St. Cloud State University Magazine Spring/Summer 2021

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Professional Selling program readies students to be leaders

Software Engineering is preparing students to tackle society’s challenges


18 DEEP ROOTS NOURISH TRAILBLAZING EDUCATORS Leading in the field of Education at St. Cloud State University runs deep and strong, ever evolving with a broad range of programs renowned for innovation and relevance.

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FROM THE PRESIDENT 4 Building the University NEWS 5 Institute of Technology launch 6 Strength and Conditioning

renovation serves athletes 8 Expanding doctoral offerings 10 Faculty, alumni share big ideas at TEDxStCloud 13 Three sets of twins study law enforcement together

#FEATURES 14 Leading the way: Professional


Selling Specialization prepares students to be leaders 18 Education is at the core of St. Cloud State University 24 Problem solvers: Software Engineering prepares students to tackle society’s challenges

ALUMNI NEWS 28 Class notes 30 Jason Meszaros leading Minnesota

Twins technology efforts 32 Michael Mathiason inspires students 34 Benneth Sheeley and Pounnaphone Phomtalikhith share their success stories with future law students






Every spring offers a season of renewal, filled with possibilities for fresh starts and new beginnings. As we reflect on 2020, we know for many it was a harrowing year – a time when the fear and isolation of a pandemic and the strife of racial unrest and injustice jolted our world and campus community. The members of our St. Cloud State community sprang into action to protect the pack and rallied to ensure a high quality experience for all of our students in such challenging times. While we shifted our interactions to the remote environment, our community response, communication and outreach, along with teaching and learning, were high impact and rigorous. We never lost our focus to bring our Huskies home and protect the pack by creating a safe learning environment. Spring 2021 is especially welcome, as it brings the hope of emerging from the long, dark tunnel of a pandemic and the fierce waves of racial and political upheaval. Weathering these times, our faculty and staff worked hard to sustain our great university traditions and plan initiatives to realize our It’s Time work together. We continued to find ways to build on our institutional strengths to present a university of academic distinction, with expert faculty scholars who bring individualized attention to student success that occurs in an environment that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion. Some of our many campus connections to the It’s Time framework for moving St. Cloud State into the future are highlighted in the feature stories of this issue of our “St. Cloud State Magazine”. We are pleased to share information on the launch of an Institute of Technology. The institute will serve as an incubator for the exchange of ideas and practices that align industry and community partners with students in courses related to engineering, technology, and integrative and applied science. Serving Central Minnesota, the research

of faculty and students will focus on a problem or need presented by an industry or community partner. As students learn course content, they will apply core concepts to real circumstances. This learning model makes immediate connections for students as they quickly translate coursework into action and increase their confidence and marketable skills. Most importantly, our students can make a difference for our partners. We spotlight the increasingly popular Professional Selling Specialization of the Herberger Business School. Sales education is a quickly evolving field and St. Cloud State’s certificate has led to more than 200 student completions since 2014 and more than 100 students participating in activities each year. Our faculty conceptualize sales professionals as problem solvers and work with industry partners to equip students with the drive and skill sets to continuously learn and stay current in their fields of interest. Students work in a mock office setting where they practice and gain real-time faculty feedback on presentations and interactions. Each semester students anticipate the ever-popular Professional Selling competition where they challenge themselves and test their skills. Central to the success of this initiative is its partnerships that result in a rich network of guest speakers, job shadowing opportunities, and potential future employment for our Huskies. We also shine a light on the innovative pathways for preparing future educators. For more than 150 years, teachers, principals and school district administrators around the state have learned the essential tools for teaching and earned advanced training for degree completion and credentialing here on our campus. The deep roots of our College of Education extend to a rich network of educators statewide. St. Cloud State alumni are employed in at least 276 of the 329 Minnesota school


districts and in an additional 96 public charter schools and service cooperatives across the state. The focus of our College of Education leadership and its faculty aligns with the It’s Time framework as it has continuously responded to the needs of learners with innovations in clinical practice that stem from the Model School of the 1870s to the Lab School of the 1960s. Building on its strong foundation, the college continued at the leading edge as a trailblazer in a co-teaching movement for teacher preparation, and later, the Lindgren Early Learning Center to contribute to a bright and equitable future for education. Continuously striving to achieve academic excellence while providing relevant and cutting edge academic programs is one of the major tenets of It’s Time. I look forward to even more achievements and milestones in the College of Education as new opportunities for innovations in clinical practice and teacher preparation are explored. Without the resilience and drive of our faculty and staff, these initiatives would not be possible. Furthermore, our efforts would not come to fruition without our partnerships. And most importantly, if not for our generous donors and support of our alumni, our work would simply become that much harder or hindered for a much slower pace and a limited impact. I am thankful to all of you for your investment in the future of St. Cloud State and our students.

Dr. Robbyn Wacker President, St. Cloud State University

NEWS ST. CLOUD STATE LAUNCHES INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY St. Cloud State University is leading the way forward with the launch of the Institute of Technology to integrate disciplines throughout campus through research and development of emerging technologies applied to solve real world challenges. The Institute will be a place to incubate innovative approaches, practices and initiatives to integrate technology in all aspects of teaching and learning. It will support the implementation and transdisciplinary integration of technology as a programmatic focus across the institution while working with industrial and community partners on applied research. Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness are prioritized in all facets of the Institute’s objectives and initiatives. The Institute advances the University’s It’s Time initiative to offer transformative learning opportunities and innovative partnerships by creating a set of standards to successfully build and grow partnerships throughout the community. These partnerships will ensure that programs are actively evolving to provide students with the technical and critical thinking skills needed to benefit employers when they graduate and to continue adapting to meet future needs, said Dr. Adel Ali, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. The idea for the Institute is a direct growth from the success of partnerships and research happening in the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility. ISELF opened in 2013 as a new kind of multi-disciplinary facility for collaboration, experiential learning and innovation. It has been changing the way science is done and applied to today’s challenges ever since by innovating new ways of thinking and instituting new partnerships in research with local, regional and global organizations. These ideas and ways of collaborating go beyond the College of Science and Engineering and can be found in innovative programs

throughout campus that can benefit from this same type of experiential collaboration and will establish best practices and standards of excellence. “The main goal of the Institute is to prepare students for successful careers and citizenship,” Ali said. Every program in the Institute will have an industrial advisory council and embed experiential and applied learning into the curriculum. To do this the programs need robust partnerships within the industry. These students will graduate to serve and be engaged teacher/ scholars who are staying up to date on the tools and techniques that are driving the industry. Both aspects are integral components of the It’s Time framework, Ali said. “When we meet with students and families we explain that we know what it takes to provide an educational experience that leads to a successful career,” Ali said. “We’re going to show you how, and we’re going to act on it.” In the College of Science and Engineering, advisors are individualizing advising to map out the courses and extracurricular experiential activities they will need to achieve the skills that will prepare them for success and explain what type of skills they will build in a class and how they will apply them in extracurricular experiences like Huskies Invent and the Huskies Hackathon. This same advising mode will be built into all the Institute programs. “Students will know they are taking a course not just because they are required, but because it will build these types of skills,” Ali said. “All of this works together to build the whole package.” The Institute of Technology supports a portfolio of Engineering, Technology, and Integrative and Applied Science programs that promote service to Central Minnesota and preparing students to be innovators and leaders.



in external awards for applied research

4 patents 6,000+

students engaged


external partners engaged ST. CLOUD STATE MAGAZINE


NEWS NELSON STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING CENTER RENOVATION SERVES ATHLETES The newly renovated Grant ’63 and Carol Nelson Strength and Conditioning Center opened this fall. A virtual dedication of the space celebrated the opening during Homecoming 2020. The center provides St. Cloud State’s Division II student athletes with a state-of-the-art facility to support their development and preparation for athletic success and serves as a showcase space for recruiting visits. The center is named in recognition of Grant ’63 and Carol Nelson, longtime benefactors whose leadership gift helped to make the center a reality. Donors provided $1 million in support of the center, with athletic teams competing to raise funds for the campaign with many alumni and Huskies fans in support of the project. The center is overlooked by a new athlete lounge, the George Torrey Athletics Commons and complemented by the Dave ’79 and Mary Mingo Cardio Fitness Lab and the Brad and Peg Goskowicz Coaches Room. An open house will be announced in spring. See the dedication:


KELLY JAMESON HOLDS REAL ESTATE ENDOWED CHAIR Associate Professor Kelly Jameson is the holder of the Minnesota Chair in Real Estate at St. Cloud State University. She is an associate professor of Finance and Real Estate and alumna of the St. Cloud State Real Estate program. Jameson holds more than 15 years of experience in the real estate industry. She is involved in a variety of industry organizations through board leadership, training, and writing professional publications. She has authored articles in the Journal of Property Management and won a manuscript prize from American Real Estate Society for Best Real Estate Education Paper. Established in 1980, The Minnesota Chair in Real Estate was the first endowed professorship in the Minnesota State system. Its inaugural chair was George Karvel. It was funded by charitable gifts to the St. Cloud State University Foundation from the Minnesota Association of Realtors, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the state of Minnesota. Jameson assumed this role from Dr. Steven Mooney, who retired in 2019 after serving as chair for more than 20 years. St. Cloud State is one of two universities in Minnesota that offers a Real Estate major and the only public university. It prepares graduates to succeed as leaders in the industry and has an active alumni network for valuable career connections. Read more:



Editor Kathryn Kloby, Ph.D.

The St. Cloud State University Rehabilitation and Addiction Counseling (RAC) graduate program has earned a five-year $1.1 million federal Rehabilitation Long-Term Training grant for training rehabilitation and addiction counselors.

Contributing Editor Matt Andrew

The grant from the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services of the U.S. Department of Education will provide tuition assistance and professional development stipends to graduate students in the RAC program. The grant is designed to support graduates to meet the growing need for highly qualified counselors who have an expertise in serving people with disabilities and co-occurring addiction.

Content Producers Anna Kurth Mitchell Hansen ’17 Danae Swanson John M. Brown Tom Nelson

The program is one of only two training programs with specialized expertise in Vocational Rehabilitation and Addiction Counseling in the United States. This is the second five-year long-term training grant that has been awarded to the program, and the fourth $1 million grant the Department of Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy has earned for counseling education since 2014.

Design Marie Madgwick ’91 Gary Bailey Contact us: ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY 720 Fourth Ave. S. St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498 University Communications 320-308-3152

A student uses the University Library’s card catalog in this historic Centennial Hall photo. Source for information and photos: St. Cloud State University Archives

CENTENNIAL HALL TURNS 50 Centennial Hall is turning 50 this spring. The building first welcomed students in May 1971 as the University Library. Today it houses the Herberger Business School where students are learning modern skills and techniques in hands-on labs in sales and finance. St. Cloud State received $4 million from the Minnesota state legislature and a $400,000 federal grant to support the building of Centennial Hall. Ground was broken on Oct. 2, 1968 when the building was designated the “official Centennial year building” as construction would be underway when the university celebrated its Centennial in 1969. The building was designed by architects S.C. Smiley and Associates with Wahl Construction Company serving as general contractor. It opened in May 1971. A dedication of the Swenson Financial Markets Lab, Herberger Business School’s newest lab, was part of the Sesquicentennial celebration in 2019.

Alumni Relations 320-308-3177 or 866-464-8759 St. Cloud State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regards to public assistance, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or status as a U.S. veteran. For additional information, contact the Office for Institutional …quity & Access, (320) 308-5123, Admin. Services Bldg. Rm 121.



NEWS INNOVATING TO BECOME AN AGE-FRIENDLY CAMPUS Dr. Phyllis Greenberg and Dr. Rona Karasik, faculty in the Gerontology program, are leading an Age-Friendly campus initiative with the goal of St. Cloud State becoming one of the campuses in Minnesota to join the Age-Friendly University Global Network, which is a network of 70 higher education institutions around the world that are committed to becoming more age-friendly in programs and policies by endorsing 10 principles of an Age Friendly University. Their work is supported by a $10,000 Small Seed grant from the Minnesota State Educational Innovations spring 2020 funding round. The grants support projects that show great potential for improving teaching, learning and access to students across the Minnesota State system.


Becoming an Age-Friendly University will have many benefits for traditional age students in that it will encourage more inter-generational activities and better prepare students to work and engage with older adults when they enter the workforce, Greenberg said.


“Younger people can diminish negative stereotypes they might have about older people and vice versa,” Greenberg said. Becoming age-friendly also aligns with moves made by Gov. Tim Walz to make Minnesota an age-friendly state. Gov. Walz signed the proclamation in December 2019 in recognition of the fact that the number of adults older than 65 living in Minnesota was expected to exceed the number of children younger than 18 in 2020. Lifelong learning is a focus of the It’s Time framework developed by President Robbyn Wacker that recognizes the changing realities of society and universities throughout the country. St. Cloud State is a member of the Academy of Gerontology in Higher Education, which has also adopted the Age-Friendly University principles.

COLLABORATING ON DNP The School of Health and Human Services collaboration with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing will bring a new DNP pathway to Central Minnesota with St. Cloud State Nursing faculty providing support for the St. Cloud Cohort as students do their clinical training at CentraCare Health clinical sites. St. Cloud State Nursing faculty will simultaneously work to create a dedicated DNP curriculum designed to focus on rural family nursing care that will launch at St. Cloud State in 2025. The collaboration brings together St. Cloud State’s Department of Nursing Science and the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, to innovate on ways to prepare advance practice registered nurses to serve rural needs, while simultaneously meeting the state’s immediate workforce demands and prioritizing education opportunities for registered nurses already working in the CentraCare Health system by allowing then to significantly expand their scope of responsibility and impact. IT’S TIM… IN ACTION

Dr. Phyllis Greenberg and Dr. Rona Karasik


…xpanding St. Cloud State University’s graduate portfolio to provide programs to prepare students for leadership roles in market-relevant fields such as health and wellness is a staple of the It’s Time initiative. Learn more at


The field of Applied Behavior Analysis is focused on helping children with autism spectrum disorders develop and thrive.

“This is a wonderful collaboration that builds on our strong foundation of academic excellence embodied in our undergraduate Nursing program,” said Dan Gregory, St. Cloud State University provost. “It is one of many exciting new programs and collaborations that will ensure we live into our It’s Time commitment to build on our existing strengths and providing new pathways to prepare students for successful careers.” The DNP collaborative is the second doctoral collaboration between St. Cloud State and the University of Minnesota. The institutions innovated to collaborate on the first joint doctoral program in Minnesota in 1994, when they launched the Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration and Leadership, St. Cloud State’s first doctoral program. The collaboration served the need for enhanced practitioner-oriented advanced education in the field and helped to establish a successful program that continues to serve the needs of Central Minnesota schools. St. Cloud State also offers a Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education Administration.

The Applied Behavior Analysis PsyD is a first of its kind degree in Minnesota that focuses on preparing students to be clinicians and clinic managers as well as equipping them with research-based practices. The program also focuses deeply on licensure law, clinical directorship and clinical ownership roles. This program will give students the effective skills in management and treatment, so they will be prepared for day-to-day clinical operations such as supervision, hiring and billing in addition to knowledge in effective treatment. It is designed to meet a need in the ABA field for clinicians who also have the business skills needed to lead, manage or open a clinic, said Dr. Ben Witts, program director. “We believe that the ABA faculty are here to serve students; not the other way around,” he said. St. Cloud State University is already a leader in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis with its Master of Science program. The program is world-renowned in educating practitioners for its high first-time pass rates of the board certification exam. It is one of 22 graduate programs accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International.


Photo by Joe Pollock, University of Minnesota




Among the speakers on stage Dr. Christopher Lehman shared his research on how slave owner investments in northern U.S. states enriched and grew northern cities, and Dr. Jennifer Lamb and Dr. Matt Davis spoke on their research into biofluorescence found in amphibians. In the video booth audiovisual engineer Kelly Larson produced the livestream. Helping plan it all was College of Science and Engineering Experiential Learning and Outreach Director Stephen Janasie, on the planning team. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Locally the event is called TEDxStCloud, where x equals independently organized TED event. It is an event where local speakers share the latest research happening in their communities to highlight the work being done and spark conversations. More than 3,000 TEDx events are held each year throughout the world. TEDxStCloud launched in 2017 with talks focusing on technology, healthcare and the arts. Speakers are drawn from the industrial, non-profit and academic communities and the event is designed to build community by making sure all feel welcomed and connected, said Brian Hart ’94, co-organizer. The event’s other co-organizer, Erin Perry Borron, is also a St. Cloud State alumna.

St. Cloud State has been a partner in bringing the event to life each year. Staff members serve on the planning board and students, faculty and staff members serve on an inclusion team that strives to reach out to underrepresented groups in the community to make sure they know about the event and feel welcome, so that the event is a true reflection of the diversity in the St. Cloud community. Faculty and alumni speakers spread their ideas — many of which have their start in the labs and classrooms at St. Cloud State. FOCUS ON INCLUSION Students volunteering on the inclusion team help TEDxStCloud identify communities within St. Cloud that aren’t reached by traditional marketing efforts to make them aware and invite them to the event each year. Students have helped in efforts to provide complementary tickets to leaders in underrepresented communities throughout the region. They’ve helped make the event more accessible for individuals who are hard of hearing or have mobility impairments, Hart said. “Spreading ideas is pretty universally applicable,” he said. “We bring together people who might not otherwise come together. It really is intended to be kind of a gift to the community, a celebration of community, and a way to grow community. We’re very intentional about that.”


ST. CLOUD STATE TIES Alumna Kari Turkowski spoke at the inaugural event in 2017. Since that first presentation, almost half of the speakers have had ties to St. Cloud State. In 2018 two St. Cloud State faculty members took to the stage with Dr. Beth Berila speaking about how recognizing differences can be a bridge to making real connections and Visualization Lab Director Mark Gill speaking on how early adopters can shape how technology is used and adopted to improve lives. In 2019 Dr. Matt Julius took to the stage as a speaker, while Gill returned with Dr. Bill Gorcica to put on an interactive virtual performance art installation in the reception area, and Dr. Terry Vermillion led an interactive percussion performance from the stage. Other speakers for TEDxStCloud come from local industries, organizations and other academic institutions. The event is a way to highlight and spread the word about the great work and research that is being done right here in Central Minnesota, Hart said. “We’re really excited to help people get their ideas spread as far as possible,” Hart said. “We really appreciate the support of the university community. The event wouldn’t be what it is today without the connections we have at St. Cloud State.” Learn more


Chris Lehman 2020 Tedx Speaker

Matt Davis 2020 Tedx Speaker

Jen Lamb 2020 Tedx Speaker

Matt Julius 2019 Tedx Speaker

Beth Berila 2018 Tedx Speaker

Mark Gill 2018 Tedx Speaker

2020 TedxStCloud Highlight FIRST EVER VR TEDx TALK Terry Vermillion 2018 Tedx Performance

Bill Gorcica 2018 Tedx Interactive Display

It was designed and administered by St. Cloud State faculty and staff.

Past Tedx alumni speakers have included Jashmin Nakarmi ’17, Steve Henningsgard ’17, David Vee ’04, Ayan Omar ’13 and Kari Turkowski ’05

IT’S TIM… CONNECTION Many of our faculty are breaking new ground in their research, scholarship and creative work. We are developing a culture of innovation to design new approaches to teaching and learning by supporting faculty who integrate research, scholarship and creative work with instruction. ST. CLOUD STATE MAGAZINE

NEWS ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY LAB OFFERS RESOURCE FOR STUDENTS, COMMUNITY Pens that can read your book aloud or make a digital copy of your notes as you write or a scanner that can help a person with a vision impairment read labels at the grocery store may sound futuristic, but they’re available now.

NSF GRANT FUNDS HUSKY STEM TEACHER SCHOLARS St. Cloud State University and partner institutions have earned a $1.2 million grant through the National Science Foundation to fund support programs for students pursuing a degree in a STEM teaching field.


The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant is being used to recruit students to three STEM teaching programs from diverse cultures and two-year institutions and support them through their college career and for the first three years following graduation. The scholars will participate in a learning assistant leaders program and serve their field experience in diverse and high-needs settings. The Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers and supports experienced K-12 STEM teachers to become master teachers in high-need school districts. It supports research on persistence, retention and effectiveness of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts. St. Cloud State is partnering with Anoka Ramsey Community College, St. Cloud Technical and Community College and the St. Cloud Area School District on the project.

IT’S TIM… CONNECTION Advancement of Diversity, …quity and Inclusion is a priority of the It’s Time framework. One focus is on educational access and this scholarship program embodies that by offering access while also helping K-12 partners meet the need for experienced ST…M teachers.

These tools are assistive technology and they are available to test and learn about in the Assistive Technology Lab at St. Cloud State University. The lab is the only one of its kind in Central Minnesota and one of only a few in the state. The lab was started in November 2019 thanks to a Minnesota State Innovation Grant. Dr. Amy Knopf wrote the grant, which was awarded to the Rehabilitation Studies programs, Student Accessibility Services, the China Programs, Information Technology Services, the Special Education Department and the Online Distance Learning program. The Minnesota State system offers grants to its institutions for projects that show great potential for improving teaching, learning and access for students across its 37 colleges and universities. Graduate students Taylor Fischer, Kaitlyn Wall, Nick Larsen and Katie Belling worked to found the lab by researching and ordering equipment, learning how to use it, and developing training sessions for each piece. “We did a lot of research on what would be good for many different age ranges,” Wall said. Fischer, who is interning with Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services, has found the experience of launching and running an assistive technology lab useful because it has given her knowledge she can use with the clients she’s serving, she said. The lab, located in the Education Building, is filled with technology that can be test driven and explored. It is open to anyone from the community and is designed to showcase the type of equipment that is available.

Tools are available in the St. Cloud State Assistive Technology Lab to test out and explore.

“The goal of the lab is to educate the campus community and society on how assistive technology can be used to reduce barriers people with disabilities face and to provide opportunities and tools to fully participate where they live, work and play,” said Katie Ramos, Rehabilitation program grant coordinator. “There is a lot of great assistive technology in the world.” Assistive technology can give individuals independence and confidence. It can assist with a job or daily tasks in the life of a parent with disabilities. Spreading awareness about this technology is a way to improve people’s lives. Having a place where people can interact with equipment and future professionals can learn what’s possible is an important resource, she said.


Bobby and Bryan Johnson

Jamie and Jessica Bird


This fall, the Department of Criminal Justice had three sets of identical twins in the program at the same time. Finding their way to study criminal justice at St. Cloud State, Jamie and Jessica Bird, Bobby and Bryan Johnson, and Matthew and Terry Vertina share many similarities with their twin as well as among this peer group. They all have a drive and passion to help people and serve the communities they work for, and they are getting there … together. Jamie and Jessica Bird, born one minute apart, are identical mirror twins from Barnum, Minnesota. Active in high school sports – hockey, volleyball, track, and golf – each hold a special place in their hearts for their time on the ice playing high school hockey. It was in high school that Jamie and Jessica discovered they wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. With an aunt and uncle – both police officers in the Twin Cities – they jumped at the opportunity for a ride-along, which left them hooked. Jamie and Jessica will graduate with degrees in criminal justice after attending the law enforcement training skills program this summer. Jamie has her sights set on becoming a K9 police officer and Jessica wants to land in Northern Minnesota and work up the chain of command. Growing up in Fridley, Bobby and Bryan Johnson were bitten by the law enforcement bug early. They witnessed their older brother, Shawn Murphy ’14 ’18, earn degrees in Criminal Justice and Public Safety Executive Leadership from St. Cloud State and go on to work for the Fridley

Police Department. Murphy encouraged them to participate in the Anoka County Police Explorer program at the age of 14. After graduating in December, they are now serving communities. Bryan began working at the Centennial Lakes Police Department and Bobby is in the application/hiring process of two different Twin Cities departments. Matthew and Terry Vertina are the newest of the twin criminal justice majors, at the end of their sophomore year. At only one minute apart in age (Matthew is older), they too have developed a strong interest in law enforcement. Born and raised in Ramsey, the Vertina brothers graduated from Anoka Senior High School where they participated in an Explorers program as well as robotics. Arriving at St. Cloud State in August of 2019, Matthew and Terry jumped right in. They knew they wanted to study criminal justice. Connecting with staff from the St. Cloud Police department, Matthew and Terry are working there, building their experience and resume. For these six, and all criminal justice students looking for a career in law enforcement, their prospects are good. Entering the field with a bachelor’s degree along with the thorough education mandated by the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board (POST) makes them desirable candidates with the ability to grow personally and professionally down the road.





Selling is an evolving field and the need for professional sellers is more important than ever as technology, the internet and social media converge. Sales education is also evolving quickly, and St. Cloud State University’s Professional Selling Specialization is among those leading the way. Launched in 2014, the certificate program has graduated more than 200 students and now attracts almost 100 students each year. Well trained sales professionals are vital for industry because professional selling is one of the largest distribution expenses a company makes — more than is spent on advertising, said Dr. Denny Bristow, who leads a team of passionate faculty that works every day to prepare their students for the field. “It’s critical for companies to have a top line, a revenue line, and sales is what brings in that revenue line,” said Associate Professor Dave Titus. “No one can survive without a revenue line. One thing I teach in my first class is that without sales, we have nothing.” St. Cloud State’s program is a combination of experiential learning and direct connections with industry partners. It’s a combination that’s working for students and employers. The program has almost 100 percent job placement. Graduates have gone into logistics, financial markets, and banking. They are becoming leaders in their companies. St. Cloud State sales students are trained how to build a relationship with their clients. The main skills the program teaches are communication and the sales process. HT TP S://TODAY.STCLOUDSTATE.EDU/MAG | SPRING / SUMMER 2021

“Don’t refer to them as sales people,” Bristow said. “They’re problem solvers for these clients.” Sales professionals need to have in-depth knowledge of the field they are working in and what their company has to offer in terms of products, offers and services. They need critical thinking skills, he said. Pharmaceutical and surgical representatives are sometimes pulled into the operating room with physicians and surgeons asking whether they are using the equipment correctly. “These students need to be so well organized, and they need to be willing to continuously learn,” Bristow said. “The environment is changing every single day. They need to stay on top of that — knowing about the industry, pricing models, channels of distribution, new product development, that will help them be better sales people.” Titus saw that first hand during his 30-year career in sales before joining St. Cloud State in 2014 as the sales program was re-

It’s critical for companies to have a top line, a revenue line, and sales is what brings in that revenue line. ... One thing I teach in my first class is that without sales, we have nothing. – DAVE TITUS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SALES EDUCATION

Students immerse themselves in the sales experience in the Northwestern Mutual Sales Lab that is designed to feel like an office setting. Technology allows professors to view student interactions in real time and give live feedback.

cruiting its first students. People often have a fear of sales because it’s intimidating to ask others to spend money, but if they take the time to learn the product, company and customers they can gain the confidence to know they are helping their customer and their company, Titus said. “This fear factor people have with sales, it’s kind of unfortunate in many ways,” he said. “I want people to see that this can be a great career if you can understand and build your skill set.” PROFESSIONALIZING SALES In a trend throughout academia, Northwestern Mutual was seeing business graduates coming to them with a tremendous amount of business knowledge but with a lack of real-world human interaction when it came to buyer behavior and sales expertise, said Josh Longnecker, Northwestern Mutual managing director. This need spurred Longnecker to get involved with St. Cloud State’s Marketing department and advocate for a larger sales presence. The faculty of the Herberger Business School listened and developed the specialization as part of its strategic plan. They worked closely with industry experts locally, regionally and nationally to make sure they were meeting the needs for professional selling skills, Bristow said. “St. Cloud State is one of the first schools in the United States to look at this as progressively as Denny Bristow and his group have done,” Longnecker said. “Students graduating from St. Cloud State are second to none.” Having that hands-on experience sets St. Cloud State students apart in the job market with employers who are looking for credentials like St. Cloud State’s selling specialization when they hire. “If they have that experience we’re much more likely to inter-

view and ultimately hire those individuals,” Longnecker said. “It’s the ultimate differentiator in students coming out of college today.” The Sales Education Foundation launched in 2007 to encourage institutions to increase their sales offerings because, with more than half of business graduates going into sales after graduation, their success can improve with just three sales courses, according to the website. The Foundation tracks the Top Universities for Professional Sales Education. St. Cloud State has been on the list since 2015. St. Cloud State’s program is continuing to grow with the goal of growing its national recognition. Herberger Business School is moving toward applying for membership in the University Sales Center Alliance, forming a Professional Selling Advisory Council and forming a Professional Selling Institute. Ty Holstrom ’04 came to St. Cloud State with an eye for sales and majored in marketing. He’s worked for Anderson Trucking Service ever since. As an alumnus and local employer, he’s supported the establishment of the sales program because of the need for professionally-trained sales personnel in his industry. “A lot of the business world is business to business sales. It’s a huge part of the economy,” he said. “It made sense for the university to evolve and put this program into place.” Sales is a big part of Anderson Trucking’s business. “We have a tremendous need for people to join ATS and help us fulfill our mission,” he said. “Sometimes we need to hire in the triple digits to achieve our growth goals.” St. Cloud State is ATS’s best relationship for attracting new hires who then start with the company and often relocate and take new positions in cities throughout the country. Bryana Lommel ’20 took the program to get a better edge in business and gain a selling perspective. ST. CLOUD STATE MAGAZINE


She competed in the sales competition twice, making it into the top 16 on her first try and the top 8 in her second. Her showing in the sales competition helped her qualify for the Sales Management Case Competition at the Collegiate World Cup of Sales, an international college sales competition, this fall where she and partner, Noah Pearson, placed second overall in the sales management division. “Another thing I really liked about the program is it really pushes you outside your comfort zone,” she said.


answer questions and practice and refine their skills. The student leaders will also help facilitate the sales competition, speaker’s bureau, career fair and more.

EXPERIENCE-FOCUSED FACULTY Tyler Sterner ’19 was impressed by the level of experience among faculty including Titus and David Yantes, who worked as vice president of Viking Coca-Cola before joining the Marketing faculty. “Yantes and the teachers in this program were VPs and successful in the business world already,” he said. “They’ve done many HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE things right, and they’ve done many things wrong and learning The program is designed around experiential learning with students from their business experience has definitely benefitted me.” practicing their skills in the Northwestern Mutual Sales Lab. These professors had proven experience in the corporate world “The Northwestern Mutual Sales Lab puts us right at the very and could speak from personal experience about how they applied top of any school in the nation for facilities and ability for real-time the concepts they were teaching and what happened when they learning for students,” Bristow said. didn’t, he said. Professional sales education is something that Northwestern Titus’s main message is one of always working to improve your Mutual is passionate about. It needs financial advisors who can skills. It’s about trying to be effective, not trying to be perfect. build a relationship with clients and understand their needs. That’s “Having worked in sales for about 30 years, I have a lot of why it has been a supporter of professional sales education at credibility with the students,” Titus said. “They know I’m not just St. Cloud State since before the specialization began and why it talking the talk. I’ve worked through all the scenarios I’m asking became a partner in launching the university’s first sales lab, where them to do.” students get immersive, hands-on experience in practicing their Sterner is now an associate product marketing manager with skills in a mock office environment. Graco, where he started as an assembly line worker while in school The lab provides a state-of-the art learning environment with and later completed his internship. Today he manages two product facilities for recording, presentation critiques and real-time lines globally. instructor feedback. It includes a simulation room He is responsible for growing revenue, new product development, promotions and working with that is a professional office setting with cameras. the sales force. A big part of his job is getting In fall, St. Cloud State will launch a second out into the field with customers to show lab, the Federated Insurance Professional them prototypes and find out what they like Selling Role Play Lab, a mentoring lab for or don’t like about the product and taking it student leaders to inspire upcoming students. back to the engineering team to make sure The lab will be housed on Centennial the product will provide the value and quality Hall’s fourth floor. they are seeking, he said. Students will use the Role Play Lab for a He uses the skills he learned in the specialnewly launched Professional Selling Leadership ization in communication, listening and relaProgram that will bring top level students who tionship building almost every day. have demonstrated leadership and competed in “I use more of what I’ve learned in the professional selling together with new students Bryana Lommel ’20 selling classes than I did any of my marketing to help them prepare their sales presentations,

THE PROFESSIONAL SELLING COMPETITION One feature of the Professional Selling Specialization is the Professional Selling Competition held each semester. Eightyplus students and dozens of corporate partners gather for the competition in Centennial Hall — students to challenge themselves and test their skills and employers to see the best talent on display. “They love to work with these students and

they see some great talent and that great talent is important to them because they want to hire them,” Bristow said. Chloe Reimringer participated in the 2019 sales competition taking home second place in the competition and a $500 scholarship prize. “I liked that we were able to apply what we learned in an actual scenario because we haven’t been able to do that before,” she said. “I had a really good experience.”


The class does a good job of letting students know that even if they aren’t selling a product, they need to know how to sell themselves. It teaches how to know your own strengths and weaknesses, she said. “The things you learn in a professional selling class aren’t what you necessarily expect,” she said. “Some are related to professional selling and others are really transferable to other areas of your life.”

The things you learn in a professional selling class aren’t what you necessarily expect. Some are related to professional selling and others are really transferable to other areas of your life. – CHLOE REIMRINGER, MARKETING MAJOR

classes,” he said, adding that the skills are transferrable to any profession. “One thing you learn in the class is you have to listen to the customer,” he said.“Listen to what their pain points are and be the solution for them.” The customer should always be talking more than you, and, just by listening, you will learn what product is the right fit for them, he said. “Don’t just sell a product, sell the solution for their problems,” Sterner said. “That’s by far the biggest thing I learned in the program, and it’s definitely led to a ton of sales here.” PARTNERSHIPS MAKING A DIFFERENCE One reason the program is so successful is the partnerships established with industry. The program was designed with industry insight and industry volunteers present in classes, mentoring students and serving as judges for sales competitions. Fifty-plus organizations support the specialization from mentoring students, assisting with the competition or guest lecturing in classrooms. Each semester speakers from a variety of industries participate on a panel session in the Professional Selling Speaker’s Bureau. Each speaker gives an overview of their firm and talks about trends in their industry and career paths and internship opportunities. Then they open it up to questions from students. “We had speakers come in from every industry, healthcare, manufacturing,” Lommel said. “It was really interesting to see how sales in different industries work. That was something I wasn’t familiar with, and it gave me a broader view of the opportunities out there for sales.” The capstone class requires students to do job shadows at companies in fields that interest them. Many times job shadows build a relationship that turns into a job offer. These partnerships are making students stronger candidates, businesses healthier and the program more relevant. “Colleges often shut their doors to others coming from outside academics, but they opened their doors and that just speaks to the progressive nature of St. Cloud State University,” Longnecker said. “Ultimately the biggest win of all is the students who spend a short time here and are prepared for the rest of their lives.”



that functions like a minor, giving students flexibility in fitting it into their academic program.

Dr. Denny Bristow Lindskog Chair, Sales …ducation

SCSU NAMES ENDOWED CHAIR IN SALES EDUCATION Dr. Denny Bristow is the first Lindskog Chair in Sales Education at St. Cloud State University. The endowed position gives Bristow the time and resources needed to focus on growing the program and work more closely with corporate partners as the program grows its national reputation as a leader in sales education in Minnesota. “Herberger Business School and St. Cloud State University are fortunate to have Dr. Denny Bristow leading the sales program,” said Herberger Business School Dean Dave Harris. “He is truly an accomplished scholar and a great mentor to our students. Dr. Bristow, program faculty, and our outstanding organizational partners provide students with a competitive edge as they launch their careers.” Bristow has been a pioneer in growing sales education at St. Cloud State since he joined the university in 1995 to teach one of the university’s first sales courses. Prior to joining St. Cloud State, Bristow started his career in professional selling. He worked for a decade in media sales before returning to college to get his degree in marketing, eventually earning his doctorate in the field from Oklahoma State University.










A 1869: Third State Normal School opened in St. Cloud (population 2,100) – with five faculty, 50 students and 70 elementary schoolchildren. > 1879: Three-year advanced program for educating high school teachers and superintendents was added to the two-year program for grammar school teachers. > B 1887: St. Cloud’s Normal School had become widely recognized as one of finest teacher preparation institutions in the country for its progressive curriculum of general education, teacher preparation and student teaching. > 1892: The Normal School was authorized to provide practice teaching HT TP S://TODAY.STCLOUDSTATE.EDU/MAG | SPRING / SUMMER 2021


The roots of leading in the field of Education at St. Cloud State University run deep and strong, ever evolving with a broad range of programs renowned for innovation and relevance. Its trailblazing leaders and faculty are addressing critical issues and revitalizing education with fresh ideas, passion and experience. “Ultimately it is our moral and ethical responsibility to build better, more equitable education systems – from birth through doctoral programs,” said Dr. Jennifer Mueller, dean of the College of Education. “We are strengthening the interdependence of learning systems at all levels. We all need to work together to support high quality public education.” For more than 150 years, education faculty at St. Cloud State have prepared the excellent PK-20 education workforce upon which Minnesotans have come to rely. Since opening its doors in 1869, a series of visionary leaders have built a solid reputation of excellence as generations of teachers and administrators made their mark in education institutions across Minnesota and the world. With broad scale change in education systems imminent and necessary, St. Cloud State is poised to lead the way in reimagining educator and leadership preparation for the future. Over a number of decades, the St. Cloud State Education Unit has enhanced its offerings to meet education workforce demands. St. Cloud State is nationally celebrated for its implementation of innovative ideas and its broad range of program offerings and accomplishments, including 32 educator licensure programs, a highly regarded educational leadership program that has been preparing PK-12 administrators, for over 60 years, and our internationally renowned programming in higher education leadership. St. Cloud State also prepares school counselors, school nurses, school social workers, autism therapists, and speech and language therapists. Indeed, there are St. Cloud State alumni employed in at least 276

of the 329 school districts in Minnesota and in an additional 96 public charter schools and service cooperatives. The reach stretches to all four corners of the state and up to the North Shore, in First Nations schools, and in every one of the 48 metro-area school districts. It is from a proud heritage and legacy that the unit now builds into the next chapter of excellence to truly “Educate Minnesota”. The Education unit will lead the way to embrace and highlight the crucial collaborative, interdependent approach to building the education systems of the future. This includes Minnesota State university and college collaborations, university-wide collaboration to foster innovation, and close partnerships with PK-12 systems — with the versatility required to support education professionals to face the rapidly changing and B dynamic nature of their work. Further, C St. Cloud State is located in a geographically significant area with potential to impact a diversity of educational systems (rural/remote to urban/densely populated) and a diversity of communities where racial equity and equity of educational opportunity must be enacted with an urgency. The work, now and moving forward, aligns directly with President Robbyn Wacker’s It’s Time framework for a reimagination of the regional-comprehensive university to be more responsive to the changes in higher education and with the Minnesota State System’s Equity 2030 initiative.


Ultimately it is our moral and ethical responsibility to build better, more equitable education systems – from birth through doctoral programs. – DR. JENNIFER MUELLER, DEAN, COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

experience in St. Cloud public schools. > C 1906: The “Old” Model School built specifically for that purpose opened with 217 students. > D 1913: Riverview was built for the model/lab school, then directed by Isabel Lawrence, who went on to be St. Cloud State’s first woman president (1915-16) when President Waite Shoemaker became ill. > E 1921: Normal School became St. Cloud Teachers College. > 1928: First bachelor’s degrees were awarded. > 1929: A model “nursery school” for pre-school age children opened at 827 First Avenue South with a $45,000 grant from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund, closing in 1953. > 1953: Master’s degree program in education approved. > 1955: A study showed St. Cloud State Teachers College had prepared more than 25 percent of the state’s elementary teachers hired for their first ST. CLOUD STATE MAGAZINE


Innovations in clinical practice have long been a hallmark of St. Cloud State University, beginning with Isabel Lawrence’s leadership of the Model School of the 1870s, through the days of the Lab School of the 1960s, the college’s status as a top-10 producer of teachers in the nation into the 21st century, and on to the innovations of the Co-Teaching initiative in teacher preparation, close partnerships with St. Cloud Area School District 742, and the planned Lindgren Early Learning Center — our latest clinical partner for preparing effective educators. Plans to continue innovations in clinical practice through redevelopment of a learning design, experiential elementary school on the St. Cloud State campus are underway. G


FOCUS ON EARLY LEARNING AND FAMILY STUDIES Building on its legacy, and aiming toward a brighter, more equitable future, St. Cloud State is planning to become a center for the study of early childhood education through the College of Education’s Department of Child and Family Studies. The importance and societal and economic benefits of high quality early childhood education have been realized the world over. This dawning has emerged from educators, academics, social and cultural reformers, and philanthropists alike. Art Rolnick, former director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, brought a flood of attention to the field of early childhood education in 2003, when he wrote about how research showed that investments in early childhood development paid high public returns. “He was an economist who said this was a fantastic investment, that every $1 spent on high quality early childhood programs had a $16 return,” said Dr. JoAnn Johnson, chair of the Department


of Child and Family Studies. H In the past year, 43 major national funders have made investing in early childhood education a priority. Together they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in programs that support early childhood education and reforms that strengthen opportunity and equity for children. Locally, the Morgan Family Foundation has embarked on an initiative to focus new grant awards on early childhood issues in the St. Cloud area to improve the quality of and access to early child care and learning in the St. Cloud area with a special focus on birth through 2 and for those who need it the most. The foundation has awarded more than $300,000 to six non-profits and school districts. There has been growing recognition of the importance of relationships, environment, equity and other factors in building strong foundations for life during early childhood development, Johnson said. “This is the beginning of everything that’s going to happen in their lives, and what happens during those early years is important. It’s the gateway to everything else.” Minnesota has become very invested in preparing early childhood educators who are licensed to work with children from birth to third grade, and an increasing number of school districts are building early childhood education programs, Johnson said. “The case for high quality early childhood programs and teachers has moved to the forefront.” “We have the opportunity to lead and be a part of the national movement in improving early childhood education,” Mueller said. To this end, the campus child care center has been moved under the College of Education, solidifying the strong relationship and nurturing the ability of the center to serve as a laboratory for innovation

jobs. > 1957: School renamed St. Cloud State College.> F 1958: Gray Campus Laboratory School was opened in what is now the Engineering and Computer Center, closing in 1983. > G 1962: Dr. Irvamae Applegate was named Dean of Education, the first woman in the nation to hold such a position at a four-year public school. Four years later she was elected president of the National Education Association. > H 1971: The current Education Building was completed. > 1975: College renamed St. Cloud State University, and the education program became the College of Education. > Late 1980s: Rapidly increasing demand for teachers made elementary and secondary education among the fastest-growing majors at St. Cloud State. > 1994: A cooperative agreement with the University of Minnesota allowed St. Cloud State students to take their course work through SCSU for a doctorate of education degree issued through the U of M. > 2002: St. Cloud State was the 10th largest producer of teachers in the country. > 2003: A groundbreaking co-teaching initiative through a $5 million U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Enhancement Partnership Grant HT TP S://TODAY.STCLOUDSTATE.EDU/MAG | SPRING / SUMMER 2021

Nina Duffeck, Early Childhood Education major, works with children at the Lindgren Child Care Center.

I am learning both in the classroom and through experience about children’s stages of development and how they act. – NINA DUFFECK, EARLY CHILDHOOD MAJOR

and collaboration. To reflect this, the center will undergo a name change to the Lindgren Early Learning Center. “Being on a college campus, our lab school for early learning has the resources and structures to draw on when support is needed for children’s needs, partnering with health care and language learning structures to expand opportunities,” Mueller said. The Lindgren Center already is incorporating the values and vision of a child-focused learning center, with programming focused on investing in the success of the next generation of professionals in the field to come, while supporting the learning and development of young children and their families. “More and more research is being done about brain development in early years,” said Martina Juvera-Paul, director of the Lindgren Center. “The first five years of life are critical for brain development and building the foundation for learning in children.” “We know it’s likely that if you’re behind in areas like communication, social, emotional and cognition when you go to kindergarten, you’re more likely to stay behind all the way through school,” Johnson said. Early Childhood major Nina Duffeck realizes that

she is on the cusp of a career in what is increasingly considered the most important job in education. “I have found something that I will love forever,” said the Neenah, Wisconsin, student who works 20 hours per week at the Lindgren Center. “I am learning both in the classroom and through experience about children’s stages of development and how they act,” Duffeck said. “I work a lot on giving children words and experiences to express their emotions. It’s normal for kids to have emotions, but instead of allowing hitting or screaming at their friend and saying ‘that’s mine’, I know I can give them words to use – to redirect them from that behavior.” Duffeck has thought about the possibility of someday working as a child life specialist in a hospital setting,

Below: President Bruce Grube with Steve and Jeannie Lindgren at the Lindgren Child Care Center dedication in 1997.


for St. Cloud State led to creation, implementation and research of a new approach to student teaching — the co-teaching model. > 2008: College of Education’s first million-dollar gift from benefactor Vera Russell, whose St. Cloud State degrees in ’35 and ’40 led her to becoming a teacher, principal, ham-radio operator and investor. > 2011: A reorganization of St. Cloud State University educational units renamed the education program the School of Education. > 2016: St. Cloud State offers the first National Conference on Co-Teaching. > 2019: St. Cloud State launches the National Association for Co-Teaching, with Dr. Teresa Heck, facilitator of the St. Cloud State co-teaching initiative, serving as president. > I 2021: Lindgren Child Care Center renamed Lindgren Early Learning Center, and moved under the auspices of the School of Education, to serve as a lab school for early learning and education. > 2021: Acknowledging its roots and preparing for an exciting future, the School of Education is renamed the College of Education. ST. CLOUD STATE MAGAZINE



working with child patients on non-medical needs. She also could see herself working in a daycare, or teaching preschool or kindergarten. “An Early Childhood major prepares you for teaching kids birth to age 8, so the possibilities are broad,” she said. The Lindgren Center has an infant room for children infant to 18 months, toddler room for 18-36 months and preschooler room for children older than 36 months. What babies need is very different, but at every level everything is very child-focused and intentional, said Juvera-Paul, who graduated from St. Cloud State in 2004 with a degree in Child and Family Studies. “We support their learning and social development by engaging them in everything, including stories, songs, finger plays, emotional coaching and specific coaching. Even babies are put into circles for singing and reading stories.” The activities build on fine motor skills, language skills and math skills, Juvera-Paul said. There is starting to be a better awareness of the importance of setting up routines and creating an environment individualized to each child in order to encourage development. “We can help parents understand how important intentional activities and the value of play are to their child’s development.” The Lindgren Center has a grant-supported Student Parent Support Center, which provides training and outreach. This parent support space recently moved to the Education Building in order to support relationships between student parents and the Child and Family Studies staff and faculty. “The center not only is supporting students here but investing in the success of the next generation of students to come,” Juvera-Paul said. “The care we provide has social and educational value to their future. Early childhood education has evolved, incorporating more hands-on experience and relevant real-life experiences.” “Right now we’re in the beginning stages of recognizing the importance of this EMPLOYED field,” Johnson said. “Early childhood WITHIN A educators have a huge influence on 50-MILE children they work with.”










LEADING A CO-TEACHING REVOLUTION When dean of the College of Education Dr. Jennifer Mueller attends national conferences, she often is met with comments like, “Oh, you’re from St. Cloud State, the co-teaching school!” Not surprising, since the now widely used collaborative model for student teaching has spawned national recognition in how future teachers and the classroom teachers who supervise them work together. St. Cloud State’s reputation for launching and leading this innovation in teacher development continues to evolve as the College of Education advances new projects and new opportunities to incorporate the co-teaching model. Co-teaching in the student teaching semester was developed and researched at St. Cloud State in 2003, when the university’s College of Education – then the 10th largest producer of new teachers in the nation – received a $5 million U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Enhancement Partnership grant co-written with St. Cloud Area Schools - District 742. It quickly caught on, and the partnership with the district became “long and strong,” said Dr. Teresa Heck, the innovative St. Cloud State professor who has been facilitating St. Cloud State’s co-teaching initiative from its beginning. “Our Co-Teaching Train the Trainer program has had participants from 48 of the 50 states, with well over 4,000 people attending since its inception,” Heck said. The program has evolved to include co-teaching with two licensed teachers in addition to the co-teaching in student teaching model. The Academy for Co-Teaching and Collaboration is housed in the Center of Excellence in Professional Practice. The Center has proposed a graduate certificate in Co-Teaching with plans to offer the first classes this summer. “It’s exciting,” Heck said of the way co-teaching has transformed the student teaching experience. “When we first began

this we were making changes for only our program. Now anyone who has a teacher ed program is familiar with co-teaching.”

NATIONAL LEADERSHIP “I started by offering a National Conference on Co-Teaching five years ago, then in 2019 we launched the National Association for Co-Teaching – where I serve as president.” “Teresa has a reputation around the country as an expert in co-teaching,” said Kathryn Young, director of student teaching field experiences at St. Cloud State. Defined as two teachers working together with groups of students and sharing planning, organization, delivery and assessment of instruction and physical space, co-teaching is not just taking over the classroom and carrying out plans of a supervising teacher, Young said. “It’s mutually beneficial.” Several regional school districts work with St. Cloud State teacher candidates for their student teaching field experiences. St. Cloud Area Schools – District 742 — implements a co-teaching model at all levels from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in many subject areas and classrooms, said Kelly Frankenfield, the district’s director of multilingual learning. “We selected co-teaching because it is our belief that all students deserve to reach their highest potential,” Frankenfield said. “We provided professional development on co-teaching from Dr. Teresa Heck and her team from St. Cloud State,” she said. “CoTeaching combines the collective expertise of content, language and differentiation specialists in inclusive classrooms and best meets the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. More importantly, our co-teachers use language such as ‘we’ and ‘our’ that demonstrates true collaboration and shared responsibility for teaching students in District 742.” “You have to have a common language, common strategies,” Heck said of the relationship between co-teachers. “The benefits are just so much better — no two ways about it. The whole idea of collaboration is bringing the best of you together to meet

the needs of the student in the classroom.” “The compelling evidence is clear,” said Julia Espe, who was assistant superintendent for District 742 when co-teaching had been implemented locally and went on to be superintendent for the Princeton school district. “Co-teaching has transformed the student teacher and cooperating teacher relationship. Instead of throwing a student teacher into the complexities of teaching without a lifeline, student teachers are coached as they practice the art of teaching. Teaching is rocket science, and co-teaching is the power source.”

CONTINUING TO EVOLVE Co-teaching has been especially beneficial for classroom teachers taking on student teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers who had St. Cloud State students co-teaching in their classrooms during this time had high praise for the collaborative experience they shared.

As classrooms and co-teaching relationships adapted throughout the pandemic, co-teaching, too, has continued to adapt. “We will be offering our Co-Teaching Train the Trainer Workshops in a digital format — in an effort to increase access to co-teaching program development and implementation,” Heck said. St. Cloud State was on the leading edge of teacher education 18 years ago when it introduced co-teaching to the world, and its reputation keeps growing. “The whole idea of bringing the best of both collaborating teachers together to best meet the needs of their classroom is as relevant and valued today as it was then and will be decades from now,” Heck said. “We’re proud to be leading this important movement.”

“I never hesitated that I would need the help of my student teacher during the pandemic,” said Julie McClure, a teacher at Princeton Middle School. “I know I learned more from her than I taught her. She helped me with technology and how to handle online classes,” adding: “After all, she had experienced it herself and helped me make adaptations that would work for our age group.”


“She shared so many new ideas and methods that have made my distance teaching more effective and keep the students engaged,” McClure went on to say. “It is another set of eyes and another brain helping with organizing lessons for the multiple instructional models,” said Amy Onstad, an English teacher at Zimmerman High School. “(My student teacher) helped me remember when videos were needed and what was missing from the lessons.” “During this last nine months it was our students who had the technical savvy, along with new ideas, energy and enthusiasm, to help navigate COVID challenges,” Young said. “Their knowledge of technology has been really valued during this last nine months.

It’s exciting. When we first began this we were making changes for only our program. Now anyone who has a teacher ed program is familiar with co-teaching. – DR. TERESA HECK, COLLEGE OF EDUCATION




S01 VER St. Cloud State’s Software Engineering program is preparing students to tackle society’s challenges





Shannon Purrington was attracted to St. Cloud State’s rapidly growing Software Engineering program – the only one of its type at a Minnesota public university – as a way to blend sophisticated technology with her practical experience in health care. “I would love to get involved with improving artificial intelligence in the interpretation of medical records,” she said of her decision to expand her education. With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical therapy from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse already, Purrington had 14 successful years in physical therapy practice and management before coming to St. Cloud State, along with some frustrating experiences with changes in her field and with medical records interpreted using less-than-satisfactory artificial intelligence. “A lot can be done to help efficiency by making a system to help us understand how people speak — to process natural language in recording medical records clearly so they will not be interpreted in the wrong way,” Purrington said. “Now sometimes it doesn’t sound like a person speaking.” Former colleagues have been supportive of her pursuit of a software engineering degree, Purrington said. “I have a lot of close friends from work, including some therapists, who have been encouraging me because of challenges and changes in the field now. One who worked with software engineers in health care told me, ‘Good for you. You will have so many possibilities!’” A GROWING FIELD Software engineering prepares professionals to work with teams that oversee the design, development, maintenance, testing and evaluation of computer software. It’s a relatively new field — the first program in the United States began at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1996. St. Cloud State’s started five years ago, and already it is considered a distinctive program among the nearly 200 majors offered. And already the demand is high for our graduates ready to apply the agile software development methods used in building unique applications as well as software testing and systems analysis. Due to this growing demand, engineering and applied science is one of four academic areas of focus in the It’s Time initiative. St. Cloud State’s Software Engineering program is preparing students to tackle society’s challenges by giving them the skills to enter this mushrooming field as team players responsible for project management and quality assurance for major software companies in Minnesota and beyond.




YEARS IT WILL CHANGE Software solutions are front and center in the way in which we live, including how we bank, shop, engage healthcare and access information. Artificial intelligence has revolutionized how we run our homes, communicate, do business, conduct research and learn, with applications that give us smart houses, social listening and market intelligence. And while it may be amusing to hear pronunciation of a name mangled on our caller ID or Alexa misunderstand a request, in other uses correct interpretation of language is critical. “AI is improving the development of programming that can code software,” Purrington said. “We have to keep an open mind in this field. Who would have thought 20 years ago that we would all be carrying computers in our back pockets that we could communicate with.” For her group project fall semester 2020, Purrington teamed with five others in her applied research class to build a pandemic-related project that involved creating a game in which characters gain points as they incorporate masks, social distancing and other positive practices for avoiding COVID-19. “One of the guys in the group was experienced in programming games, and we decided on a premise that would bring a bit of lightness to a dark subject, as well as a way to bring awareness of the pandemic to young people,” she said.

“They did an amazing job,” said Dr. Omar Al-Azzam, who was recruited to St. Cloud State five years ago to build the new Software Engineering program as part of the Department of Computer Science, a program that now offers master’s degrees. “I loved the idea of tying the project with COVID.” PROJECT-BASED EXPERIENCE Participation in these sophisticated group projects is required of all students in all classes of St. Cloud State’s software engineering program, launched in 2015 with a class of seven. Also required is internships of at least three months, which more often than not lead to excellent jobs offered even before graduation — jobs like that offered to Lucas Reller while interning at Medtronics. Reller was in the first Software Engineering class in 2015, co-organized the Student Organization for Software Engineers and was one of seven to graduate in 2016-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in the program. “It grew extremely fast by the time I was in my last year. I was a senior getting ready to graduate when I noticed it because they were talking about needing to hire more professors to accommodate the growth. It was a pretty drastic change.”

By 2019-2020 143 students were in the program and 20 bachelor’s and the first master’s degrees in Software Engineering were awarded. “It’s pretty common to be hired while still a student,” Reller said. “Most of the people I know from the program got hired before graduation. We were all excited about it.” “Our students have great experience working with companies,” said Al-Azzam, who emphasizes that St. Cloud State’s program gives students a lot of exposure to agile software development methods used by the industry now, as well as the soft skills that will help them work in teams, present their work and understand what their clients need. “Having soft skills is highly important when working and communicating with clients in language that they understand,” Al-Azzam said. “Communication skills, problem-solving skills and presentation skills are what companies are looking for,” he said. “Our priority is giving students the education and experiences they will need to be part of the integrated teams who build quality software with sophisticated design and quality assurance.” Marty Fitzer, who will graduate this

AI is improving the development of programming that can code software. We have to keep an open mind in this field. – SHANNON PURRINGTON

As part of a group project, Shannon Purrington and her team built a pandemic-related game where characters earned points for incorporating positive practices.


spring, has had a variety of critical experiences, including his group projects, which students participate in every semester, as well as an internship with St. Cloud State music professor Scott Miller involving a GPS space mobile app to create different audio clips of sounds such as running water or traffic to incorporate into compositions. As lead member of his senior capstone class team of six students working with a virtual reality education platform, Fitzer was involved with St. Cloud Technical & Community College teacher David Anderson’s anatomy and physiology courses, helping his students apply a virtual reality lab experience to learn about where each bone goes on the human skeleton. Also as a student, Fitzer has worked in the Visualization Lab in the ISELF building, where the focus is on virtual reality technology. He has worked on a variety of projects including taking technology forward with game development technology to help train health care workers in care facilities for dementia patients to relate to patients and calm them down by learning more about their backgrounds and applying that knowledge. Fitzer is excited about the scope of the education he is getting at St. Cloud State. He knows his professors work with

industry leaders on board who meet and talk about application skills in a rapidly changing field. “It’s very focused on giving us up-to-date and relevant skills,” he said. “Anyone coming into a technology field must know that in two years it will change,” said Dr. Hazim Alsaqaa, assistant professor of computer science who teaches Software Engineering 210, an engineering systems course. Reller agrees. “In my experience in the real world it’s not like a company is going to use one language forever,” he said, adding that his St. Cloud State education prepared him well. “It’s an overall process — an education on how to make good software, not just how to write code.” “It’s a program that will challenge you and you’ll spend a lot of time learning independently,” Purrington said. “My professors, Maninder Singh and Omar AlAzamm, I can’t speak highly enough about them.” “I feel that with my experience I bring a lot of valuable skills to enter a field that involves independent learning and experience in being exposed to the importance of continuing education, which certainly will be needed in software engineering,” Purrington said.

Lucas Reller ’15 graduated with the first Software Engineering class. He now works at Medtronic.

In my experience in the real world it’s not like a company is going to use one language forever ... It’s an overall process – an education on how to make good software, not just 27 how to write code. – LUCAS RELLER ’15, ON HOW HIS ST. CLOUD STATE EDUCATION HAS PREPARED HIM WELL

Marty Fitzer worked on a virtual reality education platform that helps students at St. Cloud Technical & Community College learn about bones in the human skeleton as part of his group senior capstone project.





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Births and adoptions Marriages and commitments Unless otherwise noted, cities are in Minnesota


’17 REBECCA WEILAND, South Bend, Indiana, is assistant swimming coach at the University of Notre Dame. / ’19 BRYANT BOHLIG, St. Cloud, co-launched the “Let’s Go” dating app.

’82 TIMOTHY HILL , Maumelle, Arizona, has been named chief operating officer of Southern Administrative Nursing Home Care. / ’82 ’86 STEVEN BRISENDINE, Spicer, retired in 2018 after a 30-plus year career in community education. He earned the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota Community Education Association. / ’85 ’86 CUTHBERT KELAART, St. Louis, Missouri, has joined Ergotron as executive vice president. / ’86 MARY (SCHLEPER) JANUSCHKA , St. Cloud, was inducted into St. Cloud Cathedral High School Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2020. / ’86 ’92 JAMES DRILL , Burtrum, retired after his 34-year teaching career at Upsala Area Schools. / ’87 RONALD OSTERMAN, New Hope, is assistant director of athletics for Facilities at Macalaster College and was featured in Macalaster Athletics Staff Spotlight. / ’87 MICHELLE (MUNSON) THOMAS , Cambridge, is economic resiliency coordinator at the East Central Regional Development Commission. / ’87 ’01 DAVID SCHORN, San Juan, Puerto Rico, retired after 32 years of teaching social studies in Minnesota and is presently teaching at The Robinson School in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


’92 DANIEL NARR , Minneapolis, has been appointed as executive director of ICA Food Shelf based in Minnetonka. / ’93 NICHOLAS ANDERSON, Zimmerman, appeared in the 2020 World Series as a pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays. / ’93 JENNIFER (URIE) LARVA , Hermantown, is interim director of curriculum and instruction for the Duluth School District. / ’95 BENJAMIN DAVIS , Elko, joined Cambria as its executive vice president and chief digital officer. / ’96 KEITH LATTIMORE, Minneapolis, heads Ramsey County’s newly organized Housing Stability Department. / ’97 JEFFREY BLOSS , Clear Lake, was named BerganKDV’s CPA services solution leader. / ’98 ELLIOT CHRISTENSEN, Princeton, is director of business development at Westwood Professional Services, Inc. (Westwood) in Minneapolis. / ’98 KELLY (WARDEN) JAMESON, Sauk Rapids, associate professor of finance and real estate has been named the Minnesota Chair in Real Estate at St. Cloud State University. / ’98 MARK STEFFL , New Ulm, is serving as a priest at St. Mary’s Church in Sleepy Eye. / ’98 MATTHEW THOMAS , Englewood, Colorado, is the recipient of the Earth Science Teacher of the Year Award given by The Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (RMAG) and the RMAG Foundation. Thomas is a science teacher at Alameda International High School. / ’98 RYAN VOZ , Avon, is the fourth president and commissioner of the Northwoods League.


’00 RACHEL (SWANSON) ERDMAN and Christopher Erdman, Afton, son, Henry Jameson, 6/29/2020. / ’01 KENDRA EGELAND, St. Cloud, is co-author of “The One Year Daily Acts of Friendship Devotional (Tyndale)”. / ’03 JOHN SLEVA , St. Cloud, is president of Quanex Building Products’ North American Cabinet Components Division. / ’04 AMY (SCHMITZ) SIMON and Keith Simon, St. Joseph, 5/17/2003. / ’05 KRISTIN EGELAND, Monticello, is co-author of “The One Year Daily Acts of Friendship Devotional (Tyndale)”. / ’05 ’09 AMANDA SEELEN and Stacy Bauer, St. Joseph, 7/29/2015. / ’05 JESSICA (ABELN) HENNEN, Grove City, has joined Dooley Petroleum as director of finance. / ’06 CHAD CARLSON, Princeton, is director of professional services at Tamarack Consulting. / ’06 MARIE JORDAN and John Pomeroy, St. Paul, daughter, Natalie Lucille, 4/11/2020. / ’06 ’17 JOY LWIZA and Mpeli Mtowa, Woodbury, daughter, Bethany, 5/28/2018. Siblings: Brenda, 8, Barbara, 15. / ’08 MARK KRIPPNER and Mandy (Libbesmeier) Krippner, Cold Spring, son, Barrett Reid, 7/21/2020. Sibling: Rowan Daniel, 2.


’20 NOAH COTE, St. Cloud, joined the KVRR news team as the weekend meteorologist. / ’20 ADAM SAUTER and Amber Sauter, Maple Grove, son, Owen Timothy, 8/12/2019.


RICHARD SPICZKA , St. Cloud, is city administrator for Pequot Lakes. / TRACEY (PLANTE) FIERECK , Sauk Rapids, is director of business services at Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools. / JAKE WAHLIN, St. Paul, signed his first professional hockey contract with the Rapid City Rush for the 2020-21 ECHL season.


’10 BENJAMIN DERY, Federal Way, Washington, joined the Twin Cities TV station KARE 11 as a meteorologist. / ’10 AMY (BOSIACKI) HILSGEN, Rogers, is chief human resources officer at Accra. / ’10 ASHLEY (CADY) DEMARS and Mitchell DeMars, Andover, daughter, Cady Rae, 7/7/2020. / ’10 ’17 DAVE BLANCHARD and Kaitlyn Blanchard, St. Francis, daughter, Emmy, 6/25/2019. Sibling: Easton, 4. / ’12 RACHAEL (MOHNKERN) HAUBRICK and Luke Haubrick, Milaca, daughter, Arabella, 6/5/2020. / ’12 BRETT PUTZ, Forest City, Iowa, is head men’s basketball coach at Des Moines Area Community College. / ’12 JESSE WESTBERG, Walker, is the general manager at Chase on the Lake Resort and Spa. / ’12 ’15 ’17 ABDIRIZAK ABDI, Apple Valley is Minnesota’s first Somali principal at Humboldt High School, in St. Paul. / ’12 ’16 ’18 CHRISTOPHER ROGERS , St. Cloud, is interim president at Afton-Lakeland Elementary. / ’13 NATHAN KELLER , Sartell, is the community development director for St. Joseph. / ’14 AUSTIN BOHLIG, St. Cloud, co-launched the “Let’s Go” dating app. “Let’s go” is an app to help couples find new date experiences outside the home. / ’15 MITCHELL BEBUS , Golden Valley, co-launched the “Let’s Go” dating app. / ’15 GRETA PUDAS , Dassel, is assistant finance director for Rogers. / ’16 ALEXANDER BERGER and Stephanie Skalicky, Pine City, daughter, Lillian, 10/27/2020. / ’17 TIMOTHY HOYT, Ramsey, is the New Hope police chief. /


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A 2017 Masters of Business Administration graduate, Jason Meszaros is the director of technology infrastructure and information security for the Minnesota Twins. Meszaros is responsible for all the technical infrastructure of the Twins’ home stadium, Target Field. Everything from their Cisco converged network, to broadcast and production systems, point of sales software, Wi-Fi, TV’s and anything else technical. “Anything under the cyber security realm falls under my scope. Anything in the infrastructure realm is something that I own, and I am accountable for,” he said. “When I came in and was handed different projects like the security project, it was just a natural fit and I took the ball and ran with it.” Although a bulk of behind-the-scenes duties have remained the same, the biggest impact COVID-19 has had on the organization is the reduction in income brought in and how that will halt projects and upgrades moving forward. “It’s been a challenge to deal with. On one hand, it didn’t change a whole lot because we still have to have a working network and have all of our broadcast systems going. The actual functioning of running a baseball game didn’t change,” he said. “What changed was we no longer had to have the tickets scanned at the gates. We saw our network traffic drop significantly. When we’re not selling tickets, we’re not

making any money.” “The Twins saw a significant decrease in revenue this year, which has already started to impact the projects and our ability to do any type of upgrades. It’s had a really dramatic impact from that perspective. It’s hard to spend money when you’re not making money.” Even without fans in the stands and revenues down, the team is still working to improve security infrastructure. “Sports are something I’ve always been interested in. It’s always been kind of a natural fit and I just really enjoy being around sports,” he said. “There’s never a dull day. (In September), when we installed our new drone detection system, I got to climb to the top of the scoreboard and mount a radar system up there. That’s not something that happens in a normal job like I’ve had in the past. It’s different every day, we always have different challenges and it’s just fun. You get to watch a lot of baseball and you get very passionate about it.” While working mostly behind the scenes within the organization, Meszaros enjoys the wide range of entertainment opportunities he and his team provide for everyone who enters Target Field, especially for Twins games. “There’s a whole lot that goes on behind the curtain that most people don’t know about. It took me a little bit to figure out, but the Twins are not a baseball com-


pany. We play baseball, that’s our product, but Target Field is an event venue. Our events just happen to be baseball games,” he said. “We have one of the best baseball venues in the country, in my opinion. From a technology perspective, all the ticketing systems, the scanning modules at the gates, we have to make sure we have things backed up so we don’t have any sort of outage. We have a robust system, because that’s our livelihood. We just have to keep things running and moving within the stadium. “Outside of baseball, we have all kinds of other events. We have Veterans’ events, trade shows, wine and beer events, we host business events and weddings. We’ve hosted concerts, football and soccer events.” The past year has been an eventful one, Meszaros is happy in his role with the Twins and hopes to enjoy the experiences he and his team provide others once again in the near future. “I ended up landing at this job and I’m just happy. It’s not high stress and I get to watch baseball. I don’t plan on leaving,” he said. “I’m just enjoying my time here. I now just wish we can get back to having people in the stands.”


’37 MARIAN (STROBEL) BARTON, 104, Boise, Idaho


’43 RUBY PETERSON, 96, Cokato / ’44 MARY (HEIMAN) BLENKER , 97, Albany / ’46 RUTH (VIGREN) WANDER , 95, Minneapolis / ’48 CHARLOTTE (WEST) ANDERSON, 93, New Ulm / ’49 RUTH (SWEDZINSKI) JACOB, Simi Valley, California / ’49 JOYCE LOCKS , 91, Winona / ’49 THOMAS ROBB, 92, Isle


’50 CAROLYN (PEIK) HOCHSPRUNG, 89, Glencoe / ’50 ’55 BERNICE BISTODEAU, 92, Oakland, California / ’51 CLEM COVERSTON, 93, Fridley / ’51 MARILYN GORDON, 91, South Haven / ’51 HAROLD SCHUCHARD, 94, Mankato / ’51 ’57 DONNA (DOLL) SCHNEIDER , 88, Rochester / ’52 RICHARD LENZ , 90, Northfield / ’52 JAMES ZAISER , 91, Bowie, Maryland / ’53 ROBERT MEYER , 89, St. Louis, Missouri / ’54 GLADYS (HISCOCK) LARSEN, 85, Minneapolis / ’54 CLARICE SJODIN, 94, Tulsa, Oklahoma / ’56 BARBARA FLYNN, 85, Payne, Ohio / ’56 ’81 ALYCE (ROEHL) PETERSON, 83, Riverside, California / ’57 PAT (WALKER) BOSTROM, 85, Golden Valley / ’57 LOIS (PORTER) FENNELL , 84, Danvers / ’57 BARBARA (BLOOMSTROM) MILLER , 84, Champlin / ’57 JAMES NORD, 87, Elk River / ’57 LUCILLE PESCHL , 96, St. Cloud / ’57 ROUL YALCH, 88, Brainerd / ’58 HAROLD DOTY, 86, Underwood / ’58 JACK KELLY, 84, Windom / ’58 JOANN (FARBER) KUIPER , 84, Rialto, California / ’59 DAVID GABRIELSON, 83, Litchfield / ’59 CONRAD MUZIK , Austin


’60 CHARLES NIKOLAI, 88, Isle / ’60 JOHN OTTO, 81, Chestertown, Maryland / ’61 JUDITH OLSON, 75, Rochester, New York / ’62 RODNEY JOHNSON, 80, Pelkie, Michigan / ’62 JOHN ZEHER , 91,Quarryville, Pennsylvania / ’63 GERRY HAMANN, 80, Eden Prairie / ’63 JONI (WORTH) HYDER , 78, Los Alamos, New Mexico / ’63 JORDAN LARSON, 85, Willmar / ’63 DUANE OLSON, 80, Taylors Falls / ’63 RONALD PEOPLES , 86, Snyder, New York / ’63 REBECCA (LINDGREN) RUPP, 78, Tucson, Arizona / ’63 ELIZABETH (SEXTON) VONDERHARR , 78, Ramsey / ’64 DAVID ANDERSON, 81, St. Cloud / ’64 JOYCE (LARSON) JAROS , 89, Mokena, Illinois / ’64 RONALD SELLNOW, 70, St. Louis Park / ’64 BARBARA (PEEL) STREED, 77, Mankato / ’64 MICHAEL VOGEL , 79, Sturgeon Lake / ’65 LOUIS KILGARD, 76, Maple Grove / ’65 ROBERT TOMSCHE, 84, Sauk Centre / ’65 ’67 JUDITH (MCNAIL) SELLNOW, 77, St. Louis Park / ’66 ANITA (KUECHLE) VOSSEN, 76, Watkins / ’67 GEORGE CHRISTIANSEN, 74, St. Louis Park

/ ’68 Arlys (Kompelien) Tilberg, 74, Montevideo / ’68 JOHN WIK , 78, St. Paul / ’69 LOWELL BRITZ , 72, Oviedo, Florida / ’69 CLAUDE GREEN, 86, Long Prairie / ’69 RUTH (DOKKEN) JOHNSON, 73, Waite Park / ’69 ROBERT PETERSON, 74, Cordova, Tennessee / ’69 THURMAN WETTELAND, 86, Hawley


’70 SHIRLEY (BUCHHOLZ) HUBBARD, 77, Excelsior / ’70 HARRIET JOHNSON, 96, Osseo / ’70 HUGO SONBUCHNER , 82, Monticello / ’70 MARY SWEDBERG, 101, Cokato / ’71 DAVID GRIDER , 82, St. Francis / ’71 STEPHEN GUSTAFSON, 77, Lake Elmo / ’71 LINDA (MANSK) WENZEL , 70, Aitkin / ’72 RICHARD DONNAY, 79, Chanhassen / ’72 THOMAS NIEHOFF, 71, Naples, Florida / ’72 LEE ST. GERMAIN, 71, Burnsville / ’72 ’79 PAUL WARD, 71, Hackensack / ’73 JENNIE (HOLME) BUTTENHOFF, 69, Buffalo / ’73 MARCIA (WILSON) CASPERSON, 69, Ankeny, Iowa / ’74 FRANCES (WRIGHT) CALLAGHAN, 92, Minneapolis / ’74 WILLIAM GORDON, 73, Minneapolis / ’74 LEROY PAULEY, 78, St. Cloud / ’74 CAROLYN (DORAN) SORENSON, 68, Spring Valley, Wisconsin / ’75 Robert Hoye, 67, St. Cloud / ’76 REBECCA (KNOLL) AMSDEN, 67, Olivia / ’76 CHRISTINE (WEDL) FOX , 64, Cold Spring / ’77 JOHN FRANCOIS , 70, St. Cloud / ’77 SUSAN (DANZL) MAY, 71, Grand Marais / ’77 WILLIAM PIRAM, 67, Annandale / ’78 MICHAEL LOFTUS , 63, Lakeville


’10 WESLEY SKEIE, 32, Elk River / ’16 WILLIAM ELLENBECKER , 28, St. Cloud


’20 ASHUTOSH DAHAL , 24, St. Cloud


’55 DAVID JERDE, 85, Fayetteville, Arizona / ’63 ’67 ’70 ANTHONY BUHL , 81, St. Cloud / JOHN CARPENTER , 91, Burnsville / DANIEL GOHL , 96, Clear Lake / SHIRLEY HUSKINS , 92, Minneapolis / CHARLES KALSCHEUER , 66, St. Cloud / JOHN KASPER , Maple Grove / RICHARD KLOEPPNER , 89, Clearwater / BETTY (BLOOM) MERZ, 87, Elk River / EVAN MERZ, 92, Elk River / STEVEN MUNTIFERING, 69, Royalton / CHARLES NELSON, 73, Clearwater / GERALD NESTEL , Sartell / LEONARD ONYIAH, Rockville / GEORGE TORREY, 87, Sartell / PAUL VAUGHTER , 88, Sauk Rapids / JEROME WOIT, 92, St. Cloud



’82 BRYAN JENSEN, 61, Savage / ’82 BLAIR SEARS , 77, Helen, Georgia / ’83 DAVID MONN, 62, Little Falls / ’83 DAVID PFANNENSTEIN, 60, St. Louis Park / ’83 RUSSEL SETHRE, 82, Fergus Falls / ’84 DANIEL BROOKS , 66, Sauk Centre / ’85 LAURA STUDER , 60, Hopkins / ’86 THOMAS DAHLBACK , 56, Apple Valley / ’86 SANDRA PIANO, 82, St. Cloud / ’88 JACQUELINE FRENCH, 71, St. Joseph / ’89 JEAN DAVIDSON, 68, Edina / ’89 GAIL FOKKEN, 45, Canby / ’89 PATRICIA (MCMORROW) JOHNSON, 74, Minneapolis / ’89 JOAN (ADKINS) QUINN, 72, Spicer / ’89 JENNIFER (BECKLIN) SCHLENKER , 53, Cambridge / ’89 ’15 KEVIN BENEKE, 53, Princeton


’91 GREGORY BECHTOLD, 62, St. Augusta / ’92 MICHAEL GRINNELL , 57, St. Cloud / ’92 RICHARD MALLUM, 53, Cambridge / ’95 ERIC LARSON, 48, St. Paul / ’98 MICHAEL DANIELSEN, 45, Maple Grove / ’98 Daniel Zalaznik, 47, Millbrae, California / ’98 ’00 JANE (KLEIN) MAIER , 53, Fayetteville, Arkansas / ’99 AMY (BAKER) PFARR , 52, Shakopee


HUSKY-DRIVEN BUSINESS An exciting initiative to connect St. Cloud State’s alumni. Submit business information on this public, consumerfriendly website: huskies-driven-business.aspx

You will receive an exclusive “Husky-Driven Business” cling to display as a symbol of pride!

’00 AMANDA CONNEALY, 42, Eden Prairie / ’03 THOMAS KLEIS , 54, Sauk Rapids / ’03 ’05 JENILEE (HESS) ERICKSON, 38, Willmar / ’08 JESS FORD, 37, St. Cloud / ’09 MAXINE (LAURENCE) WURTZ, 55, Hutchinson



Michael Mathiason in a classroom at Lincoln Elementary in St. Cloud, where he is currently a Social Emotional Learning Coach.

32 Most days, Mathiason dressed up in a suit jacket and tie as a way to motivate himself in the classroom while helping him feel prepared for the days and weeks ahead with his students. His willingness to dress up quickly rubbed off on his students, sparking the idea of a unique program that has gained national attention. “One day, a boy I had in my class asked me ‘why do you dress up so much?’ I told him it makes me feel good and on top of my game,” said Mathiason, a 2011 elementary education alumnus and Notable Alumni of St. Cloud State University who is in his ninth year of teaching in the St. Cloud area. His career has seen stops at Talahi Community School, Discovery Community School and currently Lincoln Elementary. “He told me he had never worn a suit jacket and wanted to wear one. Instantly, my mind went to going out and finding him a suit jacket to bring to him,” Mathiason continued. “I went out and bought a suit jacket for him, and the look on his face was priceless. You could tell he was very proud and started to wear it to class.” Shortly after, more students wanted to take part, starting a trend inside of his classroom where students would “Dress for Success” on a weekly basis. DRESS FOR SUCCESS Mathiason began a weekly trend where his students would dress up together like they noticed him doing on a daily basis. HT TP S://TODAY.STCLOUDSTATE.EDU/MAG | SPRING / SUMMER 2021

Not long after that began, the program received attention from local and national media, starting with Boyd Huppert of KARE 11 in the Twin Cities featuring him in a story on television in February 2020. Mathiason and his students were also interviewed by CNN in the following months. “When I got the call from KARE 11 and Boyd Huppert, I couldn’t believe it,” Mathiason recalled. “It was all about some people noticing that I was doing it and it took off from there. It was awesome.” After that story, Mathiason was overwhelmed, as emails and phone calls began to flood in from people around the community, state and country asking how they could help support “Dress for Success.” “All of a sudden, I looked at my phone and started to get a bunch of emails from people saying they loved the story,” Mathiason said. “It was probably a minute after the show aired that I was getting responses from people all over asking what sizes of clothes I needed and how they could help. We got boxes of ties, I got clothing racks donated to me, suit jackets, scarves, blazers and

ALUMNI NEWS dresses for the girls. It was really cool to have that experience. Good news travels fast, I guess.” For the moment, the “Dress for Success” program is on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But Mathiason has the goal of not only starting the program back up again when it’s safe, but to spread and share the program with the entire school. GIVING BACK TO STUDENTS IN THE COMMUNITY During the 2020-21 academic year, Mathiason has found himself outside of the classroom for the first time in his nineyear teaching career, currently serving as the social emotional learning coach at Lincoln Elementary. A bulk of his job includes building relationships with students while helping keep them motivated to be in school, among other things. “I get to see everything from a different angle this year, which is really cool because it’s going to help me take Dress for Success and really branch it through the rest of the school,” he said. “The big thing for me is spreading positivity. I struggled at some things in school, so for me it’s just about reminding kids that it takes some time and we all learn at different speeds. “Building relationships with kids, it’s so much more than academics. There’s a lot more that goes into it than that, and I Michael think that’s why I’ve been able to have Mathiason some success in my career. That comes purchased and natural to me in trying to motivate kids collected donations and help build relationships with them of clothes for students at Lincoln so they are excited to come to school Elementary for his and to class.” “Dress for Success” Regardless of his role, Mathiason program. strives to give back to students in a community he has spent a majority of his life in, spanning back to growing up in nearby Belgrade or attending St. Cloud State to get his teaching degree. “Going to St. Cloud State and getting a job in the community has been really nice because we were kind of prepared for teaching in the community already. It’s where we got a bulk of our teaching experience before graduating,” Mathiason said. “I student taught at Clearview Elementary School and now I work in the St. Cloud School District, so I already knew what they were doing and it helps teaching in the community you went to college in and where you gained a lot of that experience. “You can go through the program and just go through the motions, but St. Cloud State really taught me how important it is to be the teacher that you want to be.”

33 MAGGIE KAMENICK ’17 CONTINUES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AS A FIRST-GRADE TEACHER Maggie Kamenick ‘17 aims to give back to future generations as a first-grade teacher at Discovery Community School in the St. Cloud Area School District. Kamenick graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in elementary education and she credits St. Cloud State for helping prepare her for her career. Kamenick is one of multiple St. Cloud State alumni who are part of the Notable Alumni program at St. Cloud State, which is a new program from Alumni Relations designed to recognize and spotlight young St. Cloud State alumni that have made notable advancements in their careers. In the newly remodeled Admissions Center in the Administrative Services building at St. Cloud State, the inspiring stories of young alumni enjoying noteworthy success is on display for prospective students and their families. You can also view the list of individuals by visiting “St. Cloud State provided me with countless opportunities that helped me grow in all aspects of my life. My experiences at St. Cloud State made me a better colleague, friend, teacher and wife. The reason I am who I am is because of the organizations I joined and the people I met in St. Cloud.”


Benneth Sheeley ’11 pictured during his study abroad experience in South Africa while attending St. Cloud State University.



In November, the two teamed up to take part in a ConnectED Alumni Series Lawyer Panel at St. Cloud State to discuss their journeys as lawyers. Sheeley, who graduated with a degree in business, works in Los Angeles as an entertainment attorney for Jackoway Austen Tyerman, et al. He was also named a St. Cloud State Notable Alumni and to the Top 40 Under 40 Black Lawyers in California list in 2020. “After coming out to Los Angeles for law school, I soon realized entertainment law was a big part of the entertainment industry and I started to see this was a segment of law that I could really get into. I was always into pop culture and the arts,” Sheeley said. “Right now, I represent artists as they enter deals with production companies and studios for television productions and feature films. I feel like I have already touched on a lot of different components of the entertainment industry over the course of 5-6 years of practicing law.” Phomtalikhith, who graduated with a degree in English and a minor in political science, works as a staff attorney at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc. in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. “It’s because of the opportunities I was afforded and sought out at SCSU that helped me realize that I wanted to become a lawyer,” Phomtalikhith said. “I enjoy working with people. Especially the communities we serve, which are low-income and limited English proficiency clients. I assist clients in housing matters, and it is gratifying to help people access and maintain affordable housing.” JOURNEY BEYOND ST. CLOUD STATE After graduating, both Sheeley and Phomtalikhith went on to earn their law degrees in different parts of the country. Sheeley moved to Los Angeles, attending UCLA School of Law where he earned his Juris Doctor in 2015. He credits his St. Cloud State study abroad experiences to both England and South Africa for providing him with the confidence to move to another part of the country. “I took part in the Alnwick Castle study abroad trip in England and also one in South Africa. I felt that was a springboard in that it got me used to putting myself in uncomfortable situations where I could learn and grow,” Sheeley said. “That prepared me to try something new and relocate to a new region of the country to pursue something that was different than what other folks were doing. It resulted in me finding


Pounnaphone Phomtalikhith ’11

out that entertainment law was a viable path and I should explore it a little more. That started me on the path towards where I am now.” Phomtalikhith stayed within the state to obtain her law degree, attending Hamline University School of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) in St. Paul to earn her Juris Doctor in 2014. After spending time in New York City practicing immigration and employment law, Phomtalikhith returned to Minnesota. “During my time in law school, I was always public interest focused,” Phomtalikhith said. “After working in New York City, I came back and did some work for a large law firm, but quickly realized that my heart was in public service. That’s how I found myself in my current role as a staff attorney at the oldest legal aid service provider in the state of Minnesota.” OFFERING ADVICE AND GIVING BACK Both Sheeley and Phomtalikhith have tried to give back to students by offering advice on how they can find their path for success. Whether it’s at their alma mater or elsewhere, the pair have spoken to people interested in a law career multiple times. “Being a first-generation college student, a lot was unknown to me, and it was bewildering,” Phomtalikhith said. “I love to pass along the knowledge that I’ve gained from my personal experiences to current and prospective students to help demystify the process. The institutional knowledge that is not easily found on the internet is what I strive to give to students. Helping others discover what’s possible for them has always been a driving force for me.” Offering advice and helping the next generation has been something many St. Cloud State alumni have continued to do, and Sheeley and Phomtalikhith are an addition to that growing list of alumni trying to give back. “I’ve always thought student mentorship was important. Seeing other people who are similar to yourself in a career that you are interested in is immensely helpful because it helps you envision that process and what it looks like for you beyond school,” Sheeley said. “Establishing a path for folks and trying to help them get there, I think that’s really important. Now that I’m 5-6 years into practice, getting involved is something I want to do as much as I can. “Speaking to students and giving them guidance to put away some of their fears while helping them in the process, I think that can go a long way.”




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