November 9, 2022

Inside This Issue

Notice: Brief will not publish on Nov. 23.

  • Researchers to develop Genomic Data Commons hub.
  • Features: The changing face of Miss Minnesota; Need transplant, will travel.
  • Awards and Recognition: Lois Hendrickson and Emily Beck have received a $100,000+ Minnesota Historical Society grant; and more.
Top News

Researchers to develop Genomic Data Commons hub for sharing and harmonizing genomic data

Researchers from the School of Public Health and the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain are creating a Genomic Data Commons. Across the University, researchers will contribute their data to a centralized repository where it will be cleaned, stored, and shared. 

The changing face of Miss Minnesota

Rachel Evangelisto

At about the same time she was accepted into law school, Rachel Evangelisto became the first Native American to win the Miss Minnesota pageant. She shares some of her experiences and her lofty plans for the future.



Need transplant, will travel

Julie Meek and her husband Ted

An innovative surgery pioneered at the University of Minnesota gave Julie Meek a new chance at life after pancreatitis—and now she’s giving back. In February 2021, Meek wound back the clock with a total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant (TP-IAT). Today, the M Health Fairview program is not only the longest-running TP-IAT program in the world, but it also has treated upward of 800 patients—more than anywhere else.

Awards and Recognition

Lois Hendrickson and Emily Beck have received a $100,000+ Minnesota Historical Society grant for their project “Access to Historical Healthcare Artifacts”; U in the News features highlights of University faculty and staff cited in the media.

Awards and Recognition

U-Wide News

Training: Responding to Student Suicidality

The University System has seen an increase in student desire for mental health support, particularly this time of year. Faculty and staff are encouraged to take the PRISMH-endorsed training “Responding to Student Suicidality,” which is designed to build faculty and staff confidence in supporting student mental health. 

Budgeting for retirement

You may want to review your retirement savings plan alongside your Open Enrollment selections. Explore free financial counseling opportunities available through the University, and make sure to submit your benefits selections by Nov. 30, the last day of Open Enrollment.

University Senate governance update

The University Senate met for the second time this academic year on Nov. 3. Senate Consultative Committee (SCC) chair Colleen Flaherty Manchester reported on SCC advocacy regarding Regent Sviggum's comments about U of M Morris. In addition, senators endorsed a new administrative policy, Occupational Health and Safety, and revisions to the charge for the Campus Committee on Student Behavior. The next meeting is Dec. 1, 2:30 p.m., live on YouTube.

New outreach and engagement website: M Engage

The University of Minnesota's new M Engage website features inspiring stories and useful tools designed to maximize University-community partnerships. The site offers directories of community-engaged scholars, an interactive map of engaged research and outreach activities taking place across the state, a simple "Connect with the U" access form for the public, as well as video trainings, policy updates, and award and funding opportunities. Email [email protected] to submit a feature story.

A Standardized Patient's experience

Standardized Patients (SPs) are trained to portray individuals—from patients with specific medical conditions, concerns, and histories, to clients, family members, and health care professionals—in simulated clinical scenarios used in health care education and training. Four years ago, Senait Judge-Yoakam had just graduated with a double major in dance and neuroscience when a friend mentioned she might be a good fit for M Simulation’s SP program. Learn more about Judge-Yoakam’s experience.  

Parenting together while living apart

Divorce can be a difficult and painful journey to go through. For the past 25 years, U of M Extension has helped make the experience better, especially for children, by supporting family resilience during divorce, separation, and custody change. Extension’s Parents Forever program is offered online and in-person and is available in many community settings. Ninety-eight percent of Parents Forever participants said they adjusted their parenting to better meet the needs of their children.

Research Brief: Public health agencies are critically understaffed

In March of 2020, America’s public health workforce was in the midst of a years-long decline in staffing levels that left the country painfully unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. New research from the School of Public Health and partners shows the number of people working in our nation’s public health sector is woefully inadequate to meet basic public health needs.


Crookston selected to participate in Direct Admissions pilot program

U of M Crookston has been selected as a participant in a new Minnesota Office of Higher Education pilot program called Direct Admissions that’s designed to promote college access. As part of the program, Class of 2023 high school seniors from around 40 schools will be notified of higher education options, and they can create a personalized list from over 50 Minnesota participating colleges and universities. Admission options are then presented to the students based on academic records and projected graduation dates. 

U of M Crookston to welcome cohort of students from Vietnam starting in 2023

Mary Holz-Clause with southeast Asian cohort

Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause and Global Programs director Sok Leng Tan traveled to southeast Asia in late September 2022 to meet with a cohort of students who had just completed their first year at University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Those students are now looking forward to coming to Crookston in fall 2023.


Grant to strengthen aquaculture

person's hand holding small minnows

The Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative was recently awarded $425,000 by the National Sea Grant Office to advance sustainable land-based aquaculture in the Great Lakes region. “We will provide Great Lakes state legislators with science-based aquaculture information and help clarify how aquaculture regulations are implemented,” says Amy Schrank, project lead and Minnesota Sea Grant fisheries and aquaculture extension educator.


Awareness: American Indian boarding schools

American Indian students in old black and white photo

The Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies and the Department of Social Work will present the PBS documentary Home from School: The Children of Carlisle on Nov. 15, 5-7 p.m., 90 Bohannon Hall. “American Indian Boarding School History,” sponsored by the American Indian Learning Resource Center, will be presented by Samuel Torres from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition on Nov. 17, 1-3 p.m., Kirby Ballroom.


Chancellor search and town hall

U of M President Joan Gabel has announced the members of the search committee for the next chancellor for the Morris campus. Additionally, President Gabel will hold a Morris chancellor search town hall on Nov. 14, 8 a.m., Oyate Hall, Student Center. 

Rare Nordic maps donated to Briggs Library

David Johnson

Chancellor Emeritus David Johnson recently donated five rare Nordic maps to the Rodney A. Briggs Library. Johnson, who served as the third chancellor of Morris from 1990 to 1998, spoke about the maps during a recent reception.



U of M Morris to open theater season with Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet poster

The University of Minnesota Morris theatre discipline opens its 2022-23 season on Nov. 10 with Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet.


U of M Rochester ranked #2 on ‘Best Colleges in Minnesota’ for 2023

M sign hanging from a building

Online education and media company EdSmart ranked U of M Rochester as the #2 best four-year university in Minnesota. Colleges and universities were assessed based on cost, academic quality, student satisfaction, and salary after graduation. EdSmart cited the proximity to Mayo Clinic and flexibility of the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree for students interested in health care careers as reasons for UMR’s high rank.


New academic partnership between UMR and Riverland Community College

Lori Carrell with Riverland president Adenuga Atewologun

A new agreement between the U of M Rochester and Riverland Community College will allow students the opportunity to transfer to UMR’s health sciences program after obtaining a Laboratory Science Associates of Arts (AA) degree from Riverland Community College. Through the partnership students will be able to complete their AA at Riverland Community College with internship experience and then complete their Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Degree with a Medical Lab Sciences certificate at UMR. The program will launch in fall 2024.


Nov. 15 - Kern Center Connects

Advert featuring Jane Njeru in center with text Health Equity Corridor in Primary Care

U of M Rochester and the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery at Mayo Clinic will present the upcoming Kern Center Connects seminar featuring Jane W. Njeru of the Mayo Clinic in “Health Equity Corridor in Primary Care.” 5 p.m., 414 University Square.

Twin Cities

Community Fund Drive results

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Community Fund Drive. The University community raised more than $932,000, with 14 percent of Twin Cities faculty and staff participating in the campaign. Whether you made a donation, participated in one of your department’s events, or showed your support in other ways, the community and the University are grateful for your support.

Refining data mining at U Libraries

There’s help available for researchers who want to uncover answers buried in mountains of text or data. By using a U Libraries program, ProQuest TDM (text and data mining), scholars can dig more efficiently to unearth the information that will serve their needs

New center aims to change climate attitudes through storytelling

Marek Oziewica reading a book called Mother Earth

Climate change may well be the defining issue of our time. From more extreme weather events to an increase in vector-borne diseases, decreasing food security, and ecological collapse, climate change touches everyone’s life. Department of Curriculum and Instruction professor Marek Oziewicz wants to give youth the information and tools they need through the Center for Climate Literacy.


Phenomenon behind cats' fur patterns may hold key to cancer recurrence

Harish Venkatachalapathy in lab coat in lab

Ever since Harish Venkatachalapathy was an undergraduate student studying chemical engineering, he wanted to integrate his engineering knowledge with biology. Today, Venkatachalapathy’s research, which involves studying cellular noise and variability, could lead to better treatments for breast cancer.



A Wilder life

Paul Mattessich

In 1978, alumnus Paul Mattessich (PhD ’77) saw an ad for an 18-month position at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul. He ended up serving as executive director of Wilder Research for four decades, leading research on social issues at the Wilder Foundation.



UMTC featured events

Ron Finley

Nov. 9 - Petri Dish | Food for thought: Is it time for a new “green revolution” in agriculture?

Nov. 10 - Karlis Kaufmanis Lecture Series: “The Weirdest Galaxies in the Universe”

Nov. 10 - Justice in Public Health: Transgender Justice: Highs and Lows in 2022

Nov. 11 - University Symphony Orchestra

Nov. 15 - Lan Samantha Chang Reading

Nov. 16 - UMN Spatial Forum

Dec. 1 - Ron Finley to headline Kusske Lecture & Dialogue Series 

Through Dec. 31 - Human Toll: a Public History of 35W

See the full Events Calendar