December 8, 2021

Inside This Issue

Notice: Brief will not publish on Dec. 29 and Jan. 5

  • Features: Two special hearts; A journey from undergraduate student to Federal Reserve employee; Child with rare disease makes history with groundbreaking gene therapy.
  • Awards and Recognition: Announcing the inaugural recipients of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award; and more.
Top News

Two special hearts

Emma and Susan

Emma Thill says her great-grandmother, Susan Engstrom, has a “special heart.” Emma would know—she has one too. Separated in age by nearly 70 years, Emma and Susan received the same heart valve replacement earlier this year, only four months apart. Now the two are fully recovered thanks to an innovative alternative to open-heart surgery performed by M Health Fairview experts.


A journey from undergraduate student to Federal Reserve employee

Haley Chinander

While double-majoring in economics and political science, Haley Chinander (BA ’21) worked as an intern at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve. In this interview, Chinander reflects on her time at the U of M and shares some advice for students.


Child with rare disease makes history with groundbreaking gene therapy

Celia Grace

After making medical history earlier this year, 4-year-old Celia Grace Hamlett and her family are ready to celebrate the holidays together back at home—and this year they have a few extra reasons to be thankful. Celia is the first person in the United States to receive life-saving gene therapy for metachromatic leukodystrophy. She was treated this fall at M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital.


Awards and Recognition

Announcing the inaugural recipients of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award; Christine Conelea and Steven Nelson have received a grant to develop a new approach for individualizing treatment of childhood psychiatric disorders; Lizette Dorantes Rebolledo is the recipient of the Outstanding Orientation Professional Award; Quinn Gaalswyk has been named the University’s next chief auditor; Sherri Turner has been named a Society of Counseling Psychology Fellow by the American Psychological Association; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

Awards and Recognition

U-Wide News

Faculty and P&A employees: Use pay reduction hours by Dec. 30

Though the Pay Reduction Program ended June 30, salaried faculty and P&A employees have until Dec. 30 to take their optional bank of pay reduction time off. Balances of pay reduction hours are displayed in the My Time tab of MyU. Request time off as you do for other absences, using your usual time-tracking system (such as MyU or Kronos). See Absence Requests for detailed instructions.

Canvas Gradebook: Prepare to submit final grades

It is the end of the semester and the time to submit final grades is fast approaching. Enroll in the Canvas Gradebook: Prepare to submit final grades interactive webinar to help you with this process. This hands-on session will focus on aligning your syllabus and updating the Gradebook to prepare for final grade submissions at the end of the semester. 

Email good practices: Check your spam folder

In November, changes to Google’s spam filtering impacted University of Minnesota Twin Cities Google accounts and some external recipients. The issue has since been resolved, but it prompted a conversation about email good practices at the University of Minnesota. Additionally, the Office of Information Technology has received some reports of internal emails (between two U of M accounts) ending up in spam folders. Learn email good practices for checking your spam folder

2022 University of Minnesota Community-Engaged Scholar Awards

These annual, systemwide awards recognize faculty or P&A employees for exemplary community-engaged scholarship in their respective field(s) of inquiry. Up to 10 scholars will be selected to receive the Community-Engaged Scholar Award, all of whom will receive a one-time monetary award of $1,000. From this pool, one scholar will be selected to receive the President's Community-Engaged Scholar Award (with a one-time $15,000 prize), the University's highest award for community-engaged scholarship. Nominations due Feb. 25.

Imagine Fund grants update

The Imagine Fund has been restructured to further strengthen the commitment to advancing the arts and humanities through strategic collaborations. The Annual Faculty Research Grants will be awarded and administered directly through participating arts, humanities, and design colleges and campuses. The Special Events Grants will continue to be centrally awarded, now through the Institute for Advanced Study. The Arts, Humanities and Design Chair Award will be awarded by Faculty and Academic Affairs. 

Osterholm Update: The Emergence of Omicron

In episode 80 of the Osterholm Update, Michael Osterholm explains what we know and don't know about the omicron variant, how we will learn more, and what it could mean for the future of the pandemic. Osterholm also emphasizes the importance of boosters and the potential for a post-Thanksgiving surge in cases. Previous episodes are available here

Talking aging family planning with U of M

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years. As this demographic continues to grow, it’s important to consider how to communicate finance, health, and lifestyle plans with loved ones. Assistant Professor Marti DeLiema shares tips on how older adults can have meaningful conversations with adult family members

Study identifies the impact of family physicians in rural maternity care

A new multi-state study shows that family medicine physicians are essential providers of maternity care in rural communities for vaginal and cesarean delivery in United States hospitals. The findings demonstrate that the loss of rural obstetrical services is a serious public health concern for pregnant people and their families.  

Jan. 4, 5, 6 - Teaching with Access and Inclusion Program

Are you committed to supporting diverse students but feel unsure of how to address questions of exclusion and belonging in your courses? Through three highly interactive synchronous Zoom sessions, the Teaching with Access and Inclusion (TAI) Program offers an exploration of critical frameworks and practical strategies towards creating more equitable educational experiences for all. Register for TAI by Dec. 21.

Research Brief: Severe food insecurity linked with disordered eating behaviors in young people, including binge eating five years later

Growing scientific evidence highlights a strong link between disordered eating and food insecurity (i.e., inconsistent or lack of access to adequate food), which disproportionately affects individuals across lower socioeconomic groups. A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health now shows how the relationship between food insecurity and disordered eating unfolds over time. Additional recent Research Briefs include “Pandemic demand creates growth opportunity for domestic vaccine companies.”

U of M featured virtual events

Aya Cash

Dec. 9 - Digital Learning Lab 

Dec. 9 - IAS Thursdays | NASA Scientist Kate Marvel on Climate Change

Dec. 10 - Virtual Star Party – Exploring the Geminids, Meteors, and Meteorites 

Dec. 13 - Midwest Climate Adaptation Needs

Dec. 14 - Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy 

Dec. 16 - Celebrating and Caring for Loved Ones with Memory Loss During the Holidays

Dec. 16 - CLA Celebration Concert: A gift for our communities

See the full Events Calendar


Crookston alum crowned Miss Rodeo South Dakota

Adrianne Schaunaman

Adrianne Schaunaman was recently crowned Miss Rodeo South Dakota 2022. “I wanted to for sure get a bachelor's degree, and if I could ride horses along the way, well, I was down for that,” says Schaunaman about her time at Crookston. 



U of M Crookston’s Veden Center receives $237,217 DEED grant

The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that the University of Minnesota Crookston’s Veden Center for Rural Economic Development is a recipient of the Small Business Partnership Grant Program. The funding will be used to help create businesses in rural Minnesota, along with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color businesses.


Graduate students present research at national convention

Leah Spaeth

Allyson Rogers and Leah Spaeth, both earning master’s degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders, recently presented their research at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association national convention. Rogers and Spaeth used eye-tracking technology to study social interactions between people using augmentative and alternative communication devices, people with Down syndrome, and others in the general population. Their research has implications for social inclusion and implicit bias.

UMD professor leads effort to prevent highway crashes and deaths

Imran Hayee

Imran Hayee, Department of Electrical Engineering, is leading a team of investigators to create an affordable smartphone-based warning system that lets drivers know when they are drifting out of their lane due to inattention or drowsiness. “To achieve 'Toward Zero Deaths' goals, we need lane-departure warning systems that are inexpensive and available to all drivers,” says Hayee.


Signing off at UMD, signing on at WDSE

1950s black and white photo of 3 students looking at tape player

After 64 years at UMD, the campus radio station signed off as KUMD and signed back on as WDSE-FM. The sale of the radio station to WDSE.WRPT (PBS 8) was finalized Dec. 1. Since its beginnings in a basement mailroom in 1957, and from turntables to streaming, KUMD has been an integral part of UMD’s history


Minnesota Secretary of State visits campus

Secretary of State Steve Simon congratulated student leaders for their get-out-the-vote efforts at the University of Minnesota Morris during a brief visit to the campus on Dec. 3. Simon met with student leaders and administrators for an informal discussion.


Marilyn Stewart: A lasting legacy

Marilyn Stewart

Marilyn Stewart and the Rochester Higher Education Development Committee were instrumental in turning the idea of bringing a University of Minnesota campus to Rochester into reality. Learn more about the matriarchal story of UMR and how the institution continues to thrive with community support, dedicated benefactors, and the importance of women being present at the table. Read more stories in UMR's alumni magazine, The Kettle.


Respiratory care: It's rewarding

Respiratory care student Jayden’s passion to make a difference in the lives of patients is evident. In this video, he shares his experience with the respiratory care program, an educational collaboration with Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

Twin Cities

U Libraries can help with course materials

Do you need help finding affordable, high-quality content for your spring 2022 course? University Libraries’ Course Materials Services department can help you find and integrate articles, book chapters, ebooks, streaming videos, open educational resources, and more into your Canvas course site. If you need assistance, email [email protected] or fill out a course materials request form

U Market Services reminder

As a reminder, please refrain from having personal items delivered to your work address. This will reduce the total number of packages and help ensure departments get the products they need as soon as possible.

Burnout: SPH team addresses a long-time problem that’s getting worse

Ryan Demmer and Jayne Fulkerson

School of Public Health (SPH) associate professor Ryan Demmer and School of Nursing professor Jayne Fulkerson joined forces on a U of M COVID-19 Rapid Response grant to study the physical and psychological effects of the pandemic on healthcare workers. Their goal is to help these professionals reduce work-related stress and avoid burnout. Read about their work and how a local physician and nurse confronted their own challenges in Advances magazine.

Startup Innotronics delivers tech research to market

woman wakesurfing

Rajesh Rajamani develops sensor technology to make machines smarter. Most recently, the College of Science and Engineering professor’s lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering designed a sensor for cars that uses magnetic fields to estimate the positions of other nearby cars and detect imminent collisions. Now, Rajamani’s startup Innotronics is using that same sensor technology to detect the position of actuators that help machines move.

Getting to know American Indian studies

graphic of turtle with two people on its shell sharing an open book

The oldest of its kind, the College of Liberal Arts’ American Indian studies department is uniquely positioned to lead on issues facing the world today, from climate change to environmental justice to white supremacy and structural racism. Since 1969, department scholars have helped preserve the Ojibwe and Dakota languages, uplift Native heritages, histories, and cultures—and challenge the ways that have created and perpetuated these urgent problems.

Animal science experts build collaborative networks, take multiple paths to find solutions for achieving One Health

Finding solutions to complex global sustainability challenges requires interdisciplinary teams using holistic approaches to tackle food waste and advance biosafety and biosecurity in animal feeds. The work of animal science professors Gerald Shurson and Pedro Urriola focuses on exactly this.

A match made at McNamara

Emerson Gonyea and Jenna Gardner

For Emerson Gonyea and Jenna Gardner, the School of Dentistry has been a key part of their love story. Now, it’s a main character in their engagement story, too. Gonyea and Gardner met on their first day of orientation in 2019 at McNamara Alumni Center. They hit it off immediately. 


Dec. 1-18 - WAM Shop Pop-up

The Weisman Art Museum (WAM) Shop is open for in-person shopping through Dec. 18 for last-minute gift-giving needs. Faculty and staff can save 20 percent on purchases of $25 or more in-store and online at (use code SAVE20DEC21 at checkout; discounts cannot be combined). Learn more and see store hours

Distraction-free studying at the Libraries

Before and during finals, the U of M's 11 campus libraries offer students great places to study with reservable group study rooms, quiet study areas, coffee shops, and study break activities. Let your students know to check the U Libraries website for details, including building hours.