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

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

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

Seminars in College of Biological Sciences departments:


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

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

Plant Biology

September 14: Dr. Robertson McClung, Dartmouth University

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

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics

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

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

Genetics, Cell Biology and Development 

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

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


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

Title: Molecular Mechanisms of Addiction-related Synapse Plasticity

Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

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

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

By Dorothy Cheng

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Matt Sabongi

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

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

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

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

Check it out and get inspired!

By Matt Sabongi 

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Zack Haas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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