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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

Like many other U of M students, I enjoy the music of world-famous band U2. As a result, my friends and I were excited to hear that U2 was playing on Saturday, July 23rd at the TCF Bank Stadium, on the U of M campus! The U2 360 show was the first concert held at TCF Bank Stadium and was the first outdoor arena concert in Minnesota in 33 years.

I wasn't able to attend the event, but by simply driving by the TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday night, I was able to hear the incredible music of U2 and see the packed seats of the stadium, which were completely filled with fans. The area surrounding the stadium was alive with activity, with people picnicking on grassy areas and enjoying the sounds of the concert with friends. 

Despite pouring rain, fans danced, sang and swayed until U2 left the stage. Front-man Bono even tipped his hat to our TCF Bank Stadium, saying "Get on your boots in your fancy new stadium, handsome place for us to be hanging in tonight..." Along with their iconic songs, Bono broke into "Singing In The Rain." 

Below, I have posted a couple pictures from the concert taken by a University Relations staffer. Visit the University of Minnesota Facebook page to see more photos of the concert...and rock on! 


U2 concert.jpgBono.jpg

 Hi everyone! Vishakha Mathur, a real University of Minnesota student, has shared her thoughts on student life at the U of M. Pictured below is Vishakha and her Welcome Week group, having a blast in the Twin Cities before classes begin.

Welcome Week group.jpgName: Vishakha Mathur
Hometown: Hopkins, Minnesota
Year in College: Sophomore, Class of 2014
Major(s): Communication studies

What made you decide to choose the U of M?
The atmosphere at the U of M is perfect for exploration and finding my own path to success.

What is your favorite part about living and attending school in the Twin Cities?
I love all the different opportunities offered at the U of M, from different classes to different activities/clubs to campus jobs. The campus is like home. Everything you need is right here! :)

What has been the biggest surprise about attending college in Minnesota?
The diversity of people! I know people from around the world, including India, Brazil, Nigeria, you name it! It's a privilege to be among people with such strong and different histories.

What is your advice to students who are considering attending the U of M from your hometown or home state?
The U of M is the perfect college for anyone, especially for in-state students. It is close enough to your home that you can go visit... but you can still have a fresh start and explore to find your own strengths.

How do you keep in touch with your family and friends from home?
It can be difficult to visit home often because the University of Minnesota offers so many activities to keep the students occupied. But there are breaks to go home, and skype is your best friend!

What other schools did you consider attending? What made the U of M the better fit for you?
UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, Rutgers University, and Mizzou. But the U of M is the perfect place for me. It has the perfect vibe of urban city in the middle of suburbs. It has the perfect balance and is the place for success! And the campus is beautiful!

Last Saturday, my friends and I made plans to walk down to St. Anthony Main and visit the Mill City Farmers Market. I had never been there before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was blown away! It was a beautiful day. On our walk across the Stone Arch Bridge towards the Guthrie Theatre, we passed crowds of people who were headed in the same direction--and for good reason!


When we arrived, I was very surprised at the number of vendors who had set up tents for visitors to buy from. There were many different items available, including clothing, pottery, vegetables, empanadas, and much more! It was possible to purchase nearly anything on one Saturday morning. We walked away with some fresh garden vegetables to eat later that day.


However, with all the free samples offered to my friends and I, the need to purchase anything at all was minimal. The vendors were always trying to get us to try their product, and we were happy to oblige. We taste-tested ice cream, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, and honey, and I enjoyed them all! In addition, there was live music playing in a few different areas of the farmers market. They were all very entertaining, and you could tell that the audience loved the amazing music.


Without hesitation, I encourage you to visit one of the many farmers markets that are available in the Twin Cities area. In fact, the University of Minnesota Farmers Market takes place on Church Street, East Bank campus. Rain or shine, the market runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m every Wednesday from July 13 through October 5, 2011.


The Mill City Farmers Market, where I was able to visit, runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday until October 15, 2011. Below you will see some photos of our wonderful day at the market.


farmers market 2.JPGfarmers market.JPGfarmers market 3.JPGminneapolis 2.JPG


Looking for something to do with the remainder of your lazy summer days? Instead of spending another day by the pool, I would encourage you to visit the University of Minnesota' s Bell Musuem of Natural History. You will be able to travel into space among the planets and stars of the Minnesota Planetarium Society's ExploraDome!

The ExploraDome is a fun, interactive, and educational 3-D experience. Visitors enter the inflatable dome and can choose where to travel in the solar system, galaxy, and universe. You will be amazed at the information you gain about Astronomy and Earth Science through this virtual trip through space. Last semester, I took an Astronomy course as one of my science course requirements. On Galileo's birthday, students and other vistors were able to experience the ExploraDome for ourselves. It was so exciting to learn in this interactive environment--like playing a video game in class!

The Bell Museum of Natural History is Minnesota's official natural history museum, where more than four million specimens support ongoing research and teaching at the University of Minnesota. The museum strives to discover, document and understand nature and promote informed stewardship of our world. The museum is part of the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and welcomes nearly 85,000 visitors a year.

Public shows in the Exploradome will be available at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on Aug. 10, 17 and 23. No reservation is necessary, and the ExploraDome shows are included with regular Bell Museum admission. Go check it out--the ExploraDome is worth the trip!

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