Page 1

Winter 2009


weB eXtraS find web exclusives at

a DiFFerent cUP OF tea


international teachers visit UND through the teaching excellence and achievement (tea) program.

MiLitarY frieNDLY Learn about the benefits UND offers to military personnel and their families.

MilitarY FrienDlY


after serving in the field, two veterans succeed with help from UND.

HealtH care On tHe FrOnt line


from textbooks to talking ‘dummies,’ nursing students learn in brand new ways.

Science WitH a tWiSt[er]


three UND graduate student storm chasers hunt for adventure.

explore the College of Nursing's last century.

all in tHe FaMilY


100 YearS Of NUrSiNG

a third-generation nurse learns from the best: her mom.

frOM LPN tO Ph.D. a list of the College of Nursing's programs.

GraDUate PrOGraMS Make a DiFFerence


Graduate nursing encourages continued learning while working at the bedside.

StaY SaFe OUt tHere


Hackers, thieves, and you: how much do you really know about safety on the internet?

rOllin’ On tHe riVer


follow the journey of two engineering students who paddled the Mississippi from Lake itasca to the Gulf of Mexico.

anOtHer DiMenSiOn


UND photographer Chuck Kimmerle's solo exhibit will travel throughout North Dakota.

wHat iS a tOrNaDO? Learn about these rotating terrors and the damage they can do.

ViOLeNt SKieS PHOtO GaLLerY See storms through the shutter of storm chaser aaron Kennedy.

DIMENSIONS | wiNter 2009 Dimensions is published by the University of North Dakota, Robert O. Kelley, president, with assistance from the Office of University Relations, 264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144, Grand Forks, ND 582027144. Editor: Jan Orvik. Contributors: Jan Orvik, Juan Pedraza, Patrick Miller, and Brenda Haugen. Photograph on page 5 courtesy of Corianna Kubasta; page 8 Aaron Kennedy; page 15 Tom Hilpisch and Scott Gavett; all other photographs by Chuck Kimmerle, Office of University Relations. Multiple mail lists were used, so if you receive more than one copy, please share it with another friend of UND. Content may be reprinted without prior permission for non-commercial purposes. If you have questions or comments, call us at (701) 777-2731, or e-mail To reach the Office of Enrollment Services, UND's main recruiting arm, phone 1-800-CALL UND (225-5863). The University's Web page is at The University of North Dakota is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Prairie LaNDSCaPe View more of Chuck Kimmerle's landscape photographs. blankets ON tHe COVer | Snow Merrifield Hall


cup of TEA

UND President Robert O. Kelley receives gifts from international teachers visiting UND, one of four universities to host international teachers through the TEA program.


hey came from four continents to the center of North America. Twenty-one teachers from 12 countries, educators who came to learn from the faculty at the University of North Dakota College of Education and Human Development. UND was one of just four universities in the nation chosen by the U.S. State Department to participate in the Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) program last fall. Designed to introduce and familiarize these teachers with the U.S. educational system, the six-week program has produced benefits beyond that. “There have been a lot of cross-cultural experiences with teachers and students, as well as with the TEA students,” said Donna Pearson, an assistant professor with UND’s Teaching and Learning Department, which garnered the TEA grant. “I feel that I was born again,” said Roman Kuzembayev, who teaches students in grades 5-11 in Kazakhstan. “I will share what I learned at UND with my fellow teachers, and I found a lot of pen-friends for my students here.” During their time at UND, the TEA teachers lived on the same floor in Brannon Hall. “That brought a greater sense of collegiality,” Pearson said. They also ate on campus and met and mingled with UND students. While UND’s Teaching and Learning Department headed up the program, it had a lot of help from others on campus, including faculty advising, arts and sciences, language, and math. TEA participants also spent 12 half-days with mentor teachers in Grand Forks schools. “They really enjoyed going to school,” Pearson said. They were paired with mentors who teach the same grade

levels. Wendy López Muñoz of Guatemala was paired with Laura Wendt, who teaches English at Grand Forks Central High School. “The whole experience made me appreciate my job, my country, and the world,” said Muñoz. “This experience opened my mind into different ways of teaching a language.” “My students absolutely loved her and were sad to see her go,” said Wendt. “She gave my students a different perspective on the material we were covering in class. We’re reading a novel that deals with the consequences of apathy as well as what it means to think and act for yourself. She was able to take that novel and add her own touch. That’s so important, especially at the high school level.” Muñoz was even able to step in and teach the class when Wendt was sick. “I knew from our first meeting that Wendy was a fluent English speaker and an excellent teacher,” Wendt said. “As much as I didn't want to miss a day while she was here at Central, I felt very comfortable letting her lead the lesson. I think it was a great experience for the class. “The thing that really surprised me is how much more reflective I was in regards to my own teaching,” Wendt said. “She certainly gave me some great ideas for next year.” Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is an understanding that around the globe, we’re not all that different. “I have known that is possible, but now realize people of different countries can understand each other if they want it,” said Luydmila Gorzhuy, a teacher from Kazakhstan. “I like our collaboration.”

BrenDa HaUGen | CONtriBUtiNG writer

University of North Dakota | 1


The path that brought Jon Dennington here was anything but usual. Dennington, his wife Rachel and their three children moved from North Carolina to Grand Forks this past summer to complete the final two years of what he hopes will be a degree in aviation management. As a disabled veteran, he receives assistance through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) vocational rehabilitation program. “I’m 37 years old and this will be my first degree,” Dennington said. “It’s time that I have a degree where I can provide for my family.” In its 2010 guide, G.I. Jobs Magazine named UND one of the top “militaryfriendly schools” in the nation. Dennington agrees. “UND’s veteran friendly,” he said. “I’m considered handicapped, and the campus is certainly disabled veteran friendly. And accessible.” A veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Dennington admits that he was bitter after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. “The military was being downsized, and because I tore up my knees in the Airborne jumping out of airplanes, they decided they couldn’t use me any more,” he explained. “I didn’t want any benefits. I never pursued the GI Bill.” Although he didn’t know it then, Dennington’s journey to North Dakota began in late August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. He and his family were living in southern Arkansas. The hurricane tore the roof off the home they were in the process of buying. Unfortunately, Arkansas didn’t qualify for federal disaster assistance. The Denningtons planned to leave their children in North Carolina with Jon’s parents while they returned to Arkansas to live in a tent and repair their home. But that plan went awry when a collision with a deer totaled their car. “We kind of got stuck in North Carolina,” he said. “My parents made the best of it.” At an air show at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, Dennington stopped at a UND booth. There, he learned about an aviation

program offered in partnership with a local community college. “I decided that was something I’d like to do,” he said. “I was no longer eligible for the GI Bill, but I was eligible for a VA vocational rehabilitation program. They paid for my tuition and my books, and also provided a living stipend to make it easier.” He enrolled, started school in fall 2006, and began flight training for a degree in aviation management. In spring 2008, the Denningtons prepared to move to Grand Forks where Jon would complete the final two years of his degree. Fate intervened. An auto accident left him in a coma for three weeks and Rachel hospitalized for six months. It would be another year before Dennington could resume work on his degree. Throughout the ordeal, Dennington found helping hands at UND. “Everybody who worked with me was so great,” he said. “The housing office was fantastic. They put me back up to the top of the list for this year. The admissions office jumped through hoops to get me here.” The family arrived in Grand Forks the evening of June 26.

“Everybody is so friendly.”

“Everybody is so friendly,” he said. “It’s been fantastically easy, and Grand Forks is a beautiful city.” The Denningtons received additional assistance from UND during their transition. “I contacted Carol Anson (in UND Veteran Services), who helped get my VA health care set up and set me up with a vocational rehab counselor in Fargo. If I have any questions, I contact her and she points me in the right direction.” Because Rachel is in a wheelchair while convalescing from her injuries, handicapped access to the family’s on-campus apartment is essential. Within a day after Jon contacted UND housing, a ramp was installed in the parking lot. It’s been a long and difficult journey, but Dennington is confident his decision to attend UND was the best one for him and his family. “When I saw the UND booth at the air show, I researched it and decided that this was a great school, one of the top aviation schools in the country,” he said. “All along, I knew I was coming here.” Patrick Miller | Staff writer

Gulf War Veteran Jon Dennington is pursuing an aviation degree.

2 | Dimensions Winter 2009

Two soldiers, two stories, and the university that serves them. TO IRAQ AND BACK From student to soldier, Corianna Kubasta has experienced some of the most stressful challenges a college student might face these days. The help she has been receiving from fellow veterans and the Veteran Services Office are just part of UND’s commitment to being as military friendly as possible. “I’m really lucky that there are a lot of people on campus who have been through this,” said Kubasta, 21, a native of Lidgerwood, N.D. “I call them, ask what to do, and they help me out. It’s what I hope other people coming back from military duty will experience.” GI Jobs Magazine ranks UND in the top 15 percent of military-friendly schools in the nation, based on the results of a survey of 7,000 schools. Just before the end of the fall semester of her sophomore year in late 2007, Kubasta left UND for deployment in Iraq as a specialist in the North Dakota Army National Guard 191st Military Police Company.

“I volunteered to go” “A lot of my friends were going, so I volunteered to go with them,” she said. “My teachers were really good about it. They made sure I finished all the necessary course work for getting credit for my classes. I didn’t have to drop classes or take incompletes.” Kubasta, a physical education and exercise science major, traded her textbooks for an assault rifle, a pistol, body armor and camouflaged fatigues. Her unit patrolled the Rusafa district in eastern Baghdad, including Sadr City, one of the poorest and most dangerous parts of Baghdad. “We trained the Iraqi police and a few other security entities,” she said. “We were outside in Baghdad every day. It was like your adrenaline was always going. You had to watch your back and have everything correct. Your life depended on it every single day.” “We opened schools and hospitals, and we secured areas,” she said. “We provided people with security so their kids would feel safe when they were out in the yard playing. The violence went down about 90 percent while we were there. It’s a really good feeling when you hear about that.”

“I couldn't have done it without Carol” As her tour of duty neared an end, Kubasta decided that she wanted to return to UND, but limited communications complicated the process. She managed to get in touch with Carol Anson, UND’s veteran certifying official.

Corianna Kubasta in Iraq

University of North Dakota | 3

“I couldn’t have done it without Carol,” Kubasta said. “I told her I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but I wanted to go back to school right away. She told me that she’d set everything up for me and got me into classes.” Anson, who served in the U.S. Air Force at Grand Forks Air Force Base, says requests such as Kubasta’s from active-duty military are the norm for her office, which also helps students enroll in UND’s distance education programs. “Many decide to attend UND because all veterans and all active-duty members receive the in-state resident tuition rate,” she said. “We have a student in Iraq right now taking online classes.”

“It was hard to go to school the day after I turned my rifle in.”

carOl anSOn

cOrianna kUBaSta

Within two weeks after her final mission in Iraq, Kubasta was in Grand Forks, a few days late for the 2009 spring semester. “Coming back was so slow-paced compared to what I was used to,” she said. “It was hard to go to school the day after I turned my rifle in.” Not only was the climate vastly different, but she also had to readjust to college life as a civilian. Kubasta instinctively scanned crowds for trouble, even though she knew there was no reason to do so. “I’d find myself watching my back,” she said. “I couldn’t sit in front of the classroom. I had to sit in back because I couldn’t stand having people behind me.” Kubasta also wasn’t sure how faculty and other students would treat her if they knew she’d served in Iraq. She didn’t want to talk about it. “The first class I had was foreign policy with Dr. Berger [Albert Berger, associate professor of history],” she said. “He was really supportive of the two veterans in the class. “When it came to talking about post-9/11 foreign policy, he was really cool about asking us our opinions on what Iraq was like compared to what the textbook said. He was really respectful of us.” The reception she received in a course on international human rights was similar. “It was constructive discussion, and it was a very good learning environment for everyone in the room,” she said. “It definitely made my first semester back a whole lot better.” And when people learned Kubasta was a veteran of the war in Iraq? “They told me it was awesome that I’d helped people in another country,” she said. Anson and her staff assist approximately 700 students on campus who identify themselves as veterans. “We process education benefits for National Guard, dependents of disabled veterans and active-duty members who are using the GI Bill,” she said. “We also process enrollment for the new post-9/11 GI Bill for students who served on active duty after Sept. 11, 2001, and for veterans using the GI Bill under the Montgomery GI Bill. We have students using VA (Veterans Affairs) vocational rehabilitation.” Whether it’s providing in-state tuition to all veterans, creating a Facebook page for them, helping them find classrooms or making sure they enroll in the programs that provide the most benefits, it’s no accident that UND is considered one of the nation’s most military-friendly schools. “We have a veterans advisory group that gets together each semester to come up with things we can do to make veterans feel more welcome,” Anson said. As Kubasta can attest, it’s well worth the effort. Patrick Miller | Staff writer

Look for more material related to this story at and

4 | Dimensions winter 2009

Health care on the front line: Nursing’s new century at UND


rom caps to computerization, nursing education has Patient simulators are basically high-tech “dummies” that are changed over the century. able to speak, show pain, and react to treatment. Their biggest “The hallmark white uniform is no more,” remarked Julie advantage is that professors can use them to simulate not only Anderson, dean of UND’s College of Nursing. “Today, the routine conditions but also rare situations. This ramps up the scope of practice is so varied, and students have many options students’ abilities to deal with unusual cases. besides the traditional bedside nurse.” The sims, as they’re called, don’t replace clinical experience A century ago, when nursing instruction was first offered at in education, but enhance it. “The simulators will never UND, the education mostly consisted of hands-on training in replace hands-on care and personal interaction with patients,” hospitals. Nurses were expected to do everything from scrub Anderson said. “They let us provide high-risk experiences floors and empty bedpans to administer medications, sharpen that most students would never encounter in school. They get needles and change bandages. experience before they enter practice and refine their skills.” The scope and responsibilities of the profession are different “The simulators are wonderful tools,” added Escobar. “These now, and so are the students. smart ‘dummies’ really increase the lab experience, and students One big difference, notes Marlys Escobar, director of student love them. They’d do simulations every day if they could.” and alumni affairs at the College The sessions are recorded for students of Nursing, is that generations ago, These smart ‘dummies' really to watch later. “They can receive nursing was a two-year program, and immediate feedback on their clinical increase the lab experience” performance, including what they getting a four-year RN degree was a big deal. did and didn’t do well,” Escobar said. Today, she observed, “many students are ultimately looking Students are not graded on the simulators — they're viewed beyond that.” Even as they begin their nursing studies, some as a learning experience. “Students want to do well, no matter are planning on graduate degrees that will allow them to take what,” Escobar explained. “They take simulation very seriously, on advanced patient care, become administrators, family nurse and they’re high achievers.” practitioners, and more. UND students are well prepared, say employers. “Our clinical The program has changed as well. Students still receive sites have always told us that students were well prepared,” hands-on training. And they learn theory, too: why what they noted Anderson. “Now they say that our students are even do works. “Nurses want technical skills,” said Anderson. “It’s more so, and asked what we were doing. It’s the simulators. critical to connect theory to practice.” That connection helps They noticed the difference.” Jan Orvik | Staff writer them better think through patient care. They learn through textbooks and computer modules, as well as the latest in technology: patient simulators. University of North Dakota | 5

SCIENCE with a


Follow passion and research into the heart of prairie storm country and get up close and personal with a storm.

“And in the morning, we take a last-minute look at things, make the decision, and load up our cameras, gear, and a laptop tethered to the cell phone, and hit the road,” Adriaansen said. “We’re on the THE NASTIER THE BETTER Internet all the time, except if we’re in the middle of nowhere with “I’ve been doing this since I was an undergraduate meteorology no cell signal. Then it’s back to your roots. You use your eyes.” student at the University of Oklahoma, Norman,” said Aaron It’s about seeing in real time what the computer models can only Kennedy, a Rockford, Ill., native and Ph.D. student in atmospheric generate on the screen, Kennedy said. sciences. “It’s sort of a state pastime in Oklahoma,” he said. “We use our field observations to see how well the model does. “Norman is in the heart of Tornado Alley, which runs from Texas It’s an alternate reality, one piece of the model, and for it to work to the Northern Plains and has more tornadoes than anyplace else we need inputs from real-world observations,” he explained. in the world.” So what’s all the excitement about? Kennedy is one of several graduate students who pursue storms. “Well, it’s actually pretty boring for the most part — let’s just say “Storms have always interested me,” said Daniel (Dan) that right up front,” Naylor said. “There’s a lot of driving, a lot of Adriaansen, a master’s degree candidate who sitting.” grew up in Marion, New York. “I went to the “You have to be prepared to be patient,” Kennedy We could see it State University of New York-Brockport near said. “For example, we recently drove out to the Rochester to study meteorology. We don’t get faintly in between Bismarck area — that’s four hours — because a lot of tornadoes there, but as a kid I was into the forecasts were for a major storm system. We lightning flashes” ate. Then we sat around. Basically, nothing much how science works and the weather always intrigued me. I asked ‘why?’ and decided to happened, and there went 11 hours. Really, we pursue more knowledge to figure it out. I did that by sticking with treat these ventures like a road trip. So storms are only half of it. atmospheric sciences. It’s a lot of fun.” We take lots of pictures, but only half may be storm-related. The Adriaansen is a modeler — a computer modeler, that is. He rest are of clouds and other weather phenomena.” looks at how observations in nature compare with computer Patience definitely is the key virtue. models. “I spent six years in Oklahoma getting two degrees, and I only “I had no intention of being a storm chaser until I came to UND saw two tornadoes,” Kennedy said. “I got to UND in August 2006, and met Aaron,” Adriaansen said. “I had no idea we could do that and went chasing a big storm in South Dakota that put down more here. When I thought ‘North Dakota,’ I thought about 20 below tornadoes in a day than I’d seen in six years in Oklahoma.” and lots of snow. After our first storm-chasing trip — when we So the chase goes on. That includes skipping classes when didn’t see any big storms — I said, ‘I’m in.’” necessary to learn in the classroom of nature, Kennedy said. And The group also includes Jason Naylor, who was raised in the there’s a public service component. small Pennsylvania farming community of Eighty Four, about an “When chasing storms we give the local National Weather hour south of Pittsburgh. Service office real-time storm data and provide information about “I model tornadoes and severe storms,” said Naylor, who’s on the storm track,” Kennedy said. “We can help the NWS to get the track for a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences. “Chasing storms seems warnings out if they haven’t already.” natural for me now.” The trio was close by when a tornado smashed Northwood, The informal group of storm chasers can be found late at night N.D., on August 8, 2007. before a potential chase day — when weather conditions look likely “We were about five miles out in the middle of that rainstorm, — chatting on the computer to decide if this is the system that’ll and there was lightning and thunder all around us,” said Naylor. generate a nice, fat storm. “It was very difficult to see because the tornado was rain-wrapped,


Panorama of a supercell taken by Aaron Kennedy

Graduate Students Aaron Kennedy, Dan Adriaansen and Jason Naylor don't hide from storms. They chase them.

Interest in storms encouraged the department to launch an but we could see it faintly in between lightning flashes. When we atmospheric sciences course called “Severe and Hazardous enhanced the contrast of the photos we took, we definitely saw the Weather.” It is designed to appeal to a broad cross section of funnel. But we had no idea how bad the storm actually was until we got back to town.” students, including those with no science background, Mullendore said. Gretchen Mullendore, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences, knows firsthand the value of these “field trips.” Basically, atmospheric scientists are striving to provide answers in two broad fields, or big picture areas, “We get lots of valuable data from storm chasers, measurements that We had no idea how bad Mullendore said. “The first is to help people predict severe actually add up to useful science, the storm actually was” weather better,” she said. “The second is even as far as helping us understand to help us understand climate better, and that includes a deeper climate change. Storm chasing still is relevant today,” even amid all understanding of climate change. Ultimately, it’s all intertwined, the computer models, said Mullendore, who’s done a road trip or two herself. as climate change is affecting the types, locations, and frequency of severe storms.” Mullendore and Atmospheric Sciences colleague Matthew Gilmore both recently got federal grants to study severe storm So while most of us seek shelter when the storm sirens go off, these intrepid scientists venture out to witness the potentially systems: Mullendore to research how and how fast air masses move from ground level up to the stratosphere where the ozone deadly spectacle firsthand. The dust boils, the trees shake, the winds howl, and amid all this natural traffic, they find answers. layer resides; and Gilmore to dig deep into the computer models of such storms and design models that more accurately represent JUan PeDraZa | Staff writer reality.

Look for more material related to this story at

University of North Dakota | 7


kim anderson and laura Dravitz

Third-generation nurse thrives under pressure


ever before at our fingertips.” Dravitz, who received the North n the Emergency Room, every second counts. And nursing senior Kimberly Anderson thrives on the pressure, thanks to a Dakota Nurse Excellence Award in 2006, currently serves as lifetime connection. state president of the Emergency Nurses Association and was When she began her UND cooperative education rotation in recognized for leadership at the group’s national annual meeting this year. the ER, Anderson was taught by one of the best: her mom, who Like her mother, Anderson fell in love with emergency is also her best friend. nursing. She recently completed a capstone practicum in “I fell in love with emergency nursing,” Anderson said of her experience. “The ER is not what most people think. It can be neuromedical intensive care unit (ICU) at Abbott Northwestern pretty intense, exciting, and a ‘rush.’ You don’t know who is in Minneapolis. going to be really sick and who is not, so you need to keep an eye “It’s intense, because you work 196 hours in six weeks, plus on the whole picture and know what’s going on.” homework, as well as spend 32 to 36 hours in class,” she said. Her mom, Laura Jessen Dravitz, also a UND graduate Anderson put herself through school as a critical care technician in Altru’s ICU. UND’s Student Nurse and a second-generation nurse, has coordinated the nurse co-op program The ER is not what people think.” of the Year in 2009, she has served as president and secretary of the Student and also served as coordinator of UND practicum students at Altru Health System over the last six years. Nurses Association. And like her mom, she may end up in “I love to teach others what I have learned,” Dravitz said. critical or emergency care. “It’s amazing to have a doctor come up and ask what you She began her career at Meritcare in Fargo in 1982, and began working at Altru after her family moved to East Grand Forks think a patient needs. That trust doesn’t happen right away, but about 10 years ago. She later moved to the ER, and says it’s the the doctors depend on you.” She said that the needs of critical patients are particularly motivating: “They make you think best job she’s ever had. “You are always learning,” Dravitz said. “You never know what more, make decisions, and work harder. I like the challenge of working to save them.” will come in the door. When a person has a problem, figuring “Kim has a gift,” said Dravitz. “I’m so proud of her. She’s not out what’s wrong is like putting a puzzle together.” That’s why task-oriented  she sees the whole picture. I knew she would Dravitz emphasizes biological, psychological, and sociological be good. I look for a passion for nursing, eagerness to learn, and aspects to understand patients and their problems. It’s what she was taught in nursing school, and she teaches it to students. “We people who have common sense. That makes a good ER nurse.” are a patient’s voice, ears, and hands, even with more tools than Jan OrVik | Staff writer

Nursing graduate programs make a difference


ig changes are happening in UND’s nursing graduate program. With increased enrollments, six master’s specializations for advanced education, a doctoral degree, online programs, and more, nursing grads are expanding the boundaries and sophistication of health care delivery and research. “We want nurses to keep learning and advancing in the profession,” said Julie Anderson, dean of the College of Nursing. While the college has long had programs to help LPNs and RNs earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees, helping those with baccalaureates earn advanced degrees is fairly new. “It is a new philosophy to encourage nurses to continue their education while they’re working at the bedside and gaining experience,” she explained. Anderson herself is an example of this model of continuing education. A Grand Forks native, she has always been interested in health care. Her mother was the secretary for the chair of nursing while Anderson served as a hospital candy striper. After high school, she was awarded scholarships for both art and nursing. She chose to become a nurse, relegating her art — both painting and quilting — to hobbies. As a practicing nurse, she kept going back to school, eventually earning her doctorate and becoming a professor. And even as a dean, she still finds time to work as a flex nurse at Altru Health System in the neonatal ICU.

“It’s important to be current, and an ideal way to do that is to maintain a clinical nursing practice,” she explained. She works as a transport nurse, helping in the management and care of critically ill babies who transfer to another hospital. Anderson also continues to do research as part of a team exploring ways to prevent and treat pressure ulcers and other forms of skin breakdown. Her interest in this research, in which UND has been a leader for years, grew out of her son’s experience, at age 13, with pressure ulcers after an injury. So she joined the skin and wound research team at the College, which conducts product trials of dressings and topical agents to both prevent and treat the ulcers. The team works with professors at the School of Engineering and Mines, where they’re researching the use of infrared imagery to predict skin breakdowns before they happen. “We’re on to something,” Anderson said. Their work, which involves students from both colleges, includes testing support surfaces such as wheelchair cushions and mattresses and also conducting trials on prospective treatment products. Why conduct research? “I have a thirst for knowledge that can impact patient care,” Anderson said. “Our mission at UND is to help effect change in nursing and improve patient care. We want to decrease the time frame from the discovery of knowledge to its implementation at the bedside.” Jan OrVik | Staff writer

Look for more material related to this story at

University of North Dakota | 9

Stay_safe_out_there On the Internet, if it feels wrong, it probably is.

Sandra Braathen, an associate professor in the UND College of Business and Public Administration, received an e-mail that appeared to be from her bank and seemed legitimate. It included the bank’s official logo and a correct toll-free phone number. The e-mail’s subject — regarding a financial transaction she’d made earlier — added an air of legitimacy. But rather than clicking on the link provided in the e-mail, Braathen called her bank. “I wanted to verify it because I’d heard that I should never respond to a banking e-mail,” she recalled. “It was a hoax. The bank told me that I’d never be contacted by e-mail.” Braathen, who teaches information systems and business education, narrowly avoided becoming the victim of a “phishing” scam, a technique used to get people to provide private information that can be used to steal their identity. “When it comes to e-mails or trusting a Web site, a good rule of thumb is the same thing I tell my 12-year-old about making decisions,” she said. “If it feels wrong, it probably is. “If something in an e-mail just doesn’t feel right, don’t trust it,” she continued. “Make that phone call and find out. Otherwise, it could become a costly mistake. Billions of dollars are lost every year to simple phishing scams.” People are using computers at home, at work and in public locations. More and more, they access the Internet wirelessly. Online computing provides ease and convenience, but it also creates opportunities for scammers, hackers and others. Yanjun (Frank) Zuo, assistant professor of information systems, noted that when it comes to Internet security, most people fall into one of two categories: either they’re overly optimistic about their level of protection or they see danger lurking everywhere. “People think that if they get a new computer, install the latest antivirus software and antispyware, turn on their firewall and back up their files regularly, they’re really secure,” Zuo said. “They are relatively secure,” he explained. “But there is no such thing as 100 percent perfect security.” That doesn’t mean that there are threats lurking around every corner of the Internet. “Some people feel that the Internet is a black box and it’s too dangerous,” Zuo said. “There’s really nothing to be afraid of. As long as you keep your computer patched and install the necessary, required security mechanisms, you’re relatively safe.” Braathen and Zuo offered some helpful advice. Take basic security steps — “Installing antivirus software is your first line of defense and is absolutely one of the easiest things that you can do,” Braathen said. “You’re just asking for a virus if you don’t.” While these programs can’t guarantee total security, they provide a high degree of protection from viruses and other threats that come through e-mail and via the Web. Check to make certain that the operating system’s firewall is on (usually enabled by default).

"You're just asking for a virus if you don't."

Automatically update, patch and scan — Allow antivirus and

antispyware programs to automatically update. Set the system and often-used applications to automatically install security patches. The patches plug security holes that viruses and hackers can exploit. Routinely scan your computer to detect viruses and remove spyware.

Create strong passwords — Braathen noted that an eight-character, all-lower-case password can

be cracked in two seconds. Longer passwords containing upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters are much more difficult to crack. Don’t use passwords containing information that’s easy to discover, such as names of children, birth dates or pets. Zuo suggests using made-up words not found in the dictionary. Also, don’t use the same password for everything. For those who have trouble remembering passwords, Braathen recommends using a root word and then creating variations of it. Be sure to change passwords regularly.

Secure home wireless networks — Don’t place a wireless router near a window because it allows the signal to transmit farther. Use the router’s security settings to enable encryption (WPA2 is strongest, WEP is weakest). Change the router’s default settings, especially the log-on password. Rename the network (known as the SSID or service set identifier) and don’t broadcast the SSID. Use the router’s address filtering feature to limit network access to specific computers. Also enable the wireless router’s firewall to limit the potential of unwanted cyber intruders. Safeguard unattended computers and log out on public computers — If you leave your computer unattended at times, set the operating system to automatically log off after a few minutes of

10 | Dimensions Winter 2009

inactivity. Require a password to log back on, which will discourage unauthorized use. “If you’re entering private information on a public computer or a network, make sure that you log out when you finish,” Braathen warned. “If you’re not logged out, people can go back on the Internet and find information that you’ve entered.” Online shopping — Zuo urges people to minimize

online shopping. Always buy from trusted Web retailers with solid reputations. “If you’re entering credit card numbers or anything like that, you absolutely want to make sure that it’s a secure site,” said Braathen. When making purchases, make certain the site is using a secure protocol that encrypts (scrambles) the information you send and receive. There are two ways to check this. The easiest it to look for a small padlock icon displayed near the bottom of the browser’s window. The other is to check the Web address or URL of the site. Site addresses beginning with “https” are using a secure protocol.

Be wary of free software offers — “Are they really free?” Zuo asked. “Many times, it turns out they’re not because there’s a hidden cost.” Wallpaper, screen savers, music-sharing programs, browser tool bars, and other free applications that display information on your computer’s desktop can not only slow your computer, but also jeopardize its security. Create different e-mail accounts for different purposes — With the prevalence of free e-mail accounts,

Braathen recommends using separate e-mail accounts for specific purposes. For example, use a business e-mail address for business only and another account for online shopping. Create a personal account strictly for personal correspondence. An e-mail from a financial institution addressed to your personal correspondence account is surely a phishing scam. Braathen and Zuo agree that vulnerability to online threats sometime depends on what you’re doing online. Someone who surfs the Web and corresponds by e-mail will be of less interest to hackers and thieves than someone with passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information stored on their computer. “A company can have a lot invested in the latest hardware and software security,” Zuo noted. “But all it takes is a person making a phone call to trick someone into giving him all the information he needs to defeat the system. You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” Too often, the weakest links are computer users who fail to protect themselves. “Unfortunately, we learn more through the school of hard knocks,” Braathen said. “Some people have to experience it before they believe it. We can tell them the horror stories, but they don’t always listen.”

"Are they really free?"

Don’t fall for phishing scams — “Never click on a particular hyperlink provided by a third party,” Zuo said. E-mails that look official may direct you to a Web site that asks you to provide information that can be used for identity theft or redirect you to a site from which personal information can be stolen off your computer. Clean up and back up — Deleting unwanted and

unneeded temporary Internet files off your computer not only helps it run better, but keeps it more secure. Zuo suggests deleting “cookies” too, which sometimes contain confidential information that can be stolen. “In my classes, I always highlight the importance of backup,” he said. “Some information, you just can’t lose. Ideally, Zuo said, files should be backed up to a computer at another location. If that option isn’t available, Braathen suggests using an external hard drive.

Patrick Miller | Staff writer

University of North Dakota | 11

rollin’ the

the story of two engineering students who paddled the

MISSISSIPPI Scott Gavett and tom Hilpisch


any start, but few finish. This summer Scott Gavett and Tom Hilpisch paddled 2,320 miles from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. Setting out from Lake Itasca in Minnesota, it took the UND engineering students 69 days to complete the trip. They joined the ranks of just eight to 12 adventurers each year who successfully complete the journey. “It was sheer stubbornness,” said Hilpisch, a chemical engineering senior from Savage, Minn. “We would not quit.” The two friends got their inspiration from Edmund Eilbacher, a 2008 aeronautics graduate who had earlier completed the journey. “He planted the seed,” said Hilpisch. “It was a crazy cool idea.” Last May, they bought a canoe, learned how to use it on a calm lake, and then took off with some Army Corps of Engineers maps and a few weeks’ worth of food. As for plans, those went out the window after the first couple of days. “We just did it,” they said. Storms, wind, and currents made sticking to a plan impossible. And despite adversity, harrowing weather, and primitive living conditions, they’re still friends. “We depended on each other,” they said. “There wasn’t anything to fight about. We were going in one direction, we paddled all day, ate the same food. There were no big decisions to argue about.” They were pretty sore the first few days, and learned the hard way that their tent leaked. They soon grew accustomed to sleeping in mud. “We were the luckiest unlucky people,” said Gavett. “We hit a rock near St. Cloud, Minn., and tipped the canoe — nearly bent it in half. A guy downstream gathered our stuff, and we swam for the rest.”

We were the luckiest unlucky people” “The hardest part was dealing with Mother Nature,” said Gavett, an electrical engineering senior from Mounds View, Minn. “It rained about half the days we were on the water. We had a lot of storms, and there always seemed to be a head wind.” They recalled one storm in Iowa, where winds reached 98 miles per hour, and they and the canoe were thrown into rocks on the riverbank. Their supplies fared even worse: those were hurled 10 feet away, over a chain-link fence. The people who maintain the locks between dams helped them collect their belongings and lent them their first aid kits. Luckily, they just suffered cuts and bruises. The beautiful scenery along the river and the warmth of people made up for the hardships. One man in Quincy, Ill., drove them to a store and bought them groceries, while another replaced their paddles, which broke during a storm, and gave them maps. Then there were the showers — or the lack of them. After the first three days of the trip, they stopped in a backyard and the owner offered showers and a place to stay. By the end of the trip, they had spent three weeks without showering, from St. Louis to the Gulf. “Our standards sank,” Hilpisch said. “We stopped caring.” They camped on sandbars and islands. The entire trip cost around $3,000, with the canoe and gas for the return trip the biggest expenditures. Food cost around $4 to $5 a day for the two of them. They survived on carbs, mainly rice, mac and cheese, pasta, peanut butter-and-honey sandwiches, and canned tuna. The river was busy, especially further south, with tugboats, barges, and pleasure boats. “After Baton Rouge, there were ocean liners,” they said. “They’re fast, huge, and quiet. And they don’t care about canoes.” When they reached Head of Passes, about 15-20 miles from the Gulf, the current was so strong that they ended up paddling in place, and hitched a ride in a fishing boat. “We had our 17-foot canoe in the fishing boat, and they were telling us what a dumb idea it was to paddle to the Gulf. And we thought ‘We’re here, aren’t we?’” After talking a friend into driving down to pick them up, they spent a day in New Orleans. “A lot of people say they wish they’d done something like this,” they reflected. “And a lot of people said we were crazy.” Jan OrVik | Staff writer

University of North Dakota | 13

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage Office of University Relations 409 Twamley Hall 264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144 Grand Forks ND 58202-7144


Permit No. 10 Grand Forks, ND

Address Service Requested

Ano t h e r Dimension

In addition to his duties in UND's Office of University Relations, photographer Chuck Kimmerle spends much of his time exploring the nuances which help define the reticent landscape of the Northern Plains. His solo exhibit this past summer at the North Dakota Museum of Art was well received. That same show is scheduled to visit art venues throughout North Dakota starting in the fall of 2010.

Look for more material related to this story at

Dimensions Winter 2009-10  
Dimensions Winter 2009-10  

Dimensions is published by the University of North Dakota, Robert O. Kelley, president, with assistance from the Office of University Relati...