Category Archives: Alumni

Mark Falkowski (B.S. ’06)

Mark Falkowski (B.S. ’06) was recently announced by Columbia College as the college’s first general counsel. Falkowski will serve as a member of the college’s senior leadership team.

New U.S. Bank Stadium Features Artwork by Students Co-Taught by C&I Grad

Jenna Hubert and Andrea Greamba pose for a photo before their students’ artwork on display in the new Vikings stadium.

Andrea Greamba, who graduated in 2014 with an M.Ed. in Arts in Education, was part of the opening celebration at the new U.S. Bank Stadium featuring artwork from Minnesota natives. Greamba co-lead an art project as a student-teacher with Jenna Hubert of Waite Park Community School in Minneapolis. The project the students created was chosen as part of the permanent collection for the new stadium out of over 1,100 entries.

“I have always been impressed with the quality of art student-teachers that I receive from the U,” says Visual Specialist Hubert. “I tell everyone I know, that I will only take them if they are from the U of M.” Hubert has been working with the Department of Curriculum & Instruction’s Teacher Education program for several years and has had 15 students in the M.Ed. program teach in her classroom.

The co-teaching model is a unique aspect of the graduate teaching program that offers hands-on teaching and classroom experience designed to prepare graduates to hit the ground running once they receive their teaching license. Teacher candidates are paired with experienced, practicing teachers in the Twin Cities metro where they can put their coursework into action.

Well prepared by her classroom experience at Waite Elementary, Greamba has since joined Sky Oaks Elementary in Burnsville as an art teacher.

To learn more about the M.Ed.—Initial Licensure program in Arts in Education or other teacher licensure programs visit the Curriculum & Instruction department website. The priority deadline to apply for 2017 is December 15, 2016.

C&I Graduate Triples Elementary Test Scores in One Year, Closes Achievement Gap

Bonnie Laabs
Courtesy of City Pages

Reporter Susan Du of City Pages recently reported that after just one year as the science teacher in struggling Hamline Elementary school, Bonnie Laabs raised the science proficiency rate from 17 percent to 61 percent, meeting the statewide average. According to Jodie Wilson, Hamline’s testing coordinator, this tremendous jump is “extremely unheard of” in St. Paul Schools.

Laabs uses a combination of extra-academic advice and mentoring, along with creative explanations of difficult science terminology with the help of classroom pets to help students overcome hurdles in scientific understanding.

She is also open about her own past in which she struggled with abuse at an early age, spent time in foster care, and got thrown out of school. She uses her redemption through education as an example to her students, allowing them to open up about their own fears and problems. Laabs also tells her story to underscore the importance of completing homework and getting a good education.

Bonnie Laabs graduated with a Ph.D. from the Department of Curriculum & Instruction with a focus on family, youth, and community. To read the entire article visit the CityPages website.

Ruggiero named Head of IOC’s Athletes’ Commission

angela-ruggieroAngela Ruggiero, M.Ed., 2011 School of Kinesiology Sport Management alumna, has been named Head of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. In an announcement from the IOC, Ruggiero’s experience was noted saying, “[Ruggiero] is a former ice hockey player who has played more games for Team USA than any other man or woman.”

Erin Pepelnjak (M.Ed. ’07)

Erin Pepelnjak (M.Ed. ’07)  is an instructor in the Department of Education at UMD and am the program coordinator for the Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) in the department.

FSOS to host reception prior to NCFR

The Department of Family Social Science will host a reception prior to the start of the NCFR national conference, being held in Minneapolis this year.

“The Great Family Social Science Get Together” is an opportunity  for departmental friends and colleagues to reconnect.

The reception will be held on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, in Symphony Ballroom III, at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

Learn more and RSVP for this event here.

FSOS alum named dean at CSUN

farrellwebb150225FSOS alumnus Farrell Webb has been appointed dean of the College of Health and Human Development at California State University, Northridge.

Webb graduated with a Ph.D. in family social science in 1994.

After graduating, he worked for almost 20 years at Kansas State University. For the past two years, he worked as an associate dean at California State University, Los Angeles.

Read the CSUN Today article about his appointment here.

Congratulations, Dean Webb!

Andrea Krueger (M.Ed. ’07)

Andrea Krueger (M.Ed. ’07) who teaches English at Centennial High School was named the 2016 Centennial Teacher of the Year.  The award program is sponsored by the Centennial Education Association (CEA) and the Centennial Area Education Foundation (CAEF).

Imed Labidi (MA ’98)

Imed Labidi (MA ’98)  is an assistant professor of media and cultural studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in Qatar. His article, “ISIS’s Euro-American Fighters: Western Failures and the Narratives of Denial,” was recently published in the journal Arab Media & Society.

Formerly an instructor at the U of MN –

Note: Highest degree earned at the U of MN was PhD. in comparative studies in discourse and society (CLA), 2007.

K. Peter Kuchinke (Ph.D. ’97)

K. Peter Kuchinke (Ph.D. ’97) Professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, was recognized with the 2016/2017 College of Education Distinguished Senior Scholar Award in May. The award is given in recognition of sustained scholarly quality, significance, and productivity to individuals beyond 10 years from receiving their terminal degree. Peter’s research interests include the role of work in overall life design, cross-cultural differences in career preparation and development, and professional ethics. He has published over 150 scholarly articles and book chapters and presented his research at more than 50 national and international education conferences. His current service appointments include Director of Graduate Studies; President of the University Council for Workforce and Human Resource Education; and PromoDoc Ambassador for the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus Program. He was recognized as the 2015 Outstanding Scholar, Academy of Human Resource Development.

Nancy Chakrin (BS ‘66)

Nancy Chakrin (BS ‘66) is a recipient of the University of Minnesota Buckman Fellowship for Leadership Philanthropy 2013. Chakrin is featured in a traveling photography exhibit called “Yoga ON and OFF the Wall” at the U of MN Bio Medical Library, which marks the 25th exhibit within three Upper Midwest States. The exhibit is based upon the book FRIENDSHIP The Art of the Practice by photographer, Nancy Chakrin and yogini, Laurie Ellis-— TRISTAN Publishing.


Carrie Rogers (Ph.D. ’10)

Carrie Rogers (Ph.D. ’10) recently earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at Western Carolina University, part of the University of North Carolina system. She is an Associate Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning.

Thomas De Vita (BS ’16)

Thomas De Vita (BS ’16) having worked for five months in Italy working with refugee populations as an undergraduate, has been selected as an U.S. Department of State VFP Fellow to serve the U.S. Tri- Mission – Rome, Italy in support of the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center. He will support this program remotely from Minnesota while pursing a Master of Public Affairs from the Humphrey School.Displaying 03.JPG

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Tucker Center affiliated scholar Kent Kaiser publishes and presents sport media & gender scholarship

image of Kent Kaiser, PhDTucker Center affiliated scholar Kent Kaiser, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Communication, University of Northwestern in St Paul, MN, recently presented a paper, “Genderlect in Context: Men’s and Women’s Final Four and Frozen Four Player Tweets,” at the 7th Annual Sport in Society Conference held at the University of Hawaii, Manoa on June 2. In addition, he has had an article, “Sports Reporters in the Twittersphere: Challenging and Breaking Down Traditional Conceptualizations of Genderlect,” accepted for publication in the journal Online Information Review as part of a special edition focusing on sport mega-events.

PAEL, Gao presenting several studies at ACSM Annual Meeting

ACSM_logoZan Gao, Ph.D., Kinesiology associate professor and director of the Physical Activity and Epidemiology Laboratory (PAEL), and members of his lab will be presenting at the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting and Exercise is Medicine World Congress held jointly in Boston, MA, this week through June 4. PAEL’s papers accepted for presentation and School of Kinesiology presenters are:


  • Trajectory changes of children’s energy expenditure and physical activity: The effect of physical activity regiment. (Gao and June Lee, Kinesiology doctoral candidate)
  • Dynamic relationship among elementary school children’s psychosocial beliefs, outside school physical activity and screen time. (Gao and Lee)
  •  Effects of exergaming on college students’ energy expenditure, physical activity and enjoyment. (Zachary Pope, Kinesiology doctoral student, Lee, X. Li, visiting scholar, and Gao)
  • College students’ situational motivation, energy expenditure, and blood pressure in exergaming and treadmill walking (Nan Zeng, visiting doctoral student, Pope, Lee, Li, and Gao)
 At Exercise Is Medicine World Congress:
  • A meta-analysis of effects of exergaming on individuals’ rehabilitation. (Pope, Zeng, and Gao )

Bernadette Thomasy (BS ’66)

Bernadette Thomasy (BS ’66) is the coauthor with her sister Colleen Gengler, ’73, of Under Minnesota Skies, a memoir of three daughters growing up on a farm near Owatonna, MN, in the 1940s-60s, available on and in the Minnesota State Historical Society collection.

Grant Boulanger (M.Ed. ’12)

Grant Boulanger (M.Ed. ’12), a middle school teacher in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district, was recently named the Regional Language Teacher of the Year by the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSCTFL) board. He will represent the central states at the national competition at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Convention and World Languages Expo in November 2016.