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Saint Mary’s University launches online Master of Social Work

Saint Mary’s University launches online Master of Social Work

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota celebrated the launch of a new online Master of Social Work program on April 23 on its Twin Cities Campus.

Local social work professionals, community members, and university faculty members, leaders, and students gathered in person and via live webcast to celebrate the launch, and also to learn about the program’s mission, vision, and unique features.

“This program has been designed to meet the needs of adult learners,” said Suzanne Shatila, MSW, Saint Mary’s Master of Social Work program director. “We’re doing that by providing a rigorous social work education grounded in the core values and the core philosophies of social work and provided in an online format with field experiences being completed throughout the country where our students are located.”

Rob Edwards, LGSW, PACC, was the guest speaker at the event. Edwards graduated from Saint Mary’s undergraduate Winona Campus in 2000 and is now the CEO of the Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health and Well-Being and the president of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association for Social Workers (NASW-MN). He has been working as a leader in the non-profit human services sector for the past 20 years and has a background in program development, quality improvement, and leadership spanning areas of mental health, child welfare, and family services.

“To be a social worker, you must meet people where they’re at — it’s a core principle to our work,” said Edwards, who was awarded the Early Career Excellence Award from NASW-MN in 2012. “To be a social worker, you must cheer others on. And that’s what we do. What I’m starting to like more and more, as I continue this journey as a social worker in leadership, is the idea of helping the helpers do their best work.”

This new online program will welcome its first group of students this August and prepare learners to deepen their commitment to social justice issues through clinical practice across Minnesota and nationwide. The program features:

  • Coursework 100% online
  • Fieldwork in students’ geographic locations
  • No social work experience necessary
  • Advanced standing track for BSW degree holders
  • Full- or part-time options

“Our mission statement at Saint Mary’s focuses attention on preparing students for ethical lives of service and leadership, so you can see how this MSW program is such a mission-relevant program for us,” said Todd Reinhart, Sc.D., dean of Sciences and Health Professions of the Saint Mary’s Graduate School of Health and Human Services.

To learn more about the MSW program, visit

Photo caption: Rob Edwards ’00 speaks at the Master of Social Work launch celebration. 

Jazz at Saint Mary’s to host concert in the plaza

Jazz at Saint Mary’s to host concert in the plaza

WINONA, Minn. — Jazz at Saint Mary’s will host their semi-annual “jazz final” on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. outside at the Saint Mary’s University Winona Campus plaza.

Twice each year, all three jazz groups at Saint Mary’s get together for an informal afternoon of music in a casual setting. The event is free, and the public is invited to bring a blanket or lawn chair and join the musicians as they celebrate the end of another great year of Jazz at Saint Mary’s.

In the case of inclement weather, the event will be held in the Cardinal Club inside the Toner Student Center.

For more information, contact A. Eric Heukeshoven, director of Jazz Studies, at 507-457-7292 or

Photo caption: Saint Mary’s Jazz Ensemble performs at the 2018 spring “jazz final.”

Saint Mary’s presents chamber music recital April 29

Saint Mary’s presents chamber music recital April 29

Saint Mary’s University students and community musicians are coming together to present a chamber music recital in the Great Hall at Watkins Manor on Monday, April 29, from 6 to 7 p.m.

Ensembles performing include the Saint Mary’s Flute Quartet, Clarinet Trio and Quartet, and a variety of mixed woodwind ensembles ranging from four to eight players on flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, and bassoon. Familiar classical music, folk music arrangements, ragtime, and more will be performed, including an arrangement of Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette,” made famous by the Alfred Hitchcock TV series. This free concert is open to all and will last approximately one hour.

Flutistry, a Winona community ensemble founded in 2012, will be joining the Saint Mary’s musicians for this performance on flute, alto, and bass flutes. Also performing will be a woodwind trio of Kristi Krause (oboe), Frank Bures (clarinet), and Dr. Janet Heukeshoven (flute). All of the performers are either members of the Saint Mary’s Concert Band and/or the Winona Municipal Band. For additional information, contact Dr. Janet Heukeshoven, Saint Mary’s music professor, at

Business department receives IACBE reaccreditation

Congratulations to the Saint Mary’s University undergraduate Business Department on its reaccreditation with the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). Derek Jackson and Dr. Shelly McCallum-Ferguson attended the 22nd annual IACBE International Conference in April and received Board of Directors recognition for the department’s reaccreditation. In addition, Jackson and McCallum-Ferguson delivered a conference session titled “Bringing the ‘real world’ into the classroom: Partnerships with businesses to aid student workplace experience and skill development.”

The mission of the IACBE is to advance academic quality in business programs through evidence-based accreditation that encourages institutions to build unique educational models to reflect their mission and vision.

Kabara Institute hosts Women Entrepreneurs Forum

More than 100 women visited Saint Mary’s Cascade Meadow Center in Rochester on April 18 for the Women Entrepreneurs Forum. A panel of five women discussed leadership and building on your strengths at this event, sponsored by the Saint Mary’s Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. A video of the event can be found on the WE Forum #rochmn Facebook page.

Panelists included:

  • Lisa Clark, DMC EDA executive director
  • Kathleen Harrington, Rochester Chamber executive director
  • Kim Norton, Rochester mayor
  • Cindy Steinhauser, Rochester community development director
  • Melissa Brinkman, Custom Alarm CEO

Photo courtesy of WE Forum #rochmn Facebook.

Tailgate lunch supports athletics

Thank you to Cardinal Athletics and Chartwells for sponsoring yesterday’s Let’s Do Lunch event. Rain or shine, they had us “covered” in the ice arena lobby. A total of $250 was raised which will go toward the Athletics Initiative. Thank you to everyone who contributed and participated!

Winecke and Oakes featured on Cardinals’ Nest [video]

Nick Winecke, baseball head coach, and T.J. Oakes, baseball pitching coach, were recently featured in an episode of Cardinals’ Nest, a TV program that airs on Winona cable access HBC TV-25. Cardinals’ Nest is cohosted by Donny Nadeau, sports information director, and Dean Beckman, Communication Department chair and faculty athletic representative.

Watch the interviews:

Tristano keeps busy in retirement

Richard Tristano, emeritus professor of history, has been keeping busy in his retirement. His article, “’Lo amore deli subditi:’ The Statecraft of Borso d’Este,” is being published in volume 15 of Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History. Tristano is also an active volunteer, teaching church history at Nations University, which is dedicated to training Christian leaders through distance learning.

Saint Mary’s students collaborate with WinCraft in first WinBowl

Saint Mary’s students collaborate with WinCraft in first WinBowl

Within the next two weeks, Sport Marketing students at Saint Mary’s University will be pitching their ideas for new sports licensed product lines.

They’re more than a little nervous.

That’s probably because instead of presenting to classmates and faculty, these students will be pitching to top executives at WinCraft, a national leader in retail licensed and promotional products, located right in Winona.

Also invited to review and judge the presentations are representatives from nationally recognized properties within the sport industry as guests of WinCraft.

There’s more on the line than just a good grade.

They’re calling it the WinBowl, and John Killen, President and CEO of WinCraft, and Zak Mayo, assistant professor of business at Saint Mary’s, are hoping it’s an annual competition for Saint Mary’s students who will face new challenges each year. This year’s WinBowl is focused on esports.

Mayo explains that the WinBowl competition is a collaborative semester-long project between WinCraft and Saint Mary’s Sport Marketing class. After signing nondisclosure agreements, WinCraft provides students with the background, support, space, and access they need, as well as logos, price points, and intellectual property. Students then form small groups, analyze data, conduct market research, and provide consultative feedback to WinCraft based on a current business venture. At the conclusion of the semester, student groups are pit against each other for the best pitch to WinCraft.

“The students work on a real-time strategic initiative for a world-class organization,” Mayo said. “It’s going to be pressure filled, and the students will likely be very nervous, but it is going to be beneficial,” he said. “The students are going to have the opportunity to really rise to the occasion and hit the ball out of the park. This is an amazing opportunity for our students. We’re grateful to WinCraft for partnering with us.”

Isabel Bettag, a sophomore accounting and sport management major from Maple Park, Ill., said there’s a high level of secrecy among the teams, who are taking the competition seriously.

Though she can’t disclose her team’s ideas, she’s pretty convinced they’ll win.

The most exciting part for Bettag has been investigating the fast-growing, up-and-coming business area of esports, as well as the knowledge that their work is truly guiding and benefiting WinCraft. “I like the first-hand experience. This is something I look for in every class I take. I love to see how what I’m doing is going to apply to what I will do in the future. We’ve been given an opportunity to practice real-world work, but in a supportive setting.”

Supportive yes, but still pressure filled. “We want to nail every detail,” she said. “We want to leave them with a good impression of Saint Mary’s and ourselves, and we don’t want to let WinCraft down. It’s not just about a grade, it’s about their future and ours. It’s amazing to get that exposure just from taking a class.”

Bettag, who plays basketball for the Cardinals, would eventually like to work for a sports team, but she said it’s been eye-opening to learn more about other potential career options at WinCraft, a business she didn’t know anything about before the project began.

“Being able to apply what I’m learning to future classes and eventually to my career is going to be a game changer,” she said. “This experience is going to put me a step ahead of everyone else.”

Steven Reamer, a junior sport management major from Mendota Heights, Minn., disagrees with Bettag. He’s pretty sure his team is cinched to come in first.

“I definitely think our team is going to win. We have great products to choose from,” he said.

Although high school and college students are the target market for esports, Reamer said that because he’s not a gamer, he’s had to step up his research. And, as esports is a relatively new market, finding credible data was a challenge.

“Fortunately, we had a lot of tools at our disposal and great people behind us helping us every step,” he said. “WinCraft has been generous enough to invite us to present to their clients and involve us in starting a whole new line. It’s cool to be involved right from the start. They have faith in us. They don’t treat us like students; they treat us like part of the WinCraft team.”

One member of the WinCraft team working closely with students is Saint Mary’s 2012 alumnus and Strategic Account Manager Robert Gas.

Gas, along with colleagues John Killen Jr. and Liz Sagar are acting as liaisons between WinCraft and the student teams, meeting regularly with students, monitoring their progress, and making sure everything is in line with who WinCraft is targeting as the end consumer for the merchandise.

Gas said the students are bringing a unique perspective to the table for an area that is very new to the world and to the sport industry. “They’re finding some very impactful research which can only be described as impressive,” he said.

Regardless of their career path or interests, he said students will benefit from the experience.

“It gives students great exposure to the vast opportunities at WinCraft or within the sport industry and is a great résumé builder,” he added. “This experience prepares them for the business world, and that’s something Saint Mary’s has historically done very well, especially in the Business Department.”

Gas remembers being a Sport Management major at Saint Mary’s. “Back then, there were a lot of real-life examples that prepared me for the business world to have the success that I’ve had,” he said. “But these opportunities to pick the brains of industry professionals are invaluable. Saint Mary’s Business Department continues to provide a first class experience for their students. These students are far ahead of where I feel a lot of college alumni are before they hit the ground running in the business world.”



Saint Mary’s presents Student Life awards to students, faculty, staff

Saint Mary’s presents Student Life awards to students, faculty, staff

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University recognized outstanding students, faculty, and staff April 15 at the Student Life Awards Ceremony. Individuals who have exhibited outstanding leadership and service through co-curricular activities at Saint Mary’s were recognized.

Awards included:

Brother Finbar McMullen Award (presented to a Saint Mary’s community member who demonstrates him/herself to be an individual who unselfishly meets the needs of the undergraduate students of Saint Mary’s) — Ellie Brettschneider, graduate assistant hall director for Bishops, Hillside, and LaSalle halls, daughter of Daniel and Martha Brettschneider of Lakeville, Minn.

Char Tjaden, left, and Charissa Jakusz, dean of students, present Zechariah Kitzhaber with the Charlene “Char” Tjaden Outstanding Resident Assistant Award.

Charlene “Char” Tjaden Outstanding Resident Assistant Award — Zechariah Kitzhaber, son of Daniel and Christy Kitzhaber of Marshfield, Wis.

Intramural MVP/ Official of the Year — Giselle Centeno, daughter of Enrique and Marielena Centeno of St. Paul.

Cardinal Pride Award — Robbie Sobczak, son of Nancy Sobczak of Cloquet, Minn.

Student Athlete Champion Award — Connor Ellinghuysen, assistant director of admission

Outdoor Leadership Award —  Erin Hettinger, daughter of Joseph and Ann Marie Hettinger of Lake Villa, Ill.

Club/Organization of the Year — Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance Committee, accepted by Aldontae Guess, son of William Guess of Decatur, Ga., and Latesa Guess of Chicago; and Sarah Fowler, daughter of Michael and Diane Fowler of Hinckley, Ill.

Outstanding Student Senator of the Year Award — Kendall Archer, daughter of James and Tana Archer of Draper, Utah.

Club and Organization Adviser of the Year —  Nikki Richmond, co-adviser of the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance

Kirsten Rotz, campus minister, presents Kiernan Dunham with the Winona Community Service Award.

Winona Community Service Award — Kiernan Dunham, daughter of Thomas and Lisa Dunham of Chicago, Ill.

Saint Benilde Award (presented to students who reach out to new members of the university community, are inclusive and inspiring, and lead by being hospitable, open and accepting) — Marissa Kinzer, daughter of Steven and Jennifer Kinzer of Atkin, Minn.

Brother James Miller Award (presented to a student who has dedicated his/her college experience to promoting the legacy of Brother James Miller, spreading the compassion of God and continually serving the community) — Austin Kleman, son of Richard and JoAnn Kleman, Kronenwetter, Wis.

Brother Charlie Burke Award (presented to a faculty or staff member who has made significant contributions to the entire Student Life Department. This individual has promoted the growth of the whole student through their exemplary standard of ethical service, dedication to creating developmental relationships, and their desire to promote lifelong learning) — Karen Hemker, Director of Access Services

Student Service Award — Aldontae Guess, son of William Guess of Decatur, Ga., and Latesa Guess of Chicago

Captions: Tim Gossen, vice president for Student Affairs and Student Life, presents Aldontae Guess with the Student Service Award. 

See more photos from the day at

Saint Mary’s University and MSC Southeast work together on student design challenge

Saint Mary’s University and MSC Southeast work together on student design challenge

WINONA, Minn. — It’s not every day that you find students from Saint Mary’s University and Minnesota State College Southeast working together on a common goal. But over the past month, five students from Saint Mary’s and four students from MSC Southeast have been collaborating on the rapid innovation, planning, and launch of hypothetical products.

The Winona Student Start Up launched on March 5 when the students divided into three teams, which were student-led and mentored by faculty from Winona State University, Saint Mary’s, and MSC Southeast.

But it wasn’t a battle between the schools. Instead, the teams combined Saint Mary’s business and marketing majors with MSC Southeast’s Prototype Engineering and CNC/Machine Tool students, leveraging the talents and skills the students are learning in college.

“Our students can learn so much from these partnerships, as they combine their business and engineering skills to design and develop prototypes of potential new products,” commented Christine Beech, executive director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and an assistant professor of business at Saint Mary’s University.

The teams were given one month to work on their co-creations. On April 5, they met up at Miller Ingenuity’s Creation Station to pitch their ideas to local industry representatives.

New products begin with a problem that needs solving. Team Snap Shoes, Team Fin Flick, and Team LAZ Cup took turns defining problems and pitching their imaginative solutions.

How about too many shoes cluttering your closet? Team Snap Shoes conceived of a shoe with replaceable soles. One shoe + a variety of soles for different purposes = a solution for closet clutter and the expense of buying different shoes.

If you’ve ever been snorkeling or scuba diving, you know how hard it is to walk while wearing flippers. Team Fin-Flick designed a flipper with an adjustable dial that rotates the front of the flipper up and off the ground, allowing for a more natural gait.

Finally, who hasn’t spilled a tall water bottle or cup of coffee in their car because the cup holders aren’t deep enough? Team LAZ Cup came up with a solution: a cup adapter that fits into the cup holder and secures taller beverages.

“It’s wonderful to see our students put their prototyping and CNC skills into a practical application,” Travis Thul, dean of Trade and Technology at MSC Southeast, said. “This project is a perfect opportunity for them to see how these competencies are used in a business and manufacturing setting.”

Beech was also pleased about the collaboration. “We are excited to see cross disciplinary students coming together in a spirit of entrepreneurship and problem solving,” she said.

The Winona Student Start Up was made possible by the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s University, Miller Ingenuity, The Garage Cowork Space, Winona State University, and Minnesota State College Southeast.

Students from Saint Mary’s University and Minnesota State College Southeast collaborated on the rapid innovation, planning, and launch of hypothetical products at the Winona Student Start Up on April 5. Front row: Julia Waterloo, Stephany Beck, Lily Figel, and Elizabeth Wright; Back row: Alex Wallingford, Zac Al-Saeed, James Perreault, Isaac Al-Abad, and Garret Fields.

Above photo caption: Lily Figel presents.

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