April 2021

College of Humanities and Social Sciences Good News April 2021 header image


Dolly Baurah

Dolly Baruah, who graduated Fall 2020 with a master’s degree in Ethnic Studies, was awarded the 2021 SBS Student Leader Award. Dolly served as the President of the International Student Association from 2015-2016 and was nominated as Minnesota State University, Minnesota Outstanding Collegian in 2017 and 2018. Over the past year, Dolly has worked with the Maverick Food Pantry to distribute food and secure donations and founded Remember Me Too, an organization dedicated to serving international students at Minnesota State University, Mankato for which she secured over $42,000 in grants. Dolly is currently working for Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment and the YWCA in Syracuse, NY


Jaimee Wolcott

Jaimee (Bohning) Wolcott, a 2003 majoring in Speech Communications and Women's Studies was awarded the 2021 Distinguished Alum Award. Jaimee went on to earn a Master of Education from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and 5-12 English Language Arts teaching license. Jaimee is currently assistant vice president and trainer at Innocent Technologies, LLC. Through this work, Jaimee works directly with administrators, principals, and educators to transform school spaces to ones of pervasive innocence for children of color through a relationship-building methodology. Jaimee has over 15 years in education, focused on racial equity, as a paraprofessional, OST provider, teacher, district administrator, coach, and non-profit leader.

Activism during Global Pandemic podcast series by WeSpeak flyerA group of graduate students has started their podcast series, “Activism during Global Pandemic” for Dr. Harrison’s GWS600 Collective Action class. Based on the interviews with activists around the world, new episode comes out every Monday throughout April.

Listen to the podcast The Great Exposure on SoundCloud flyerA group of undergraduate students in Dr. Laura Harrison’s GWS330 – Feminism Activism and Social Justice class created their podcast, “The Great Exposure about how Indigenous people, people of color, and women are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.


Ivy Glade

Ivy Glade (Earth Science) accepted a full-ride offer to directly transition into a Ph.D. program from Colorado State University in the Department of Atmospheric Science. She has participated in a number of field research and presentations including the Northeast Partnership for Atmospheric and Related Sciences Research Experience for Undergraduates funded by the National Science Foundation.

Aaron Pacheco

Aaron Pacheco, geography major, has received a summer fellowship offer from Stanford's Summer Undergraduate Research in Geoscience and Engineering program. During his internship, he will work on the research project, “Reconstructing Boundary Layer Structure of Tropical Cyclones using Satellite Observations.”

Asset Mapping

Aaron Pacheco is also working on LaunchMN SW asset mapping in collaboration with the Region 9 Development Commission and LauchnMN SW, an opportunity coordinated by the Center of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. gathering data to create maps of Southwestern MN showing where services are available for entrepreneurs and where new businesses are located. This heat map shows where businesses are located that were started in the last year


Students in Dr. Tom Inglot’s POL 435 - Capitalism, Nationalism Democracy class participated in “Virtual Home and Abroad Series Forum: The Future of Democracy” organized by the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington D.C., on March 30. International Relations student, senior Mireille Ghassan (advisor Dr. Eiji Kawabata) was selected (out of the record number of 2,000 audience participants from around the country) to ask a question for the webinar panelists. Her question was on How the United States can begin to move away from this political tribalism and begin to rebuild democracy


SBS alumni, Jonathan Soucek (B.S. History & Political Science 2017/M.A. History 2019) won the Miletus L. Flaningam Award from Purdue University's History department for his paper, “A Responsible Revolution’: Native American Experiences in the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign and the Trail of Broken Treaties.” Jon is currently a Ph.D. student at Purdue University's Department of History. The award is presented during the spring semester to the author of the best paper submitted by a graduate student. Both Dean Matt Loayza and Interim Dean Chris Corley also won the award during their time at Perdue.

Abigail Fer, a graduate student in the Department of History, presented a paper entitled "Armadas and Reformers: Spanish and English Travel Narratives in Ireland" at the 2021 Northern Illinois University 13th Annual History Graduate Student Conference. This year's conference was online. Dr. Justin Biel served as her faculty mentor.

History graduate students Brianna DeValk and Abigail Fer presented their research at the 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium. Dr. Justin Biel served as the faculty mentor for DeValk's presentation, "Breaking Traditions in Medieval Literature: Finding Parallels in Reynard the Fox and Robin Hood." Fer's paper, "Meriam’s Momentary Metamorphosis: Progressive Education and The Indian New Deal," emerged out of a fall civil rights research seminar with Dr. Angela Jill Cooley.


Psychology alum (undergrad) Tony Cooley was featured in an article “SIOP Top 10 Work Trends” published by Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.


Margarita Ruiz posing outside with a smile

Margarita Ruiz (Sociology) has been honored by YWCA Mankato and received Rising Star Award. In the past she has volunteered with the Klobuchar for MN (2018) campaign, the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign (2020), as well as working with Unidos MN (2020) as a Poder Fellow. Currently, she is working with the Jeff Brand for MN House team as a co-campaign manager. Margarita hopes to continue her work to address immigrant rights issues as well as issues of wealth inequities.


Ron Schirmer

Dr. Ron Schirmer was awarded the 2021 Distinguished Professor Award from the SBS Advisory Board. He is recognized for his devotion to his students and their success, his extraordinary passion for teaching, his service to underserved Native American communities in our region, his ceaseless service to the university, and his accomplishments in research. Dr. Schirmer has been a member of the faculty in Anthropology since 2003-04. He is now a full professor, Director of the Archeology Division of the Museum of Anthropology on our campus, and he serves as co-director of the EARTH Systems (formerly AGES) Research Laboratory.

Gender & Women's Studies

Maria Bevacqua posing for the inside out training

Dr.Maria Bevacqua received Faculty Improvement Grant to participate in the Inside Out Prison Exchange training. The Virtual Inside-Out Training Institute is a comprehensive training program that covers everything necessary to develop a course in the Inside-Out model.


Dr. Donald Friend presented part of the results of his year spent as a National Academy of Sciences Jefferson Science Fellow at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers held virtually April 7-11. He discussed, “Climate and Climate Change in International Development at USAID.” His presentation was part of a symposium on Socio-ecological Justice in Hazards Adaptation: International Development and Conflict.

Geography professor Dr. Fei Yuan taught a flex-sync workshop training on Geospatial Data Mapping and Analysis using Mini-GIS Programs on April 12, 2021. The Business Analytics and Modelers (BAM) Club organized the workshop. BAM is a newly recognized student organization open to all students interested in the application of data science to business decisions.

Phil Larson posing outside on a rocky mountain side with a backpack and a smile

Dr. Phil Larson has been awarded the Douglas R. Moore Faculty Research Lectureship! Dr. Larson is an associate professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Geography, director of Earth Science programs and co-director for the EARTH Systems Lab., Dr. Larson’s research is titled “How Rivers are Born and Evolve: A Paradigm Shift in Earth Science.” He will deliver a public lecture in 2022.


Dr. Tom Inglot received a book contract from the University of Pittsburgh Press. His book co-authored by Dr. Dorottya Szikra from Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Dr. Cristina Rat from University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania has a tentative title “Building Welfare States for Families in Central and Eastern Europe: A Comparison of Poland, Hungary, and Romania since 1945” and is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2022. Research for this book was supported by Minnesota State Mankato Faculty Research Grant and several other national grants and fellowships.

On April 29, 2021, Dr. Tom Inglot, in his capacity as Director of the International Relations Program participated in the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Higher Education Webinar on “Transforming International Affairs Education to Address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” Presenters included: Reuben E. Brigety II, vice-chancellor and president of the University of the South, Carla Koppell, senior advisor for diversity, equity, and inclusion and distinguished fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, and Jamille Bigio, senior fellow for women and foreign policy at CFR. They discussed how insufficient leadership, outdated curricula, and alienating school climates leave future foreign policy experts ill-prepared to address the social forces contributing to fragility and unrest globally and provided their recommendations for a comprehensive educational strategy that improves national security and strengthens U.S. diplomatic capacity


Dr. Lori Lahlum was named one of the 2021 Distinguished Faculty Scholarship Recipients by Center for Excellence in Scholarship and Research

Dr. Lori Lahlum was named one of the 2021 Distinguished Faculty Scholarship Recipients by Center for Excellence in Scholarship and Research. Distinguished Faculty Scholars are tenured professors whose body of scholarship and current level of scholarly achievement warrant distinction with the university community.

Dr. Justin Biel was featured in an article about the Derek Chauvin trial published by New York Times on April 21, 2021.

Dr. Angela Jill Cooley presented a paper, "The Macon County Health Center: Black Women, Hunger, and Health Activism, 1967-1972,” based on her current book manuscript at the Alabama Historical Association virtual annual meeting on April 9, 2021.


Flyer for Psych in your world. New video series from the Department of Psychology

Dr. Emily Stark has been awarded a Teaching Scholar Fellowship with Dr. Dan Moen for Summer 2021.

Psychology professors Dr. Emily Stark and Dr. Karla Lassonde have created an outreach site called “Psych in Your World!” This department hosted video series features short lectures from psychology professors at Minnesota State University, Mankato with the goal of connecting with teachers of psychology at all levels.

Sociology & Corrections

Dr. Afroza Anwary’s paper, The National Language Movement, has been published in The New Age, February 21, 2021, pages 9-12.