Branden Largent


Native American students graduate to make change

Although Jason Champagne didn’t grow up on a Native American reservation, he visited relatives on them growing up and saw nutrition was a major issue. Now, the 37-year-old University of Minnesota graduate student wants to change that. Like many Native American students in Minnesota, Champagne relied on tribal-funded scholarships to help pay for his college degree.

Food program expands to meet demand

On his first day of summer day camp at Van Cleve Park, Como resident Karen Brown’s 4-year-old son was one of several children excited to eat a free lunch after a swim in the Van Cleve Park wading pool. Brown said her son enjoyed the chicken, mandarin oranges, applesauce, bread roll and milk in the pre-packaged lunch. “I think it’s wonderful,” said the 37-year-old stay-at-home mom. “Parents are busy working and stressed and don’t have the money to make lunch happen sometimes.”

New Equity and Diversity VP talks goals, transition

For her new position at the University of Minnesota, Katrice Albert brought from Louisiana her warmest clothing, her favorite artwork and her infectious laugh. “When I first heard about the position, I said to myself, ‘Minnesota?’”Albert said with a big laugh that echoed through her office. “‘Not a southern girl in Minnesota.’”

U program to help foreign language learning in K-12 classrooms

University of Minnesota researchers are working to bring foreign language classes to more local K-12 students with a program they hope will eventually reach the entire nation. The University’s College of Education and Human Development is expanding its online language programs to schools in Minnesota starting this fall. CEHD’s Learning Technologies Media Lab signed a 10-year partnership with St. Paul-based EMC Publishing to build EMC Languages, an online learning program for teachers and students in K-12 foreign language classes.

DOMA ruling brings changes to the University

In the days leading up to the delayed U.S. Supreme Court decisions affecting marriage equality, Robert Smith III woke up early each morning to see if the cases had been decided. Once the decisions came out last Wednesday, the University of Minnesota American studies graduate student said, “It was exactly what I wanted and thought what would happen.”

Supreme Court sends affirmative action case back to lower courts

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court sending a significant affirmative action case back to the lower courts Monday, the University of Minnesota will re-evaluate its own admissions policies. The 7-1 decision on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin limited the use of race-based college admissions and ordered the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to use the highest level of scrutiny on admissions programs that employ racial categories.

Mormon students stick together

Katherine Brown has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints her whole life, but today she’s the only person in her family who’s still practicing. Since starting college, the University of Minnesota graduate student learned about many different religions and viewpoints, made friends outside the church and married a man outside her faith.

Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, Prop. 8

The U.S. Supreme Court made two landmark decisions affecting marriage equality in California and the nation on Wednesday.  In United States v. Winsor, the Supreme Court declared the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment. The Court also struck down California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative constitutionally banning same-sex marriage, allowing gay marriage to resume in the state.

University program preps first-generation college students

Sousada Chidthachack grew up as part of an immigrant family and went to college to live out her mother’s dream of having her own career. Chidthachack’s mother ran away from her childhood home in Laos, crossing Thailand and finally arriving in the United States so her future children could have more opportunities. “I’m reminded every day that it’s a struggle,” Chidthachack said. “I saw my parents struggle.”

Science courses aim to diversify

Traditionally, the University of Minnesota hasn’t incorporated diversity topics into its science courses. Now, some faculty members and administrators want to change that. Faculty members from the University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, the College of Biological Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine are working to include diversity in their curricula, said Karl Lorenz, CFANS Diversity and Inclusion program director.