Criminal justice faculty member presents Bakken findings to justice department officials



Carol Archbold, associate professor of criminal justice, recently presented the findings of her research on law enforcement issues in the Bakken to several officials from the U.S. Department of Justice. U.S. Attorney Chris Myers invited Archbold to present at the federal building in downtown Fargo on April 27.

High-ranking justice department officials and a representative from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force attended the presentation.

It’s not the first high-profile presentation Archbold has given on her research. In December 2013 she presented her findings to then-U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon and his staff.

Archbold conducted face-to-face interviews with more than 100 police officers and sheriff’s deputies from eight agencies in four western North Dakota counties from October 2012 to March 2013. The results were published in a study titled “Policing the Patch: An Examination of the Impact of the Oil Boom on Small Town Policing and Crime in Western North Dakota.”

Archbold recently received the Walter F. and Verna Gehrts Endowed Professorship Award at NDSU, where she joined the faculty in 2005. She has presented 23 papers at regional and national conferences. Archbold also has written or co-written three books. She has served as a faculty mentor for the FORWARD mentoring program and as a member of the NDSU Diversity Council.

In the community, Archbold has been a member of the promotion board for the Fargo Police Department, the department’s Gender and Promotion Task Force and the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute.

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NDSU to host international residence hall conference

The hard work of a group of NDSU students is bringing a major international conference to campus.

NDSU is set to host more than 2,200 representatives of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls for the organization’s annual conference May 22-25. The meeting will draw students and professionals from across the United States, as well as members from Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar and South Africa.

According to Rebecca Bahe, associate director of the NDSU Department of Residence Life, 19 NDSU student residence hall leaders worked for almost three years to host the conference. The site selection included a bid process last May.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event. They will get to see what a unique institution NDSU is,” she said. “Having the conference here speaks to the caliber of our students, our facilities and what we have to offer at NDSU. We have something different here and it’s special that we can share NDSU with the world.”

Bahe credits NDSU’s preparedness, hospitality and commitment by students as the reasons the university was selected to host the conference. More than 100 volunteers are helping with the event.

“We are using nearly every building, classroom and the Memorial Union for programming sessions, so the conferees will really blanket our campus,” Bahe said, noting attendees will stay in residence halls and use NDSU dining facilities.

The association’s mission is to serve as an advocate for the interests and welfare of residence hall students. The organization provides programs and opportunities for personal growth and development of leadership skills.

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Equestrian team season ends in national competition

NDSU’s equestrian team ended the season with one member competing at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s National Horse Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

The rider, freshman Nicole Anderson of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, received an honorable mention in the American Quarter Horse Association high-point rider class. She competed against 24 other high-point riders from each region throughout the U.S. The show was held April 30-May 3.

“Although Nicole did not make the top 10 in the placings, she had two solid rides,” team coach Tara Swanson says. “It is a true testament of her ability and dedication to win the regional high-point title as a freshman. I expect great things out of her in the next three years.”

Earlier this spring, eight members of the NDSU team competed in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s semifinal competition in Sunbury, Ohio. Four members qualified to compete in individual classes by finishing as the champion or reserve champion in regional competition at NDSU in February. The riders and their placings were:

  • Anderson – reining, seventh
  • Janna Rice, a senior from Maddock, North Dakota – open horsemanship, eighth
  • Angie Norwig, a sophomore from Hampton, Minnesota – intermediate horsemanship, honorable mention
  • Brogan Novak, a freshman from Fordville, North Dakota – beginner horsemanship, honorable mention

The NDSU riders earned the right to compete as a team at the semifinals by winning the high-point regional team title. The team finished the semifinals in fourth place overall. Riders representing the team and their placings were:

  • Reining – Rice, third place
  • Open horsemanship – Anderson, fourth
  • Advanced horsemanship – Hannah Bucheger, a junior from Andover, Minnesota, eighth
  • Novice horsemanship – Blaine Novak, a senior from Fordville, third
  • Intermediate horsemanship – Courtney Bolstad, a junior from Fergus Falls, second
  • Beginner horsemanship – Allee Lee, a sophomore from Lino Lakes, Minnesota, seventh

“This year’s team was exceptional, with a good mix of returning and new talent,” Swanson says. “It is a big feat for a university to be the high-point regional team and have the high-point rider in the region. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication the athletes put into being successful this year.”

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Commencement 2015: Student speaker’s lab experience fuels problem-solving passion

Houda Abdelrahman was selected as speaker for spring commencement. Her address will focus on the power of passion and overcoming obstacles.

Houda Abdelrahman was selected as speaker for spring commencement. Her address will focus on the power of passion and overcoming obstacles.

Houda Abdelrahman was drawn to medicine for the chance to interact with patients and find solutions to their health problems. That passion was crystallized while the senior served as an undergraduate research assistant at NDSU.

The research experience taught Abdelrahman valuable lessons about perseverance and personal growth. Now she will share those lessons with the rest of NDSU’s graduating class.

Abdelrahman will highlight the university’s critical role in her past, present and future as student speaker during the NDSU commencement ceremony scheduled for Saturday, May 16, at 10 a.m., in the Fargodome. Her message is about the power of passion in helping fellow graduates persevere and overcome obstacles.

“Houda is a remarkable woman,” said Julia Bowsher, assistant professor of biological sciences. “In Houda, great intelligence is combined with a high level of energy and curiosity.”

Abdelrahman began volunteering in Bowsher’s lab following her freshman year. She studied insects. One project was a two-year study looking at low-oxygen storage environments for pollinator bees. The goal was to help agricultural producers whose seasonal crops depend on improved survival rates for pollinator bees stored during the winter. The study showed that extended storage in a low-oxygen environment enhances bee survival at the cost of sub-lethal health effects.

Her findings also contributed a possible solution to the global honeybee colony collapse disorder.

Abdelrahman contributed to an article that was published in the Journal of Insect Physiology. Her work also earned her a summer research internship at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland.

Bowsher’s lab was Abdelrahman’s introduction to hands-on research. It engaged her. It helped her discover the beauty in learning. Perhaps most importantly, it taught her that failure is often a first step toward new knowledge. That message will be highlighted during Abdelrahman’s commencement speech.

“Experiments don’t often work the first time,” Abdelrahman said. “I had to be able to work at a problem and find happiness in discovering the solution. It’s how you grow as a scientist. You learn from your mistakes.”

Frustration was a natural part of the process. “But Thomas Edison felt that as well,” she said.

Abdelrahman’s commencement address will frame Edison’s perseverance as a lesson in passion because failures are often the steps toward success. For example, Edison went through 1,000 failed iterations of the light bulb before perfecting it. He didn’t see it as 1,000 failures, but as steps toward a solution.

She plans to build on the experience in her future as a physician with a focus in medical research. She will attend the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Abdelrahman gained much of her curiosity and love of learning from her parents.

She is a first-generation American, the daughter of Egyptian-American parents: Magdy Abdelrahman, NDSU associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Abeer Megahed, both of Fargo. She will be the first in her family to attend medical school in the United States.

Abdelrahman’s campus activities ranged from contributing health and science articles to The Spectrum student newspaper to being a member of the Pre-Medicine Association. She also was vice president and secretary of the College of Science and Mathematics’ Student Ambassadors. Abdelrahman also was active in the community, volunteering at Bethany Retirement Living and Fargo Adult Learning Center’s “English as a Second Language” program.

“NDSU is a place where I could grow, develop and learn while being happy and investigative,” she said. “It’s an environment that encouraged me to explore and discover new things – both in academics and student involvement.”

Information about NDSU commencement is available at The event will be streamed live, with an archive video available the week following the ceremony.

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NDSU expert helps stop spread of avian influenza

Shafiqur Rahman knows little about avian influenza, but he knows as much as anyone in the country about the environmentally friendly and safe disposal of animals that have succumbed to disease.

When the North Dakota Animal Health Division needed to dispose of 130,000 turkeys from two farms in the state, the North Dakota State University associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering got the call. It came in April when authorities confirmed the presence of avian flu on two turkey farms in the state.

Infected birds need to be humanely euthanized to stop its spread, but the virus doesn’t die with the animals; they need to be disposed of properly so the virus dies, as well. In many cases the best option is composting, but the compost piles need to be constructed in just the right way.

“If you’ve ever tried composting in your backyard, you know it’s not that easy,” said Lori Miller, senior staff officer and environmental engineer with the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “Composting mortalities, especially during an emergency-response situation, definitely is not that easy. It’s more of an art than a science, and you need someone who knows what they’re doing.”

Rahman knows. Throughout his career he’s been researching and creating best practices for limiting environmental impacts of livestock waste while getting more value out of what would otherwise be discarded or allowed to run off. His focus areas include air quality, water quality and greenhouse gas measurement and mitigation from livestock production facilities. Over the years, he’s also developed expertise in composting.

“This is crucial because if the virus continues to spread, it could seriously impact North Dakota’s poultry producers,” Rahman said. “The state and federal agencies contacted me because I have done composting before and published peer reviewed articles and Extension bulletins on the subject. Part of our mission is to use our expertise to help the citizens of North Dakota, and I’m happy to be able to help.”

Rahman worked with one of the country’s foremost experts in mortality composting on containing the virus on the first farm. When state and federal officials found the disease at a second operation, Rahman handled the entire composting process. That meant constructing 12 layered compost piles approximately 200 feet long, 15 feet wide and 10-15 feet tall. They needed to contain just the right mix of carbon, nitrogen and moisture. In addition, allow air needed to be able to flow through to expedite the composting process.

It’s important to get all those elements right to raise the temperature to at least 131 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain it for three to five days, Rahman explained. The combination of heat and time kills the virus. In addition, it’s important to keep the composting pile intact for several weeks to make sure that birds decompose.

Readings at the site in early May have shown the compost piles have nearly reached the required 131 F and the temperature was continuing to rise. Rahman expects to be back at the site in mid to late May with state and federal officials to do more testing and ensure the virus is gone and will not spread to other poultry farms. The compost will be safe to use as organic fertilizer.

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NDSU faculty and students encourage kids’ interest in math

It was Friday night, and a classroom in North Dakota State University’s Minard Hall was filled with excited children and their parents.

The kids moved from booth to booth—fishing math problems out of blow-up pools for Math Bingo, playing tic-tac-toe on cylinders, figuring how many different patterns they could create from colored candies and decorating little paper triangles to contribute to a giant snowflake forming on the wall.

The NDSU faculty and students running the Math Fair had two messages: Math can be interesting, and you can do it.

One girl clearly got the messages. She walked up to a table covered with colorful tiles and started fitting them together. Within minutes, she created an intricate star pattern.

“Now here is a math talent,” said Dogan Comez, professor of mathematics. He encouraged the girl to expand her pattern—tessellation is the math term for it—and she did. Easily. Without self-consciousness.

Moments like that one were success. That is what faculty and students wanted for the 1,000 local children they reached during a two-week period before the Math Fair.

The events were organized by associate professor Mariangel Alfonseca. From April 6 to 17, the department visited 51 classrooms at eight local elementary and middle schools with games and activities that used mathematical concepts. Then they invited local kids in grades K-6 to campus for the Math Fair.

They geared their outreach to elementary and middle school students because kids in that age group are at a critical time in their development. By about fifth grade, they can be soured on math if they hear negative messages or have discouraging experiences, said Benton Duncan, associate professor and chair of the NDSU Department of Mathematics. The lack of interest or confidence inhibits students from pursuing higher levels of math, which ultimately affects the workforce and medical, scientific and technological advancement.

That night at the Math Fair, the kids were all smiles as they turned in their completed activity cards. Each child left with a gift, such as a sliding rule or bookmark.

“Mom, do you know how to solve this?” a second-grade boy asked. He held the Rubik’s cube an NDSU student gave him to take home.

“No,” she said.

“That’s OK. I’ll show you.”

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NDSU faculty, students design Hjemkomst exhibit

The Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead is scheduled to feature “American Dreams: Immigrants Carved Out Their Place on North Dakota’s Plains,” an exhibit designed and curated by Angela Smith, assistant professor and public history director, and students in her Intro to Museum Studies class. The exhibit is scheduled to open Wednesday, May 13, and continue until August.

The exhibit interprets the Father William Sherman Collection, part of the Germans From Russia Heritage Collection at NDSU. During the early 1970s, Sherman, a priest and sociologist, traveled across central and western North Dakota to document the condition, architecture and property configuration for homesteads established by immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The exhibit uses the Sherman Collection as a lens to view the vibrant immigrant past of North Dakota. The exhibit aims to educate and inform the public, and asks visitors to connect the immigrant past to the change that continues in North Dakota.

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NDSU commencement set for May 16

NDSU’s spring commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, at 10 a.m. in the Fargodome.

Registrar Rhonda Kitch said 1,285 graduate, professional and undergraduate students have indicated they intend to march in the ceremony, as of April 27. A total of 2,156 students are eligible to participate.

“We are very excited to celebrate our graduates’ academic successes at the upcoming ceremony. This ceremony marks the largest eligible graduating class in our institution’s history, as well as the largest group of participants to date,” Kitch said. “We look forward to welcoming graduates, faculty, staff, family and other guests to the ceremony, and celebrating our graduates’ academic successes.”

Senior Houda Abdelrahman will represent her class as student speaker. She is receiving a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in zoology.

“Giving this speech is a huge honor and it’s a chance to express a heartfelt thank you to my instructors, mentors and wonderful classmates. I want to leave them with a positive message on a special day,” said Abdelrahman, who graduated from Fargo South High School.

Her campus activities ranged from working as an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences to contributing health and science articles for the Spectrum student newspaper. She studied insects in her research, focusing on low-oxygen storage for pollinator bees and a sex-determination gene in flies. Her work earned her a summer research internship at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. In addition, she contributed poetry and fiction to the Department of English’s “Northern Eclecta” project, and served as vice president and secretary of the College of Science and Mathematics Student Ambassadors. Abdelrahman was a member of the Pre-Medicine Association and volunteered at Bethany Retirement Living, Sanford Hospital Emergency Center and Fargo Adult Learning Center’s “English as a Second Language” program. She will attend medical school following graduation and plans to become a physician.

The commencement soloist will be Nicholas Kasper, who is from Fargo. He is receiving a Bachelor of Science in music, with a minor in business administration. He has been active in numerous musical groups during his time as a student, including Concert Choir, Madrigal Singers and BisonArts Singers. He also appeared in two operas at NDSU: “The Magic Flute” and “The Mikado.” He plans to work at Bell State Bank and Trust following graduation.

Additional information about the NDSU commencement ceremony is available at The ceremony will be streamed live, with an archive video available the week following the ceremony.

Use #NDSUGrad on social media to share graduation photos and messages.

As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

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Exhibit to feature Rosenquist Artist in Residence

“Pie in the Sky,” a solo exhibition by Samantha Fein, the 2015 Rosenquist Artist in Residence at NDSU, is scheduled May 5-28 in the NDSU Memorial Union Gallery. The exhibition explores the diverse range of work Fein has created throughout her semester as an Artist In Residence in the NDSU Department of Visual Arts.

A public opening reception is set for Thursday, May 7, from 5-7 p.m., and the artist is scheduled to give a gallery talk about her work at 5:30 p.m. that evening.

Fein is an interdisciplinary artist who constructs bizarre and comedic scenes layered with psychosocial content. Trained in the social sciences, her work incorporates elements of ethnography, nonlinear storytelling and absurdist humor. “Pie in the Sky” explores regional symbology – from her upbringing in Arizona to her experiences during the residency in North Dakota.

The NDSU Department of Visual Arts is sponsoring the exhibition.

The Rosenquist Artist in Residency Program honors renowned pop artist James Rosenquist. Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Rosenquist was awarded an honorary doctorate by NDSU in 2005. More information on the Rosenquist Artist Residency can be found at

Information about Memorial Union Gallery can be found at

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Registration open for STEM-focused youth summer camps

The NDSU College of Engineering is offering its annual summer enrichment experience for third through eighth grade students. Registration is open for a series of STEM Kids 2015 camps, with the first scheduled to begin June 15. The final session concludes Aug. 6.

The purpose of STEM Kids is to stimulate children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM, through exploration of topics not usually covered in their regular school classes. The 14 session topics range from robotics, renewable energy and crime scene science to rockets, electricity and aerospace.

Each hands-on session is one week long and taught by qualified instructors. The sessions are held 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day on the NDSU campus.

Registration is $79 per course plus a one-time $10 registration fee. Fees include a daily snack and STEM Kids T-shirt.

A limited number of scholarships are available based on need. Contact for application information.

For more information about STEM Kids and to sign up, visit

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