Immigrant Heritage Month: June 28 Immigration Walking Tour and Immigrant Youth Event

On Thursday, June 28, East Side Freedom Library will host a walking tour on Saint Paul’s East Side to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. The tour will meet at East Side Freedom Library, located at 1105 Greenbrier Street in St. Paul. Please arrive by 3:45 p.m. The tour will begin at 4 p.m., and will last around 90 minutes.

Freedom Library’s co-founder Peter Rachleff will lead the tour along Payne Avenue, following the experiences of 19th century immigrants up to contemporary Hmong, Somali, Mexican, and Karen neighbors. The tour will explore political, economic, and cultural forces prompting emigration from homelands, as well as settlement patterns and organization in St. Paul.

Library parking is available. Please wear walking shoes and dress for the weather.

It is free to attend the tour, but space is limited to 30 people. Reservations are required. Please RSVP by Monday, June 25, to Chrissy Hursh at

After the tour, there will be refreshments provided in the library between 5:30 p.m.–7 p.m.

Following refreshments, the East Side Freedom Library invites everyone to another event, a special reading curated by Green Card Voices, a local nonprofit organization. The reading is from 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m. in the library, and is free and open to the public.

“The Voices of St. Paul’s Immigrant Youth” features three of 30 students from St. Paul’s LEAP High School Green Card Voices met with in 2017. Supported by their English Language Learning teacher and Hamline University graduate students, these 30 students from 13 different countries created online video narratives and wrote essays that were included in a book published in the summer of 2017. The book, Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from a St. Paul High School, was a Midwest Book Award finalist.

Come meet and listen to three of these authors.

Immigrant Youth Reading Speakers

Jae Nay Htoo (Thailand-Karen): “When I was in the refugee camps, there were no surprises in my life. It was just a simple life. But when I here, many surprises happened to me, and there were many challenges that I had to face.”

Nima Ahmed (Djibouti): “When I was sixteen, my parents kicked me out because they found out that I was gay. After I moved out, I lived in a shelter for several months. I felt lonely and isolated because I have never experienced life alone.”

Anta Thosaengsiri (Thailand-Hmong): “I remember meeting family members who were like strangers to me because I’d never met them before.”


Michael Vekich re-elected chair of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has unanimously re-elected Michael Vekich as chair, and elected Jay Cowles as vice chair.

Michael Vekich
Michael Vekich, chair of
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Board of Trustees.

Vekich has served on the Board of Trustees since 2010, and has served as chair since 2015. He also previously served from 1996 to 2002 including four years as chair. He is CEO of Vekich Chartered in Minneapolis, chairman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (U.S. Bank Stadium), and director of BNC National Bank. He currently serves as president and board member of the Bank Holding Company Association, as president of the National Association of Corporate Directors, and as a member of the Hennepin County Capital Budgeting Task Force. Previously, he served as acting director of the Minnesota Lottery; chairman of HF Financial Corp (NASDAQ: HFFC) and Home Federal Bank; executive chairman, president, and chief operating officer of Skyline Exhibits in Eagan; CEO of Vekich Arkema and Company; chair of the Minnesota Board of Accountancy; member of the Rochester Higher Education Development Committee; and a founding member and vice chair of the Minnesota Higher Education Services Council. He earned an associate degree from Hibbing Community College and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota.

“I am honored to continue serving as chair,” said Vekich. “Chancellor Devinder Malhotra and the board are laser-focused on fostering the kind of systemwide innovation that will enhance the success of our students and the programmatic and financial sustainability of our colleges and universities.”

Jay Cowles
Jay Cowles, vice chair of
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Board of Trustees.

Jay Cowles has served on the Board of Trustees since 2014, including as treasurer since 2015. He is managing director of Lawrence Creek LLC, a private family investment company. Previously, he held several positions with Cowles Media Company, former owners of the Star Tribune newspaper, concluding as chairman of the Board of Directors. Cowles also served as chairman and president of the Women’s Pro Softball League, a startup sports enterprise that continues today as National Pro Fastpitch. He is a founding member of the Itasca Project and currently serves as a member of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Mississippi Park Connection, and other civic organizations. He also holds advisory roles at the University of Minnesota including the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Center for Transportation Studies. He has served a number of civic and arts organizations including the Saint Paul Foundation, the Minnesota Community Foundation, and the Minneapolis Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“I am grateful to my fellow trustees for their support,” said Cowles. “This is an incredibly exciting time to serve as vice chair of the Minnesota State board, because communities and employers across Minnesota need the 40,000 students who annually graduate from our campuses now more than ever.”

Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 375,000 students. It is the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.

June 27: MN Cyber Career Expo

Demand for cybersecurity professionals in Minnesota is expected to grow faster than other positions. Cybersecurity professionals are critical to organizational growth and success and employers are seeking them.

The MN Cyber Career Expo is open to students and alumni and will be 2 to 4 p.m., Wednesday, June 27, Metropolitan State State, Saint Paul Campus, 700 E. 7th St.

Recruiting companies and employers expected to attend include: 3M, Ameriprise Financial, Experis, Mayo Clinic, Metropolitan Council, Protocol 46, RSM US LLP, State of Minnesota IT Services, Target Corporation, UnitedHealth Group, US Bank, and Xcel Energy.

RSVP here:

The event is hosted by the Career Center and MN Cyber. For more information, visit; call 651.793.1528 or email

June 26: Fourth Annual Community Puppet Palooza

The Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship, Metropolitan State University Library and Learning Center, the Student Parent Center, and Saint Paul Public Library all invite you to the Fourth Annual Community Puppet Palooza from 6 p.m.–8 p.m., Tuesday, June 26,  Everyone is welcome to join in on the fun.

This free, family-friendly event is an evening of outdoor games, face painting, snacks, and a live puppet show of Open Eye Figure Theatre’s Driveway Tour. The festivities will start at 6 p.m., rain or shine, near the Labyrinth on the west side of the Metropolitan State University Library. At 7 p.m., the curtain will rise on Open Eye Figure Theatre’s “Little Grandpa’s Big Surprise.”

Per Open Eye Figure Theatre’s website:

Little Grandpa is turning 100 years old, and his granddaughter BB is planning the best, biggest, most bodacious, and SECRET—ssshhh—Surprise birthday party ever. But when cake-baking chaos ensues, BB has to call on her friends and neighbors for help. Can they bring all the ingredients together in time?

Come watch and find out. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on during the puppet show.

For more information, contact Michelle Filkins at 651-793-1621 or at

Summer Movie Fridays at the Library

If you’re looking for something to do indoors on hot Friday afternoons this summer, check out Summer Movie Fridays, co-sponsored by Metropolitan State University Library and Learning Center and Dayton’s Bluff Public Library.

Every Friday from June 22–Aug. 17, a movie will be shown at 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m. in Metropolitan State University Library and Learning Center Room 132.

These family-friendly screenings are free and open to the public.

                                              Summer Movie Fridays at 1 p.m.
                                June 22                                   Coco
                                June 29                         The Borrowers
                                 July 6                                  Storks
                                July 13                          The Boss Baby
                                July 20                                Wonder
                                July 27                                   Sing
                                 Aug. 3                        The Emoji Movie
                                Aug. 10                         Despicable Me 3
                                Aug. 17                              Early Man

If you have questions, please contact the Dayton’s Bluff Public Library at 651-793-1699 or Mallory Kroschel and MaiSee Vang at 651-793-1634.

Metropolitan State Professor Wins 2018 John Saltmarsh Award

Nicholas D. Hartlep, assistant professor of Urban Education, School of Urban Education, Metropolitan State University, has been awarded the 2018 John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leadership in Civic Engagement.

The Saltmarsh Award is presented annually to an emerging leader in the civic engagement field from an AASCU institution or ADP Partner at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting. The award was named in John Saltmarsh’s honor to recognize a long-standing passion of his: nurturing and preparing the next generation of civic leaders to sustain and advance the civic engagement movement.

Hartlep’s passion for education in the field of civic leadership and engagement made him an obvious candidate for this award. In addition to serving as assistant professor of Urban Education, Hartlep is also the coordinator of the Early Childhood and Elementary Education Programs in the School of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University.

“I don’t view myself solely involved with the civic engagement movement, or of American higher education, but rather, I am committed to the future betterment of American society.”

As a professor, Hartlep has developed his own set of tools that he uses in his classroom. As a Korean adoptee raised in the United States, he uses his bicultural experience to send a weighted message to students. “I have interrogated my own identity to develop a practice of critical storytelling that I teach to my students and peers… hearing intensely the stories and experiences of those we encounter to more fully construct an understanding of our shared experience and to forge interpersonal connections that transcend polarized ideologies and identities.”

Hartlep received the award, which includes an engraved commemorative and a cash prize, at a ceremony held June 8, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. The day Hartlep received this honor, he received an email from the award’s namesake, John Saltmarsh. Besides congratulating Dr. Hartlep, the note was copied to several other people, and welcomed Dr. Hartlep to his “posse of big thinkers and change agents.”

“The sky is the limit!”

From here, Hartlep plans to “continue to be a change agent within urban teacher education and tackling problems that are so large that they may not be solved in my lifetime, but I will mentor and pass the torch to my students who may… this award will certainly be a spring board for larger and even more intense work.”




Career Center Videos Helpful Resources for Students’ Futures

Not sure what you are going to do after you get your degree? Are you wondering how to make yourself marketable to employers? The Career Center can help.

With help from Twelve Plus Media, a local production company, and Metropolitan State University alumni, the Career Center has created four Career Education videos: Career Readiness, Choosing A MajorDesigning Your Life, and Job Search Strategies. These videos, featuring colorful, lively animation and engaging alumni presenters sharing their own career paths, address misconceptions and give student viewers advice to prepare for the future. For example, choosing a major is just one decision among many, and career paths can take many unexpected turns before you reach the destination of your dream job.

Networking is crucial. Meeting and connecting with new people face-to-face will help you get noticed. Your key contact could even be sitting next to you in class.

“These videos are the tip of the iceberg in learning about the lifelong process of career management,” says Career Center Director Bill Baldus. “It can be frightening, and yes, there are a lot of unknowns, but there’s a community of support behind you. You can do it.”



Metropolitan State welcomes Nagasaki University exchange

St. Paul Nagaski Sister City Council and Metropolitan State extended a warm welcome over the weekend to Professor Takayuki Miyanishi and student Jianz “Kathy” Chen. The Cherry Tree Celebration on Saturday was complete with taiko drummers, dancers and cooperative weather. Sunday was a special dinner coordinated by the SPNSCC to celebrate the student exchange between Metropolitan State and Nagasaki University and the many other Minnesota-Japan cultural exchange organizations and volunteer. Chen started class this week doing environmental science field research and next week will start a communications course. Two Metropolitan State students will attend Nagasaki University in August.

Pioneer Press: Historian, writer and Metropolitan State instructor Anne Webb dies

Anne Webb
Anne Webb

Anne Webb was a faculty member of Metropolitan State University in the College of Arts and Science. She died May 18 at age 87 in  Bloomington.

A celebration of Webb’s life is set for 4 p.m. June 9 at the Gill Brothers Funeral Chapel in Minneapolis. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations to be made in Webb’s memory to Minnesota Public Radio.

– Pioneer Press

June 9: Cybersecurity Jeopardy Round 2

How well do you know cybersecurity? Metropolitan State University’s Cyber Security and Forensics Student Organization (CSFSO) invites students to test their knowledge with Cybersecurity Jeopardy: Round 2. This is a great chance for all club members and students who couldn’t attend the first round to participate and socialize with CSFSO members. Test your knowledge while enjoying free food and snacks.

Round 2 of Cybersecurity Jeopardy will be held June 9, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in New Main, room L103, 700 East Seventh Street, Saint Paul, 55106.

CSFSO is a student organization that strives to “help its members grow as students and members of our communities to give back and to represent the university. As we graduate and excel in the job force, we will enhance the opportunities of those that follow.”

To RSVP, or for more information, check out CSFSO’s OrgSync page.

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