NDSU statisticians to talk Super Bowl probabilities

Football fans watching the Super Bowl have a chance to see how statistical analysis can help predict the game’s outcome.

A group of NDSU statistics students is using statistical modeling to show how several key in-game statistics can impact the final margin of score and a team’s overall probability of winning. They are scheduled to present and discuss their work Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m. in Morrill Hall room 103.

Joe Roith, a doctoral student in the Department of Statistics, will lead the discussion by using two statistical models and key New England and Seattle regular season and playoff statistics to predict what fans can expect from the Super Bowl and how much it can change depending on how each team plays on game day.

For example, in any given NFL game, a team with one more turnover than its opponent is essentially giving up 3.9 points in the final score margin, decreasing the odds of winning by 75 percent, Roith said.

Six graduate students, Jennifer Johnson, Scot Jones, Wenting Wang, Nick Taylor, Feifei Huang and John Lauman-Beltz, also are scheduled to present and discuss their statistical models for the game. The students are advised by Rhonda Magel, chair of statistics at NDSU.

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Alumni named to ’40 Under 40′ list of business leaders

A group of NDSU alumni recently were recognized for their successful business careers. Five alumni were named to Prairie Business magazine’s “40 Under 40” list of top business professionals in the region who are under the age of 40.

Patrick Novak, BS ’99, agricultural economics, vice president of marketing for Border States Electric

Novak has for almost 15 years worked his way up the corporate ladder at Border States Electric. His abilities also are making people outside the company take notice.

“I was extremely excited to be included,” Novak said. “It’s quite an honor to be acknowledged in this region and throughout the community.”

In his role, Novak oversees the team helping to set the tone for its branding position in the electrical equipment wholesalers industry.

He also leads Border States Electric’s marketing and services group, which is the promotional arm of the company.

Border States Electric made $1.44 billion in sales last year.

Novak said NDSU’s collaborative and rigorous academic atmosphere helped prepare him for a successful career in business.

“NDSU gave me the base of knowledge that I continue to utilize today,” he said. “I learned to continually set my goals high. I’m still setting my goals high because it’s the best way to continue the success of this company.”

Ryan Raguse, BS ’11, accounting, president and co-founder of Myriad Mobile

Success has come quickly for 25-year-old NDSU alumnus Raguse.

“I was pleasantly surprised about being included,” Raguse said. “I really wasn’t expecting it. They only look at 40 people in the region each year, so it’s a pretty big honor.”

Raguse and fellow NDSU alumnus, Jake Joraanstad, started Myriad while they were undergraduate students. The technology-based business was built on the success of an app that allowed farmers to manage their operations from a mobile device.

In only four years, the company has already expanded to about 60 employees in offices throughout the U.S.

“I couldn’t have done it without the connections and the people around me at NDSU,” he said.

Myriad Mobile is likely to grow and Raguse has set a clear vision for its future.

“We want to build a very impactful company,” Raguse said. “We want to be an outlet for developers who want to work on cool things, we want to be able to give back with jobs and moving humanity forward. We’re very excited about all the inventive new technology we’re working on.”

Joanna Slominski, BS ’04, construction engineering, construction executive for M.A. Mortenson Co.

Slominski’s career isn’t measured by the years she’s been in it. It’s measured by the projects she’s made happen. And the construction executive’s latest is one of the largest projects of its kind in the country.

Slominski, is overseeing the construction of the new Sanford Health Medical Center in Fargo. The 109-acre, $494 million project is one of the 10 largest medical centers under construction in the U.S.

Slominski said it’s her natural tendency to run toward a challenge. That mentality has paid off in her career with M.A. Mortenson Co., which she joined immediately after graduating from NDSU. She’s been involved in numerous high-profile projects, including a trio of Minneapolis-based projects: University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, the Walker Art Center expansion and the new Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters.

She joined the Sanford project in 2012 and brought many NDSU alumni with her. Mortenson has many NDSU graduates working on the project. In her current role, Slominski oversees construction on the medical center. Her responsibilities include identifying any potential roadblocks and making plans to circumvent them.

Slominski also stressed that construction management isn’t simply about building. It’s about people. “It’s about getting them together and having them work together to come up with a final product,” she said.

She gained many of those skills at NDSU. She urges current students to get involved. Slominski developed leadership skills in the student chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America. She also held several summer internships that introduced her to different aspects of her field.

“I had a little taste of a few different industries,” Slominski said. “It set me on the path to construction management.”

She continues to give back to NDSU. Slominski is on the advisory board of construction management and engineering.

The Sanford project is slated for completion in 2017.

Nicole Washburn, BA ’01, architecture, BS ’01, environmental design, JLG Architects

Washburn is an architect by trade and she has built a career out of learning and seeking opportunities. Named a principal at JLG Architects in 2014, she’s quickly climbed the company’s ladder. Her success is being noticed.

She joined JLG in 2007 and quickly helped the company increase its profits by 1,400 percent. She then became staff coordinator and director of project management in 2011. Washburn became one of the JLG’s youngest ever shareholders and became branch manager of the company’s Minneapolis office in 2013.

Washburn said she learned from her initial experience and constantly strives for improvement. “JLG really helped me take those things I was passionate about and run with it,” she said.

She developed her passion and also credits her success to NDSU, where she was an active student. Washburn was a member of Golden Key International Honour Society, Libra Honor Society, Mortar Board Honor Society and Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society. She also was student director of the Volunteer Network where she gained experience coordinating teams and speaking in public, skills she regularly uses in her profession.

In her current role, Washburn works with and manages project teams from JLG’s nine offices. She also helps form teams to work on new projects.

Much of her focus is on housing. Washburn has worked on multiple affordable housing projects in western North Dakota.

“When you’re in the architecture program, it’s really a full-time job,” Washburn said. “I focused on student organizations at NDSU that built my communication skills and developed relationships. I’m proud to have been named to a group such as this.”

Shane Waslaski, BS ’98, zoology, president/CEO of Intelligent InSites

Waslaski’s passion is making a positive impact in his community and at his workplace. That’s exactly what’s been happening since he joined Fargo-based software developer Intelligent InSites in 2014.

Waslaski emphasizes with his team the importance of company culture. His philosophy is that good company culture positively influences overall performance. The primary goal is for leadership to set the tone.

“When you are establishing organizations, they embody the habits of the people,” Waslaski told Prairie Business. “There’s an importance to all of us to have consistency. … There is an important connection in the way people are valued and the way they behave.”

The company’s culture initiative helped Intelligent InSites nab 10th place on Modern Healthcare Magazine’s list of 100 best health care employers in the nation. Prairie Business named the company one of the 50 Best Places to Work in the northern Plains.

Waslaski has served on the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education and the board of the Village Family Service Center. He is currently a board member for Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest.

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NDSU visual arts head named Ceramic Artist of the Year

NDSU’s Michael Strand was named Ceramic Artist of the Year by Ceramics Monthly.

Michael Strand, head of the visual arts department at North Dakota State University, has been named Ceramic Artist of the Year by Ceramics Monthly, the largest circulation publication in the ceramic arts field.

Strand was selected because of his efforts to take his field in new directions. He uses artwork to engage people with each other and the community, with the goal of promoting community cohesion and social change.

His Misfit Cup Liberation Project, for example, started in Fargo at the Plains Art Museum. Strand gave people new, handmade cups in exchange for unwanted cups and the histories of the objects. The unwanted cups and stories became an exhibit. The project has fanned out nationally and internationally, revealing themes ranging from celebration to healing and moving on. He plans to expand the project to Brazil and South Africa with funding from a Bush Fellowship.

Strand lectures and leads workshops around the world, helping groups and organizations design and implement their own initiatives that use art as a catalyst for social change. He thinks of these endeavors as miniature ceramic start-up ventures.

The award announcement was featured in the Ceramic Arts 2015 Yearbook, which highlights newsmaker events and people in the ceramics field.

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Registration open for TechGYRLS program

TechGYRLS, a 10-week after-school program to introduce young women to science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines, is accepting registrations until Friday, Jan. 30.

The program, for third through seventh grade girls, is held on NDSU’s campus and is sponsored by the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and the College of Engineering.

Participants will engage in a variety of hands-on activities led by NDSU women engineering students. The program is designed to provide real-life applications of engineering principles, get girls interested in engineering and show them how to have fun with learning. Activities include building and programming robots, learning about the principles of flight and how rockets are designed and sent into space, and the principles of polymers, buildings and structures.

Classes will meet in Dolve Hall room 204 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. starting the week of Feb. 2. Grades three and four will meet on Mondays. Grades five, six and seven will meet on Tuesdays.

The cost for the program is $50. Registration is open and is on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, visit www.ndsu.edu/coe/k_12_outreach/ and click on TechGYRLS.

For more information, email jordyn.t.johnson@ndsu.edu.

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NDSU Graduate School hosts competition to challenge students to communicate importance of research

The North Dakota State University Graduate School is challenging graduate students to explain their research in ways general audiences can understand. A typical 80,000-word thesis would take nine hours to present; these students have three minutes.

The Three Minute Thesis Competition on Feb. 4 will feature graduate students from a variety of disciplines presenting their research in terms relevant to government officials, media, future employers and funding organization representatives.

David Wittrock, dean of the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, said, “The ability to communicate is key for professional success. This event rewards students who can explain their research in an engaging and compelling way.”

The competition encourages students to bring their groundbreaking work out of the classroom or laboratory to share with the public. “Students are participating in exciting research at NDSU,” Wittrock said. “The process of preparing for this competition will help them improve communication skills while explaining the value of their work.”

Five groups of students will compete in the first-round of the Three Minute Thesis Competition, and the best in each group will win $250. Five students will advance, and the winner of the championship round will receive $1,000. Local and state civic and business leaders and NDSU students and faculty will judge the presentations.

The competitions will begin at 10 and 11 a.m. in the Room of Nations, Mandan Room and Rose Room in the NDSU Memorial Union. The final round will begin at 2 p.m., with an awards ceremony and reception to follow.

In conjunction with the competition, the Graduate Student Council is hosting a Research and Arts Forum Poster Session. As many as 100 master’s and doctoral students will present their research posters in the Memorial Union Great Room from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

The University of Queensland in St. Lucia, Australia, developed the first Three Minute Thesis competition in 2008, and the concept quickly spread to universities around the world. At least 170 universities in more than 17 countries now hold competitions.


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New video highlights NDSU’s contributions to North Dakota

In NDSU’s new video, “We Serve Our Citizens,” campus and community leaders talk about the growing demand for educated citizens and the ability and commitment of NDSU to contribute to the public good.

We measure everything we do by the contributions we make to the people we serve,” NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani says in the opening.

The video emphasizes how NDSU is helping the business community meet its ever-growing need for innovative, intelligent leaders and employees.

“North Dakota State University is uniquely positioned to be the magnet and the mechanism for educating and producing the very people our state most desperately needs,” Bresciani says.

“We provide superb educational opportunities to the people of the state, we do research that addresses the concerns and problems facing North Dakota, and we do outreach and collaboration with communities to make life better for the citizens of North Dakota,” says NDSU Provost Beth Ingram.

The video also features Student Body President Sarah Russell and alumni Tim Brookins and Paul Richard. Brookins is a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, Fargo, N.D., and Richard is the president of Sanford Health, Fargo.

“At this time, North Dakota has many needs in regards to many of the different aspects of our business community,” Richard says. “NDSU meets the needs of the citizens of our state by preparing the students and future generations.”

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Poster contest promotes sun safety

The NDSU Extension Service, NDSU Extension’s Center for 4-H Youth Development and the North Dakota Academy of Dietetics are sponsoring an “Eat Smart. Play Hard. Together” poster contest based on a sun safety theme. Posters will be judged in two age divisions: preteen (ages 8 to 12) and teen (ages 13 to 19).

Winners in both age divisions will receive $50 for first place, $35 for second place and $15 for third place. All entrants will receive a certificate of recognition and a small prize.

The poster must relate to sun safety. That could include urging people to wear sunscreen, a hat, shirt or other protective clothing and sunglasses when they’re outside or encouraging them not to go to a tanning salon. The posters also could emphasize the importance of physical activity and the fun activities you can enjoy in the sun.

Visit http://www.ndcancercoalition.org or http://www.ndsu.edu/eatsmartto learn more.

Entries must be postmarked by March 15. They should be dropped off at the Center for 4-H Youth Development at NDSU or mailed to the Center for 4-H Youth Development, Attn: Eat Smart. Play Hard. Poster Contest Entry, 219 FLC, NDSU Dept. 7280, P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050.

Visit http://tinyurl.com/ESPHpostercontest and scroll down to “Eat Smart. Play Hard. Poster Contest” for contest rules and the entry form.

“Eat Smart. Play Hard.” is a U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service initiative that focuses on making America’s children healthier. It provides practical suggestions to help children and their caregivers eat a healthful diet and maintain an active lifestyle.

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NDSU graduate students share research on healthy aging

A group of four NDSU graduate students recently took the latest research on healthy aging to residents at Bethany Retirement Living in Fargo. The students created a one-hour, interactive program to reinforce healthy habits and introduce new ways to remain mentally and physically fit.

People are living longer and want to know how to live better.

A group of four NDSU graduate students recently took the latest research on healthy aging to residents at Bethany Retirement Living in Fargo. The students created a one-hour, interactive program to reinforce healthy habits and introduce new ways to remain mentally and physically fit.

Developmental science students Courage Mudzongo, Meagan Jones and Zhen Yang, and communications student Whitney Anderson used their knowledge of the Theory of Successful Aging to design the program. The theory highlights behaviors and adaptations that can maintain health as people age.

Heather Fuller-Iglesias, assistant professor of human development and family science, said the program was important because it contradicts the more passive prevailing model that focuses on treating illnesses later in life. The students highlighted research that promotes active ways to live a happy, healthy life.

Mudzongo addressed the factors that contribute to healthy cognitive aging: physical movement, good nutrition, cognitive engagement and social interaction. He introduced the online brain-training website, lumosity.com, as a resource for remaining mentally sharp. The website was developed by neuroscientists to help people live healthier by exercising their minds.

Jones covered how emotions affect older adults and how something as simple as music can alter mood. She asked people to close their eyes and listen to an upbeat song by Benny Goodman. Jones also played the music video for the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams before asking everyone how they felt. Perhaps not surprisingly, happy was the consensus.

Yang discussed the importance of physical movement and exercise. She asked the residents to join her in tai chi movements. Tai chi is a traditional Chinese exercise that uses constant, slow movements to increase or maintain strength, flexibility and fitness.

Anderson discussed nutrition and ways to maintain a healthy diet. She brought samples of an easy-to-make snack that has nutrients that are especially important for older adults.

After the presentation, a resident approached Fuller-Iglesias. “Thank you very much,” he said. “I really appreciate it. I learned a lot. I see that I’m doing a lot of things right. There are a few things that need improvement. But for 91-years-old, I must be doing all right.”

The man’s feedback and comments from other residents sparked Fuller-Iglesias’s interest in developing long-term education outreach programming for the age group.

“I think these students did an excellent job,” Fuller-Iglesias said. “They learned as students, they taught people about new and exciting research, and they engaged in outreach in the community. Doing all of those things gave them a more complete educational experience.”

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NDSU, Sisseton Wahpeton College partner to serve American Indian students

Officials from NDSU and Sisseton Wahpeton College discuss a memorandum of understanding aimed at meeting the needs of American Indian students.

Representatives from NDSU and Sisseton Wahpeton College signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening both institutions abilities to meet the needs of American Indian students.

The agreement is expected to help American Indian students pursue advanced degrees at institutions of higher learning.

Sisseton Wahpeton College is using a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program to increase its science, technology, engineering and mathematics instructional and research capacities.

The agreement’s objectives include:

  • Providing transitional programs and support services to facilitate the transfer of students between the institutions
  • Developing a faculty exchange program, which includes teaching opportunities for NDSU graduate students
  • Identifying collaborative research, scholarship and service-learning projects for both institutions’ students, faculty and staff
  • Fostering cultural education and enrichment
  • Developing an articulation agreement so that students participating in classes at Sisseton Wahpeton College can easily transfer to NDSU to pursue a bachelor’s degree

NDSU also will help Sisseton Wahpeton College establish an associate of arts degree in the behavioral sciences. The program will include a wide range of disciplines within the subject area. The agreement provides Sisseton Wahpeton College students with teachers in fields that are not often accessible to them.

“We’re very excited about this opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Sisseton Wahpeton College, particularly by collaborating with them in establishing a program that will meet the needs of Native American students and help them to prepare for important leadership roles in tribal communities,” said Kent Sandstrom, dean of the NDSU College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Sisseton Wahpeton College students also will be introduced to NDSU research. The undergraduate research experiences are expected to help recruit and retain underrepresented students into STEM studies and careers, which is another goal of the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program.

“The connection of faculty to research and thereby the student to culturally and geographically relevant research is an important step in producing students who are more likely to pursue advanced degrees,” said Scott Morgan, director of institutional research and programs at Sisseton Wahpeton College.

Officials attending the signing included Sandstrom and NDSU Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Charlene Wolf-Hall, and Morgan and Sisseton Wahpeton College President Harvey DuMarce.

“I look forward to working with NDSU officials,” DuMarce said. “This memorandum of understanding will open up more educational opportunities for both of our institutions.”

Sisseton Wahpeton College was founded in 1979 and typically serves 200 to 250 students, mostly enrolled members of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. A similar memorandum of understanding was signed in 2014 with South Dakota State University. The National Science Foundation grant is No. 1361649.

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Memorial Union director to be honored

Steve Winfrey, director of the Memorial Union, has been selected to receive the 2015 Outstanding Contribution to Student Leadership Programs Award by the Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education. The award presentation is scheduled during association’s annual conference Tuesday, March 24, in New Orleans.

The honor is presented to an individual who has made contributions above and beyond their assigned duties of their position and has made a significant impact on student leadership programs at their institution.

“This is truly an unbelievable honor and I am humbled by this award,” said Winfrey, who was nominated by Matt Skoy, associate director of student activities, and Emily Carrow, administrative assistant. “After being at NDSU for over 10 years, the Memorial Union staff and I have really tried to develop programs that truly help students become successful in all areas of their life, including academic, social and personal. This award really belongs to all the staff in the Memorial Union as each individual supports the leadership programs through teaching, facilitating or logistical support.”

Winfrey’s award has been highlighted in the organization’s Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community newsletter and Facebook page.

Founded in 1919, the association has 13,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries and eight U.S. territories.

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