May 8, 2019

Vol. XLIX No. 18

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

Summer publication: Brief will publish on May 15 and 29, June 12 and 26, July 17, and Aug. 14. Weekly publication resumes Aug. 28.

  • Board of Regents meets May 9-10.
  • Features: Transforming a smile and a life; Pathway to the future.
  • People: Dan Voytas and Marlene Zuk have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents meets May 9-10

The U of M Board of Regents will meet May 9-10 to discuss the student experience and academic success of transfer students on the Twin Cities campus, as well as enrollment plans for the Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester campuses. Regents will also recognize the achievements of faculty, staff, and students throughout the University system, and consider a proposal to allow alcohol sales in general seating areas of 3M Arena at Mariucci and Williams Arena.

Transforming a smile and a lifeEmily Padilla

Emily Padilla’s career path was first revealed when she began volunteering as a dental assistant at Good Samaritan Dental Clinic in Rochester, where she learned about the many barriers that people face in order to seek basic medical attention. Today, Padilla is preparing for a career in cosmetic dentistry through the University of Minnesota Rochester, where one of her long-term goals is to reduce those barriers.

Pathway to the futureCharisse Pickron and Jed Elison

In the top-ranked Institute of Child Development (ICD), the number of postdocs doubled in 2018, from four to eight. All earned their doctorates at other research institutions before coming to Minnesota to gain experience and train for the next step in their careers. Three postdocs are working in the Elison Lab for Developmental Brain and Behavior Research, led by associate professor Jed Elison, one of the nation’s leading investigators on the developing human brain. He heads teams seeking to understand early development, including social behavior and the emergence of autism.


Dan Voytas and Marlene Zuk have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences; 2019 recipients of the President's Award for Outstanding Service; 2019 recipients of the University of Minnesota Outstanding Community Service Award; Laura Gagliardi has been named as a McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair; Jerica Berge has been accepted as a fellow of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women; the College of Education and Human Development has been recognized as a First Forward Institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success; First Generation Institute microgrant recipients announced; the U of M Landscape Arboretum was voted Best Botanical Garden in the 2019 USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Contest; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Women's Faculty Cabinet update

The Women's Faculty Cabinet (WFC), established in 2006, represents women-identified faculty of all seniority levels and disciplines at the University of Minnesota. The WFC also serves as an advisory board for Vice Provost Rebecca Ropers and Provost Karen Hanson, recommending strategies for improvement of women-identified faculty members' academic careers and workplace. See WFC for updates on the group’s current activities.

U of M Advanced Careers fellow openings

University of Minnesota Advanced Careers (UMAC) has several fellow openings for 2019-20. UMAC is a gap year for experienced adults as they transition from careers into what’s next. Fellows come back to campus for a time of renewal and transformation, and to explore how they can use their skills for the greater good in their encores. Learn more about UMAC and apply.

Try NameCoach in Canvas for summer classes

The University has a new tool called NameCoach that can help make name pronunciation easier. NameCoach allows students and instructors to record a name for others to hear its pronunciation. Find the tool in your account at at NameCoach Recorder.

May 15 - Course Design Challenge: Promoting honesty in online learning

During this hour-long webinar (enroll), instructors can learn how to design an online learning environment to address academic integrity, and how to structure assignments and use Canvas tools to guide students toward making good choices online. 11 a.m.-noon.


Lang heads for NASAChris Lang

NASA aficionado and computer enthusiast Christopher Lang, a Crookston junior, has his sights set on the sky. Lang, from Kenyon, MN, grew up with a keen interest in computers and technology, as well as a passion for space.

Trapshooting added for fall 2019

Trapshooting teams are experiencing exponential growth in high schools across the country. This growing interest in the sport influenced a recent decision to add collegiate shooting sports to the roster at the University of Minnesota Crookston in fall 2019.


Solving a mysterySergei Katsev

Professor Sergei Katsev (physics and astronomy) and a team of scientists have shown that the early oceans were lower in sulfate than previously thought, which allowed for a stronger greenhouse effect from atmospheric methane. The researchers used data from ancient sulfur-containing sedimentary rocks to reconstruct the chemical environment between 2.5 billion and 540 million years ago.

7 Decades. 7 Questions.abstract art of lake superior

Seven alumni from seven decades were asked the same seven questions. Though every answer was unique, there were certain touchstones that ran through their responses: a desire to help others and the need to make a difference. In the same way that agates are shaped and polished by Lake Superior, many Bulldogs mentioned the lake’s influence on them.

A new focusKen Bloom

Ken Bloom, director of the Tweed Museum of Art, is retiring after 15 years. Under his supervision, the Tweed’s collection grew to better reflect the community, including the acquisition of more works by American Indian artists. The collection was also digitized, making it accessible worldwide. In retirement, Bloom intends to concentrate on his work as a photographer.


Students and groups honored at Student Leadership AwardsUMM student leaders receive awards

The following student leaders and organizations were honored at the annual Student Leadership Awards on May 1: Joseph Lauer ’19, English; Ramona Bias ’19, political science; Erin Wilaby ’19, environmental science; Mia King ’19, biology, psychology; Esmira Alieva ’19, management, economics; and the Black Student Union. These outstanding students demonstrate what’s best about the UMN Morris experience.

Postcards features Morris students

Hailey LaMont ’19, Paige Quinlivan ’19, Kaylee Christenson ’19, and Caroline Vodacek ’19 were featured on Pioneer Public Television’s Postcards program. The episode celebrates emerging artists and soon-to-be graduates at Morris. The episode was produced by Michael Cihak, director of media technology.


How one 'ask' led to an NIH fellowshipLiz Pearson

Last summer, senior Lis Pearson attended a presentation at a conference at Harvard by Gregory Germino of the National Institutes of Health about the importance of nephrologists participating in research. Pearson, whose interest and research is in Polycystic Kidney Disease, approached Germino to introduce herself and ask if he had an opening in his lab for her to do research.

Twin Cities

Bridging a health gapRichard Lee

On the surface, Minnesota stacks up as one of the healthiest states in the U.S. But it’s also home to some of the nation’s biggest racial and ethnic disparities. Richard Lee and his team aim to reduce this gap by focusing on the wellbeing of some of Minnesota’s youngest residents.

History of a dancerRachmi Diyah Larasati

Rachmi Diyah Larasati, College of Liberal Arts associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, reflects on her time as a dancer during Indonesia’s Suharto dictatorship.

May 11 - Bell Museum Solution Studio openingmother and daughter working on project

The Bell Museum’s popular research-inspired exhibit is coming back with all new research and hands-on creative challenges. Throughout its summer run, the Solution Studio will feature special programs including U of M researchers who are using their imagination to solve real challenges facing people and the planet. See upcoming opportunities and featured research.

May 17 - U of M Autism Initiative Day

University of Minnesota Autism Initiative Day (register) is open to all who are interested in the support, research, and treatment of individuals with autism and related developmental disabilities, including individuals with autism, family members, advocacy groups, educators, students, and service providers. 1-4:30 p.m., Wilf Family Center, Masonic Children’s Hospital.

May 21 - ‘Museum of the Moon’moon model

The Bell Museum’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing continues with “Museum of the Moon,” by UK artist Luke Jerram. The seven-meter spherical sculpture of the moon is a fusion of NASA imagery, simulated moonlight, and surround-sound composition. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimeter represents five kilometers of the lunar surface. The exhibit will include moon tours, story times, and special events, and runs through June 9.

May 21 - ‘The EPA: Scientific Integrity in the Balance’

Join Deborah Swackhamer, Humphrey School professor emerita and former director of the University’s Water Resources Center, for “The EPA: Scientific Integrity in the Balance,” the first seminar in LearningLife’s “From the Field” series. 6-8 p.m., Continuing Education and Conference Center, Saint Paul.

May 29 - A public conversation about issues facing rural and urban Minnesota

Join rural and urban Minnesotans in a special Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) conversation about immigration, migration, and the impending “silver tsunami” of retirees set to change the demographic face of Minnesota. “A Changing People Who Live in This Place Called Minnesota” will examine the challenges changing demographics pose to the healthcare, employment, housing, and transportation needs of Minnesotans living in urban centers, small towns, and rural settings. A reception begins at 5 p.m. at UROC and on the University of Minnesota Morris campus; the event will be live-streamed at 6 p.m.

May 30 - ‘The Illusion of Choice: Evictions and Profit in North Minneapolis’ report release event and exhibit opening

Sponsored by the University's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), “The Illusion of Choice: Evictions and Profit in North Minneapolis” aims to answer why and how evictions are taking place from the perspectives of tenants and landlords themselves. The project report release event is open to the public. 3:30 p.m., Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center.

Aug. 19-23 - Teaching with Writing: A practical seminar for faculty

This annual seminar offers a retreat-like opportunity for busy instructors who would like to take time in advance of the next academic year to focus on the ways they approach writing in their teaching. Each participant focuses on one course they teach, and because writing is here defined broadly to include words, numbers, figures, and visuals, the discussions are relevant and pragmatic to courses across the University curriculum. 1-4 p.m. Registration is limited to 25 people and this no-cost offering tends to fill quickly.

UMTC Featured Eventsworm hole graphic

May 10 - Programming & Pizza May - Research Consultations Served with a Slice
May 10 - U of M Day: Minnesota Twins
May 11 - Yoga at WAM
May 13 - Product Design Capstone Exhibition
May 14 - OVER & OUT: Interior Design Senior Show
May 14 - "Is Time Travel Possible?" John Norton
May 15 - Conversation on Performance and Public Art
May 18 - Energy and U

Events Calendar >