From Big Ideas to Dreams Come True

Return to the inSIDER

by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

The Big Ideas Challenge, a competition between Minnesota State Mankato student entrepreneurs, will have its next winner announced April 15 in Ostrander Auditorium.

Seven different teams or individuals have successfully had their ideas and products moved through two rounds of judging. Five of the teams are in the “Main Category,” where any type of idea or venture is accepted. The other two finalists are apart of the “Ag/Food/Beverage,” which are ideas or ventures aimed at agriculture, food and beverage.

According the Big Ideas Challenge’s official website, the final round teams will present seven-minute pitches to an audience and panel of judges. Each presentation will be followed by 10 minutes of Q&A from the judges. The winner of each category will be announced following the presentation of each ideas and will receive $15,000 to help fund business development.

The Finalists

Main Category

  • Maggie Knier, 2True Headbands
  • Ben Lundquist, Enduramark
  • Alpha, CalcX
  • AJ Rana, Hopynn
  • Katie Torgeson, Wryng


  • Hannah Perez and Caelin Laakkonen, Ba\ance
  • David Bassey, Ceed Energy

More information about each finalist and their ideas can be found on the Big Ideas Challenge Facebook event page. Additional information about the Big Ideas Challenge can be found on its official website.

Return to the inSIDER

Army ROTC Teaching Leadership

Return to the inSIDER

by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

When students decide they want to attend Minnesota State, Mankato there are many things a student could be looking to get involved with. Some may be looking to challenge themselves, develop critical thinking skills, and leadership development. There is a program that can do all of that and more called Army ROTC. 

Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) is a college program where Cadets learn and develop their leadership and management skills and after graduation become a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. Officers are the leaders and managers of the Army. The skills learned in the program prepare students for becoming a Platoon Leader (being directly in charge of about 40 people), the first step in a commissioned officer’s Army career.

Minnesota State University Army ROTC offers merit-based scholarships that can pay up to the full cost of tuition. Students who currently serve in the Minnesota Army National Guard can attend Army ROTC through the SMP (Simultaneous Membership Program) program which allows Cadets to train with the Army ROTC program and be a member of a National Guard unit. SMP members are also eligible for tuition assistance. 

All graduates are not required to go on Active Duty. Army ROTC commissions officers into all three of the Army’s components; Active Duty, National Guard, and Army Reserves.

Students currently enrolled in the program come from all walks of life and have a variety of interests, and work part-time or full-time jobs while attending college as a full-time student. There are many different majors represented in the program including Business Management, Law Enforcement, Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Mass Media, and more. Army ROTC’s course load can work into any student’s schedule. 

A typical weekly schedule includes the following: on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6:00-7:00 AM have PT (Physical Training) where cadets learn Army fitness fundamentals and conduct training aimed for success on the Army PT Test which consists of 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit-ups, and a 2-mile run. Once a week, Cadets will meet with their professor and classmates for classroom instruction ranging from 1-3 hours. On Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 PM Cadets conduct their Leadership Lab where Cadets get hands-on experience in exercising leadership as well as developing their skills in Land Navigation and Small Unit Tactics.

There are some summer commitments involved with ROTC. There is the Basic Camp which offers Cadets with no prior military experience participate in a 31-day training event that introduces Cadets to drill and ceremony, customs and courtesies, and small unit tactics. There is Advance Camp which is completed after a Cadet’s MSIII’s (Junior) year, participate in a 37-day training event where Cadets are assessed on day and night land navigation, rifle marksmanship, as well as small unit tactics. Both training events are in Fort Knox, Kentucky. 

Cadets also have the opportunity to participate in other activities over the summer including CULP (Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency) missions and internships. 

Regarding his CULP experience Cadet David Miltimore said, “Last summer I spent a month in Honduras through the CULP program. While I was there, I spent a week training, learning, and living at the Honduran Military Academy. During the other weeks I visited the Honduran Army Ranger and Airborne school, spent time at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa and U.S. airbase, and touring the beautiful country.” 

Cadet Scott Mitzel who interned with the Army Medical Department said, “Last summer I had an AMEEDD internship in Landstuhl Germany. It consisted of working with Public Health Command-Germany, which primarily deals with preventative medicine. My days consisted of shadowing the various civilian and military personnel and experiencing the various aspects of their different jobs. I went on two different missions to local Army and Air Force bases to take samples as well. Overall it was a great experience and I learned a lot from it.” 

What are the characteristics Minnesota State Army ROTC looks for in prospective students? Randy Herman, the Recruiting Operations Officer of Minnesota State University Army ROTC said, “We look for people with a propensity to serve and have a sense of duty to the country. Cadet Command has a model of who they look for called SAL (Scholar-Athlete-Leader). Some Cadets come in who are more academically inclined or physically fit but as long as they have a desire to serve the other characteristics can be developed.”

At MSU, the Maverick Battalion Army ROTC program is a part of the Military Science department which is a part of the College of Education. The program includes students from Minnesota State University, Gustavus Adolphus College, and Bethany Lutheran College.

There a variety of ways to get more information on the Maverick Battalion Army ROTC program. The office is located in the Wiecking Center. You can also visit the Maverick Battalion website. Or contact Randy Herman, LTC USA Ret., Recruiting Operations Officer at  

Return to the inSIDER

Taking Flight: MSU Aviation Programs Seeks New Heights with Delta Partnership

Return to the inSIDER

Last July, Minnesota State’s Aviation program became one of the eight programs in the country to become a part of Delta Airlines’ “Propel Pilot Career Program” and it’s already having an impact.


“It’s helped peak the interest of incoming students and, for the students that are already here, it’s given them more motivation,” Tom Peterson, M.S., ATP, CFI, and Assistant Professor of Aviation at MSU, said.

Peterson says the partnership creates security for aviation students, too, essentially guaranteeing them a job with Delta once they graduate.

“It’s a direct line. [The students] are gonna go from here then go through a few other wickets along the way and then [they’re] gonna end up at Delta for sure,” he said. “[They] won’t have to interview again.”

The absence of the need for a second interview stems from one of the key components of the Delta partnership. Delta representatives reach out to the more than 300 MSU aviation students while they’re still undergrads and interview them while they’re still studying.

Getting the program to campus wasn’t an easy task. Peterson said the department worked vigilantly to add new things and modify the program to get Delta interested and after a few years, it paid off when Delta reached out to MSU.

“We didn’t solicit Delta to come, they came to us and showed interest and that really validated that what we’re doing here was a good thing,” Peterson said.

Although job security is a benefit to the partnership that security doesn’t come without a lot of hard work.

“Aviation is not like a regular degree in that you go to class and then you have all this time off because when you’re not in class, you have to be at the airport three or four times a week doing the flight training,” Peterson said.

The hard work is necessary because of strict standards from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for incoming pilots to be completely ready to go once they graduate. One of the requirements is for students to have 1,000 hours of flight time prior to graduation, something Peterson said can take a year or more to complete.

Peterson encourages students who are interested in aviation to go for it, citing an ample need for pilots due to high retirement rates of pilots. He cautions that the program is rigorous and expensive, but also that the end result is worth it.

“There is a lot of discipline and dedication to the whole affair, but there’s a drop at the end of it,” Peterson said. “A lot of our graduates have three or four job offers for regional airlines after college, so it’s all worth it.”

Return to the inSIDER

AASP Conference looks to help students “excel in their arena”

by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

Return to the inSIDER

An exciting event showcasing the field of sport and exercise psychology is coming to MSU this weekend.

The conference, called the Midwest/North Central Regional Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Conference, is student run and has been organized by students in the Sport and Exercise Psychology graduate program with the aid and supervision of their professors. These students will also present on a wide range of topics that have inspired them in their time in this field. The presentations, panels, lectures and symposiums will include topics such as mindfulness, grit, the psychology of injury, anxiety, burnout, internships, future work opportunities and others. The event runs between March 22 and March 23 in the CSU rooms 245, 253 and 256.

“The wealth of knowledge and ideas that will be shared this weekend cannot be highlighted enough,” Ciana Curran, one of the event’s planners, said. “The conference will provide all attendees the opportunity to mingle with other individuals working in the field and those who have just begun their journey.”

While the event is student run, there will be keynote speakers Friday and Saturday. Muna Mohamed will speak Friday, March 23, at 3 p.m., about her involvement in the Girls Involvement in Recreation and Leisurely Sports (G.I.R.L.S) initiative, which worked closely with adolescent girls and families of East African descent in the Minneapolis area. She will share about community-based, participatory action research, her coaching experience and offer suggestions for implementing this approach in varied professional enterprises such as coaching and consulting. Mohamed undertook the initiative at the University of Minnesota under Dr. Thul and with Fatimah Hussein.

Following Mohamed, Jenna Halvorson of “The Mental Clutch” will conduct a workshop focusing on “How to Develop the CLUTCH Mentality”. In this workshop, the audience will be led through six different skills that are crucial to putting on a clutch performance while engaging in a variety of different activities to enhance each skill. The lessons will consist of the importance of communication, learning from mistakes, understanding, trust, control and having fun. Halvorson is the founder of The Mental Clutch sport and exercise consulting company, which provides athletes and performers with tools to gain the upper edge on their competition.

Saturday, March 23, Dr. Adrian Ferrera will speak at 10 a.m. and share his professional journey from graduate school to working with the U.S. Army Special Forces, University of Washington Athletic Department and now leading the Auburn University Counseling and Sport Psychology Services. He will provide information about the mental health and performance needs of each population and his own approach to serving sport and military performers.

At 1:15 p.m. Ken Illdefonso Jr. (Ph.D. student) and Dr. Jana Fogaça, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, will join Halvorson and Mohamed on panel to field questions. This diverse panel will share their insights into navigating as a young professional in the sport and exercise psychology field.

Curran emphasized the conference for those actively in sport and performance.

“If you are a student interested in pursuing sport psychology, this conference will be sure to give you insight into your future path. If you are an athlete or performer, you could use this opportunity to get some tips as to how you can enhance your mental game. If you are a coach who wants to know more about what makes their athletes perform at their best, then this is the place for you,” she said.

She also added that the conference benefits the campus at large as well and encourages students to check it out for their own personal growth.

“It is not just athletes and performers who can benefit from this event – mental training can be the difference between maintaining focus and concentration during crucial exams, can help you strive to your academic goals and even manage your time so you can have a healthy and a fulfilling lifestyle. If you have any interest in excelling in your arena, this event should be a priority for you,” Curran said.

Those seeking additional information or looking to register for the conference, can do so by visiting the event’s webpage.

Return to the inSIDER

Panel to Inspire Women Seeking Career in Engineering & Technology

Return to the inSIDER

by ABIGAIL SKAALERUD, CSU Public Relations Intern

Women seeking a career in the technology world of science, engineering and mathematics will be inspired by four professionals from the industry at a Society of Women Engineers panel on Thursday, March 21.

The program as part of Women’s History Month will be at 5:30 p.m. in Trafton East 225. Appetizers and refreshments will be served.

Focusing on careers in Science, Technology, Engineeering and Mathematics, the four-member Empowering Women in STEM panel include Dr. Emily Ziemke from Dupont Pioneer, Dr. Fredreana Hester from General Mills, Dr. Stephen Druschel from the University’s Civil Engineering Department, and Marianne Anderson, an alumnus currently pursuing a master’s degree.

Panel members will share experiences in undergrad, graduate school and with their positions in industry. Discussion will offer advice on how to succeed in college as well as landing a job after graduation. A question and answer session will conclude the program.

Seeking a balanced representation of men and women in various areas of STEM, SWE’s main goals is empowering women to feel confident in their skills and themselves in order to succeed in the STEM industry.

Return to the inSIDER

March 19 Panel Offers Opportunities for Women in the Military

Return to the inSIDER

by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

Women in the military continue to have a growing presence. Is it something for you?

On Tuesday, March 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Women’s Center and Veterans Resource Centers are partners in hosting the Women in the Military Career Panel & Luncheon in CSU 201.

This is a chance to learn from three women with wide-ranging experiences working with the U.S. Military.

The panel includes Katherine McNair, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran; Sergeant First Class Jenna Alm, Army retired; and Army Sergeant First Class Theresa Anthony.

“This is an opportunity for young women to learn about all the different adventures available to them after finishing their education at Minnesota State,” said Tim Adams, Military Veteran student success coordinator at the University’s Veterans Resource Center on the main level of the Centennial Student Union

No matter the background or career aspiration, the panel will offer military opportunities worth exploring!

You can RSVP for the event here.

Return to the inSIDER

Drive Your Career Forward at the Diversity Career & Internship Fair


by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

On Wednesday, February 27 from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM the Career Development Center partnered with Institutional Diversity and The Multicultural Center will be hosting the Diversity Career & Internship Fair in the CSU Ballroom.

This Diversity Career & Internship Fair is open to ALL Minnesota State University, Mankato students with a focus of serving students of color and is a highlighted recruiting event connected to the Minnesota State Mankato Pan African Conference.

Kenneth Reid, Director of African American and Multicultural Affairs at MSU said,
“African American Affairs is committed to supporting diverse communities on- and off-campus. Thus, we are pleased to present the Diversity Career and Internship Fair to the campus community on Wednesday, February 27 from 11 am – 2 pm. This event is intended to connect MNSU students and members of the greater Mankato community with companies who are interested in hiring people of color.”

There is no Pre-Registration or Attendance Fees Required for Students. The Diversity Career and Internship Fair is your spring semester opportunity to network with employers at Minnesota State University, Mankato!

First-year and sophomore students-
Explore positions and fields of study, get more information about specific organizations and employers, and develop your network of contacts. Get ahead of your competition by networking as a first-year/sophomore student!

Juniors, seniors, Internship/Job Seekers-
Meet and engage with potential employers and professionals in the field! Dress for success and be prepared to talk about your projects and coursework. Impromptu interviews may take place!
Get prepared by visiting the Career Development Center to learn more about how you can best prepare for this event!
This Diversity Career and Internship Fair serves students registered for the Pan African Student Leadership Conference and is open to all Minnesota State University, Mankato students.

There will be a variety of employers represented at the Diversity Career Fair, including Walgreens, Sherwin-Williams, Thomson Reuters, and 45 others.

This is a great opportunity for students to engage with employers and create opportunities for their futures.

The Diversity Career Fair is sponsored by, Hormel Foods, and Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative.


Preparing for a Job Interview


by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

Are you a student who has no clue what you would like to pursue? Or maybe you are a student who knows exactly what you want in a career, but not sure of what classes or major you need to take? And then there are some of you who wants to do everything and needs assistance with narrowing down your options?

The Career Development Center is your one-stop shop! It is one of the many resources on campus that is dedicated to providing high-quality services to all students, even alumni. The CDC offers the opportunity for students to sit down with a career advisor for up to an hour to assist with choosing/ changing a major, finding a part/full-time employment, and internship. The first part of getting into a career path of your choice is getting a resume started and then practice your interviewing skills.

“For students who are not sure where to start for an interview or what the process looks like. Here at the CDC, we have resources to prepare them for what to expect in multiple interview scenarios such as interviewing for your dream job or interviewing to get into graduate school. Everyone’s mock interview sessions are based on what kind of jobs they are going to apply for. We provide them with practice questions and we even walk them through helpful techniques to help them work with interviewing anxiety that can come up”, said Mai Xee Vang, Career Advisor.

“There is also Quick Stop from 12 P.M. – 3 P.M. Monday through Thursday every week. Quick stop is exactly how it sounds. Students can drop in, no appointment needed, to sit down with a career advisor for us to go over their resume, interviewing strategies, or even to chat about career opportunities,” said Vang.

The Career Development Center offers valuable resources that all students can take advantage of, especially if you are graduating soon and need guidance on practicing your interviewing skills. Be sure to check out their website for more information about interviewing:


Fine-Tune Your Resume


by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

Are you struggling with what needs to go on your resume? Or even how to make a good first impression using your resume? The Career Development Center has resources and Career Advisors who can assist students on how to format resumes and walk them through on what key information you should highlight.

Mai Xee Vang, a Career Advisor from the Career Development Center says, “Having a properly formatted resume is one of the best things any student can do to advance themselves. Resumes are about selling yourself and here at the CDC, we have the resources to help students do that. A resume that helps a student stand out will help in any job they apply for.”

Here are some tips to help get started on a resume.

Be positive. Be honest. Stick to the facts.
• Avoid abbreviations.
• Appearance is important. Do not clutter your page. Generally, 0.5” – 1” margins are used. Use bold print and capital letters to emphasize important items.
• Don’t forget your name, address, phone and e-mail address. Be sure your e-mail address is professional sounding (i.e. vs.!)
• Personal information such as age, marital status, height, weight should NOT be included on your resume.
• Do not include reference names, addresses, or phone numbers on your resume. List these on a separate sheet.
• Read the job description thoroughly and talk with people in the field to understand what the employer is looking for. Create a resume that highlights how you meet these qualifications.
• Create a master resume that includes everything you have ever done for record purposes. Then create a tailored resume simply by cutting and pasting information back in that is relevant to the specific position you are applying to.

For more tips on how on formatting resume from the Career Development Center job search handbook, click here.

Students have the option to set up a one to one meeting with a Career Advisor or they could stop in during Quick Stop hours from 12 P.M. – 3 P.M. Monday through Thursday every week to have their resume reviewed.


Engineering Job Fair: FAQs


by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

The Engineering Career and Internship Fair sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is Thursday, Feb. 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the CSU Ballroom. Our staff in the CSU PR office has reached out to the Career Development Center (CDC) and compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about the fair and put them into this handy guide so you know exactly what to do to prepare for the career fair!

What majors is this event of the highest interest to?

Students studying Automotive Engineering Technology, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering/Technology, Computer Information Technology, Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering Technology, Information Systems, Integrated Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics and/or Physics, should attend this fair for career opportunities.

What employers/organizations will be there?

Students can find the full list of organizations that will be at the job fair by viewing the event information on Handshake. On that page you’ll see descriptions of all employers, be able to explore job opportunities by full-time, part-time or internships and even search for employers by location.

What should I do to prepare?

Before coming to the job fair, students should:

  • Research the organizations that will be present and know some background information. This will help you identify organizations that interest you and make for smoother conversations with those groups.
  • Stop in to the CDC for a “Quick Stop,” a 10-minute session on career and job search questions, resume help, interview tips and more. The CDC is in Wigley Administration building, room WA209.
  • Show employers that you’re interested in them before attending the job fair. This could be simple as giving them a call or sending them an email letting them know you’re looking forward to meeting them and discussing their business.
  • Prepare and practice a brief introduction or elevator pitch. Being able to sell yourself to possible employers can give you a big leg up on your peers when applying for a job. Practicing what you’re going to say will help you be more confident at the fair. You can learn more about elevator pitches by visiting this link: The Elevator Pitch.
  • Log into your Handshake student account and upload your resume. Make sure your resume is up-to-date and has no objective, or, if it does, make sure it’s broad.

What should I wear?

The CDC recommends students wear conservative, neutral-colored clothing. Blacks, Blues, Greys and Whites are most appropriate. Avoid clothing that’s too short or too tight or that just doesn’t fit properly in general. Safe choices for clothing include dress pants, top and a blazer or sweater. Use makeup, cologne, perfume and accessories in moderation. Fix your hair, freshen up your breath with a mint and drink lots of water. Not sure if you’re too casual? Check out these videos for more information.