NDSU Concert Choir to tour state

The NDSU Concert Choir is scheduled to present a concert tour from Friday, March 13, through Monday, March 16, with stops across the state. The choir is set to perform in Fargo on Sunday, March 8, at 2 p.m. at the Peace Lutheran Church, located at 1011 12th Ave. N. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Concert Choir, under the direction of Jo Ann Miller, is comprised of vocally talented undergraduate and graduate students from across campus. Their tour will allow them to perform several concerts as they prepare for their Northern Europe Choir Tour, which will occur this summer.

This year’s tour program includes music of Purcell, Brahms, Britten, Whitacre, Fissinger and others.  The concert also will feature two world premieres: “Sofðu unga ástin mín” (Icelandic Lullaby) by Jocelyn Hagen, which is a piece commissioned by the NDSU Challey School of Music; and “The isle is full of noises,” composed by 2014 Fissinger Choral Composition winner Paul Ayres.

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Spectrum newspaper receives national honor

The Spectrum student newspaper received national recognition at the Associated Collegiate Press national convention Feb. 26-March 1 in Los Angeles. The Spectrum received second place in the Best of Show four-year weekly category.

The newspaper submitted its first issue of the spring semester, which included an eight-page extra section featuring stories on NDSU’s fourth consecutive NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title.

“Placing second in the nation really sums up what a great year we’ve had at The Spectrum. It gives our staff confidence to keep putting good work out there, because we want to keep improving,” said Sam Herder, Spectrum editor-in-chief and a senior journalism major. “Our goal was to be in the top 10, and to finish in second place is really exciting.”

Spectrum faculty adviser Patrick Schmiedt, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Communication, said the students earned the recognition. “Many college newspapers wouldn’t be up to the challenge of turning out a special section in addition to the normal edition of the newspaper. Many professional staffs wouldn’t be up to that. But the reporters, editors, photographers and designers embraced the challenge and came up with a memorable edition that, clearly, was on par with the best collegiate journalism in the country,” Schmiedt said. “This award is a deserving recognition of the staff’s hard work, not only for this one edition, but for the entire year.”

The full list of national winners can be found at http://studentpressblogs.org/acp/national-college-journalism-convention-best-of-show-winners-announced/.

The Spectrum also had four individual winners in the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards competition. The Spectrum staff won an overall achievement award, while Herder, sports editor Colton Pool, arts and entertainment editor Jack Dura and photographer Stephen Risk won individual awards for writing and photography. Individual recipients in each category will be announced at the Midwest Journalism Conference April 10 in Bloomington, Minnesota.

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Science Cafe to examine gene expression analysis

North Dakota State University’s next Science Café will explore the topic of gene expression analysis.

Megan Orr, assistant professor of statistics, is scheduled to present “Increasing the power of the test: An introduction to gene expression analysis and false discovery rate” Tuesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. in Stoker’s Basement, Hotel Donaldson in Fargo. It’s free and open to the public.

According to the abstract for Orr’s presentation, the prevalence of high-dimensional data has skyrocketed in recent years because of advances in technology. This is especially true in experiments where mRNA transcripts, known as gene expressions, are measured for thousands of genes simultaneously. A goal in the analysis of these experiments is to identify genes that exhibit a change in mean expression levels across treatments.

Orr’s talk will focus on the analysis of gene expression data sets and illustrate why using traditional techniques is inappropriate. The false discovery rate, a common measure used to control for multiple testing error that leads to higher power for detecting differential expression, will be introduced.

Orr, who earned a doctorate at Iowa State University, lists gene expression analysis, high-dimensional data analysis and multiple testing as her research interests.

Attendees must be 21 or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, contact Diane Goede at diane.goede@ndsu.edu or 701-231-7412.

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Winners named in NDSU’s student innovation competition

Liu Group

The Liu Group, winner of the People’s Choice Award

A drone system with improved flight characteristics, a website that helps people stay connected to their communities, and a mechanical way to reduce weed pressure won their categories in North Dakota State University’s annual student innovation competition.

Innovation Challenge ’15, sponsored by NDSU and the NDSU Research and Technology Park, showcases and encourages student innovation.

“A good idea is the precursor to starting a business, and students have tremendous ideas,” said Chuck Hoge, interim executive director of the NDSU Research and Technology Park. “Innovation Challenge is a way for students to develop their ideas into well thought-out concepts and to build skills and confidence. It also helps diversify our economy and develop leaders.”

The competition began in fall 2014, with 32 teams. Teams went through two rounds of judging to make it to the finals. The 23 finalists went through a third round of judging, which involved a 10-minute oral presentation that was open to the public.

The competition included three categories: products, services and corn-based innovations. Winners were announced at an awards ceremony on Feb. 26.

Product category winners

First place, $5,000: Team SkyHawk. Their innovation is a multi-axial rotor actuation drone system that has improved flight characteristics, such as more speed, less drag, greater range and better maneuverability.

Team members:

  • Alexander Sinclair, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering from Morris, Minnesota
  • Scott Wheeler, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering from Burnsville, Minnesota
  • Aaron Perry, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering from Roseville, Minnesota
  • Jake Patton, a senior majoring in electrical engineering from Marble, Minnesota
  • Wyatt Dick, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering from Munich, North Dakota

Their adviser is Robert Pieri, professor of mechanical engineering.

Second place, $1,000: Team Clothes Hanger Reinvented. The team’s innovation is a redesigned clothes hanger that uses a system of geometric forms. The forms can be taken apart and put together into different configurations to accommodate different types and sizes of clothing as well as accessories, such as shoes, belts and scarves.

Team members:

  • Amber Grindeland, a graduate student in architecture from Hatton, North Dakota
  • Caet Fox, a graduate student in architecture from Edgeley, North Dakota

Their adviser is Cindy Urness, program director for architecture.

Third place, $500: Team ToxoSafe. Their innovation is a smart anti-cancer drug carrier that targets tumors and protects healthy tissue from toxicity.

Team members:

  • Prajakta Kulkarni, a graduate student in pharmaceutical sciences from Pune, India
  • Gaurav Patwardhan, a graduate student in business from Pune, India

Their adviser is Sanku Mallik, professor of pharmaceutical sciences.

Service category winners

First place, $5,000: Team Townnected. The team’s innovation is a website, www.townnected.com, that allows people to post and view news about their town as well as news from other towns they care about.

Team members:

  • Wyatt Mund, a freshman majoring in marketing from Milnor, North Dakota
  • Landon Mund, a sophomore majoring in agricultural economics from Milnor, North Dakota
  • Andrew Martinson, a freshman majoring in agricultural economics from Milnor, North Dakota

Their adviser is Joan Krush, lecturer in computer science.

Second place, $1,000: Team Fruition. The innovation is a mobile app that encourages people to be grateful, to capture gratitude as they experience it and to reflect on it later. The goal is improved quality of life, focus and overall happiness.

Team member:

  • Jan Piskacek, a master of business administration student from the Czech Republic

The adviser is Sukumarakurup Krishnakumar, assistant professor of management and marketing.

Third place, $500: Team App EZ. The innovation is a mobile app that allows users to focus on deep breathing exercises.

Team member:

  • Abdelrahman Magid, a senior majoring in university studies from Oakland, California

His adviser is Carolyn Schnell, associate dean of university studies.

Corn-innovation category winners

First place, $5,000: Team A Displaced Farmer. The innovation is a modified rotary hammer mill to be mounted in the rear of a combine. The mill pulverizes weed seed to reduce weed pressure and volunteer crop regrowth the following year. After passing through the mill, the chaff and pulverized seed pass to the chaff spreaders and are put back into the field. This results in benefits for farmers, including improved soil quality, reduced need for herbicides and reduced input costs.

Team member:

  • Paul Subart, a junior majoring in crop and weed science from Robinson, North Dakota

His adviser is Marisol Berti, associate professor of plant science.

Second place, $1,000: Team Tea Time. The innovation is an alternative to commercial pesticides that uses green tea.

Team member:

  • Dre Steinwehr, a sophomore majoring in microbiology from Hankinson, North Dakota

His adviser is Janice Haggart, instructor in veterinary and biological sciences.

Third place, $500: Team Color with Corn. Their innovation uses a corn byproduct as an alternative, low-cost way to color and add nutrients to butter.

Team members:

  • Joseph Kallenback, a graduate student in cereal science from Dickinson, North Dakota
  • Cassandra Hillen, a graduate student in cereal science from Fargo, North Dakota

Their adviser is Clifford Hall, associate professor of food science.

People’s Choice Award winner, $1,000: Team Liu Group. Their innovation is a home early detection test for breast cancer.

Team members:

  • Sunitha Takalkar, a graduate student in analytical chemistry from Hyderabad, India
  • Kwaku Baryeh, a graduate student in analytical chemistry from Jamasi, Ghana

Their adviser is Guodong Liu, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

The purpose of Innovation Challenge is to:

  • Encourage students to be innovative thinkers
  • Enhance student awareness for innovation as a precursor to entrepreneurship
  • Empower students to pursue entrepreneurship as a career choice
  • Expand student access to resources available for innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Engage the current entrepreneur and business communities with students

The NDSU Research and Technology Park and Technology Incubator are home to fast-paced, high-growth companies that promote technology-based economic development in North Dakota. The companies compete globally or have the potential to. To operate within the park or Technology Incubator, a company needs to be involved in the advancement and development of new technology and be willing to establish a working relationship with NDSU. The companies work in the fields of material sciences, biosciences and life science technology, information technology, nanotechnology, and advanced manufacturing and sensors/micro-electronics.

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NDSU hires Bilen-Green as vice provost for faculty

North Dakota State University has named a longtime NDSU faculty member and administrator as its new vice provost for faculty.

Canan Bilen-Green will direct and implement faculty and administrator development programs, manage promotion, tenure and evaluation processes and coordinate activities related to FORWARD.

“Dr. Bilen-Green has an exceptional track record of creating and overseeing advancement and development initiatives with positive results,” said NDSU Provost Beth Ingram. “She’s going to be an asset to our college faculty and administrators.”

Bilen-Green has been at NDSU since 1998 and has served in a range of faculty and administrative roles. She currently is the vice provost, faculty advancement, and the interim chair of the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. She also has been the executive director of NDSU Advance FORWARD and interim director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.

Bilen-Green holds a doctorate and a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Wyoming, Laramie, a master’s in statistics from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, and a bachelor’s in industrial engineering from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey.

Bilen-Green will assume her new duties on July 1.

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Noted activist to headline Women’s Week events at NDSU

Activist and writer Robyn Ochs will highlight several events celebrating Women’s Week at NDSU. Events are scheduled throughout the week of Monday, March 2, through Friday, March 6.

Ochs is slated to present “Beyond Binaries: Identity and Sexuality” on Tuesday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Prairie Rose room.

The interactive program explores different experiences with identity, the interplay between gender and sexuality and the complexities of attraction.

Ochs is an educator, speaker, award-winning activist and editor of “Bi Women Quarterly.” She also was editor of the anthology “Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals around the World” and the anthology “RECOGNIZE: The Voices of Bisexual Men.”

Ochs’s writing has been published in several bi, women’s studies, multicultural and LGBT anthologies. She has taught university courses in gender and sexuality studies.

Women’s Week 2015 “Bending the Binary” brings attention to the gender binary, a false dichotomy where men are supposed to be masculine and women feminine. This dichotomy forces girls and boys into gendered representations of who they feel they are supposed to be instead of who they are.

Women’s Week 2015 encourages us to see gendered binaries in a new light, offering a greater understanding of how they create a deep gender division in our society.

Faculty, staff or students interested in joining a smaller discussion session with Ochs should email regina.ranney@ndsu.edu.

Information about additional events can be found at www.ndsu.edu/edcenter/programming/.

Women’s Week 2015 is sponsored by the Equity and Diversity Center and Women and Gender Studies Program, with support from the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: College of Engineering; College of Human Development and Education; College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Sciences; College of Science and Mathematics; vice president for Agricultural Affairs, Office of the Provost, vice president for Academic Affairs, vice president for Equity, Diversity and Global Outreach, vice president for Finance and Administration, vice president for Research and Creative Activity, vice president for Student Affairs, University Relations and the NDSU Cooperative Sponsorship Grant.

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Helmsley Trust, N.D. Challenge grant fund endowed scholarships for NDSU American Indian public health program

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded North Dakota State University’s Master of Public Health program $750,000 to create the first endowed scholarship fund in the nation for graduate students in American Indian public health. The state of North Dakota has provided an additional $375,000 through the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund.

The NDSU program is the only one in the United States designed specifically to prepare graduates to work with American Indian populations.

Dr. Donald Warne, director of the NDSU program, said in addition to encouraging more students to apply by helping them financially, the endowed scholarships will benefit North Dakota’s underserved citizens.

“People in rural areas, especially American Indians, often have difficulty accessing quality health services because of lower than average incomes, geographic isolation and a severe shortage of health professionals,” Warne said. “Many of the students in this program are from underserved communities right here in North Dakota, and their plans are to go back and work with those populations.”

Shelley Stingley, program director of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program, said, “The Trust is delighted to support NDSU in this pioneering effort to develop and sustain the workforce of health professionals who are committed to serve American Indians, perhaps the most medically underserved population in the nation. We applaud the state of North Dakota for its investment in this important initiative.”

The endowment fund will provide scholarships of approximately $10,000, four per year in perpetuity. Two students in their first year of the two-year track will receive scholarships and, based on academic performance, will be eligible for a second year of funding. The NDSU Development Foundation will administer the fund and make the first scholarship awards for the fall 2016 semester.

NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani thanked the Helmsley Trust for its generosity and vision. “NDSU truly appreciates the investment the Helmsley Charitable Trust has made in rural health in North Dakota,” he said. “This private-public collaboration is a true model for developing and enhancing programs that significantly impact the lives of the state’s students and citizens.”

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grant making, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. For more information on the Trust and its programs, www.helmsleytrust.org.

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NDSU athletic director named co-chair of President’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs



NDSU Athletic Director Matt Larsen has been named co-chair of the President’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs. He will lead the council with Laura Oster-Aaland, dean of enrollment management.

The council was formed eight years ago to address an issue that affects campuses nationwide: high-risk alcohol and drug use that has negative consequences for students, the campus and community. NDSU’s council focuses on reducing harmful consequences and has seen significant progress in decreasing the number of negative effects students report and increasing awareness of prevention programs.

As co-chairs, Larsen and Oster-Aaland guide the work of the council, which includes students, faculty and staff representing units across the campus. The group’s work ranges from providing late-night campus activities for students to conducting research on alcohol and other drug issues.

“Matt has a strong commitment to this issue and a strong desire to contribute to the campus beyond his responsibilities in the athletics department,” said Oster-Aaland, who helped establish the council. “His role as co-chair will help maintain the momentum that this group has gained and help advance our work.”

Council initiatives that have contributed to better outcomes include:

  • A personalized, online tool for first-year students. It helps students identify alcohol use behaviors that could cause health, academic, legal or other problems. Completion rates exceed 90 percent.
  • A student designed and driven media campaign to increase awareness about ways to reduce alcohol-related harm.
  • Permanent late-night programming and late-night access to campus facilities, such as the Wellness Center, to give students alternatives.

“I look forward to working with the council and being part of its great work on education, prevention and outreach,” Larsen said. “This group has made significant strides in helping to reduce the negative outcomes related to alcohol and other drug use as well as providing alternative activities for students at NDSU. This is an important issue, so I am excited to work with Laura in leading the council and building upon an already strong foundation.”

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Innovation Challenge competition, awards luncheon set

NDSU and the NDSU Research and Technology Park are set to host an annual event to showcase and encourage students’ innovative work.

Final round oral presentations and judging for NDSU’s annual student innovation competition, Innovation Challenge ’15, is set for Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the NDSU Memorial Union.

An awards luncheon is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 26, at 11:30 a.m. in the Mezzanine level of the Fargodome. Winning teams from the Innovation Challenge competition will be recognized.

The luncheon keynote speaker will be Dr. David Pearce, president for research at Sanford Health. He also serves as director of the Sanford Childrens Health and Research Center.

Registration is required for the luncheon. To register, contact Kim Lucier at kim@ndsuresearchpark.com or 701-499-3600.

The Innovation Challenge is an annual event at NDSU that showcases and encourages student ingenuity in projects involving new, unique or re-imagined products and services. Students compete for $20,000 in cash prizes during the competition. Innovation Challenge is presented by the NDSU Office of the Provost in partnership with the NDSU Research and Technology Park. The North Dakota Corn Council is a major sponsor of the competition.

For more information, visit www.ndsuresearchpark.com and click on the Innovation Challenge tab.

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NDSU students to compete in financial analysis competition

Students from NDSU’s College of Business get to perform the role of Wall Street analyst this week. A five-member team has advanced to the presentation round of a global financial analysis and equity research competition.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge requires university students to research, analyze and report on a company as if they are practicing analysts. The NDSU students are slated to present their results Thursday, Feb. 12, at 4 p.m. at Thrivent Financial in Minneapolis. CFA stands for chartered financial analyst, which is a professional credential offered by the institute.

Mason Anderson, a senior finance major from Hutchinson, Minnesota, said the experience has given him and his teammates valuable experience using a variety of research methods.

“A good chunk of the senior investment professionals who are going to be hiring us are chartered financial analysts,” he said. “We are learning skills that these potential employers have deemed to be important.”

The team consists of Anderson; Norifumi Kimura, a master’s student in agribusiness and applied economics from Fukushima, Japan; Brad Cantwell, a senior majoring in finance from Roseville, Minnesota; Doug Noah, a senior majoring in finance and economics from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; and senior Siyang Yu, a finance major from Nanchang, China.

They will be competing against three- to five-member teams from Bethel University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of St. Thomas and Minnesota State University, Mankato. All students worked directly with a company in research and preparing a company analysis.

The NDSU team was paired with Graco Inc., a Minneapolis-based provider of pumps and spray equipment for the construction and maintenance industries. The students met face-to-face with company executives and held an investor analyst briefing. Anderson said the team then wrote a report based on its analysis of the firm, reviewing its industry position, company management and conducting statistical modeling of revenue.

“At the end of the day, it read much like a report coming from a Goldman Sachs equity analyst,” Anderson said.

The teams’ final presentations will be locally evaluated by heads of research, portfolio managers and chief investment officers. The local champions advance to regional competitions.

Fariz Huseynov, assistant professor of finance and the team’s faculty adviser, said this is the fifth time NDSU has participated in the competition.

The CFA Minnesota Society, which includes North Dakota and South Dakota, is hosting the local-level competition.

The team members also are part of the Bison Fund, NDSU’s student-managed investment fund that manages more than $1.1 million of assets. Anderson is the Bison Fund’s treasurer.

“I can’t understate the value of both the Bison Fund and this research challenge,” Anderson said. “We learn so much in the classroom, but these extra components give you such a breadth of knowledge and the ability to use your own methods and try new things.”

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