Past Events - 2013

Welcome to the 2013 UMR CONNECTS past events page. All presentations on this page have already taken place. You can view the list of upcoming presentations here.

December Theme ~ By Your Request 

December 31 ~ No event


December 24 ~ No event  


December 17 ~ Adjacent Possible: Bone Marrow Cells in Skin Regeneration

** This event will be co-sponsored by RAAFUM (Rochester Area Alumni and Friends of the University of Minnesota)

Jakub Tolar, M.D., PhD., Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation; Director, University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute; Attending physician, University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital – Fairview

Dr. Tolar is the Director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Tolar received his medical education from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, and his PhD in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics from the University of Minnesota, where he also completed his medical residency and fellowship. A physician/researcher, Dr. Tolar is internationally regarded as an authority on stem cell 


December 10 ~ The Powerful Healing of Music

Christina Wood, MA, Owner of Healing Rhythms Music Therapy

Christina is a board-certified music therapist in private practice (Healing Rhythms Music Therapy, LLC) in Rochester, MN. She has experience working as a music therapist with children and adults with special needs, adult and pediatric hospice, bereavement, wellness, pediatrics and adult medical settings. She is passionate about starting and implementing music therapy programs at new facilities and educating medical professionals about the benefits of music therapy for patients. She also enjoys consulting on projects in the community for music medicine and music therapy. Healing Rhythms Music Therapy, LLC currently contracts with Mayo Clinic, Ronald McDonald House, Madonna Senior Living Community, and a variety of private clients in the Rochester area.


December 3 ~ Diversity in Bioethics

Reverend Amanda Larsen

Each day we make dozens of decisions shaped by our own unique ethical perspective. But how do we structure these decisions? Where do our ethics find their source? How do we keep our ethical decisions consistent? This interactive session will explore common models of ethical reflection and diverse sources of authority, with particular attention to bioethics and HIV.

Amanda Larsen became interested in the intersection of faith and bioethics while a student at Luther College. After completing a Masters of Divinity at Saint Paul School of Theology (in Kansas City, Missouri) she continued on to earn a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies focusing on Ethics, Church and Society. During this time she also served on the ethics committee at KU Med and did Clinical Pastoral Education at the Kansas City VA Hospital. Rev. Larsen currently serves the Lanesboro and Wykoff United Methodist Churches.


November Theme ~ Life Stages

November 26 ~ 


November 19 ~ The College Years

Steph Eidan, Jenn Hooke, Marquis Taylor, Karen Reilly, University of Minnesota Rochester Panel
What does it take for students to be successful and thrive during the college years? What are some common pitfalls for students, and how can they be managed or avoided all together? What factors lend to a positive, productive, and meaningful college experience? Join Administrators from UMR in exploring constructive strategies, techniques, and practices for an enriching college experience.


November 12 ~ Wealthcare For Every Season of Life
Dana Grimsrud, Personal Financial Advisor

Spend an evening with a financial professional team exploring how to repair yesterday’s mistakes, and plan for tomorrow’s success no matter which stage of life you are in. Members of this dynamic collaborative planning team will provide various break-out sessions during the evening allowing you to customize your experience and focus in on the areas of interest to you. After an introductory session, choose from the following tracks:

Explore the important steps to take to get your financial house in order and build a foundation for a solid and satisfying future. Topics will include how to budget, building a cash reserve, understanding and leveraging your employer’s benefits, paying off and avoiding debt, basic risk management overview including wills, trusts, and life insurance basics everyone should know, and planning for large expenses such as paying for college, weddings, buying a home, etc.  

RETIRE ON PURPOSE Track: (This track is comprised of two sessions)
The “Mechanics” session will review the financial considerations involved in successfully retiring. Topics will include leveraging risk management for maximum flexibility and wealth protection tax management strategies, saving enough for your retirement and review of the various types of retirement accounts including IRAs, 401(k)s and 403(b)s, transition from accumulating wealth to generating a lifetime of income after you quit working including maximizing your social security benefits, medicare overview, and pre-planning for care needs in later retirement.
The “Meaning” session will help you explore what you value and incorporate it into your retirement years. This session will provide some interactive self-assessments, and topics will include retirement preconceptions, exploration of how you’ve seen others retire versus how you envision your own retirement years, quality of your connections, relationships and engagement, and how to ensure you remain connected to your purpose. 


November 5 ~ 


October Theme ~ Outer and Inner Spaces


October 29 ~ NASA Astronaut presentation


October 22 ~ What Archaeology Isn’t

Rod Johnson, President, Minnesota Archaeological Society

Rod Johnson, current president of the Minnesota Archaeological Society will be presenting “What Archaeology Isn’t, an overview of archaeology.” Mr. Johnson will be discussing the procedures, techniques, and ethics of archaeology, and explain what the public should know.

For over 25 years, Mr. Johnson has worked both a-vocationally and professionally in the field of Archaeology and is the current President of the Minnesota Archaeological Society. He has presented many talks and demonstrations on several archaeological topics, including presenting a lunch hour talk and demonstration at the 2008 Nobel Conference held at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN. 


October 15 ~ Reaching Across: The Void to Find Land

Daniel Solis

How personal narrative becomes mythos.
An evening of poetry and conversation with Daniel Solis. 


October 8 ~ Tiny Spaces Can Change the World

Microorganisms are too small to see, but all life is dependent upon them. They induce rain, transform rocks, and eat most of the hazardous chemicals produced by humans. Dr. Lawrence will address the latter. For millions of years, microorganisms have recycled natural organic matter, such as dead trees and animals. Much more recently, humans have added a huge menu of new chemicals into the mix. These chemicals make our lives safer and more comfortable, but may carry the potential to foul natural environments or harm human health. In the vast majority of cases, microorganisms in soil and water degrade and eat chemicals produced by humans and thus prevent negative consequences. I have studied the way that bacteria eat and digest these chemicals and look to use that knowledge to engineer systems to detect and degrade chemicals of concern to people. Microorganisms are tiny, but most of biotechnology is based on these unsupposing creatures and they can be used to help us sustain the earth and maintain our health.

Dr. Lawrence Wackett, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biochemestry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics at the University of Minnesota

Dr. Lawrence Wackett is Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the University of Minnesota. He holds joint appointments in the Biotechnology Institute and the Department of Microbiology. He co-founded the University of Minnesota Biocatalysis/ Biodegradation Database. Professor Wackett studies microbial biodegradation and biocatalysis in his research.

Wackett obtained his B.S. degree in Biology & Chemistry from SUNY at Brockport. He was employed as an analytical chemist prior to his graduate work. He obtained his M.S. degree in Microbiology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Texas at Austin with David Gibson. Wackett was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow with Christopher Walsh in the Chemistry Department at MIT from 1984-7. Dr. Wackett started as an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota in 1987. He became the Distinguished McKnight Professor of Biochemistry at Minnesota in 2001.

He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, and is an ASM Foundation Lecturer. Wackett co-authored the textbook Biocatalysis and Biodegradation, sold by ASM Press. The book has been translated into Chinese and is now also available from Chemical Industry Press in Beijing.


October 1 ~ Fair Courts Forum: Panel Presentation and Discussion

Panel of Minnesota politicians, judges and executives

This panel of distinguished politicians will discuss the Impartial Justice Act. Legislation brought forth by a bipartisan coalition trying to reform the current way in which the judiciary is selected. Specifically, this panel will propose and discuss the three following reforms: 1) Public Evaluation 2) Retention Elections 3) Merit Selection.


September Theme ~ International and World Affairs

September 24 ~ Homeland Security: Securing Minnesota against disasters and acts of terrorism

Kelly, Joseph (DPS), Deputy Director Homeland Security & Emergency Management, Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Learn about the most imminent issues arising in the area of terrorism and ways Homeland Security secures Minnesota against these acts, and disaster relief strategies. 

September 17 ~ Dealing With Power: Three Constitutional Dilemmas - Voting Rights, Same-Sex Marriage, and Affirmative Action

Marie A. Failinger, Professor of Law, Hamline University School of Law

Join UMR CONNECTS to celebrate Constitution Day while we discuss the decisions of the Supreme Court during its 2012-13 term. We look at three important cases that raised questions about where the constitutional power to make decisions about hotly contested social issues should lie—with the federal government, state or local governments, or with private citizens and associations.  This session will engage participants in considering that question in these three cases. [Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (Shelby County Alabama v. Holder), the Defense of Marriage Act cases (United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry), and affirmative action (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin)].

September 10 ~ American Journalism and International Relations: Why A Democracy Needs Robust Foreign Affairs Coverage

Giovanna Dell’Orto, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota

Shedding new light on the debate over the importance of foreign news to America's international relations, Dell'Orto unearths the history of U.S. foreign correspondence to call for protecting its endangered future. Join us as she provides her analysis of coverage of 20 international events from 1848 to 2008 which shows that professional foreign correspondence has always helped shape the box within which Americans -- ordinary citizens and policymakers alike -- have thought about the world and their role in it. 

September 3 ~ Exploring Cambodia and Colombia: Perspectives on Ministry and the Changing Relationship with the US.

Sister Tierney and Sister Joseen, Sisters of Saint Francis, Rochester, MN

Sister Tierney and Sister Joseen have spent more than three decades providing ministry in Colombia and Cambodia, respectively, and will share stories, perspectives, and insight regarding the changing cultures and each country’s shifting relationship with the United States.


August Theme ~ Spirituality and World Religion

August 27 ~ Behind the Scenes of ‘On Being’ (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

Trent Gillis, Senior Editor, On Being

Trent Gillis is the Senior Editor with the award winning MPR show ‘On Being.’ He will share remarkable highlights from their various shows and explore the extraordinary stories behind the guests that have appeared. His presentation will not only be highly engaging and interactive but also very sensory and media rich. Don’t miss this rare and incredible opportunity to delve behind the scenes and hear stories about some of the most fascinating religious leaders, artists, scientists, and philosophers of our time. 

August 20 ~ A Conversation with Judas: A man of faith and honor (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

Judas will tell his own story as the only Judean in a group of Galileans. He was a zealot and devoted to the coming of the Messiah. You will hear him tell of his testing (not betrayal) of Jesus and his relationship with the other apostles. Learn about the human context surrounding Christ's ministry and death.

Dr. Charles Schmidtke, Professor Emeritus, Canisius College

Dr. Charles Schmidtke is Professor Emeritus from Canisius College. He served as Dean for 11 years and taught Ethics, aging, time, and cross cultural courses in Anthropology, Communication, English, Gerontology, Honors, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology. As a Conference Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America he presides at worship services throughout Western New York, teaches adult bible studies, serves on the Synod's Conflict and Healing Team, and is the Visioning Minister at his home parish. 

August 13 ~ A Tour of World Religions

Join us as we board the trolley and travel to four different religious institutions. We will enjoy a tour of each location and learn about the unique aspects of the religion and its respective religious community. 

August 6 ~ Perspectives on Religion: Exploring Christianity and Atheism/ Agnosticism (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

We will explore different aspects of faith, spirituality, meaning, and religion as we hear from members of the Rochester Area Freethinkers and Pastor Dave Berg from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Each will present their unique perspective, illuminating ways in which seemingly divergent philosophies can manifest in both differing and similar beliefs. This is not intended as a debate about religion but rather a sharing of beliefs and viewpoints.

Rochester Area Free Thinkers and Pastor Dave Berg (Gloria Dei Lutheran Church)


July Theme ~ Journeys - Remarkable Life Stories

July 30 ~ To Kenya and Back (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

In the summer of 2011, I traveled to Kenya to learn about medical practices in a developing country. Although I experienced great insight into what it takes to practice medicine with limited resources, I also learned a tremendous amount about Kenya's culture, economic situation, and politics through the people I have come to consider my second family. This presentation is the story of small-town, Midwesterner's journey to East Africa and the lessons he learned along the way

Evan Doyle and Isaac Otieno

Evan is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota Rochester. He is currently working as a Research Associate at Ofstead & Associates in Saint Paul and is in the process of applying to medical school. Additionally, he is working to revamp a small, nonprofit organization in Kisumu, Kenya that trains youths affected by HIV/AIDS various trades to help support themselves and their families.

Isaac is a small business owner and father of four from Kisumu, Kenya. He was Evan's host father for the two months that he spent volunteering at the local hospital. This is both the first time Isaac has been to the United States and left the African continent. 

July 23 ~ Determined to Matter: The Shannon O’Hara Foundation (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

Jen O’Hara’s typical, ordinary life as a wife and stay at home mom was changed forever on April 15, 2011. That day, her oldest daughter, Shannon, was diagnosed with an inoperable, terminal brain tumor. Their unimaginable journey has many silver linings, and Jen considers that a gift from Shannon.

This is a tale of determination, hope, perseverance, faith, family, laughter, and love. Who would believe that so much good could enter your life from something so terrible? And now, through publishing the book Determined to Matter, the O’Haras have a chance to share their remarkable story.

Jen O’Hara, Author, Educator, and Mother

Jen O’Hara is a Rochester, MN native and graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN with a BA in Broadcast Journalism. She has worked as a high school educator teaching television production and as a tennis instructor to students of all ages, while also being at home raising her two daughters, Shannon and Erin. She is an avid Broadway musical fan as well as an enthusiast of all kinds of sports, especially golf and tennis. This is her first published work, adapted from the blog that she co-wrote with her husband, Dan, and it is in memory of her daughter, Shannon. 

July 16 ~ Restoring the Dignity of the Human Spirit (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

Colleen Duran, Center for Victims of Torture

At the Center for Victims of Torture, we are forging new ways to advance human rights and build a future free from torture. Through research, training, advocacy and our healing services for survivors, each initiative we undertake plays a role in building a larger vision for the torture rehabilitation movement. We provide a bridge between torture victims, the local community and society as a whole, working to restore the dignity of the human spirit one survivor at a time. 

July 9 ~ Sharing Stories Through Song (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

Our life stories often have a soundtrack to them, especially our communal life. We have music for comfort, celebration, love, and beyond. Choral Arts Ensemble will perform some of these special pieces and will invite you, the audience, to join in on some popular favorites such as Amazing Grace, America the Beautiful, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and more. There will be time set aside for song requests that accompany you on your own remarkable life journey.

Choral Arts Ensemble with Artistic Director Rick Kvam

Founded in 1985, Choral Arts Ensemble (CAE) is a highly selective vocal ensemble of forty volunteer singers, all of whom are carefully selected for their musicianship and their ability to work together to promote our organizational mission; singers do not have tenure and must re-audition annually to perform with the ensemble. The singers of CAE are active community members from a wide variety of professions, all drawn together to create excellent music and contribute to the thriving arts community in and around Rochester and southern Minnesota, northern Iowa, and western Wisconsin.

In addition to its paid accompanist, CAE occasionally hires both professional instrumentalists and vocal soloists as dictated by programming needs. Choral Arts Ensemble holds a unique position and reputation in the area it serves. CAE is regarded as the region’s premier organization dedicated to the creation and performance of choral music of all eras and genres, including premiere performances of newly commissioned choral works. The organization has a strong history of audience growth and retention as well as a successful record of program expansion, while maintaining its reputation of excellence.

Artistic Director Rick Kvam has loved choral music his whole life, and holds music degrees from Harvard and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Rick founded the Rochester Men’s Capella in 1982, the Choral Arts Ensemble in 1985, and the SE Minnesota Honors Choirs in 1992. He has won the Sally Ordway Award for arts initiative and the Mayor’s Award for artistic excellence. Married to accompanist Jan Kvam for 23 years, he has also worked for nearly 20 years as an emergency medicine physician at OMC hospital. 

July 2 ~ Billy McLaughlin ‘Coming Back Alive’ on the Peace Plaza

Billy McLaughlin has been changing people’s idea of what an acoustic guitar can sound like since the 1980’s. He is recognized as an innovative performer and composer who embraces the advantages of acoustic guitar amplification, unorthodox techniques and altered tunings while celebrating a gift for melody. His enormous yet fluid acoustic guitar tone has carried him around the world, to Billboard’s Top-Ten Chart and most recently through a devastating medical disorder called focal dystonia. McLaughlin has had to re-learn the guitar left-handed and is in the early stages of what might be described as “one of the great musical-comeback stories of all time.” His story is the subject of an award-winning documentary film called Changing Keys - Billy McLaughlin and the Mysteries of Dystonia. “Many people fail because they quit too soon.” reads the fortune cookie saying that McLaughlin taped to his dashboard in 2001 – it remains there to this day.

Billy McLaughlin, Internationally recognized, World-class Guitarist, Composer, and Inspirational Performer

Billy's Past - A serious professional in his teens, McLaughlin left his home and rock band in Minneapolis for the University of Southern California guitar department where he became interested in minimalist composers Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. Employing what would become his signature style of placing both hands on the fretboard, McLaughlin began composing for his first release using a technique of “hammer-ons” and “pull-offs” that create a harp-like effect on the acoustic guitar. This unusual approach led Billy to extensive national touring earning multiple NACA Campus Entertainer awards. In 1995 McLaughlin signed a multi-album international contract with Virgin Records label Narada whose first release, Fingerdance, peaked at #7 on the Billboard charts. Hundreds of shows a year and another release deep into the contract with Narada, he began struggling with his hands – something felt “off” and it was getting worse.

For two years he struggled with a mysterious and unrelenting condition of unexplainable muscle spasms and contractions. Shockingly as symptoms grew worse he could no longer perform most of his own repertoire. In 2001, Billy was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder called focal dystonia. The diagnosis was confirmed at the Mayo Clinic. Going against doctors’ recommendations to quit music and look for other work, McLaughlin focused on his songwriting and returned to his rock band which was less demanding for his hands. Despite releasing his ensemble’s best recording, Finally – Live! (2002) it was clear that focal dystonia had ended McLaughlin’s career as a virtuoso guitarist.

The Challenge – Feeling utterly lost without his music and not willing to give up, McLaughlin began the unlikely journey of teaching himself to play in his signature style, left-handed! Late in 2004 a documentary film crew began following McLaughlin’s desperate attempt to regain his career. Warned by doctors of a higher likelihood for developing focal dystonia in his remaining good hand, McLaughlin chose to press on towards an ambitious goal he had yet to achieve – to perform and record a new project with a string orchestra.

In January 2007, McLaughlin published a limited release of Into the Light, a concert recording of compositions for acoustic guitar with string orchestra. This collaboration with Grammy nominated arranger, Eugenio Toussaint, is McLaughlin’s first recording as a left-handed guitarist. In 2008, Coming Back Alive, a companion DVD shot by volunteers from the WWE broadcast crew capturing the historic performance was completed and released via direct marketing.
The Future - Billy’s story is truly an inspiration! The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (Chicago, IL) has named Billy their first Ambassador for Public Awareness and for his efforts McLaughlin has just been awarded the international 2010 Leadership in Public Neurology Award at the American Academy of Neurology conference held in Toronto. Previous winners of the award include Paul Allen, Julie Andrews, Leon Fleischer and Michael J. Fox. The documentary film, Changing Keys, chronicling McLaughlin’s physical and emotional struggles, the medical mysteries of dystonia, and this amazing musical come-back has been awarded top-honors at the Houston International Film Festival. This independently produced film will begin airing on over 50 major market PBS stations in June 2010. McLaughlin is a featured speaker at the TED conference in Atlanta (May 2010) and is touring internationally including China, the Philippines, India, Europe and extensively throughout the US.

Billy has appeared on Billboard’s TopTen Chart. Previously signed to Virgin Records’ Narada label, McLaughlin has 14 CD releases, 3 National Campus Entertainer of the Year Awards*, 5 Minnesota Music Awards and his decades of national concert touring earned him the Hall of Fame Achievement Award*.

Now serving as Ambassador for Awareness for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, McLaughlin is the winner of the 2010 Public Leadership in Neurology Award** whose previous winners include Paul Allen, Julie Andrews, Leon Fleischer and Michael J. Fox.

McLaughlin has resumed an international schedule of concert appearances and keynote speaking. He resides in his home state of Minnesota where he is, proudly, raising two boys.


June Theme ~ Performing Live

June 25 ~ Healing Humanity with Art (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

Artists have, for ages, created works that create opportunities for healing and human development through the use of the visual language. Growing up and facing her own humanity and feeling a deep responsibility for helping others, Johanna's artistic conversation is based in the healing and development of humans both personally and universally. She will speak on her experience as a healer, an artist and her own personal struggles that have shaped her work.

Johanna Jones, was born and raised in Minnesota. She spent her childhood running around outside in her home town Northfield. In college she fell ill and turned to alternative medicine for healing. During this time she began practicing Qi Gong and it grew into a central aspect of her life and Art. She lived in California for seven years and returned to her home state to have a family and cultivate herself as an artist and a healer. She currently lives and works in Northfield Minnesota. She loves to travel and stay connected to the people she knows and love, and has yet to know and love, all around the globe. 

June 18 ~ Dovetailers (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

As a real-life couple, songwriting team, and acoustic duo, Brandon and Heather Sampson get plenty of opportunities on a daily basis to live up to the definition of their name, The Dovetailers. Trying to separate their love story, from their combined love of music is impossible. They met at a live music venue, spent their courtship years singing along to Sun Volt, Juliana Hatfield, The Drive-by-Truckers, and the Old 97's to name a few. With honesty, heartbreak, and humor, they explore the day-to-day life of lovers with simple instruments and straightforward harmony. 

June 11 ~ Confessions of a Belly Dancer (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a professional belly dancer? Terri Allred will share the rich history, current interest and sometimes hilarious inside world of belly dance while she takes you on a visual journey through various styles of Middle Eastern dance. Egyptian cabaret, American Tribal Style, Fusion and Folkloric dance will come alive as you are lost in a world of costumes, swords, veils, and canes.

Sadiya and troupe

Terri Allred didn’t aspire to be a professional belly dancer when she grew up. After a head injury left her unable to work in her professional field, she began the journey to health in a belly dance class. She soon realized the unique value of Middle Eastern dance for Western women. Terri owns Rochester International Dance Studio and is the Executive Director for Join the Journey. She has a loving and supportive family comprised of boys who, sadly, do not belly dance with her. 

June 4 ~ Jared Mauck The “King of Zing!” (outside, on the Peace Plaza)

Jared entered a stand-up comedy competition at the age of 19, and came in 1st out of 100 contestants. That ignited his passion for stand-up and he has never given up on the dream. Married with four children, he is the other half of the kind of “Facebook” couple he mocks during his routines. Though his comedy is laced with his signature sarcastic “Zing”, Jared is an extremely likable and soft-hearted man. He Has performed in front of all different audiences for over 15 years.

Jared Mauck, Comedian


May Theme ~ Gastronomic Adventure!

May 28 ~ The Unique Aspects of Indian Cooking and Culture

Have you always been intrigued by Indian cuisine and culture? Or have you always wanted to try cooking authentic Indian food but have been too intimidated by all of the unique ingredients? Here's your chance to find out more! Elizabeth, Vijay, and Kavi Chawla are excited to give you a brief history and introduction to the unique aspects of Indian cooking and culture, as well as learn about the challenges and excitement of starting a new company, Kaveli. Plan to come taste, and learn about the unique aspects of Indian cooking and culture!

Elizabeth, Vijay, and Kavi Chawla

Elizabeth Chawla is combining her love of art with her love of food, through her new Indian food company, Kaveli: An Indian Culinary Experience. Kaveli is a line of gourmet, Indian kits and mixes that are all based on her mother-in-law, Vijay’s family recipes. Kaveli kits and mixes allow the home cook to create authentic Indian food in the way it was traditionally prepared.

Elizabeth obtained her Bachelors degree in Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Along with compiling many years of work in restaurants she attended The New Zealand School of Food and Wine, where she learned the basics of French Cooking and also completed a course on wine, and received a Certificate in New Zealand Wine. She is also almost complete with obtaining her Wisconsin Cheesemakers License.

Dr. Vijay Chawla is a pediatrician who practices with the Mayo Clinic in Austin, Minnesota. She is constantly being asked for cooking lessons, and for the past few years has auctioned off her home cooked Indian dinners to benefit the American Red Cross for up to $1,400! Ironically, she was never as interested in cooking as she was in medicine, until she started her family and realized that someone needed to cook for them! Luckily, it was not too late for her to learn! She has since spent endless hours in the kitchen, cooking marvelous meals that she learned from her late mother, Sumitra, an amazing woman who practiced perfect etiquette and prided herself on never taking shortcuts in the kitchen.

As an entrepreneur, Kavi Chawla’s passion is starting and building new companies. As Co-Founder of Kaveli, Kavi is responsible for setting the broader strategic vision of the company and supporting the execution of its strategic plan. In addition to his role at Kaveli, Kavi is primarily involved in working on the ethical and productive deployment of financial capital. This includes serving as Founder and Managing Director at Nur Global Strategies (Chicago based a business development and growth strategy advisory firm), Founder and Managing Principal at Azka Capital (a Malaysia based ethical investment advisory firm), Investment Partner and Advisor to Impact Investment Partners (a London based impact asset management and advisory firm), and Advisor to the Corporate Governance and Sustainability Center (a Turkey based advisory firm).

Kavi’s previous professional experience includes serving with the Equity Capital Markets team of Deutsche Bank’s investment bank in London, and serving as a research fellow with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Kavi is a featured lecturer and panelist at many investment and financial services forums and conferences globally. Kavi also sits on the International Advisory Council at Drake University, where he also serves as a Global Practitioner in Residence. Kavi earned his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, his Masters in International Affairs (MIA) from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University, New York, New York, and his Bachelors of Arts (BA) from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. 

May 21 ~ Organic Farming and Food Cooperatives

Since 1990, the market for organic products has grown from next to nothing, statistically, to reaching $55 billion in 2009. Organic farming is a form of agriculture with the goal of producing in a sustainable way that allows for healthy soils, ecosystems, and people. It typically relies on ecological processes, biodiversity, and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with potentially adverse effects (such as genetically modified organisms, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on crops, hormones and antibiotics in livestock, etc.).

Food cooperatives are usually consumers' cooperatives where decisions regarding the production and distribution of its food is chosen by its members. They typically offer natural foods, and since decisions about how to run a cooperative are not made by outside shareholders, cooperatives often exhibit a higher degree of social responsibility than their corporate analogues.

Brad Smith, Member Services Manager, People's Food Co-op

Jack Hedoin, Organic Farmer, Featherstone Farms

May 14 ~ Empty the Jar with ZZest

Ever wonder what to do with all those gourmet ingredients out there? Don't be intimidated. It's easier than you think! Join LeeAnn Zubay from ZZest Market and Cafe and learn about her great items from the market. More importantly, LeeAnn's mission is "If you are going to spend your money on these fabulous ingredients, then use them all up! Empty the Jar!" It all begins with cheese too so learn a little about cheese and a lot about flavor!

LeeAnn Zubay from ZZest

LeeAnn's passion for gourmet food and cooking actually began in grade school.Given the task of helping prepare family dinners, she read and re-read Better Crocker's cookbook basically because that and the spiral bound Bisquick Cook Book was all they owned. This may have begun her love affair of collecting and reading cook books, and her beloved Bon Appetit magazines that she has been collecting since 1979. This kitchen seemed to call, with her first job as a part time salad and dessert chef and 16. Marrying in the restaurant business nine years later keep the love affair with food going. Her husband Jerry founded Creative Cuisine Company and LeeAnn helped in different ways over the next 30 years. With the threat of an empty nest coming quickly, LeeAnn decided to take one more plunge into the food world. Specialty goods to be exact. Things you read in Bon Appetit but can't find in a regular grocery store. THe missing piece in Rochester was artisan and imported cheeses, so the search began for those. Five years laster, a move to a larger location, and the addition of not only a cafe, but her husband as a partner, ZZest Market and Cafe began.

Now certified as an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional, as of October 2012, LeeAnn joined the ranks of 121 world wide, first time cheese professionals. Not an easy task; she will be the first to tell you! For LeeAnn and her husband,Jerry, ZZest is a labor of love and deliciousness! 

May 7 ~ Mystery Trip: Trolley to a Restaurant!

NOTE: Pre-registration is full to board the trolley and head to "Johnny Mango's" at Barlow Plaza for a cooking lesson and tasting. (You may contact Nick at 507-258-8053 to be added to the waiting list, or go directly to Johnny Mango's (Barlow Plaza near HyVee and Mestad's to see the presentation without registration).

Johnny Mangouras, President at Johnny Mango's Cabernet Catering

Johnny Mangouras Grew up in a stereotypical Greek family, where his love of food began at an early age with his family's restaurant business in Seattle, Washington. There he nurtured and cultivated his love of fresh food, and the realization of how central food and a special meal is to family and special moments in time. Johnny eventually ran the business before venturing into the private golf and five star restaurant worlds with membership sales, promotion, food and wine management, cellar development and all things considered exquisite food and wine.  


April Theme ~ Prevention

April 30 ~ How Stress Affects Our Health and What We Can Do About It

Stress is a part of life, but is stress an uncontrollable reality or a perception of our choosing? If stress is inevitable, how important is it, and what effect does it have on health? This lecture will discuss stress as it relates to job strain, socioeconomic disparities, and inter-personal relationships, with less emphasis on combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder. This lecture will be suitable for the general audience and anyone who feels stressed about their stress.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define the types of stress, and rank their impact on health
  2. Describe the effects of stress on the human body
  3. Understand how stress can impact human performance
  4. Determine whether stress reduction can improve health and reduce health care costs
  5. Explore methods to reduce stress in our lives

John H. Eisenach M.D.  Anesthesiologist and Professor, Mayo Clinic

Dr. Eisenach is an Anesthesiologist at Mayo Clinic. He divides his time between clinical practice and  human physiology research. For the last ten years, he has conducted human studies that have measured the body's response to acute stress situations in the laboratory. He has studied the effects of genetic variation, age, sex, and dietary salt on the cardiovascular responses to stress. He is particularly interested in how a person's response to stress might predict future cardiovascular disease, and whether measures can be taken to reduce future disease risk. Finally, he is interested in the effects of stress on human performance and healthcare. 

April 23 ~ Choices for a Healthier Quality of Life: Preventing Diabetes

El 23 de Abril! ~ Opciones Para Una Calidad de Vida Más Saludable: Prevención de la Diabetes

This exchange of ideas offers a brief insight into the effects of diabetes and the importance of prevention. Maintaining culture is an important aspect for many people but certain foods can have major health effects. It is important to consider the portion size and the health information of food. This discussion is meant to highlight the idea, through practical and applicable information, that sacrifices for a healthier lifestyle can be small adjustments to the way we prepare and serve our food.

Este bilingüe presentación en Español y Inglés discutirá por que la prevención de diabetes es importante, y que pasos específicos podemos a tomar. Vamos a discutir la historia de la población Hispana. Las normas de la población Hispana nos pueden explicar porque ellos tienen una mayor prevalencia de diabetes.

Spanish/English bi-lingual presentation by UMR Spanish IV students, instructed by Ryan Furness, Center for Learning Innovation Faculty, University of Minnesota Rochester

Student Bios

  • Nicole Vanderhoof is a second year UMR student in the BSHS program. She is from Necedah, Wisconsin. Nicole plans on pursuing a career as a physician’s assistant in pediatric oncology or another pediatric specialty. She loves children and looks forward to a career that allows her to spend time with and help them.
  • Nicole Vanderhoof es una estudiante en su segundo año en la programa “BSHS” del UMR. Ella es de Necedah, Wisconsin. Nicole espera ser asociada médica de oncología pediátrica o de otra especialidad pediátrica. A ella le encantan los niños y quiere una carrera que le permite pasar tiempo con ellos y ayudarlos.
  • Katie Davidson is a third year UMR student in the BSHS UMR . She is from Coon Rapids, Minnesota. She graduated from Stanley-Boyd High School in Wisconsin. Katie plans on pursuing a career as a clinical laboratory research scientist. She hopes to find a cure for a disease called Myasthenia Gravis.
  • Katie Davidson es una estudiante tercera año en el programa ¨BSHS¨del UMR. Ella es de Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Ella se graduó de escuela secundaria en Stanley-Boyd en Wisconsin. Katie quiere ser científica de laboratorio clínico. Espera encontrar una cura para Myasthenia Gravis.
  • Anthony Sanchez is a junior at the University of Minnesota Rochester. He is Salvadoran American, born in Los Angeles, California, and although he wasn’t born in his family’s native land of El Salvador, he grew up heavily immersed in Salvadoran culture. Anthony’s career goals are to not only be a journalist, but to also be the voice of a community that isn’t regularly heard. In his case, Anthony can be one of the many voices of the Hispanic community, and it is because of this that he is participating in this UMR connects event.
  • Anthony Sánchez es un junior en la Universidad de Minnesota Rochester. Él es Salvadoreño Americano, y nació en Los Angeles, California. Aunque él no nació en la tierra natal de su família de El Salvador, creció en la cultura de su família. El objetivo personal de Anthony es ser un periodista, pero también él quiere ser la voz de una comunidad al que no se escucha. Anthony puede ser una de las muchas voces de la comunidad Hispana, y es por eso que Anthony está participando en este evento de UMR Connects.
  • Sydni Vandal is a junior at the University of Minnesota, Rochester. She graduated from Blaine High School. Her future goals include obtaining a Master’s degree in Social Work and working in the field of psychology. One of her main passions is helping people who have difficulties or are unable to help themselves.
  • Sydni Vandal es un junior en la Universidad de Minnesota, Rochester. Ella se graduó de escuela secundaria en Blaine, MN. Sus metas para el futuro incluyen terminar una Maestría en trabajo social y conseguir un trabajo como psicóloga. Se apasiona ayudando a las personas que no pueden ayudarse a sí mismos.
  • Daniel Bergeson is a third-year student studying health sciences with intentions of attending either PA or MD programs following graduation. He was born and raised in Red Wing, MN, and graduated from Red Wing High School in 2009. Daniel is also a member of Team USA for the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship Series, and competes in races in North America and Europe. He also has an older brother Andrew, who is also on the team with him, and an older sister Angela who graduated from Mayo’s School of Physical Therapy in 2009.
  • Daniel Bergeson es un estudiante de tercer año en la Universidad de Minnesota, Rochester. Quiere asistir a la escuela de médicos asistente después de que se gradúe. Daniel es de Red Wing, MN, y se graduó de la escuela secundaria de Red Wing en 2009. Daniel es miembro del equipo USA de la competencia de Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship Series y compite en muchos eventos en América y Europa. Daniel tiene un hermano mayor, Andrew, en el equipo de USA y una hermana mayor, Angela. Angela se graduó de la escuela de terapia física de Mayo en 2009. 

April 16 ~ Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence Prevention

  • History and explanation of Breaking Free Programs
  • Global, national and local human trafficking statistics
  • Forms of trafficking
  • Recruitment Methods
  • Barriers to escaping
  • Victim Identification
  • Prevention
  • How can people help?

Noelle Volin, Staff Attorney and Public Policy Manager, Breaking Free 

April 9 ~ Whole Genome Sequence Analysis for Cancer Prevention and Personalized Medicine

The unique DNA sequence of 3.2 billion nucleotides (AGCT) which makes your genome, defines intimately how you are built, and who you are. We are at the cusp of most significant opportunity in human existence; to look into your individual blue-print and assess your strengths and weaknesses, what disease you are likely to develop, how would you respond to a specific treatment, or how long you may live. This represents the turning point in how medicine, biomedical research and optimized lifestyle is going to be.

Acu Ilie Dorin Ph.D. ACU Corporation & Aging and Cancer Open Institute
IT & Bioinformatics/Biomedical Open Source Solutions and Training

April 2 ~ Making it Better by Creating a Healthier Community Together

Making It Better is a Community initiative driven by Olmsted County Public Health that brings people together to discover, share, and celebrate stories that inspire healthy everyday choices where we live, learn, work, and play. In this presentation, you will hear from a panel of Making It Better staff on a variety of health initiatives aimed at decreasing obesity, reducing the impact of tobacco use/ exposure of secondhand smoke and reducing underage and binge drinking. All of the initiatives are being implemented in Olmsted County to create a healthier community together.

Olmsted County Public Health Panel
Shay Baumbach - Olmsted County Public Health


March Theme ~ Exploring Books and Literature

March 26 ~ SAY WORD!

Join us for an evening with the artists, educators, and co-founders of the MN Spoken Word Association, Sha Cage and E.G. Bailey. The pair has been bringing the power of Urban Arts into schools in MN and abroad for more than a decade. The evening will highlight some of their 'lessons learned' as well as spotlight their 2 day Youth Poetry Festival: SAY WORD! They will be joined by SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE - also a performing and teaching artist in the Twin Cities, as they all perform and lead an interactive session around the importance of Spoken Word storytelling, performing, and other skills that increase literacy and youth leadership.

Madiba: E.G. Bailey & Sha Cage, Minnesota Spoken Word Association

MADIBA [Muh•Dee•Buh] This uniquely innovative performance duet has auspiciously adopted the South African leader, Nelson Mandela's widely known nickname. E.G. Bailey and Shá Cage respectively from Liberia and Mississippi represent the diasporic legacy of the continent of Africa and the American South. Theirs is a performance collaboration blending and bending words, layered voices, and cacophonous rhythms. Bailey and Cage are each nationally recognized spoken word performance artists, actors, and directors. They are founders of numerous collectives, radio shows and organizations including the MN Spoken Word Association and Speakeasy Records have traveled widely to areas such as Canada, England, Africa, New York, Bosnia, and more, performing their work that largely centers around topics of identity, freedom, culture and home. 

Awards: Among others, Bailey and Cage recently received an Emmy for their "I Believe in Public Access" commercial and the Target "Art Connects" national commercial featuring the two aired on the B.E.T. awards and is archived at the IMA Hall of Fame in New York.

More: They share a community based vision around the importance of activism, education, and art. As consultants, they helped create the University of Madison's Urban Arts program and are instructors at the University of MN in the BFA program, and have taught in over 80 schools and community centers. Bailey produced a groundbreaking new work with Amiri Baraka in 2011 and Cage is preparing to tour her provocative new solo work N.I.G.G.E.R. after completing a prestigious McKnight Theater Artist fellowship.


Twin Cities Native, Chicago transplant, Lyricist, Poet, Producer, Engineer, Visual Artist, Visionary, Actor, Educator, Social Engineer, Thinker, Lover and one hell of a cook.

This award winning hip hopper presents perspectives of Culture, Community, Social Justice and Heritage with an effortlessly spiritual approach and infectious, upbeat humanism. SEE MORE captures the imagination with a genuine zest for craft, progress and life to captivate crowds with substance without giving up any fun in the meanwhile. SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE leaves the listener with something to think about every time, over lush musical soundscapes.

SEE MORE has shared stages with the likes of Brother Ali, Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets, Dead Prez, Sage Francis, Michal Franti, Atmosphere, De La Soul and many more.

March 19 ~ Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community

UMR CONNECTS teams with RAAFUM (Rochester Area Alumni and Friends of the University of Minnesota) to bring historian, and author, Brenda J. Childs to discuss her new book, "Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community" and end with a short discussion of the Ojibwe People's Dictionary

Brenda J. Child is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota. She received her PhD in History at the University of Iowa and was a Katrin Lamon Fellow at the School of American Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her book, Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940 (University of Nebraska, 1998), won the North American Indian Prose Award. Child was a consultant to the exhibit, “Remembering Our Indian School Days” at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona and co-author of the book that accompanied the exhibit, Away From Home (Heard, 2000). The exhibit will travel to the National Museum of the American Indian in 2014. Child’s newest book is Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community (Viking/Penguin, 2012). She is a board member of the Minnesota Historical Society and will join the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian in 2013. At the University of Minnesota, she was a recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service and served as Chair of the Department of American Indian Studies (2009-12). She is also part of a research group that developed a new digital humanities project, the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary, which launched as a website in 2012. Child was born on the Red Lake Ojibwe Reservation in northern Minnesota where she is a citizen. She resides with her family in Saint Paul and Bemidji, Minnesota.

March 12 ~ An Evening with Best-selling Author Bernice L. McFadden, Co-sponsored by Sista to Sista Book Club

UMR Connects and Sista-2-Sista Book Club present an evening with Bernice L. McFadden. She is the author of many novels, including multiple best-sellers; Sugar, The Warmest December, Nowhere is a Place, and This Bitter Earth. Ms. McFadden will discuss her latest novel, Gathering of Waters; a deeply engrossing tale narrated by the town of Money, Mississippi -- a site both significant and infamous in our collective story as a nation. Money is personified in this haunting story, which chronicles its troubled history following the young love story and subsequent tragedy of Emmett Till and Tass Hilson.

Following the discussion of Gathering of Waters, there will be an opportunity to meet Bernice L. McFadden at a book signing.

Bernice L. McFadden was born, raised and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the eldest of four children and the mother of one daughter, R'yane Azsa. In the Fall of 1983, she enrolled in the noted NYC fashion college: Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (LIM), with dreams of becoming an international clothing buyer.

She attended LIM for two semesters and then took a position at Bloomingdale's and later with Itokin, a Japanese owned retail company. Disillusioned and frustrated with her job, she signed up for a Travel & Tourism course at Marymount College where she received a certificate of completion. After the birth of her daughter in 1988, Bernice McFadden obtained a job with RockResorts, a company then owned by the Rockefeller family.

The company was later sold and Ms. McFadden was laid off and unemployed for one year. She sites that year as the turning point in her life because during those twelve months Ms. McFadden began to dedicate herself to the art of writing. Forever frustrated with corporate America and the requirements they put on their employees, Ms. McFadden enrolled at Fordham University. Her intention was to obtain a degree that would enable her to move up another rung on the corporate ladder.

She signed up for courses that concentrated on Afro-American history and literature, as well as creative writing, poetry and journalism. She credits the two years spent under the guidance of her professors as well as the years spent lost in the words of her favorite authors, to the caliber of writer she has become. In 1997, Ms. McFadden quit her job and dedicated seven months to re-writing the novel that would become, "SUGAR."

In February of 1999, after nearly ten years, four drafts and 73 rejection letters - SUGAR was finally acquired by Dutton Publishers. Published in the winter of 2000, SUGAR is still in print and in 2010 celebrated its tenth anniversary. In addition to SUGAR, Bernice is the author of The Warmest December, This Bitter Earth, Loving Donovan, Camilla’s Roses, Nowhere is a Place, Glorious, My Name is Butterfly, and Gathering of Waters.

Gathering of Waters, a 2012 New York Times Notable Book, is McFadden’s most recent publication and is a deeply engrossing tale narrated by the town of Money, Mississippi – a site both significant and infamous in our collective story as a nation. Money is personified in this haunting story, which chronicles its troubled history following the young love story and subsequent tragedy of Emmett Till and Tass Hilson.

Awards and Honors

  • 2011 BCALA Literary Award in Fiction (Glorious)
  • 2010 New York Times Book Review (Glorious)
  • 2010 Debut Selection for The One Book, One Harlem Program (Glorious)
  • 2010 O Magazine "Book to Watch" (Glorious)
  • 2010 Historical Novel Society "Editor's Choice" (Glorious)
  • 2007 Short-listed for the Hurston Wright Legacy Award in Fiction (Nowhere is a Place)
  • 2007 National Book Club Conference BeBe Moore Campbell Memorial Literary Award
  • 2006 Washington Post Best Fiction (Nowhere is a Place)
  • 2004 Subject of The Lifetime Television 20th Anniversary Commercial
  • 2004 Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Fiction Honor Award (Loving Donovan)
  • 2002 Nominated for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (The Warmest December)
  • 2002 Short-listed for the Hurston Wright Legacy Award in Fiction (The Warmest December)
  • 2002 Zora Neale Hurston Society Award for Creative Contribution to Literature
  • 2001 Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Fiction Honor Award (Sugar)
  • 2001 Black Writer's Alliance, Gold Pen Award, Best Mainstream Fiction (Sugar)
  • 2001 Black Writer's Alliance, Gold Pen Award, Best New Author
  • 2001 Go On Girl Book Club New Author of the Year Award (Sugar)
  • 2000 New York Times Book Review (Sugar)
  • 2000 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer's (Sugar)

March 5 ~ 2013 Minnesota Book Awards Finalists

The Minnesota Book Awards was created over two decades ago by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as part of a larger "Festival of the Book." Books created by writers, illustrators or book artists who are Minnesotans are eligible for Minnesota Book Awards. The Awards are given each year for books published in the previous year. Join UMR Librarian Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran as she presents the finalists for this year’s Minnesota Book Awards.

Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran is the librarian at the University of Minnesota - Rochester campus. She has worked with the regional library consortium (SELCO) in Rochester, and is the former director of the Sidney Public Library in Sidney, Nebraska. Mary Beth is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and comes to the library profession after a tour through sales and sales management, marketing, the brokerage industry, and higher education. She has a Master of Science in the Orginizational Leadership and Quality as well as a Master of Science in Library Science.


February Theme ~ Ethics/Morality/Ethical Dilemmas

Have you ever found yourself embroiled in an ethical dilemma? If so, you're not alone! An ethical dilemma is any situation in which our guiding moral principles cannot determine which course of action is right or wrong. Ethical dilemmas have posed a problem for ethical theorists as far back as Plato, and our current culture is laden with them! Throughout February, we will explore a cross-section of these dilemmas amongst different disciplines.

February 26 ~ Exploring Ethical Dilemmas in National and International Law: An Interactive Presentation of Case studies highlighting the intersection between ethics and law.

An interactive presentation of case studies hightlighting the intersection between ethics and law. Case studies will include the law and ethics of illegally using generic medication to save lives, and jury nullification –when a jury can ignore the law and create its own rules. Other case studies will analyze current ethical dilemmas that create legal conflicts.

Allan Witz, Witz Law Firm ( and President, Third District Bar Association

Allan emigrated from South Africa to the United Stated in 2001 and became a citizen in 2008. He is an attorney and mediator in Rochester, Minnesota, and is a member of the state bars of Minnesota, Florida, and Michigan. Allan holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws degree, a Master's degree in Commercial Law, a Master's degree for International Lawyers. and a Juris Doctor degree. Allan also has a Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Hamline Law School's Dispute Resolution Institute.

February 19 ~ Issues in Translational Ethics - When is a Technology Ready for Clinical Practice?

This presentation will discuss the ethical issues that surround the use of genomics, the complete sequencing analysis of an individual's genetic code, and its implementation into standard or clinical practice. We will also discuss ethical issues in relation to human stem cell regenerative medicine.

Jennifer B McCormick, PhD, MPP

Jennifer B McCormick, PhD, MPP (Jen) is Assistand Professor of Biomedical Ethics at Mayo Clinic in the Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Health Care Policy Research. She is also one of the core faculty in the Mayo Clinic Biomedical Ethics Research. Her research activities broadly examine the intersection of science, policy, and society. Some of her current studies focus on the ethical, policy, and social implications of translating whole exome and whole genome sequencing into clinical practice, approaches to enhancing research informed consent, and views of scientists on notions of the professionalism, accountability, and social responsibility.

February 12 ~ Ethical Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics

Intercollegiate athletics are rife with examples of unethical conduct-- from recruiting violations by coaches, to administration cover-ups, to felonies by athletes. The professionalization and commercialization of amateur sports, the ever-growing "arms race," escalating coach salaries for men's basketball and football, lack of gender equity, and the prevalence of a "win at all cost" attitude offer some explanation why. These issues facing intercollegiate college athletics are positioned within the backdrop of decreasing funding for higher education and rising tuition, opening a space to discuss the role of sports in higher education.

Maya Hamilton, Teaching and Research Assistant, University of Minnesota - Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport

Maya Hamilton is a fourth-year Kinesiology doctoral student and the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in the subdiscipline of Sport and Exercise Psychology. She graduated in 2001 from Yale University with a Bachelor's degree in History, worked as an editor at New York University Press and taught U.S. History at the high school level. She received her Master's degree in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota in 2011. In addition to her graduate work, this is Hamilton's sixth year as the assistant coach of the men's and women's swim teams at St. Olaf College, where she is also an instructor in the exercise science department.

February 5 ~ Dying in Contemporary Medical Culture

This presentation will examine the medical implications of dying and death in contemporary U.S. culture, moral problems associated with these practices, possible solutions, and practical applicatons.

Joan Liaschenko, PhD, RN, FAAN, School of Nursing and Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota

Joan Liaschenko is originally from Philadelphia where she completed basic nursing studies and obtained a BS from Hahnemann University and an MA from Bryn Mawr College. She migrated west where she obtained an MS, PhD, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She joined the University of Minnesota Faculty in January of 2001 where she is jointly appointed in the Center for Bioethics and the School of Nursing.


January ~ Crime and Punishment

UMR CONNECTS delves into the nuances of Crime and Punishment, as it occurs here in Rochester. From gang violence, to internet crime (identity theft and sexual offenses), to prostitution and sex trafficking, we will take an in-depth look at crime and explore its impact on victims, their families, and the community. We will also explore some of the unique and innovative initiatives undertaken by local agencies to address them.

January 29 ~ Gangs and Drugs: Challenges to our Community

Our youth and community members are facing a mounting problem in today’s counter culture with gangs and drugs. Join us in exploring the extent of gang and drug activity in Rochester and the efforts being taken to address these escalating problems.

Speaker: Sergeant Steve Thompson, Rochester Police Department, Gang Task Force. Steve Thompson graduated from Byron High School in 1989 and went to North Dakota State University for two years before changing his major to Law Enforcement and moving back to Rochester, where he graduated from RCTC in 1992. He started his law enforcement career working in the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center in 1993 and was hired as a police officer in Rochester in 1996. He was transferred from the Patrol Division to Investigations in July 2004 as the department's gang investigator assigned to the Minnesota Gang Strike Force. In 2010, the gang investigators position was transferred to the newly formed Intelligence Unity where he worked until July 2011 when he was promoted to Sergeant. Steve is a firearms instructor for the department, and is a member of the Rochester/ Olmsted County Emergency Response Unit (SWAT Team). Personally, he is married and the father of four boys ranging in age from 20 to 9, and has been the head coach for Byron's youth wrestling team for the past 13 years.

January 22 ~ The Scope and Dynamics of Internet Crime

With the explosion in technology have come new venues and opportunities for crime to thrive. Child pornography, stalking, "sexting" and identity theft are just a few types of cyber crime that have become increasingly prevalent, and it continues to evolve as technology changes. Discover how crimes have developed and mutated, and learn about the unique initiatives undertaken to address them.

Speakers: Alex Bunger, Senior Probation Officer, Dodge, Fillmore, Olmsted Community Corrections. Howard Seim, Investigator, Rochester Police Department; Alex Bunger, Probation/ Parole Agent, DFO Community Corrections

Alex Bunger is a Probation/Parole Agent with Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections, supervising adult males convicted of sexual offenses. Mr. Bunger has been with DFO since 2001 and has prior experience in the field of corrections as an Intensive Supervised Release Agent for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, as well as experience as an Intensive Supervision Agent for the Domestic Violence Unit. Mr. Bunger’s educational background includes a B.A. and M.S. in the fields of corrections, sociology, and criminal justice.

Detective Howard Siem is a member of the Rochester Police Department currently assigned to the Property Crimes Unit of Criminal Investigations. Detective Siem has over 33 years of law enforcement experience, with the last ten years working property crmie investigations. He is also an assigned member of the MN Joint Terrorism Task Force which also targets financial crimes to further terrorist conduct. Identity theft is just one avenue of the criminal network, but now accounts for more financial losses than narcotic trafficking.

January 15 ~ The Impact of Drunk Driving on Victims' Families and the Community

Hear the compelling stories of two victims, both of whom lost family members to drunk drivers. We will hear the devastating impact this crime has had in their lives and learn about where their journey is leading now. We will also hear about current victim centered practices in DFO that extend beyond the criminal justice system.

Speakers: Jeanne Ronayne, Program Manager with Victim Services; Sandy Melville, MADD volunteer speaker, mother of drunk driving victim Austin Melville; Rita Seha, MADD activist and victim of Christopher Frisch, she was injured and four members of her family were killed in the deadliest drunk driving accident in Minnesota history

Jeanne Ronayne has served as the Director of Victim Services, a tri-county victim services agency for the past 13 years. Prior to that, Ms. Ronayne work in Corrections as a probation officer with female offenders, and was a supervisor for juvenile probation for nine years. Ms. Ronayne has been a member of the local multidisciplinary team for sexual assault response for ten years, serving as co-chair for six years. She is a trainer for the Sexual Violence Justice Institute at MNCASA and also conducts training in the primary prevention of sexual violence at statewide conferences and is an Associate in Human System Dynamics.

January 8 ~ What are the Effects of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in our Community?

Take an in-depth look at the system of prostitution/sex-trafficking and its domestic and international impact, including the challenges and costs that this industry poses to the victims and community.

Speakers: Karen Sullivan Hook, Prosecutor, Olmsted County; Stephanie Holt, Executive Director, Mission 21

Karen Sullivan Hook is currently a Senior Assistant County Attorney at the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office. Among her other duties as a criminal prosecutor, she is the point person for human trafficking cases in Olmsted County. Prior to joining the office in 2006, Karen spent six years practicing poverty law as the Executive Director and Managing Attorney at Legal Assistance of Olmsted County. Karen has spent most of her life in Minnesota, graduating from Osseo Senior High, the University of Minnesota at Morris, and the University of Minnesota Law School. Following law school, she clerked for several judges in Olmsted County and spent a short time in private practice in Rochester.

Stephanie Holt is the Founder and Executive Director of Mission 21. Mission 21 is an anti-trafficking organization committed to the complete restoration of victims of human trafficking. It is the first organization in Minnesota seeking to open a children’s residential facility for girls 15 and younger. Since the establishment of Mission 21 in Rochester, MN in the summer of 2010, Stephanie has been in collaboration with several organizations throughout the country to bring the best and most effective programs to the children and families she serves. Stephanie also works alongside the local police department, District Attorney's office and Victim Services in Olmsted County to provide the most appropriate services and options to women and children who are exploited through prostitution. Stephanie along with her husband and co-founder, Matthew, reside in Rochester with their two daughters.