Winona Campus Faculty and Staff Newsletter

Cardinal Plunge Feb. 7 to raise money for alumna

Two women taking the plunge

Brave souls and warm hearts are invited to join Saint Mary’s University for the sixth annual “Cardinal Plunge” noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Lake Lodge Recreation Center, in coordination with the Winter Carnival Goose Bump Jump. Several celebrity plungers including Chris Kendall, vice president of student life; John Duerst, residence life director; and Christian Brothers Robertolino, Christhian, Peter, and Miguel are braving the cold for a good cause.

This year, Cardinal Plunge participants will again be freezin’ for a reason. Proceeds will be given to Juliana Piscitiello, a 2006 Saint Mary’s alumna who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a genetic, auto-immune disease and a chronic progressive form of arthritis which is destroying her spine. Piscitiello, former part-time faculty member at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, has enjoyed ballet since the age of 3 and has assisted with dance choreography on campus. Funds will be used to assist with the expense of her ongoing therapy, much of which is needed to reduce the severity of her painful symptoms. She could also benefit from adaptive equipment.

She is the daughter of Kathy (Ordahl) CST’70 Piscitiello and Tony Piscitiello ’69, senior advancement director at Saint Mary’s.

The cost to plunge is $20 ($15 for the Saint Mary’s community). Registration runs from 11:30 a.m. to noon, and a silent auction will be held inside the lodge between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. This event is sponsored by the Saint Mary’s Future Alumni Committee. Donations can be dropped off with Alex Bilski in the Development Office (60 Heffron Hall) or mailed to campus mailbox #21 with attention to “Cardinal Plunge.”

Pre-register online at For more information, contact Alex Bilski at 457-6675 or Conner Ellinghuysen at 429-7960.

MCA offers drawing workshops for youth

drawingThe Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts Visual Arts Division invites students in grades 4-7 to participate in drawing workshops from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 9, March 9, and April 13.

Drawing is a great skill for students to learn observation, memory, and dexterity. Young artists will explore still-life imaginative works, portraiture, and Japanese brush painting during these once-a-month workshops with local artist Julie Johnston.

New students are welcome, and those who have participated previously will be challenged with new themes and works. The price for all three workshops is $35 and includes all supplies.

For more information, go to, email, or call 507-453-5500.

MCA announces auditions for Summer Dance Intensive

MCA announces auditions for Summer Dance Intensive

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts Summer Dance Intensive offers comprehensive dance training for intermediate and advanced dancers ages 11 to 22.  Auditions are required for acceptance. Boarding and non-boarding camp options are available.

Summer Dance Intensive students participate in approximately eight hours of technique and theory classes each day, as well as a final showcase performance. The auditions will include a full ballet class. Students with pointe experience should bring pointe shoes to the audition class. Following the ballet class, students may choose to show a prepared jazz, modern, tap, or character dance center combination of at least 64 counts or 16 bars. Showing a prepared piece is optional.

Audition information:

  • La Crosse Dance Centre, 2716 Commerce St., La Crosse, Wis.; 608-783-5155; Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, 1164 W. 10th St., Winona; 507-453-5501, 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 11, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Cowels Center/ James Sewell Ballet, Studio 2B, 528 Hennepin Ave., Suite 215, Minneapolis, Sunday, April 26, 1 to 3 p.m.

Talent-based scholarships are awarded on a case-by-case basis. For students who are unable to attend one of the audition classes, video auditions will be accepted through April 20.

For a brochure, registration form, and more information, visit, e-mail, “like” them on Facebook, or call 507-453-5500.

H30 jazz trio fundraiser for Misato student ambassadors

Father and sons jazz trio - H30The father and sons jazz trio known as “H3O” will be featured at “Jammin’ at the Well” on Sunday, Feb. 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Wellington’s Pub & Grill (1429 Service Drive). Eric Heukeshoven of the Music Department (piano) is joined by his two sons, Hans ’14 on drums, and Max ’19 on bass.

The H3O Trio began this successful fundraiser for the Winona Area Public Schools Misato Ambassadors program in 2013 when Max Heukeshoven traveled with the group to Winona’s sister city in Japan.

Joining the trio this year is Minnesota Music Hall of Famer Les Fields with his pocket cornet. There is no cover charge for the event and rumor has it that several other well-known jazz musicians might stop by to sit in with the trio. There is no cover charge and donations will be gratefully appreciated.

For more information please contact A. Eric Heukeshoven at Ext. 7292 or

News from Nairobi

By James Chege
Head librarian
Maryknoll Institute for African Studies

MIASMU January Semester Begins

The second semester of the 2014/15 academic year at the Maryknoll Institute of African Studies began with a day of orientation on Jan. 23. The orientation brought together a host of new and returning students as well as field assistants. The total number of students hit an all time high for semester programs with a total of 36 students and 53 class registrations spread over six courses.

Students and field assistants listen keenly to the opening address by Father Michael Kirwen.

Students and field assistants listen keenly to the opening address by Father Michael Kirwen.

Proceedings began with a preliminary address by program founder and director, Prof. Michael Kirwen who welcomed the students and gave a brief introduction on the MIASMU programs by highlighting their focus on a systematic study of African cultures while at the same time fostering understanding of one’s own culture of origin. The assistant director Denis Odinga outlined what is expected from the students and field assistants during the semester, followed by the program editor, Father Joseph Oindo, a recent MIASMU M.A. graduate, who spoke at length about the unique MIAS method of learning.

Students and field assistants have a chat and a coffee break during orientation.

Students and field assistants have a chat and a coffee break during orientation.

The students and field assistants mingled and socialized over coffee and mandazi (a form of fried bread that originates from the Swahili Coast). Soon after it was back to business as the first research workshops were conducted in an interactive manner. The foundational class tackled among other things interview techniques that the students would be using in their field work, and the advanced class looked at some critical areas in writing M.A. thesis proposals as they ready themselves for thesis research and writing in the near future.

Veteran field assistants, from left: Francis Kumunya, Emma Massau and Victor O'Kubasu converse over coffee.

Veteran field assistants, from left: Francis Kumunya, Emma Massau and Victor O’Kubasu converse over coffee.

The semester has six courses: Spirituality, Personhood and Psychotherapy in an African Context taught by Drs. Hubert Pinto; African Spirituality taught by Prof. Laurenti Magesa; African Cultures: An Overview taught by Prof. Edward Oyugi; African Marriage and Family: Challenge and Change taught by Prof. Mary Getui, Justice; Peace in East Africa taught by Dr. Emmanuel Manyasa; and Moral Teaching and Practices of African Traditional Religion taught by Dr. Michael Katola.

Vondrasek completes doctoral work

Congratulations to Dr. Tammy Vondrasek, assistant director of financial aid and adjunct professor in the Business Department, upon completion of her doctoral work. Her dissertation is titled: “A Phenomenological Study of Maternal Influence on the Leadership Development of Women Presidents at Institutions of Higher Learning.” She received her Doctor of Education in Leadership degree on Jan. 18 in the commencement ceremony on the Twin Cities campus.

Biology News

Clinton Nienhaus ’13 (Environmental Biology major) was awarded the 2014 Young Birder Award by the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union (MOU). The award is presented to someone younger than 25 who has made a significant contribution to birding in Minnesota. Incidentally, another award given by the MOU, the Brother Theodore Voelker Award  for special achievement in field ornithology, is named after a former member of the Saint Mary’s faculty.

Additionally, Dr. Phil Cochran (Biology Department) has just started a term on the board of directors of the National Trout Center in Preston, Minn. One of his priorities will be to increase opportunities for student intern involvement in the activities of the center.

Sympathy to Bassi family

Tara Bassi ’13 died Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the age of 24 after a valiant battle with cancer. Tara graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a degree in public relations.

The visitation for Tara will be Friday from 1 to 9 p.m. at Peterson-Bassi Chapels, 6938 W. North Ave., Chicago. The full obituary for Tara can be found at the following link:

The Saint Mary’s community extends its sympathy to the Bassi family.

Faculty development luncheon on metacognition, e-folios

The Faculty Development Committee invites the faculty and academic staff to another minigrant-sharing luncheon, Monday, Jan 26, at 12:15 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room.  Lunch is provided (tell the Chartwells employee in the front that you are with the FDC lunch), and you may get your lunch starting at noon.  The talks and discussion will likely go until 1:10 p.m., but the rule is to come when you can, and leave when you must.

This luncheon features the work completed by two summer 2014 minigrant groups:

• Dr. Roger Peckover (facilitator), et al. “Metacognition: The Value of Thinking About Thinking” — During the summer of 2014,  Dr. Joshua Lallaman, Dr. Nathan Lien, and Dr. Joseph Dulak, (participants), and Dr. Peckover (consultant) engaged in thoughtful discussion on student learning through metacognition, or more specifically, thinking about thinking.  Through discussion on teaching styles and scholarly perspectives of metacognition they are developing practical strategies to facilitate a deeper level of learning across a variety of student experiences. The implementation of these strategies will allow multiple opportunities for scaffolding the development of cognitive skills and assessing the utility of these thinking skills.  These methods for deeper student learning may be applied by teachers within the classroom setting as well as the Student Success Center.

• Lisa Truax (lead), et al. “Utilizing E-Folios to Advance Student Learning and Development” — Many departments and faculty members are using different types of e-folios for different purposes. Truax will share her own and other’s research from the summer mini-grant on e-folio use including how-to’s on a variety of e-folio and website options.

Trudeau’s social justice internship featured by HECUA

Saint Mary’s senior Emily Trudeau participated in HECUA’s Inequality in America program in the Twin Cities this past fall. She completed coursework focused on issues of inequality and social justice while completing an internship with the Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, a Minnesota past organization focused on ending homelessness through housing, shelters, and public advocacy. To read more about her internship, go to

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