Winona Campus Faculty and Staff Newsletter

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

Page Series presents Argentinean music Jan. 28

Page Series presents Argentinean music Jan. 28

The Page Series will present a concert of Argentinean tango music featuring bandoneon star Héctor Del Curto Wednesday, Jan. 28.

The New York Times has praised Del Curto as “a splendid player” with “wistful, piercing solos on the bandoneon.” Del Curto has captivated audiences around the world as a soloist and chamber musician, sharing the stage with world-renowned tango legends, as well as with symphony orchestras and ballet companies worldwide.

The Argentinean tango has been in the Del Curto family since the early 1900s. Hector Del Curto’s great grandfather was a bandoneonist and composer, and his grandfather, also a great bandoneon player, introduced Héctor to the world of tango and the bandoneon. By the age of 17, Hector Del Curto had won the title “Best Bandoneon Player Under 25” in Argentina, and was invited to join the orchestra of the legendary Osvaldo Pugliese, the “Last Giant of Tango.”

Music will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre. Tickets are $27 for adults, $24 for students and seniors and are available at the box office, Ext. 1715 Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. or online at

A Page in History about the Hector Del Curto Tango Quintet will be noon Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Wanek Room of the Winona County Historical Society, 160 Johnson St.

Saint Mary’s 10K event Jan. 25 cancelled

This year’s Saint Mary’s 10K Nordic ski races which had been planned for Sunday, Jan. 25, at Saint Mary’s, have been cancelled because of lack of snow. Watch for news of another attempt later in the season when conditions may be more favorable.

‘X Factor’ finalist Tim Olstad to perform today, Jan. 23

Tim Olstad, a top 10 finalist from the third season of FOX’s “The X Factor” returns to his hometown of Winona Jan. 23 for an evening of soulful originals and cover songs that showcase the versatility of one of America’s best loved up and coming male vocalists.

The event, part of the Off the Page Series, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students and are available at or at the box office, Ext. 1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

Cardinal Plunge Feb. 7 to raise money for alumna

Cardinal Plunge Feb. 7 to raise money for alumna

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.

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.

Pre-register online at For more information, contact Alex Bilski at 507-457-6675 or Conner Ellinghuysen at 507-429-7960.

Page Series to host puppet pirates Feb. 5

Page Series to host puppet pirates Feb. 5

The Page Series will present the world’s only puppet, rock, yoga opera for families in search of calm during the Z Puppets Rosenschnoz production of “Monkey Mind Pirates” Feb. 5.

The epic tale, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre, details how a sea captain discovers the secrets to navigating the stormy seas of stress. When Captain Fitz sets out for the Legendary Waters of Calm, the unruly Monkey Mind Pirates hijack his ship with anxiety, depression and distraction. The chaos turns his ship upside down and drives the captain overboard where he meets the Wise Sea Monkey. Find out how the captain learns to turn his “Arrghs” into “Oms,” regain peace, and tame the Monkey Mind Pirates.

Based in Minneapolis, Z Puppets Rosenschnoz tours their family-friendly comedies across the country. Z Puppets artists Shari Aronson and Chris Griffith have earned many awards, including support from the Jim Henson Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Puppeteers of America and the Minnesota State Arts Board. The Monkey Mind Pirates CD is winner of an award of excellence from Creative Child magazine and featured as a top pick by Creative Play Retailer.

Tickets are $14 for adults, $6 for seniors and students and are available online at or at the box office, Ext. 1715, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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