November 20, 2019

Vol. XLIX No. 37

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

Notice: Brief will not publish on Nov. 27. Weekly publication resumes Dec. 4.

  • Features: The fight for Minnesota's moose; The humans of the ‘Dogs of Instagram’; Spokes men reinvent the wheel; Precision medicine at The Raptor Center.
  • People: Rachel Croson has been named the University’s next executive vice president and provost; and more.

Top News

The fight for Minnesota's moosea moose

The largest member of the deer family, moose have been essential to the landscape in and around Minnesota for centuries. While the moose population in Minnesota has been in a steady state of decline since 2009, it has recently plateaued. The U of M College of Veterinary Medicine is collaborating with researchers at the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and others to analyze obstacles keeping moose from thriving and identify solutions to promote their well-being.

The humans of the ‘Dogs of Instagram’ashley and ahmed and their dog Lucy

Ahmed El Shourbagy and Ashley Paguyo El Shourbagy are a husband-and-wife duo and U of M alumni who co-run @DogsOfInstagram, a photo project they started six years ago that curates photos of dogs from all over the world. Today, they have more than 4.5 million followers on Instagram. A decade ago, neither could have predicted where their degrees from the U of M’s College of Liberal Arts would lead them.

Spokes men reinvent the wheelbike wheel

Since the dawn of the Tour de France more than 100 years ago, virtually everything about bikes has changed. Except the spokes. Now, three College of Science and Engineering alums have fashioned strong spokes from a flexible polyethylene polymer. The technology is like a Chinese finger trap—the more it’s pulled, the tighter the connection gets.

Promoting precision medicine at The Raptor Centerowl receiving blood transfusion

A minimally responsive great horned owl arrived at The Raptor Center (TRC) in August. Upon examination, student Annette Ahlmann discovered that the bird was severely anemic. The owl, barely alive upon arrival, made a turnaround thanks to one of TRC’s new syringe pumps, which supplied the patient with a carefully measured blood transfusion.


Rachel Croson has been named the University’s next executive vice president and provost; announcing the 2019 inductees to the Academies for Excellence; Amanda Sullivan has received a $1.25 million grant to support interdisciplinary training to advance learning disability services in Minnesota; Arpit Rao has received an Alliance Scholar Award from the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology; Rebecca Shlafer and Megan Gunnar have been appointed by the governor to the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council while Aaron Sojourner was named to the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

All clear to update Apple operating systems

Those with Apple devices may now update their operating systems. OIT has completed extensive testing on the University network and within classrooms to ensure compatibility with University systems.

Study: Medical students improve patient satisfaction

Patients always want the best care, and often, that’s thought to come from physicians who have been in practice for many years. However, new research shows that some patients enjoy care from University of Minnesota Medical School students.

IAS Research and Creative Collaboratives funding available

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) is now accepting applications for 2020-21 Research and Creative Collaboratives, which offer up to $12,000 as well as administrative support. Collaboratives promote synergistic interdisciplinary activity that can be challenging within departmental structures. Collaboratives are organized and directed by conveners (usually two to four people), who may be University faculty, students, or staff, or non-University community members; at least one must be a member of the University community. Applications are due Jan. 31.

Winter lights at the arboretum

The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's Winter in Bloom outdoor light display is a nod to University of Minnesota cold hardy plant introductions, featuring larger-than-life chrysanthemums, azaleas, roses, and more. Winter lights will be open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 5-9 p.m., Nov. 22-Jan. 5. No charge for arboretum members and U of M students with a student ID. Non-member admission is $15 for adults; no charge for children 15 and under.

Dec. 10 - Design Challenge: Using Media in Course Development

To enhance student engagement and promote deeper learning, faculty and instructors are invited to register to participate in a 60-minute webinar that explores how to create engaging video content and offers examples of how to integrate these videos in learning activities. 11 a.m.-noon.

Research Brief: Puberty may offer window to reset effects of early deprived care on a key stress-response system

Puberty may offer a window of opportunity to recalibrate how children who experienced early life adversity respond to stress, according to a new study by University of Minnesota researchers. Additional recent Research Briefs include “Retinal imaging technology for early detection of Alzheimer's disease,” “New testing method helps protect workers—and their skin—from harmful chemicals,” and “A century later, plant biodiversity struggles in wake of agricultural abandonment.”


Student feature: Paige PitlickPaige Pitlick

University of Minnesota Crookston senior Paige Pitlick truly embodies what it means to be “Driven to Discover.” Pitlick, from Jordan, MN, is a semester away from graduating with a degree in health sciences alongside two minors, one in chemistry and another in biology with an emphasis in pre-pharmacy. She will soon become a student of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Crookston hosts Torch & Shield recognition eventTheresia Gillie and Mary Holz-clause and Kari torkelson

Crookston recently hosted its annual Torch & Shield recognition event, honoring individuals and organizations that have provided leadership and aided in the development of the University of Minnesota Crookston, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center, and Extension. This year two individuals received the prestigious award: Kari Torkelson and Theresia Gillie.


It’s More Than That podcastpodcast advert

UMD has launched a podcast series entitled It’s More Than That. Hosted by Paula Pedersen, director of education for inclusive excellence, each episode features members of the UMD campus community who share their experiences around the topic of diversity and inclusion. The wider “It’s More Than That” campaign challenges everyone at UMD to work to create a more inclusive, safe, and engaging campus.

Unique in MinnesotaLBSE building aerial

This fall, UMD’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) launched a sales major. UMD is the only public university in Minnesota to offer a bachelor’s degree in professional sales. Plans are underway to add a sales minor and a sales center. The sales center will utilize LSBE’s significant partnerships with the business community, including Minnesota-based companies Fastenal and 3M.

DanceWorks 2019Danceworks poster

DanceWorks 2019, directed by Associate Professor Rebecca Katz Harwood, features new works by student and faculty choreographers. Dance styles include modern, jazz, tap, ballet, and contemporary. Dec. 5-7, 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 8 (ASL interpreted show), 2 p.m., Marshall Performing Arts Center.


Morris earns platinum seal for student voter engagement

The University of Minnesota Morris received a platinum seal for achieving a student voting rate above 50 percent at the 2019 ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony. Student voting on the Morris campus was up to 51.4 percent in 2018.


APSA Midwest Regional Conferenceapsa conference attendees

The Mayo Clinic American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) chapter hosted the 2019 APSA Midwest Regional Conference in early October. APSA is a student-led organization focused on addressing the needs of future physician-scientists. UMR alumna Mikayla Schmidt played a key role in organizing the event while alumna Alecia Alto served on the conference subcommittee tasked with arranging a breakout session titled “Translating from Bench to Bedside.”

My UMR with Brett HartnagelBret Hartnagel

Brett Hartnagel, UMR director of admissions, has been working in the admissions field since he was 15 years old. Interacting with new groups of students filled with emotions about the process of going to college is one of the aspects of his job he enjoys the most.

Twin Cities

Undercover girlsstunt report artwork from early 1900s

Kim Todd, associate professor in the U of M Twin Cities Department of English and head of the creative writing program, has been studying “stunt reporters”—female newspaper writers in the 1880s and 1890s who went undercover to expose societal ills. The most famous of these was Nellie Bly, who feigned insanity to report from inside New York’s notorious Blackwell’s Island Asylum.

2019 Community Fund Drive results

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2019 Community Fund Drive in October. Together, we raised $1.2 million for our community and 29 percent of our Twin Cities faculty and staff participated in the campaign. A special thanks to our Community Fund Drive volunteers for their creativity and energy in engaging our faculty and staff. Congratulations on a great campaign.

Security at health sciences buildings

Beginning Dec. 2, access to health sciences buildings will change. All students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear a visible U Card when attending class or conducting business in the buildings listed in the FAQ. Students, faculty, and staff will be able to use public entrances or access any of the approximately 30 other doors with card readers using their U Card. If you have comments or questions after reading more about the change, email

OLLI winter course guide now available

Keep your brain health going by joining the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). The institute offers over 300 noncredit courses, 30 interest groups, numerous social events, and national and international travel opportunities designed for older adults. Membership of $240 per year includes unlimited courses and special interest groups. Scholarships are available. New membership discounts are available for certain groups. View the winter course guide.

Nov. 22 - Covering Health Care Policy: A conversation with Margo-Sanger Katz

Hear nationally recognized health care journalist and New York Times health care correspondent Margot Sanger-Katz share her perspective on timely health policy issues. Special guest Gary Eichten, MPR editor-at-large and retired host, will moderate the discussion. Noon-1:30 p.m., Mayo Auditorium.

Dec. 3 - Xenophobia in America: How We Got Here and What's at Stake

Join in the book launch of America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in America, by Erika Lee, followed by a roundtable discussion with policymakers and activists. No charge and open to the public. RSVP for tickets. Reception at 6 p.m.; program at 6:30 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School.

Dec. 5 - UROC Critical Conversation: Economic Inclusion and the Promise of Cultural Districts

Cultural districts are defined as contiguous areas with cultural and/or linguistic identity rooted in communities significantly populated by people of color, Indigenous people, and/or immigrants. Join Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey, community leaders, and residents in a discussion of the possibilities and potential of cultural districts in North Minneapolis and beyond.

CSE Winter Light Shows

The College of Science and Engineering Winter Light Show is a student-designed 3D outdoor experience featuring more than 250,000 LED lights set to music written and recorded by U of M students. This year's shows are Dec. 5, 6, 7, and 14 at 5:30, 6, and 6:30 p.m., with a premiere party Dec. 6, Civil Engineering Building Courtyard.

UMTC Featured Eventswall street like stock ticker

Nov. 20 - Measuring Value: Counting the Uncounted
Nov. 23 - “Science Court on Nuclear Power”: Mock Trial based on Science and Facts! - Evidence & Arguments
Nov. 25 - Indigenous Languages Revitalization Gathering
Dec. 3 - Teaching with Storymaps
Dec. 4 - WAM Shop Holiday Sale
Dec. 4 - Steel Band Concert

Events Calendar >