July 1, 2020

Vol. L No. 25

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

Notice: Brief will not publish on July 8 and 15.

  • Features: Pushing the boundaries of fashion; Tales from the South Pole; Life-saving links; ‘Tenacious’ dental student navigates detours.
  • People: U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media; and more.

Top News

Pushing the boundaries of fashionwoman applying makeup in mirror

Recent graduates of the U of M apparel design program are entering the world of clothing—a trillion-dollar industry that affects everyone, from babies in onesies to astronauts in spacesuits. In 2020, the 16 apparel design seniors in the student fashion show chose the theme “Amplified” to represent clothing that pushes the boundaries of traditional fashion. Their clothing lines lift up voices not typically seen on the runway through the exploration of areas like plus-size, virtual reality, gender-neutral, and sustainable clothing lines, and are a reflection of the increasingly diverse voices of fashion. Meet four of the fashion designers.

Tales from the South PoleNathan Precup in Antarctica

Nathan Precup arrived in Minnesota in the midst of the famed polar vortex. It was January 2019, and the thermometer read -25 degrees Fahrenheit. But that was just a taste of what was to come for the West Coast native. Precup is now at the halfway mark of his “winter-over” year in the South Pole, where the temperature is -118 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill. He spends his days monitoring and operating the BICEP Array, a composite of four telescopes currently scanning the universe for gravitational waves that could provide insight into how the universe began.

Life-saving linksHealth officials in Nepal collect test swabs

Carlson School assistant professor Karthik Natarajan specializes in supply chain issues, especially as they affect humanitarian aid. Natarajan says a future casualty of COVID-19’s supply chain disruption may be that vulnerable people in developing nations won’t receive the humanitarian supplies they need to stay alive.

‘Tenacious’ dental student navigates detoursUriel Vasquez Rios

“Things did not always turn out as I had planned, and I needed to learn to be tenacious,” says Uriel Vasquez Rios, a second-year student in the Doctor of Dental Surgery program who was recently elected again as president of his class. Vasquez Rios says he draws much of his inspiration from his father, who moved from Mexico to Maple Grove 25 years ago for a job in electrical engineering.


U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Administrative policy update

A revised version of Traveling on University Business adds new provisions for lodging related to vacation rentals and room sharing, as well as approval requirements for lodging expenses over 150 percent, and includes a section on paying for travel. Clarified roles of individuals responsible for addressing a nepotism situation, and steps that responsible individuals should take when they learn about an occurrence of nepotism or potential nepotism, are just two of the changes in the Nepotism and Personal Relationships policy. The Safety of Minors policy removes the exclusion of youth programs conducted as research, clarifies that hosting minors in labs and offices or on research teams is covered by the policy, and specifies that medication for youth can only be self-administered. Comments are welcome as the policies are under review.

McKnight Land-Grant nominations for 2021 awards

Nomination instructions for the 2021 McKnight Land-Grant Professorships are now available. The goal of the program is to advance the careers of new assistant professors at a crucial point in their professional lives. Land-Grant nominations are due Dec. 15.

Libraries checklist brings together resources for researchers

A new resource from the University of Minnesota Libraries aims to help researchers find funding, expand the reach of their work, and more. The Researcher Checklist brings together a variety of helpful resources to help U of M researchers across the institution advance their careers and their research.

Resources for addressing systemic racism

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association's newly revamped and expanded website, Addressing Systemic Racism, offers resources to address racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The frequently updated site brings together news, articles, University research, alumni voices, and more.

Medical School report: sexually transmitted infections continue to rise among MN youth

While pregnancy and birth rates continue to decline to historic lows for 15- to 19-year-olds, Minnesota youth are contracting sexually transmitted infections (STI) at alarmingly high rates. The Healthy Youth Development - Prevention Research Center attributes the rise in STI rates to a combination of factors, including barriers to prevention, screening and treatment services, education, transportation, cost, concerns about confidentiality, and peer and media influences.

Duluth chef-volunteer addresses addiction recovery through cooking

Chef Jonathan Reznick became involved in University of Minnesota Extension’s Cooking Matters programming for Drug Court, a sentencing alternative for alcohol and drug users who are likely to re-offend. The program combines treatment and supervision, with the goal of long-term recovery for participants. Reznick’s own experiences had landed him there years earlier, so he can relate to what participants are going through.

Infant saliva samples may bring new data to inform COVID-19 transmission theories

Mark Schleiss, professor in the Department of Pediatrics, will tap into saliva samples, originally collected from days-old infants to study CMV (cytomegalovirus), to answer two questions—does mother-to-baby transmission of COVID-19 exist, and did the virus arrive in Minnesota earlier than March 2020?

Capturing a global perspective: Stress and resilience in the face of COVID-19

Led by Mustafa al’Absi, the Stress and Resilience Laboratories launched a global study to map out the behavioral and socioeconomic dynamics of how people have adjusted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study focuses on improving first-line treatment for Tourette Syndrome

Christine Conelea, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, has been researching how transcranial magnetic stimulation, combined with current methods, may improve the treatment of tics for patients with Tourette Syndrome.

Research Brief: In global report, U of M researchers find institutional care negatively impacts children's development

Millions of separated children worldwide who live in institutions like orphanages or residential homes should be transitioned to family-based care environments, according to a new global report co-authored by University of Minnesota and other researchers. Additional recent Research Briefs include “Black hole collision may have exploded with light.”

July 9 - Who Wins?

President Barack Obama's former strategist David Axelrod and Republican strategist Vin Weber will size up the advantages and disadvantages of former Vice President Joe Biden and President Trump. Biden's vice presidential pick, summer conventions, and fall campaigning will be some of the topics. Noon-1 p.m., via Zoom (register).

U of M featured virtual eventsfoog tray

Tuesdays - Reading with Raptors virtual story time with interactive Q&A, children's stories, and live raptors
July 7 - Food Justice Facilitation Mini-Workshop
July 9 - Mindful Cooking for Body and Spirit
July 14 - Making the Most of LinkedIn: Q&A webinar
July 14 - Voting in the Time of COVID-19: Wisconsin's Experience
July 15 - Black Lives Matter and the 2020 Elections
July 26-Aug. 1 - Virtual Big Ten Run


ACBSP accreditation

The University of Minnesota Crookston’s Business Department recently received the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) official accreditation. U of M Crookston is now one of the 1,200 ACBSP member campuses across the country and the world. In addition to attaining regular accreditation for its eight business degree programs, U of M Crookston also received separate accreditation for its accounting degree program, which makes Crookston one of only two universities in Minnesota with this separate accreditation.


Transformative art award recipientsJordan and Teressa Moses

Alumnus Jordon Moses and Assistant Professor Terresa Moses, graphic design, are recipients of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council’s inaugural Award for Transformative Art. This fall, Moses will be joining the faculty of the College of Design on the Twin Cities campus.

Morrison award recipientAllison Aune

Professor Alison Aune, art education, received the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council 2020 George Morrison Artist Award. Aune’s mixed media paintings are inspired by Scandinavian and indigenous Sami patterns and motifs. The George Morrison Artist Award honors an artist whose work has made a significant contribution to the arts over an extended period of time.


Odden earns Distinguished Alumni AwardJim Odden

James Odden '71 is this year's Distinguished Alumni Award winner. Odden studied history, philosophy, and elementary education at the U of M Morris. He served on the education faculty in addition to serving as a classroom teacher. Odden is also the lead donor of the Student Assistance Grant for Emergencies Fund and a former president of the U of M Morris Alumni Association board.


UMR faculty published in Public Philosophy Journal

Faculty member Angie Mejia recently published a peer-reviewed article in Public Philosophy Journal discussing the challenges of adapting community-engaged classes during pandemic times.

Rochester Alumni Network volunteersUMR alum volunteers pack food

Members of the Rochester Alumni Network volunteered at the Rochester Area Family YMCA on June 25. Volunteers helped to sort and pack items to be delivered to the Minneapolis YMCA to assist communities.

Twin Cities

Attracting diverse talent is a community effort

In the past decade, STEM programs across the U.S. have been making a push to increase diversity within their respective fields. Assistant Professor Charles Doss has spearheaded this effort within the U of M School of Statistics. He explains, “It’s a pipeline issue, so if students are getting diverted from an early age... we can’t solve that at the university level. But on the other hand, if we don’t do anything, then students aren’t going to grow up seeing mentors who look like them.”

A culture of careM logo photo montage

The minute professor Phil Buhlmann became the director of graduate studies in the College of Science and Engineering’s Department of Chemistry in 2012, he knew he wanted to make mental health a priority. Spurred to action by a mental health course he took at Boynton, Buhlmann brought Boynton staff to the chemistry department for its first workshop on stress and mental health. He also helped to form the Community of Chemistry Graduate Students in his department.

Family deaths may keep Black and Native American young adults from graduating collegeNaomi Thyden

The premature death of a parent or sibling can have many direct effects on family members, including hindering their future health and education. School of Public Health researchers studied who among a group of young adults was most likely to have a sibling or parent die and how often students experiencing such deaths obtain a college education. The study was led by PhD student Naomi Thyden.

Students reflect on distance learningFariza Hassan

When COVID-19 hit, spring semester took a surprising turn and went online. Students at the College of Liberal Arts look back on what they learned, how they coped, and what their hopes for the future are.

Mexico’s cautionary tale against impunityfamily members of the disappeared protesting

Since 2009, over 61,000 people have disappeared in Mexico with little to no investigation into what happened. To support the victims and their families and to uncover the truth, many people and organizations dedicated to human rights have spent years unveiling the true narrative. University of Minnesota Human Rights Program director Barbara Frey is one such person, and her work, along with the work of her colleagues, is helping reveal what really happened to these disappeared people.

Shipping news from the Libraries

University Libraries buildings remain closed, but as of June 15, digital and mail access to its print items have reopened.

A matter of facts: Defunding the police

It can be unclear what defunding the police means and what level of reform this type of change could entail. U of M librarians provide resources and background information for understanding this topic.

1970 Student Strike – 50 Years Later

The University of Minnesota Archives shares photos, documents, and a timeline of events from the 1970 student strike, which was related to the anti-war movement. These primary source materials from the archives help illustrate the history and explore the impact of the strike on campus and student activism.

Raptor ZoomiesEagle in zoom meeting

Zoom meeting fatigue is real. Spice up your day of digital meetings by inviting a raptor. Surprise employees, co-workers, friends, and family with a new face in the lineup as one of The Raptor Center’s raptor ambassadors (eagle, hawk, falcon, vulture, or owl) and an educational staff member joins for the first 15 minutes of your meeting. To schedule or learn more, call 612-624-2756 or email raptored@umn.edu. Learn more about this and other Raptor Center digital programs.