Past Events - 2015

Welcome to the 2015 UMR CONNECTS past events page. All presentations on this page have already taken place. Some of them have been recorded and made available via YouTube. You may browse through the recorded UMR CONNECTS presentations on the UMR CONNECTS YouTube Channel, or if there is a "Watch this presentation now" link below, you may click it to view the coinciding presentation, directly. You can view the list of upcoming presentations here.

January ~ Adapting Today to Protect Our Future

January 6 ~ The Future of Health Insurance Reform 
(video of Health Insurance panel and moderated discussion)

This presentation will feature a pre-recorded video of a recent U of M - Twin Cities Health Insurance panel regarding the progress and future impact of health insurance reform, and will be followed by a moderated discussion among the audience.

January 13 ~ Climate Change: Will the state bird leave Minnesota?

Matthew Anderson, Executive Director of Audubon Society MN

**Matthew Anderson was unable to present due to illness. Chancellor Lehmkuhle presented on research he had done regarding the eyesight of predatory birds compared to that of other predators and prey. A video presentation, "Climate Webinar: Climate Change Impacts on Wildlife" was also shown. Matthew Anderson's topic was to explain how climate change is threatening to push the loon out of the state within the next 50 years.


January 20 ~ The Evolution of Business: Adaptation or Extinction
Stephen Troutman, Futurist, Keynote Speaker, Facilitator, and Community Volunteer.

Free Professional Speaker Series Businesses, and all organizations, must change over time or they risk losing relevance and going out of existence. Understanding the future and preparing for it has become a critical capability. In this original presentation, we will look at some adaptive changes from history, using some IBM and the Mayo Clinic examples, and then turn our sights on what futurists today are saying about the future. We will briefly touch on the ways organizations go about doing foresight work (i.e. Futuring).

January 27 ~ Emerging Infections in the Modern World: A View From the Front Windshield and Rearview Mirror
Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH
Watch this presentation now. An extremely timely topic following the national worry concerning Ebola, this presentation brings to Rochester one of the nation's leading experts on the public health risk of infectious disease. Dr. Osterholm will discuss how epidemics spread so quickly, as well as touch on the likelihood of whether an epidemic could actually 'end' the world. For more information, click here.

February 3 ~ What Do We Know After 30 Years of Research on Homelessness in Minnesota?
Greg Owen, Consulting Scientist, Wilder Research
Watch this presentation now. In this presentation, Greg Owen, a Consulting Scientist at Wilder Research in St. Paul, will describe the origins of homelessness research in Minnesota and key changes that have been observed over the past 30 years. The presentation will include study results related to health, mental health, and housing barriers as well as a comparison of how homelessness in the Rochester area compares to homelessness elsewhere in Minnesota. Participants will have a chance to discuss the range of challenges we face in our efforts to end homelessness. UPDATE: Presentation slides may be viewed and printed here (UMR CONNECTS Homeless Study Presentation_Feb 3 2014_final.pdf).

February 10 ~ Pregnancy and Parenting Support for Women in Prison 

Rebecca Shlafer, Ph D; Assistant Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Dr. Shlafer will discuss the complex mental and physical health needs of incarcerated pregnant women. She will share information about an innovative program at the women's state prison and her ongoing research through this community-university-corrections partnership. In addition, Dr. Shlafer will discuss recent legislation aimed at improving the care for pregnant women in custody and the University's role in translating science to inform public policy on this topic.

Febuary 17 ~ Combating Poverty and Social Justice Issues in Rochester and Around the World
Glen Morris, UMR Student, The UMR Oxfam Chapter; Activators, Global Brigades, HELP, and Intercultural Club
This event will focus on the source of social inequalities and what is being done here in Rochester, MN by hearing presentations from the Oxfam America student club at UMR, the Activators student club at UMR, along with the Channel 1 Food Bank. Oxfam is a global organization, working to "right the wrongs" of poverty, hunger, and other social injustices. Activators is a group dedicated to creating social impact within the city of Rochester by addressing issues such as homelessness, poverty, human trafficking, and all forms of stigma. During this event, there will be other social justice UMR student groups present which you are welcome to interact with following the shorter presentation portion. Join us this evening to see how UMR students are dedicated to making a change, and how they are actively making those changes happen. (If you'd like, please bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to the Channel 1 Food Bank.)

February 24 ~ Humility Ability

Sanni Brown-Adefope, Radio/TV Personality, Behavioral Therapist, and Speaker
Watch this presentation now. Sometimes we forget that as human beings, we really have a lot more in common than we think...regardless of the circumstances. As a result, I believe this negatively effects our ability to connect with each other on a deeper level...a human level. During a month of "The Often Forgotten: Prisons, Poverty, and Homelessness," this UMR CONNECTS event can help us to remember those who've fallen on hard times. It also gives us a chance to feel and find inspiration that will move us to take action on it. My goal is to use my experience with homelessness to help make that happen.

March ~ The Amazing Human Brain

March 3 ~ Your Changable Brain

Jen Beyst and Johann Marsland

Our brains can change function through training because of neuroplasticity. Learn about the importance of strong cognitive skills and discover fun ways to implement brain-building activities into daily life. You will discover 7 cognitive skills and why they matter, how giftedness can be stymied by underdevelopment of linked brain skills, and how training can unlock potential. All who attend can participate in hands-on techniques.

March 10 ~ UMR CONNECTS 200th Event Celebration and Laughter Yoga

Amy Heath, Laughter Yoga Instructor

Take a break from your day and enjoy some laughter! Experience a fun combination of stretching, breathing, and laughter exercises through laughter yoga. Rekindle the childlike playfulness within you and reap the many health benefits that laughter has to offer

Amy believes a person’s wellbeing should be approached from a holistic perspective, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies. She has her bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science and has certifications in exercise physiology, mind/body medicine, and wellness coaching. She considers laughter to be an important aspect of wellness and is also a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader To her, laughter is about finding connection through sharing a universal language that is highly contagious. She loves working with people, and strives to empower her clients to find wellness from within.  Laughter creates connection. It is a universal expression that bridges language and cultural gaps. It is also highly contagious! When we hear others laugh, we are more likely to laugh (this is the secret behind laugh tracks on television shows). Laughter not only generates connection with others, but it also generates connection with YOU. Laughter brings you into the present moment and helps you build awareness of your mind, body, and spirit. Since the many health benefits of “real” laughter can also be obtained from “fake” laughter (preliminary research shows our body cannot differentiate), why not “Fake it until you make it!”?

March 17 ~ Concussions - Current Updates on Recognition and Management

Chad Eickhoff, Mayo Clinic

During this session we will explore:
- What defines a concussion
- How to recognize if someone has sustained a possibe concussion
- Current management procedures
- The future of concussion management and sports participation effects

March 24 ~ Addiction: A Disease of the Brain, Not a Weakness of Will

Emily Brunner, Staff Physician at Hazelden, part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

A comprehensive discussion of the scientific evidence behind addiction being a neurologic disease requiring treatment. Also includes evidence behind treatment principles, with treatment showing comparable efficacy to other chronic diseases (like diabetes or hypertension).

March 31 ~ Developmental Prosopagnosia: What is face blindness? How can it be assessed and treated?

Albert Yonas, Professor, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

This talk will describe a condition that is difficult to imagine. We know what it is like to be unable to remember the name of a familiar person, but with prosopagnosia one may have difficulty recognizing close friends and even family members; everyone is a stranger. Tens of thousands of people have had their face recognition skills tested by going to on the web. Findings on the social consequences of the condition, the role of age, and genetics will be described as well as current work to improve the face recognition skills of those seeking help.

April ~ The Great Unknowns

April 7 - What They Don't Teach Us in History Classes

Dennis Challeen, District Judge from 1964 to 1999, chambered in Winona County Minnesota

In this UMR CONNECTS event on "The Great Unknowns" of historical events, Dennis Challeen will discuss history, psychology and the law touching on the Salem Witch Trials, how our Constitution came together, Lincoln and the Civil war, and how it all comes together today.

If you are wondering why you might want to listen to an obscure judge from mid-America, you may be surprised to find he’s not obscure at all. Yes, he lived for a decade during the 1970s in a boathouse floating on the Mississippi River backwaters in southeastern Minnesota; and he rode a motorcycle to preside in court occasionally wearing a blue denim robe back when judges just didn’t do things like that. Yet, he was re-elected many times and after four decades of hearing just about every kind of case imaginable, he is now a retired judge. But those are only his minor achievements. He’s credited with beginning the sentencing of non-violent offenders to community service hours, the first in the nation that began in Winona, Minnesota and spread throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries. Always a visionary, he has been interviewed several times on national television. In 1978 he was invited to teach at The National Judicial College, a training center for America’s judges; he remained a guest faculty member for 33 years teaching about the criminal mind and sentencing. He has written five books on criminal justice; some have been used in college criminal justice courses. During his retirement he has been a columnist for both Winona newspapers writing about history, psychology and the law. A colorful, down-home, humorous speaker and writer, he has been invited to present his candid views to correction and judicial education seminars in 42 of 50 states, often returning several times. This judge follows the research, not political agendas; thus, he often challenges both liberals and conservatives alike.

April 14 - Under a Watchful Eye: Child Abuse Prevention in Youth Serving Organizations

Alison Feigh, Program Manager at Jacob Wetterling Resource Center

Camps, retreats, faith communities, sports organizations, and arts organizations can provide wonderful quality experiences for youth to grow and thrive under the watchful eye of staff and volunteers with the best interests of the youth. The sad reality is that any organization that provides access to youth, time with youth, and the ability to build relationships with youth are targeted by offenders as places to find possible targets. Most people are in youth work for the right reasons, but one person engaging in a group to look for targets can destroy the legacy of a program and even worse, have detrimental effects to the lives of youth involved. There is no room for denial or minimization when the health of children and youth are at stake. This presentation will provide resources to both adults working within youth serving organizations who are diligently trying to keep their programs safe and community members wanting to learn more about warning signs and prevention. The good news is that we have come a long way in awareness and prevention in a short time. The challenge is that we still have far to go.

Alison Feigh came to the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center initially in 2001 from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She remained with JWRC until 2009 working with students, parents, law enforcement, and the media with the ultimate goal of reducing abductions and abuse of children. She returned to JWRC in 2011, following the completion of her M.S. in Criminal Justice at St. Cloud State University. Alison’s graduate research led to her current project; co-authoring a textbook with Dr. Mary Clifford on sexual violence prevention for Oxford Publishing. Alison also holds a B.A. degree in Communication and “Responding to Missing Children in the U.S.” from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. While at St. Olaf, Alison co-chaired the Sexual Assault Resource Network and began a peer education training program to compliment the victim services being provided.

As a classmate of Jacob Wetterling, Alison learned early on how important it is to protect our children and youth from exploitation. She believes strongly avoiding fear-based approaches to empower children and teens walk around smart and not scared. Alison previously worked as a minister to youth and children at a metro area faith community for six years. She continues to be inspired and reenergized by working directly with children and teenagers at camps, retreats, and theater companies.

April 21 - Oneota Archaeology in the Lower St. Croix Valley: Current Research at the Sheffield Site

Ed Fleming, Curator of Archaeology at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Clusters of massive Oneota farming villages once dominated the river valleys and prairie landscapes of southern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa (AD 1100 – 1500). The Sheffield site is an anomaly as the only Oneota village currently known within the woodlands of the St. Croix valley, and differs from its southern cousins in a number of ways.  This lecture will discuss current archaeological studies of this and other sites in the St. Croix valley by the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Dr. Ed Fleming is Curator and Program Director for Archaeology at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  Dr. Fleming has been involved in archaeological research projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, Ireland, and Belize.  His primary research focuses on the archaeology and material culture of North America, specifically the Upper Midwest during Late Pre-Contact times (ca. 1000 - 1400 A.D.), but the diverse collections at the Science Museum of Minnesota has instilled broad interests.  As curator, Dr. Fleming is responsible for building, caring for, researching, and interpreting the museum’s archaeological collection, so he works at the intersection of field research, collections care, and interpretation.  In addition, he contributes content research and interpretive direction for SMM-developed archaeological exhibitions, such as The Dead Sea Scrolls: Word that Changed the World and Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.

April 28 - Hittin' the Road with a Ghost Hunter

Nancy Horvath, Horvath Spiritual Consulting

Join Rochester's premier ghost hunter as she takes you on the road to some of the many places she has investigated with her team, After Hours Paranormal Investigations.  Nancy, or as her friends call her, "Hawk", has investigated throughout the United States and as far away as Ireland.  She will share stories along with actual audio and video evidence of her investigations.

Dr. Nancy J (Hawk) Horvath, has been ghost hunting since 2007. She is an inter-spiritual mentor, inspirational speaker, writer, paranormal investigator, psychic and medium, whose gifts include her ability to see and hear other dimensions as well as communicating with those who have died physical deaths. As the CEO and Lead Investigator of After Hours Paranormal Investigations, she uses her gifts, but is ultimately in search of evidence. Read more about her on her team website

May ~ Conspiracy or Critical Connection?

May 5 Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at UMR!


Cinco de Mayo is a celebration that is celebrated in the United States and Mexico on May 5. Join us for this special UMR CONNECTS event as UMR students from the Spanish 4 class entertain and educate you on traditional food and dance in Mexico, a fun game of BINGO, and much more!

May 12 Media Representation of Female Athletes: An Often Unrecognized Inequality in Society

Sarah Wolter, Visiting Assistant Professor, Gustavus Adolphus College

Scholarly research shows that on average female athletes represent about 40% of all athletes yet only receive 2-4% of media coverage, regardless of level of play or mass medium. Join Sarah Wolter as she uses a critical cultural perspective to analyze why representation is so low, integrating aspects of identity such as gender, race, and sexuality as well as the way the U.S. media system is organized to complicate depictions. Sarah will present case studies of athletes and women’s athletic teams to show how broader themes related to gender and the institution of sport are manifest in media content.

May 19 The Cities Divided – How History Impacts the Shape and Character of Minneapolis-St Paul

Geoff Maas, Program Coordinator, Metropolitan Council

Modern cities are the process of many years of economic activity as well as successive waves of social, demographic and political change. In this talk, we will explore how housing practices, transportation projects and public policy have shaped—and continue to shape—the concentration of minority populations in Minneapolis–St. Paul. We will explore the cities' development and response to interstate highways and light rail transit through the lens of urban planning and environmental justice.

May 26 Who Really Killed President Lincoln?

Dean Urdahl, Minnesota State Representative

Several conspiracy plots have been advanced regarding the murder of Abraham Lincoln.  While others are worth discussing, I will focus on two plots that can be historically traced leading to Lincoln's death.  I will also discuss the secret of April 14 that, if revealed then, could have brought down the Union government.

June ~ Performing Live! (on the Peace Plaza)

June 2 No Fear Stage Fighting

Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) Professional Troupe

Doug Scholz-Carlson and other GRSF company members will demonstrate and explain stage combat. They will describe the process of choreographing combat both hand-to-hand and with weapons.

June 9 Choral Arts Ensemble ~ Community Sing!

Choral Arts Ensemble with Artistic Director Rick Kvam

Choral Arts Ensemble singers will lead a sing-a-long of familiar favorites, including standards from the "American Songbook," classics from musical theater, plus American folksongs, rounds, and patriotic songs. All are welcome and encouraged to join their voices with us for an evening of fun communal singing! Word sheets will be provided.   7:00-8:30 pm. Free.  

June 16 Fearless Hearts & Fallen Angels: 4 Centuries of Women in Song

Prudence Johnson, Vocalist Prudence will sing and play tenor ukulele.

The songs are British Isles and American folk songs dating back as far as the 1600s. Little windows into women's lives, they vary from humorous to tragic, and include "The Gypsy Rover," Careless Love," and "The Housewife's Lament." 

June 23 Elvis on Stage ~ Featuring Todd "Elvis" Anderson

Todd (Elvis) Anderson, Entertainer

Todd Anderson as Elvis is a delightfully entertaining show for all ages! Todd's voice, costumes and moves are an exciting depiction of an actual Elvis concert. As the show begins to the music of "Space Odyssey: 2001" Todd struts onstage delivering the powerful ballads and tender love songs that Elvis made famous. Listen as he presents historical and interesting facts about the famous life of the "King of Rock & Roll." His friendly interaction with his audience is quite remarkable as he connects to them with humorous stage bits and a short break for a public question and answer session for the curious observers. Todd's performances are always colorful, but never off-color.

June 30 A Capella Harmony, Barbershop Style

GAMBIT:  Rochester Barbershop Quartet

Be entertained by Gambit Quartet as you learn about the evolution of A Capella singing in America. An evening of fun and information as you experience the ultimate in 'unplugged' music. This is NOT your grandfather's barbershop quartet!

July ~ Inspirational Stories on the Peace Plaza

July 7 Ethereal Inspiration 

Ted Haaland

"Inspiration" has assumed an entirely new depth of meaning for me since my fairly recent appreciation of, and immersion in, the writing of poetry. I plan to share how this came about late in life, and where I am on my journey with poetry. I also plan to touch upon some other aspects of my experience with poetry, including my understanding of its origins, its continuing value, and where it may be heading in our literary tradition, as well as including examples of what I write, and reference to our GRSF/Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest held annually.

July 14  Minimalism: The Ultimate Tool to Focus on What’s Important

Kati Berg

 Click Here to view this presentation.  

A funny thing happened on the way to giving away 80% of our stuff. Distant dreams started coming true: travelling, learning languages, time to read and write and be with family. What I had always said was important finally had room to flourish once the clutter and distractions were gone. It wasn't easy. Internal mental battles and external cultural forces plotted to keep us in our rut. There was no financial crisis, no brush with death, just stubborn conviction that life shouldn’t be so complicated and stressful. I started chipping away at the unnecessary and found my inner minimalist. Want to find yours?

July 21 Transplantation – A Path Toward Gratitude

Thom Nustad

Click Here to view  this presentation.

Thom Nustad enjoyed a life free of major trauma or illness until age 44 when he was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. Thus began a long journey leading to a pancreas transplant in January of 2013. Though the road traveled to date was often described as physical, the real journey was more emotional and spiritual. The journey has taken him on a path toward gratitude.

July 28  My American Dream

Minh Nguyen

Minh Nguyen came to the United States 8 years ago with his family from Vietnam. Facing a new country, new language and a new life as a young teenage boy Minh over came huge struggles to succeed and embrace his American Dream through faith, family, friends, and music.

August~Ethnic & Regional Traditions of the U.S.

August 4  Celebrating Irish Heritage through Dance

Sandra Ewing and the Mullan School of Irish Dancing

 The Mullan School of Irish Dance led by Sandra Ewing will entertain and educate on the art and history of Irish dance. Sandra will explain the significance of Irish dance in Minnesota as well as the region and also the impact of shows like Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Sandra and her dancers will demonstrate slip jigs and reels and talk about competitive dance and dance as a sport. She will also offer an opportunity for audience participation.

August 11  New Orleans Then & Now, 10 Years After Katrina

Geoff Maas, Program Coordinator - Metropolitan Council

Ten years ago this month Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana/Mississippi Gulf Coast including the city of New Orleans. From 2003-2005, Geoff Maas, Program Coordinator at the Metropolitan Council in Minneapolis, was living in New Orleans working on projects to improve the sewer and water infrastructure of the city. He was forced to evacuate and relocate due to the hurricane. He will explore the infrastructure of the city Pre & Post Katrina. We will also enjoy the Cajun cuisine of New Orleans with samplings of gumbo provided by The Lost Cajun Restaurant of Rochester.

August 18  Oktoberfest in August

Dale Dahmen and the Beats 

Dale Dahmen and The Beats are a musical band consisting of Dale and his two sons. The Beats specialize in German/Oktoberfest Musik. Both Dale and Samuel sing a good number of German vocals. Yes, they do wear lederhosen. They trace their roots back to Deutschland. Come on out and listen to Dale Dahmen and The Beats and also enjoy a sampling of brat varieties from Just Rite Foods.

August 25 OPA!! Celebrate Greek Culture through Faith, Food and History

Ari Kolas

Let's get ready for Rochester's Annual Greek Fest!! Greek celebrations are closely linked to the Greek Orthodox faith. Come and learn how the culture of Greece is intertwined with faith & history and how Greek foods play a significant role in Greek celebrations.

September~ Economy & Business

September 1  Choosing Our Economic Future

Bruce W. Schwartau, University of MN Extension Office

What makes us proud of our Southeast Minnesota communities today is the result of the decisions and actions of those who made our communities great decades ago. Now, civic leaders and community organizations in our region are making important choices in light of economic, civic, and demographic changes. Will our decisions now make future generations proud? Bruce Schwartau will talk about the economic and civic opportunities the region faces, infusing those decisions with important analysis of the current economic status of the area, as well as Greater Minnesota in general. Together, the group will reflect on the data, research and information he presents, considering what it means for the region.

Click Here to view this presentation.

September 8   What if We Viewed Immigrants Differently?

Dr. Bruce Corrie, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN 

Dr. Bruce Corrie is Associate Vice President and Professor of Economics at Concordia University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is a recognized expert on the economic contributions of immigrants and minorities.  He has pioneered a model of using culture as an economic development strategy in immigrant and minority communities  As an economist, his new vision on the dynamic power of immigrant and ethnic capital has been well received by audiences ranging from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Rural Diversity conference to the El Pueblo Hispano and Minnesota Indian Economic Development Fund conferences. This perspective invites policy leaders to view immigrants and minorities as assets (consumers, entrepreneurs, workers, cultural and global assets, taxpayers) and in doing so revolutionize the way they interact with these communities.

September 15   DMC Update and It's Impact on the MN Economy

Lisa Clarke, Executive Director of DMC

Lisa Clarke gives an update on the DMC initiative.
With Mayo Clinic at its heart, the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative is the catalyst to position Rochester, Minnesota, as the world’s premier destination for health and wellness; attracting people, investment, and jobs to America’s City for Health and supporting the economic growth of Minnesota, its bioscience sector, and beyond.

Destination Medical Center is a one-of-a-kind, $5.6 billion development initiative in Rochester, Minnesota. It is the largest public-private partnership in state history, designed to position Minnesota as a global center for the highest-quality medical care and to generate high-value jobs, new tax revenue and businesses.

September 27   Surviving, Thriving, and Giving Back

Joe Powers, President, Powers Ventures, LLC

Many businesses come and go especially during a recession. Joe Powers, President of Powers Ventures LLC has managed not only to survive the financial crisis of recent years but has also succeeded in growing and expanding his business. Joe also finds it necessary to give back to the Rochester community. Joe will explain how he was able to succeed and the importance of giving back through time and philanthropy.

September 30   Natural-born Economy NRRI's Role in Balancing Minnesota's Resources, Economies and Communities

Dr. Rolf T. Weberg, Director, NRRI, University of Minnesota Duluth

Minnesota’s economy is tied closely to the environment. With millions of acres of forests, state parks, and lakes, Minnesotans have to pay attention to the environment. Dr. Rolf Weberg, will explore this important relationship and explain how the NRRI is helping businesses become more sustainable and also more profitable.


October 6  Fruit Breeding at the University of MN Arboretum

Many of the popular apples and grapes grown in MN today were developed at the University of MN. Researchers, Dr. Matthew Clark and Soon Li Teh will give an interactive presentation on the development of various types of grapes and apples at the University of MN's Arboretum. 

October 13  Brewing Up A Business in Rochester, MN

Brandon Schulz, Co-Founder and Brewer at LTS Brewing Company

Brandon Schulz, co-founder and brewer at LTS Brewing Company in Rochester, Minnesota, discusses the challenges and successes experienced while taking a passion for good craft beer from hobby to small business.

Brandon holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from University of North Dakota and a Master of Science in Computer Science from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. Employed at HGST (a Western Digital company) as a Software Technologist, Brandon continues to work full-time in technology while starting his new business.

October 20    Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping Stones

Quinn Nystrom, Author

After her type-1 diabetes diagnosis at the age of thirteen, Nystrom dedicated her life to raising awareness about living life with a chronic illness. Come here about the trials and tribulations of what life has been like living with diabetes and learn to live your life to the fullest.

Quinn Nystrom, a published author from Baxter, MN has had the opportunity to travel around the country speaking to over 250,000 people about living life with diabetes. Before her type-1 diabetes diagnosis, her younger brother was diagnosed at the age of five and she dedicated her life to doing whatever she could to find a cure for diabetes. She is a published author of "If I Kiss You, WIll I Get Diabetes?".

October 28    Using Local Wood Products in Buildings/Urban Development

Kathryn (Katie) Fernholz, Dovetail Partners

This presentation will address opportunities to improve our innovative use of Minnesota-grown local wood products – from building technologies to fine furniture to fiber and renewable energy.  Starting with a clear understanding of the complex and beautiful forests of Minnesota – past, present, and future – the presentation will examine the latest in wood technologies (including urban wood!) and the diverse environmental, social, and economic benefits associated with the responsible use of local wood products.


November 3   Ethics in Journalism and Reporting the News

Media Panelists: Sean Baker- Med-City Beat, DeeDee Stiepan- KIMT, David Springer- KAAL, Jay Furst- Post Bulletin

What is considered newsworthy? How are headlines formed? These are just a couple questions that will be discussed by our panel of journalists. With a moderator our panel will explain the process of reporting the news.

November 10  Fighting for Life with Doctors without Borders 

Eyita Gaga, BSN, RN

Eyita Gaga will present on her personal experience and the work of Doctors without Borders as it continues to combat the ongoing epidemic of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia.  Eyita has been working as a registered nurse since 2007. She received her Bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College (um ya ya) in Northfield, MN. After getting working experience at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, CA, Eyita decided to focus on international volunteer work. She has worked for Doctors Without Borders since 2011, being part of the emergency response teams in Niger, South Sudan, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Click Here to view the presentation

November 17 - Interfaith Panel on End of Life Practices

Panel Participants:  Fr. Will Thompson, Diocese of Winona, Regina Mustafa, Church of Islam, Rabbi Michelle Werner, Mel Turcanik will discuss end of life practices in 4 different faiths

November 24 -Ethics in Medical Training Dr. Brian Mondy, UMR Professor

Click Here to view the presentation


DECEMBER CSI: Crises, Scandals, and Investigations

December 1: Big Crimes in little places; Jerusalem artichokes and dead bankers. Dr. Joseph Amato

Dr. Amato will discuss the place and role of suspicion of the clandestine in “the village” and the rings and times of suspicions and murmurs in the countryside. He will explore two crimes that broke the surface in southwestern Minnesota in 1983: the tale of the great Jerusalem artichoke circus, one of the largest, if not the largest agricultural scam, in American agricultural history; and the story of a father and son who killed two bankers on a farm in our region.

Click Here to view the presentation

December 8: Exploring Domestic Violence

A representative of the Women's Shelter in Rochester will give an interactive presentation on domestic violence During the weeks prior to the presentation UMR CONNECTS will run a collection for some requested items needed at the Women's Shelter.

December 15: Preying on the Graying Dave Rikhus, Olmsted County Sheriff's Office

The annual financial loss for victims of elder abuse nationwide is estimated in billions of dollars. Detective Rikhus will discuss his role with Olmsted County's Adult Protective Services and give the warning signs to be aware of