculty mentors! Visit the McNair Scholars program website for more information or read about previous McNair scholars on the alumni page.

Pictured below are two of the student researchers that I had a chance to speak with--Osman Ahmed and Morgan Bobo. Osman, a senior majoring in political science and global studies, studied the experiences of meat packers in Willmar, MN. Meanwhile, Morgan, who is a senior majoring in child psychology, focused on the association between early adversity and the timing of the transition to parenthood. I had a great time learning from the both of them, as well as from the rest of the students. All in all, the McNair Scholars Poster Presentation and Reception made for a very inspiring afternoon.

Osman Ahmen, U of M senior--political science and global studies major

Osman Ahmed.jpgMorgan Bobo, U of M senior--child psychology major

Morgan Bobo.jpg

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