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Category: News Release

UHP Students Win SEED Awards

November 13, 2014

The Office for Equity and Diversity's Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Awards program honors and acknowledges diverse students who are doing outstanding work at the University of Minnesota, both in and out of the classroom. Recipients of the 2014 awards were honored at the seventh annual Equity and Diversity Breakfast held on November 12. Of the seven University of Minnesota–Twin Cities students honored, five are UHP students. We're incredibly proud to be so well represented in this exemplary group of undergraduates. Congratulations are also in order for the other SEED Award recipients, Lawrence Karongo (UMTC/Economics), Jayce Koester (UM-Morris English/Political Science), Michael Prideaux (UM-Morris/Philosophy, GWSS), and Kimiya Rabu (UMTC/Elementary Education).

President's SEED Award for Outstanding Academic Achievment

This award is given in honor of outstanding academic performance and demonstration of engagement with and commitment to issues of equity and diversity.

Mary Gao is a third-year UHP student majoring in economics and psychology and pursuing minors in statistics and management. In addition to her work with disadvantaged youth in education, she is also one of the founding members of the Psychology Student Diversity Council, promoting and providing support for underrepresented students to seek research opportunities and graduate education. Mary does research through the College of Liberal Arts and the Carlson School of Management and plans to attend graduate school for a PhD in industrial organizational psychology.





Sue W. Hancock SEEDs of Change Awards

Multiple awards are given to students demonstrating impressive engagement with and commitment to issues of equity and diversity through outstanding academic achievment and activism.

Maria Lee is a third-year UHP student majoring in Geography and pursuing minors in Park and Protected Area Management and Outdoor Recreation and Education. Maria is passionate about ensuring access to outdoor spaces for all people. Currently, Maria works to connect students in Minneapolis and St. Paul schools with local outdoor spaces through the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventure program. On the Twin Cities campus, Maria works with the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence and helps others connect their passions to community organizations as a peer advisor in the Community Service—Learning Center.





Gabriel Ramirez-Hernandez is a fourth-year UHP student majoring in psychology and French studies. His activities outside of the classroom focus on service to underrepresented students in education. He has served as a mentor for the Multicultural Family Literacy Program for the past two years and as president of the Latino International Student Association for the past year. Through these positions, he has found opportunities to promote cultural awareness and share information about higher education options among underrepresented students in South Minneapolis. Gabriel is currently learning abroad in Montpellier in southern France.





Liandra Sy is a fourth-year UHP student majoring in psychology and English. Liandra spent the first 12 years of her life in the Philippines. After moving to the United States, her dual identity as a first generation immigrant and naturalized American citizen impacted her views on social inequity, especially in education. She hopes to pursue literary studies with an emphasis on postcolonial literature to understand the role of language and literature in relation to oppressive status quo ideologies.









Ian Taylor, Jr. is a fourth-year UHP student majoring in English and African American & American Studies. Ian was born in New Orleans and raised in Woodbury, Minnesota, and his passion for community empowerment has taken him from the streets of Minneapolis to Africa—he's currently learning abroad in Kenya. He strives to make a powerful impact in every community he joins by adding value and learning more from others. After graduation, he plans to spend a year working and preparing for law school.







fridays@noon

November 12, 2014

fridays@noon is a series of events hosted by the University Honors Program throughout the course of the academic year, typically featuring Honors students sharing something unique about their undergraduate experiences here at the University and around the world. This year, we've expanded the series to include several musical performances by our talented students.

At one of our October events, parents, friends, and staff gathered for a triple-bill featuring tuba duets by Connor Neil (first year, Neuroscience) and Jonathon Meyer (first year, Electrical Engineering / Computer Science), a classical guitar performance by Tyler Tracy (third year, Music / Political Science), and a vocal performance by Madison Holtze (first year, Music):





There are still a few excellent fridays@noon events this semester, including a chance to meet Northrop's 2014 McKnight International Artist, Cuban choreographer Osnel Delgado on November 21st! The full list of fall 2014 events is as follows:

Upcoming (note: please double-check our calendar to ensure accurate and up-to-date info.)


  • November 14: Joelle Stangler, a junior Political Science and Journalism major and current president of the Minnesota Student Association (MSA), talks about getting involved in student government at the University.
  • November 21: Renowned Cuban choreographer and Northrop's McKnight International Artist in residence, Osnel Delgado, joins us for a special edition for fridays@noon. Co-sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study.
  • December 5: Feeling intimidated by the medical school application process? Our panel of UHP seniors have been through the gauntlet and survived to share their stories!

Archive


  • September 19: Sarah Bening, a senior Biomedical Engineering major who works in the Living Devices Lab and spent this past summer working in a research program at MIT, shared her experience with undergraduate research.
  • September 26: Arianna Wegley, a freshman majoring in music, performed on the cello.
  • October 3: Quincy "Sherlock" Rosemarie, a senior majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology & Development, uncovered the truth about her experiences with undergraduate research and internships at Mayo Clinic and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul.
  • October 17: Joshua Quinn, a senior majoring in political science, talked about his experience traveling to Beijing for a year with the CET Intensive Chinese Language program.
  • October 24: Kieran McCabe, a senior Aerospace Engineering major and president of Gopher Motorsports, talked about building open-wheel sports cars for the Formula SAE competition.
  • October 31: Tuba duet from freshmen Connor Neil and Jonathon Meyer; classical guitar performance by senior Tyler Tracy; vocal performance by freshman Madison Holtze.
  • November 7: Emily Myers, a senior Anthropology major, spoke about her experience last summer in Cuba with the SPAN program, which offers opportunities for faculty-directed research abroad. Evelyn Anderson, the Administrative Coordinator from SPAN also attended and answered questions about the program.

Michael Veit, who graduated summa cum laude in 2014 with degrees in both Physics and Mathematics, has been named the winner of the 2014 Leroy Apker Award by the American Physical Society. Veit will receive a $5,000 prize in recognition of research that formed the basis of his Honors Thesis. The University of Minnesota's School of Physics will also receive $5,000 to further support undergraduate research here at the University.

"The Apker is the most distinguished award recognizing excellence in undergraduate research in physics in this country," said Serge Rudaz, director of the University Honors Program and Professor of Physics. "We are all incredibly proud of Michael's achievement, which reflects brightly on the University, its School of Physics, and its Honors Program."

Veit entered the University Honors Program as a sophomore, motivated by UHP's emphasis on research. "I think the research component of the Honors Program had the most profound impact on my undergraduate career," he says. He credits UHP as a a major influence on his success and current career path: "My experience with research has been the biggest factor in choosing to continue studying physics in graduate school. Without UHP, I'm not sure I would have started conducting research as early as I did, and I would have missed out on some incredible experiences that shaped my career plans."

Veit is now pursuing a PhD in Applied Physics at Stanford University. "Michael's interests spanned many disciplines in science and engineering," explains Andrea Beloy, Michael's Honors Advisor. "When he found his fit in Physics, he really took off. I enjoyed working with him and am excited to follow his research career."

Interested students can learn more about faculty-directed research here on the UHP website.

About Michael's Research

My Honors Thesis was a study of transport measurements in the cuprate superconductor HgBa2CuO4+d. The cuprates are a class of superconductors which have a high superconducting transition temperature. This means that the cuprates do not have to be cooled as much as more conventional superconductors to become superconducting.

A full understanding of the cuprates remains elusive due to the observation of a number of anomalous properties which have been taken to be strong indicators that the physics of the cuprates cannot be described by the conventional model for simple metals, known as Fermi-liquid theory. However, I measured the resistivity, Hall effect, magnetoresistance, and Seebeck coefficient of the cuprate HgBa2CuO4+d, and I remarkably found that it behaves as it should in the Fermi-liquid theory. Such transport measurements are often among the first experiments to be performed on a new material. However, they are typically the least understood. My work has shown that there some aspects of these complex materials are rather conventional, and that there is still much to be learned from such measurements in the cuprates.

More about the Apker Award

The Leroy Apker Award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students, and thereby provides encouragement to young physicists who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment. Two awards may be presented each year, one to a student from a PhD granting institution and one to a student from a non-PhD granting institution. More information is available on the American Physical Society website.

The winner of the Turner Award for the outstanding Honors thesis in the College of Liberal Arts for the 2013 calendar year is Sophie E. Wallerstedt, a major in history. Her thesis, "Politicians and Prostitutes Make Strange Bedfellows: A History of Commercialized Sex and Regulation in Early Minneapolis," was completed under the supervision of Professors Gail Dubrow and Kevin Murphy.

Honorable mention was awarded to Jillian Ryks, a journalism major whose thesis, "A Content Analysis of Women's Issues in Cable News: Election 2012," was completed under the supervision of Professor Daniel Wackman.

Congratulations, Sophie and Jillian!

The Turner award is named for political science professor Emeritus John E. Turner, a globally recognized leader in social sciences who received his master's degree (1949) and his PhD (1950) from the University of Minnesota. His distinguished career at the University of Minnesota spanned nearly four decades. His outstanding scholarship was underscored in 1974 when he was made a Regents' Professor. During his tenure he was also awarded the Morse-Alumni Award for Undergraduate Teaching. He authored, co-authored, and edited approximately thirty publications during the course of his career. He was instrumental in the creation of the International Studies Association, the premier scholarly association for the study of international relations. In his numerous leadership roles he served as an influential public figure who contributed to the world of social science in countless ways.

Joelle Stangler and John Reichl have recently been elected as President and VP of the Minnesota Student Association! The MSA veterans are currently serving on the executive board of the University Honors Student Association (UHSA) and will begin their term at the start of the 2014–15 academic year.

Stangler, a sophomore majoring in Political Science, has been serving as Ranking Representative to the Board of Regents for MSA. She sees her new role as an opportunity to give back to students on campus. "I would encourage every UHP student to join MSA, even if it's only for a semester," Stanger said. "You will learn how to change policy, lobby effectively, and lead groups on projects."

Reichl, a junior majoring in Finance, is the current President of UHSA and also serves as a Representative to the Board of Regents for MSA. He cites his experience with UHP and UHSA as preparation for his new role in MSA, and encourages all UHP students to become more involved. "To be an effective advocate for students, it's crucial to experience the breadth and depth of the entire undergraduate experience here at the U of M," Reichl explains. "MSA would be strengthened immensely by drawing on the unique perspectives, talents, and knowledge of UHP students."

To learn more about opportunities with MSA, check out their website.

Congratulations, Joelle and John!

A University of Minnesota–Twin Cities undergraduate has been named a 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, and two UMTC undergraduates have received honorable mentions in the competition. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The scholarships provide up to $7,500 per year for up to two years of undergraduate study.

University Honors Program student Rachel Soble is a 2014 Goldwater Scholar. Rachel is in her third year of a five-year undergraduate career pursuing Bachelors of Science degrees in genetics, cell biology & development (College of Biological Sciences) and computer science (College of Science and Engineering). She plans to earn a Ph.D. in computational biology and to develop new computational frameworks for investigating microbial ecology and physiology. Rachel is a National Merit Scholar and a Robert C. Byrd Scholar, and holds a prestigious American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship this year. As an Amgen Scholar in summer 2013 she conducted microbiology research at Columbia University. At the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, Rachel conducts research in Professor Jeffrey Gralnick's microbiology laboratory. Her project is the application of a new genetic technique called Tn-seq to study interdependence in a synthetic cooperative community of bacteria, with the goal of contributing to the scientific understanding of microbial cooperation. She has also worked on computational biology projects in Professor Chad Myers's research group. Rachel is co-author of a forthcoming article and has presented her research at national conferences. She is involved in many campus activities including Teaching SMART, a student group that teaches lessons in local schools to spark children's interest in science. Rachel grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and attended Brookfield High School in Brookfield, Wisconsin.


Rachel Soble on her experience at the Gralnick Lab—Engineering Bacterial Cooperation.

Moriana Haj received an honorable mention from the Goldwater Scholarship Program this year. Moriana is a junior chemistry major in the University Honors Program and the College of Science and Engineering. Originally from Edina, Minnesota where she attended Edina High School, Moriana plans to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. She aspires to participate in interdisciplinary research efforts to solve major scientific problems, in areas ranging from drug discovery to sustainable materials development. As an undergraduate researcher in Professor Thomas Hoye's laboratory, Moriana has been studying various aspects of a newly uncovered chemical reaction, the hexadehydro-Diels-Alder (HDDA) reaction, a variation on a classic transformation that is fundamental to the field of organic chemistry. Moriana takes inspiration from the creativity and open-mindedness that led Hoye's research group to explore the HDDA reaction, which they first observed while attempting a routine reaction in an unrelated study. She is a National Merit Scholar and the recipient of several scholarships to support her research activities. As the recipient of the Robert C. Brasted Fellowship, she is completing a teaching apprenticeship with Professor Jane Wissinger, for which she is developing a new experiment for the organic chemistry laboratory course.

Robin Lee also received honorable mention. A native of Bel Air, Maryland and a graduate of Bel Air High School, Robin lived in South Korea for many years before coming to the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities to pursue his interest in cancer genetics. Now a junior in the University Honors Program, he is completing an undergraduate degree in genetics, cell biology & development in the College of Biological Sciences. Robin has conducted research with Professors Craig Eckfeldt and David Largaespada on the pathways of growth in NRAS, a gene frequently mutated that causes abnormal growth in acute myeloid leukemia. Over several summers in high school and college, he has engaged in neurobiology, genetics, and cancer research at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. His first-authored articles have been published in Gene and The Journal of Genetic Medicine, and he has received an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grant and other awards to support his research and travel to present at conferences. Robin plans to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics and hopes one day to establish an international cancer genetics research consortium.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. This year, 283 scholars were selected nationwide from a field of more than 1,166 students who were nominated by their colleges and universities. Each institution many nominate up to four students.

A total of 55 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities undergraduates have been Goldwater Scholars since the program's inception in 1986. UMTC students who are interested in applying for the scholarship in the future may consult the Office for National and International Scholarships.

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, visit www.act.org/goldwater.

Two University of Minnesota students, Melanie Paurus and Johnathon Walker, have been named Katherine E. Sullivan Scholars for 2014–15. The Sullivan Scholarship is the University's most prestigious scholarship for study abroad. It supports a fifth year of undergraduate study in another country for one or more outstanding seniors from any campus of the University of Minnesota. The annual scholarship competition is administered by the University Honors Program at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, and the fund is managed by the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.

Melanie Paurus is majoring in Spanish and Global Studies at UMTC with academic interests in human rights, drug trafficking, migration, and incarceration. She will spend the 2014–15 academic year in Jerusalem studying intensive Arabic at the Hebrew University. Melanie has volunteered and completed internships in Mexico, Columbia, and Ecuador, including a women's prison in Quito. Her concern for people caught up in the destructive fall-out of the drug trade has led her to study the structures of international trafficking, and she plans to expand her knowledge to the trade in opium through Central Asia and the Middle East. Her expertise with Spanish has shown her that speaking a local language is essential, so she will study Arabic in order to gain access to the cultural, social, and political dynamics currently shaping the region. Melanie is from Cottage Grove, MN and is a graduate of Park High School.

Johnathon Zelenak Walker is a student in the University Honors Program at UMTC, with majors in Global Studies and Political Science and a minor in Spanish Studies. Inspired by growing up in rural Minnesota and his extensive travel throughout rural communities in Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Bolivia, Johnathon's interests are agricultural politics and networks of solidarity in resistance to the state and capitalism. His research examines the use of art and technology to build solidarity between dispersed autonomous communities across cultural and territorial boundaries. Next year, Johnathon will attend the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito, Ecuador and continue his fieldwork in South America. Johnathon is from Clear Lake, MN and is a graduate of St. Cloud Technical High School.

Contratulations, Melanie and Johnathon!

Lee Stecklein, a UHP student in the Carlson School of Management, was the youngest player to skate with the United States Women's Hockey Team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Stecklein and her teammates won a Silver Medal. "It was the experience of a lifetime," Stecklein recently told The Minnesota Daily. "It didn't turn out exactly the way we all wanted at the end, but [it was] still something I'll remember forever."

Stecklein, who helped the Golden Gophers women's hockey team to a National Championship in her freshman season, will return to the University to resume her studies—and her college hockey career—this fall.

Read the full article in the Daily to hear more about Stecklein's Olympic Experience. Congratulations, Lee!

Vidya Rao is Senior Editor for TODAY.com, the website of the TODAY Show on NBC. Her exciting work has taken her across the globe to Russia, where she is currently covering the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Vidya graduated magna cum laude in 2004 with degrees in both African American & African Studies and Political Science, and went on to receive a a master's degree in Journalism at Columbia University. She's been with TODAY since 2008, and recently checked in to share a bit about her experience in Sochi. Read Vidya's update below, check out a slideshow featuring a few of her Sochi photos, and follow her on Twitter for more Olympic excitement from an Honors alum!

From meeting the famed "Nightmare Bear" mascot and seeing the Opening Ceremony in person to getting to know the hilarious Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski and interviewing some of the world's most amazing athletes, the Sochi Olympics has been a whirlwind adventure unlike any other.

I've worked at NBC for nearly six years, covering a variety of lifestyle and news stories at TODAY.com. When I was brought into my boss's office last August and asked if I wanted to go, I screamed. I actually jumped up and down and screamed. As the Games grew closer, there were increasing concerns over potential terrorist attacks. Friends and family urged me to rethink going to Sochi. But if there's one thing that we all know, it's that you are never guaranteed a second chance. I wasn't about to miss the opportunity of a lifetime to see the world's biggest event in person. And because NBC is a rights holder, I knew that even as a lowly dotcom producer I'd be able to interview most of Team USA.

These athletes are amazing people, and most of them (with a couple exceptions, of course) are so down-to-earth, friendly and open, it's easy to forget that they are Olympians. They laugh and joke, share their personal stories and are open to talking about both their successes and failures—a dream for a journalist.

While the days are long—we routinely work at least 16 hours a day and don't get much sleep—the work is rewarding and well worth it. I'm coming away from this experience with so many lessons, both for my career and my life, and am truly inspired by the Olympians' stories. I'm also coming away 10 pounds heavier, thanks to the NBC commissary, which serves us up free food and the now-famous free Starbucks. And in case you're wondering, no, I don't have any hotel horror stories—my hotel room is bigger than my whole New York City apartment!

UHP Students from all disciplines are invited to imagine the future of the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities and to create a work that responds to that imagined future. Comprehensive information about this opportunity will be available at two upcoming information sessions in 12 Nicholson Hall, on Thursday, October 10th from 10–11am and on Friday, October 11th from 2–3pm.

How will people gain access to the water? What wildlife will inhabit this corridor in the city? How will the region's long history be evident? These are just examples of the questions you might ask yourself about this place. Projects will take the form of a proposed research project, work of art (visual art, music, performance, etc.), audio/visual media, or other means of expression. A panel of judges (faculty, staff, and community partners) will review all proposals and select a number for further development by mid-December. Students whose proposals are selected will work in conjunction with faculty or community partners to complete their work by late March, and the work will be presented during the grand re-opening celebration at Northrop on April 16th. We will review each selected work to determine whether it can be used to fulfill an Honors Experience.

For more information on River Futures, download the program brief.

To learn more about the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities, and to get links to sources of information about trends and patterns affecting the river, visit the River Life website.