Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (NWRSDP) Seeks Members in Northwestern Minnesota to serve on its board of directors

Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (NWRSDP) is seeking community members in Northwestern Minnesota to serve on its board of directors.

“We are one of five Regional Partnerships across the state that connects local communities and citizens with the resources of the University of Minnesota. For example, our board has supported innovative projects in Northwest Minnesota like Community Gardens, Connecting Children and Nature and Sustainable Tourism Assessment. We seek forward-thinking board members who will help us contribute to a more vibrant and sustainable Minnesota, now and into the future,” says Abby Gold, current board chair.

Each of the five Regional Partnerships (Southeast, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Central) is citizen-driven, building community-University partnerships that create new opportunities and solve problems in Greater Minnesota. The Partnerships are a division of University of Minnesota Extension.

According to Linda Kingery, executive director, board members function as a team, working with local communities to identify and implement projects that foster sustainability in agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy.

Members of the NWRSDP board also:
• solicit, evaluate, and vote on proposals
• participate in regular boards and focus area work group meetings–both in-person and by    conference calls–contributing time, energy, and insight to projects
• serve for three years with mileage and honorarium for agreed upon meetings and special    assignments.

Board membership is open to residents of Greater Minnesota and University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students. To be considered for a position, please submit your application by Friday, May 15, 2015 for terms starting in July of 2015.

For more information, see “Board members information and application” at http://RSDP.umn.edu.

The Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDPs) give communities in Greater Minnesota access to the University of Minnesota in order to help solve problems and take advantage of new opportunities. As a part of University of Minnesota Extension, NW RSDP brings together local talent and resources with University of Minnesota knowledge and seed funding to drive sustainability in four areas: agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy.

Contact: Linda Kingery, executive director, U of M Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership,218-281-8697 (kinge002@umn.edu)

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Linda Kingery, executive director, U of M Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership,218-281-8697 (kinge002@umn.edu)

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Reflections on the people, places, and incredible animals of South Africa to be presented at the U of M Crookston on Tuesday, April 21

University of Minnesota Crookston Chancellor Fred Wood and wildlife biologist Dan Svedarsky will give a joint presentation on Africa, on Tuesday, April 21 at 6 p.m. in the Prairie Room, Sargeant Student Center.

Chancellor Wood visited South Africa in December 2014 since he has a daughter in Swaziland serving as a Peace Corp Volunteer. While there, he also visited Kruger National Park. “It was a rich cultural and natural history experience,” notes Chancellor Wood. “The conditions are very different from North America in so many ways, and I now have a deeper appreciation for that part of the world.”

Dan Svedarsky was in Durbin, South Africa, in 2012 presenting a paper at the International Wildlife Management Congress and also visited Kruger Park.

The joint presentation will feature many slides and accompanying narrative on the people, places, and incredible animals of the African Bush and Savannah. The event is open to the public and is part of Earth Month at the Crookston campus and sponsored by the Crookston Students for Sustainable Development. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Dan Svedarsky at 218-281-8129.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, University Relations, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Healthcare Management and Accounting at the U of M Crookston Receive High Marks from TheBestSchools.org

The University of Minnesota Crookston recently had two of its online bachelor’s degree TheBestSchools.jpgprograms ranked among the best in the U.S. by TheBestSchools.org, an online resource for campus and online education. The U of M Crookston’s online bachelor’s degree program in health management was ranked number five among The 20 Best Online Bachelor in Healthcare Management Degree Programs, and its online bachelor’s degree program in accounting was listed at number twelve among The 25 Best Online Accounting Degree Programs.

The selections were based on quality of program, types of courses provided, and faculty strength, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

TheBestSchools.org has given the U of M Crookston’s online degree programs accolades in the past. In 2014, the Crookston campus ranked at number four among The 20 Best Online Bachelor in Marketing Degree Programs; number five among The 20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Management Degree Programs; and number eleven among The 20 Best Online Bachelor of Information Technology Degree Programs.

To view the U of M Crookston’s listing, go to www.thebestschools.org/rankings. To learn more about earning a bachelor’s degree online, visit www.umcrookston.edu/academics/online.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visitwww.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Andrew Svec, director of communications, marketing, and public relations, 218-281-8432 (asvec@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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Learning Abroad Trip to Brazil Shows Differences and Similarities in Agriculture, Business, Culture to Students in Global Seminar in Agriculture and Natural Resources Class

As instructor Chuck Lariviere looked at the list of students in his global seminar in Brazil_study_abroad_2015.jpgagriculture and natural resources class and their majors, he began to adapt the planned spring break trip. Ten students with interests spanning all aspects of agriculture had an opportunity to learn more about culture, agriculture, business, and the natural beauty that is Brazil.

One of the highlights of the trip was a tour of SLC Agricola’s Paiaguas Farm, one of seventeen farm units of a Brazilian agricultural producer, founded in 1977 by the SLC Group, focused mainly on cotton, soybean and corn. The 915,000 acre corporate operation is owned by shareholders and the students were impressed by both its organization and its cleanliness. “If you walked into a show farm, it would look like SLC Agricola,” says Junior Lee Borgerding, a double major in agriculture business and agricultural systems management from Brooten, Minn.

Senior Katie Myhre, an animal science major from Whapeton, N.D., enjoyed a special opportunity to meet up with her former roommate while on the trip. “It was fun to reconnect with her and visit her in her home country,” Myhre says.

Brazil_scenic.jpgWhat Lariviere likes best about the time in Brazil is showing students the many aspects of agriculture and offering them the chance to compare similarities and differences between the two countries. “We learned about issues related to the jungle and sustainability, urban issues, and topics related to ag business, farming, agricultural mechanics and facilities, and animal science,” he says. “I hope they brought back an experience that taught them firsthand about things they had little knowledge of or they didn’t know before, and that they can relate to their own previous experiences.”

For Lacey Greniger, a sophomore majoring in animal science from Nashwauk, Minn., the trip has sparked an interest in another learning abroad possibility in the future. “In the twelve days we were gone, I learned about culture and about the people, which I really enjoyed,” she says. The grocery store was one place she saw a difference. “The Brazilian stores sell their ‘junk food’ in much smaller containers than you find in the U.S. and there were things we are used to that they do not have like peanut butter, chocolate chips, and pancakes and maple syrup.”

Tareyn Stomberg, a junior from Menahga, Minn., double majoring in animal science and agricultural business, says that the trip taught her greater respect. “They have a highly competitive educational system, and in order to go to college, they must be in the top of their class,” she explains. “I have an increased amount of respect for and a better understanding of the Brazilian students here, and I am also enjoying having things in common with them after visiting their country.”

Along with Stomberg, Greniger, Borgerding, and Myhre, students on the trip included IMG_20150318_110202.jpgKevin Bunde, a fall 2014 graduate in agricultural systems management from Parkers Prairie, Minn.; Brady Gillespie, a senior majoring in agricultural systems management from Graceville, Minn.; Sam Jacobson, a junior majoring in agricultural systems management from New York Mills, Minn.; Sheila Johnson, a senior majoring in agronomy from Viking, Minn.; Luke Lundeby, a senior majoring in agricultural systems management from Osnabrock, N.D.; and Amy Stadtherr, a junior majoring in agricultural business from New Ulm, Minn.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online.
These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

In the photos, left to right:
Top photo at Iguazu Falls Bird Park: Lee Borgerding, Chuck Lariviere, Kevin Bunde, Amy Stadtherr, Luke Lundby, Sam Jacobson, Tareyn Stomberg, Brady Gillespie, Sheila Johnson, Katie Myhre, Lacy Greniger, and Antonio Nogueira, who served as gide.

Middle photo – Sugarloaf Mountain overlooking Copacabana Beach: Front Row Katie Myhre, Tareyn Stomberg, Lacy Greniger, Middle Row – LtoR Antonio Nogueira, Sheila Johnson, Amy Stadtherr, Sam Jacobson, Back row – LtoR Luke Lundby, Kevin Bunde, Brady Gillespie, Chuck Lariviere, and Lee Borgerding.

Bottom photo is of students during the tour of SLC Agricola’s Paiaguas Farm.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, University Relations, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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Two Weekend Music Concerts feature U of M Crookston Jazz Band and Community Band on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 in Kiehle Auditorium

Two special band concerts will feature the music of the University of Minnesota CrookstonJazz Band.jpg Jazz Band and the Community Band, both under the direction of TJ Chapman. The concerts are free and everyone is invited to attend.

The Jazz Band Concert will take place on Saturday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium. The concert will feature guest artist Ted Chapman, a rock and blues guitarist from Hagerstown, Maryland. The audience will enjoy a cross section of music including swing, blues, rock, and funk. It will also feature several U of M Crookston students and members of the Crookston community.

On Sunday, April 26, the Community Band will perform a western-themed concert at 1 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium. The concert will feature Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Copland’s Hoedown from “Rodeo,” and selections from Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma” as well as others.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, University Relations, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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U of M Crookston Finance Major and Sophomore Hunter Rauvola, Floodwood, Minn., Combines Penchant for Numbers, People

University of Minnesota Crookston business student Hunter Rauvola enjoys working withrauvola_h_small.jpg numbers but chose his major based on a desire to also meet and work with people. The sophomore finance major has been enjoying his classes in business management along with those dealing with tax preparation and finance.

Growing up on a farm near Floodwood, Minn., Rauvola was a three-sport athlete for Cromwell High School, and although he considered playing college sports, an ACL tear during his senior football season began to increase his focus on academics. He attended Lake Superior College as a senior in high school as a post-secondary enrollment option student. “The U of M Crookston accepted my credits and because the campus was transfer friendly, I chose to major in finance here,” he says.

“My dad went to school in Crookston in the late 1970s when it was a two-year institution, but I really chose the campus because I liked it when I visited, and the staff really worked with me and the credits I had accumulated,” Rauvola continues.

rauvola_h_alone_small.jpgA tax preparation class, taught by Associate Professor Scott Leckie, has students preparing taxes for elderly people in the community, for students, and for those who meet the income requirement. Rauvola has been enjoying the work. “I like helping the people who come in and it fits with my interest in numbers and people,” he says. “I also appreciate the patience people have with us as we learn to work in a real situation.” During tax season, he spent four hours a week working on tax preparation as a service-learning project in the class. Students prepare the taxes and a tax professional reviews them before they are completed for the client.

Lisa Loegering, assistant director in the Office of Community Engagement, has seen the benefits on both sides of this particular service-learning project. “An instructor could use other methods to teach many of the things students need to know when preparing taxes, but what makes this service-learning project special is that students are doing real work and learning valuable people skills as they deal with clients along the way,” Loegering says. “This project does what service-learning is designed to do–offer students meaningful community service with instruction and reflection activities that meet course objectives and address community-defined needs. It truly benefits everyone involved.”

Since he came to campus last fall, Rauvola has been active in the Accounting & Finance Society and the National Society for Leadership and Success (NSLS) chapter on campus as well as serving as the chairman of fundraising for Enactus, a campus club that is part of the international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.

Kenneth Johnson, management lecturer, has had the opportunity to get to know Rauvola as his principles of management instructor and as an advisor to NSLS. “Hunter has a rare combination of excellent technical skills coupled with phenomenal communication skills,” Johnson says. “Because he is so well-rounded, and has such an engaging personality, I see him going far in his future career.”

This summer will find Rauvola at work in the Northview Bank in Floodwood, and he hopes to find a home in banking in the future. But, first, he plans to pursue his MBA after completing his bachelor’s degree, and as he goes, discovering exactly where his passions lie and where future opportunities might take him.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

In the photo, at top, are Hunter Rauvola (right) with Senior Ross Siegler working on tax preparation.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, University Relations, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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U of M Crookston Senior Sumin “Nicki” Gwak, Finds Campus Filled with Opportunities for International Students

Written by Nicki Gwak (in top photo at right), a senior from South Korea majoring in communication

One of my aunts is a Canadian, another aunt and one of my uncles is from the United States and one of my 1960880_550061141774028_652063226_o.jpggrandmothers lives in Japan. With this diverse background in family, I had been dreaming of going abroad and being fascinated by exotic things.

Fortunately, I had a really good chance in one program in South Korea that transfers students from universities in South Korea to universities in the United States. I believed that I was grown up enough to live by myself, and I did not want to miss this chance. Finally, I applied for the program and I got in. For preparation, I studied English and took some general classes to help myself adapt to the new environment.

I remember the first day when I arrived at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The very first feeling I had was, “It is so cold.” And when I got to my room, nobody was there, but I knew that someone would be living with me, my roommate. A couple of days later, my roommate arrived. It was so awkward, and I was too shy to talk to her. Worse, I did not know what to say because I was pretty sure she was not going to talk to me. We looked different, and we did not speak same language. However, unlike all my assumptions full of worries, my roommate Christiana Boadu broke all these walls between me and her and filled me with confidence. She did not actually tell me what to do, but I naturally learned a lot hanging out with her and her friends. And I was so surprised when I found myself not feeling like I was a stranger anymore.

The most interesting part that I enjoy at UMC is the student organizations. With a high recommendation from my roommate and Community Advisor, I started to get involved in the student community through student clubs. Among many of them, Multicultural International Club (MIC) opened my mind and sight to learn how to get along with students from many different countries. Through the club, I had a great time talking with them and exchanging our own cultures with each other, and there were a lot of fun events as well! Starting with MIC, there were many opportunities for me to be involved in many groups, and wherever I went, everyone welcomed me, which was so sweet and a great comfort to an international student.

11048284_10153684533944128_8799671979719201048_n.jpgLike this, I got a lot of help from others including student communities, my friends, advisors, and teachers. Appreciating all the help, I was also dreaming of making myself useful to others and being someone who could help international students, like me, enjoy the campus life in United States. During the second semester, some Korean students and I founded the Korean Students Association (KSA) to help existing Korean students on campus and the future students. It was hard to be responsible for leadership but also fun to organize programs and help them practically. It is too great to describe verbally how great and satisfying it was to help others.

However, KSA did a great job and I was looking for more ways to be helpful to others in the community where I belonged. It was MIC. As an active member, I enjoyed a lot of fun things such as the International Dinner Series, several trips to Fargo and Grand Forks, and serving in the community. Especially in community service, such as working at the food banks, the Gala for Girls, the Humane Society, along with opportunities to engage in conversations through Soup and Substance, people were so nice and volunteering was not hard at all, rather I had fun a lot!

And one day, one of the members asked me to run for an election to serve on a board. And luckily, I grabbed the opportunity to become a president of MIC. It was different being one of official members of the board compared to just being an active member within the club. I needed to be more confident, more decisive, more responsible, and more open to others. There were some moments full of stress, but I chose it because I wanted to help others. There was no reason to be burdened. Instead, I enjoyed it, why not?

At the same time, I got an opportunity to be a Community Adviser (CA) in Residential Life. Being a CA sounded really difficult, and it required me to do many things as well. The most difficult thing is improving my English again, enduring pressure to be a student role model, and balancing my work and study. However, all the work improved me and made me more mature and confident. And I was involved in another community which was amazing. People liked to learn about my culture and they also liked to teach me about their cultures.

_MG_7596_small.jpgLikewise, I met many opportunities while at UMC being an international student. At the same time, I believed that I also gave opportunity to other international students to have a memorable time at UMC and for others to learn about differences we have and to understand those. For example, this year, I presented at the Korean Dinner coordinated by Rae French. It was another great chance to make my last semester memorable and to let my friends, the Crookston community, and all the people from UMC know about my home country, South Korea. I was surprised that so many people came to the dinner and people seemed interested in what I was talking about. I can say it was a great finale for my last semester.

During all my semesters at UMC, I have been both internationally and domestically involved in this small school. And I am going to graduate this May. Through all the opportunities UMC gave me, I feel such achievement. But at the same time I feel so sad to leave the school and the special people including my friends and all faculty I worked with that I will not forget forever in my life. I really appreciate all the experiences that I have had and that I might not be able to have as I get older.

And I also learned a lesson while I was a student here. If I get something from a community, I need to give something back to the community. Being a help to others is a great way to improve the community where one belongs and to improve oneself as well. And being an international student does not mean that one always needs help from others.

Grab the opportunities that lie in front of you. There are more chances than people actually thought. And through the opportunities, it will be amazing once you find yourself being around with great people and being a great person to others. Lastly, I would like to emphasize that University of Minnesota, Crookston has opened all sorts of possibilities and potential for me, and so it can for you.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, University Relations, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

 

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U of M Crookston Junior and Elementary Education Major Matt Huot, Morris, Minn., Knows Classroom is Like Family

For college students, volunteering, community service, and internships are designed to huot_looking_up_small.jpgprovide opportunities for personal and professional growth. For Junior Matt Huot, assisting in Kim Davidson’s second-grade classroom at Highland School deepened a passion he has long held for teaching.

The elementary education major from Morris, Minn., began working in Davidson’s classroom three years ago through the America Reads program in the Office of Community Engagement at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Huot never looked back. “Everything I learned in the college classroom, I could see being put into action by teachers in the elementary classrooms I have been in,” he says. “And, I have been able to put my learning into practice before I ever graduate.”

His remarks are something Lisa Loegering, assistant director in the Office for Community Engagement, says demonstrate the real benefit of service in the community. “Elementary teachers are so busy, and their students all learn at different speeds and in different ways,” Loegering says. “The opportunity for one of our students to tutor or assist in the classroom benefits everyone: the classroom teacher, the elementary student, and the college student.”

huot_m_draw_small.jpgHuot first realized his teaching potential as part of “Ag in the Classroom,” a program he participated in through FFA in high school. “I had the opportunity to teach city kids about agriculture and I really enjoyed it,” he says. “After that experience, I felt teaching was something I could be successful at and really laid the foundation for my decision to major in elementary education.”

This summer Huot will be teaching through an internship with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Working out of Hutchinson, Minn., and through the MinnAqua Program, he will hold clinics on area lakes to teach children and families about fishing. An avid fisherman himself, Huot is looking forward to combining fishing and teaching. “It will be a great opportunity to teach on a topic I am personally excited to share with kids,” he says.

He also shared another passion with kids by coaching third, fourth, and fifth grade students playing hockey this past winter. Coaching Squirts was another avenue for him to interact with elementary school students, and he continues to enjoy seeing his players at Highland during the school week.

Huot’s advisor Associate Professor Marsha Odom notes how he has grown over time. “Matt makes meaningful connections between knowledge of best practices in elementary education and strategies to teach elementary classroom lessons,” Odom says. “He is an enthusiastic student who listens well, reflects on what he is learning, and strives to improve his effectiveness in planning and implementing those lessons. His professional growth as a beginning educator has been fun to witness.”

One of the biggest challenges facing teachers is managing learning styles along with the myriad of things students bring to the classroom from their personal lives. “A classroom is a family,” Huot says. “The teacher sets the tone and the rules right from the start, and as you grow together, you get to know and understand your students. It is really an art to manage a classroom well.”

He appreciates all he has learned from professors in his classes at the U of M Crookston.huot_teach_sm.jpg

“They strive to see you succeed and have their students’ best interests in mind,” he says. “I appreciate the way we are encouraged to learn in the field and find it to be one of the real advantages of going to school here.”

Initially, Huot came to Crookston because he has a lot of family in the area, including a grandmother who lives in Dorothy, Minn. “It was an easy choice for me,” he says. “I have been coming to Crookston my entire life and choosing the Crookston campus felt like the natural next step.”

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visitwww.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, University Relations, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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For U of M Crookston Senior Delali Degbey, a Focus on Women and Children Runs through It All

If there is a theme that runs through the life of Senior Delali Degbey, it is centered on theDelali 3505 - small.jpg health of women and children. The applied studies major from Lome’, Togo, came to the University of Minnesota Crookston with healthcare experience.

Following her high school graduation, Degbey sat for a national exam. The exam, which is taken by as many as 10,000 other students, allows only 55 students into the official three-year program to train as a midwife, and Degbey was one of them. Training as a midwife was a growth experience for her. Dealing daily with the fragility of human life was intense and helped to set her on her future course.

“My interest in maternal health is something near to my heart,” she says. “I have been active in the area of women’s and children’s health for a long time. It is the reason I want to follow my bachelor’s degree with a master’s degree in public health focused on women and children.”

Degbey arrived at the U of M Crookston in January 2012 and spent her first semester learning English. “I looked at schools where French was the primary language, but I discovered the University of Minnesota in my search for universities,” she says. “I originally wanted to major in health management and found the Crookston campus the most economical one in the system with the major I wanted.”

Learning English was a challenge. “It was frustrating at times, but when you are surrounded by people speaking English, you have to learn it,” she says. “Kim Gillette, director of International Programs told me that when I had my first dream in English, I would know I was getting it. It took six months, but I remember the first time I had a dream in English.” Today, her mastery of the language is remarkable.

In fall 2013, she took her first class with Associate Professor Sharon Stewart in nutrition. “I found Sharon to be easy for me to work with, and we were both interested in the health and well-being of women and children,” Degbey says. “She has been so helpful and given me clear direction on what I will need at the graduate level. Not only do we have shared interests, but she has been really invested in my dream.”

Sharon+Delali 3497- small.jpgLast fall, Degbey approached Stewart about the possibility of an undergraduate research project. “In all my classes, I used opportunities when it was appropriate to research, write, and present on issues related to women,” Degbey explains. “I also had an opportunity to work with Polk County Public Health and with Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This focus of mine on women’s health is the thread that runs through everything in my life.”

With that in mind, Stewart encouraged Degbey to come up with a topic related to women’s health. With some investigation, Degbey decided she would look at an issue related to lactation and her study proposal “Supportive Environment for Breastfeeding in the Workplace” took shape.

“For some additional help, I went back to visit with Polk County Public Health,” Degbey says. “They helped me broaden my subject and gave me some really good ideas around the topic.”
Over the months and through regular meetings with Stewart, Degbey has busied herself researching articles in the field including the study of both federal and state laws regarding lactation rooms in the workplace. “My hypothesis is that when lactation rooms are provided, women are more likely to breast feed longer,” she says.

With recent approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the University of Minnesota, Degbey is preparing to send out an electronic survey that will give her important data needed to understand and perhaps draw some conclusions about the availability and importance of lactation rooms in the workplace.

“My examination of the literature shows that within six months of birth, two-thirds of mothers have returned to work,” she says. “But many times, women find the workplace a barrier to their choice to breast feed. I want to find out if lactation rooms make a difference.”

Degbey says the study of breastfeeding is huge but the topic is being talked about more on the research level than you actually hear about it in public. That fact adds value to the practical work she is doing with Stewart, and while this study stays focused on the local community, it is setting Degbey up for future research in graduate school.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visitwww.umcrookston.edu.

In the photos: Delali Degbey at right and Sharon Stewart with Degbey at left.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, University Relations, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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U of M Crookston Senior Ashley Martell Keeps her Eye on the Goal in the Classroom and on the Court

She’s cool. On the basketball court or in the classroom at the University of Minnesotamartell_ashley.jpg Crookston, Ashley Martell (in photo, right) keeps it together. With a major in health

science and a minor in chemistry, the senior from Somerset Wis., has become adept at making decisions that will keep her on track and her priorities straight.

Basketball brought her to the Crookston campus and Martell has been a leader for the Golden Eagles serving as captain of the team for the last two years. Playing since she was six years old, Martell grew to love basketball and devoted time to better herself as a player.

Outside of basketball, she was deeply interested in health science. A genetic disorder in her family known as Marfan syndrome ignited her interest in science and the health field in particular.

A major that focuses heavily on the sciences requires a high level of dedication. “I have had to make tradeoffs,” Martell explains. “In order to give the time I needed to homework, I put school first and fun second, but I was willing to give up something I could do in the moment for something I really wanted long term. And, I have always found time for friends and fun as well.”

livingston_martell_church.jpgShe credits the instructors in health science for helping her achieve. “I liked the small classes and the fact that I know my instructors well,” Martell says. “Coming to the University of Minnesota Crookston has been perfect for me. I don’t think I could have accomplished what I have here anywhere else.”

Under the guidance of Associate Professor Venu Mukku, Martell has been working on an undergraduate research project isolating bacteria to identify possible resistance to pathogens. She also works five to ten hours a week at RiverView Health in Crookston in the care center. These hours help fulfill a vital part of the requirements she needs to attain her goal to become a physician assistant.

“As part of the application to school in a physician assistant program, I need to have a significant number of patient contact hours,” Martell says. “Those hours helped me get accepted into the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora where I will start school in May following my graduation here.”

Martell likes the fact that as a physician assistant she will be able to spend more time with patients, have decision-making responsibilities along with some independence while working as part of a team led by medical doctors. In many ways, it is similar to her experience on the basketball court where she worked with her teammates under the guidance of a coach–a truly successful formula for her.

IMG_355931093156697.jpegVolunteering has been an important part of her experience in Crookston. Last summer she spent time every week at the Care and Share, a local homeless shelter; at Washington Elementary School, and with Head Start. She also spent a week in Haiti (photo, left) with medical personnel as a volunteer working with children on dental care and more as part of the clinics the group set up in local churches.

As a tutor for chemistry and organic chemistry and helping with reading at the elementary school, Martell has developed her teaching skills. “Assisting as a tutor has taught me that we all learn at our own pace and what comes easily for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it will come easily for the next,” she says.

Involvement with several clubs including serving as an officer in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Club fills out Martell’s time. To say she is busy is an understatement, but no matter what she is busy with, she always gives her best effort.

“I am not a procrastinator,” Martell says. “I have always liked a challenge and I am willing to work hard to accomplish it.”

She has proven that claim to be true. When Martell sets her mind to something, there is no stopping her and the good news is she is just getting started.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online.
These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. “Small Campus. Big Degree.” To learn more, visitwww.umcrookston.edu.

In the center photograph, left to right, are Golden Eagle Women’s Basketball players Ebony Livingston, Ashley Martell, and Kenzie Church.

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, University Relations, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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