Mankato, MN, United States
Mankato, MN, United States

Minnesota State University, Mankato , also known as Minnesota State, is a public comprehensive university located in Mankato, Minnesota. The university sits atop the bluff of the Blue Earth River valley, approximately 75 miles southwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Founded as Mankato Normal School in 1868, it is the second oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. It also the second largest public university in the state and has over 112,000 alumni worldwide.It is an important part of the economy of South-Central Minnesota as it adds more than $377.13 million to the economy annually.Minnesota State offers 140 undergraduate programs of study, 80 graduate programs and 4 doctoral programs. Students are served by 750 full-time faculty members creating a 25:1 student to faculty ratio. In addition to the main campus, it operates two satellite campuses: one in the Twin Cities suburb of Edina and the other in Owatonna. Through the College of Extended Learning it provides bachelor's degrees at the Normandale Partnership Center and programs online through an online campus. Wikipedia.

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News Article | November 21, 2016

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Episerver, a leading provider of a single platform to smartly manage digital content, commerce and marketing in the cloud, announced today that it has partnered with Minnesota State University, Mankato to replace the university's legacy...

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: GEOBIOLOGY & LOW TEMP GEOCHEM | Award Amount: 16.58K | Year: 2015

When natural waters become devoid of oxygen, dissolved sulfide is produced and can accumulate via microbial sulfate reduction. Sulfidic conditions occurred within ancient oceans, and lead to extinction events in marine biota. Redox sensitive trace metals, like molybdenum (Mo) and rhenium (Re), display contrasting chemical behavior between oxygenated and sulfidic waters and therefore can be used as tools to enhance our understanding of the Earths oxygenation history and the evolution of life. Oxygen depletion also occurs within modern oceans, probably as a result of anthropogenically-induced eutrophication. Such conditions have been observed globally, predominately in coastal areas, and have become a major environmental issue leading to massive fish kills. Thus, in addition to providing information on how and when the rise of oxygen (approximately ­2.4 billion years ago) in Earths atmosphere facilitated the development of life, Mo and Re can contribute to assessing and preventing the development of oxygen-depleted zones within modern oceans. However, to fully exploit Mo and Re as indicators of oxygen-depleted conditions, the chemical transformations these metals undergo in sulfidic waters must be well defined, as well as the mechanisms governing their ultimate burial. Filling these gaps in knowledge is the backbone of this study as well as the future work it will spawn.

In response, a two-pronged study has been initiated. (1) Quantify actual Mo and Re speciation in natural sulfidic waters utilizing our recently developed chromatographic method (reverse phase ion pair chromatography: RP-IPC). Investigators aim to (a) couple their present RP-IPC method with ICP-MS, (b) utilize RP-IPC-ICP-MS to quantify individual thiomolybdate and thioperrhenate anions in the water column of Green Lake (New York, USA), a lake characterized by a permanent chemocline and (c) quantify any stable Mo or Re isotopic fractionations during transitions among thiomolybdates and thioperrhenates. (2) Survey the role FeMoS cubane clusters play in the ultimate burial of Mo and Re under euxinic conditions. They will (a) produce and analyze solutions comprising an array of initial Fe, Mo, sulfide, ionic strength, and pH conditions as well as trace quantities of Re, and (b) use X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) spectroscopy to characterize any FeMoS solid produced in the test solutions. The impact of this study will extend widely. Five outcomes stand out most clearly: (1) Support the geoscientific community studying biospheric evolution. (2) Provide a new method for quantifying thiometallate speciation and isotopic fractionation. (3) Involve several undergraduate researchers from underrepresented minorities in all facets of the proposed research. (4) Train a Ph.D. student as a part of an international collaboration. (5) Communicate research results at appropriate conferences, as well as submit several scientific articles to disseminate findings.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 39.63K | Year: 2012

This project, which is a collaboration of Northwestern, Norwich and Purdue Universities, is creating a web-based interactive version of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) sculpture to provide an effective learning opportunity and 24-7 access to students and educators in the United States and abroad. The AISC sculpture is a physical system that shows forty-eight types of connections found in standard construction practices. Because it is eight feet tall and weighs nearly 2500 pounds, students do not always have easy access to it. Moreover, todays students are more comfortable with web-based learning tools. The virtual sculpture shows close up view of each connection with descriptions of how it may be used, potential failure modes, sample calculations and field examples. In addition, to help students visualize the three-dimensional (3-D) nature of the stresses in each connection, 3-D finite element models are being created. The interactive tool is being designed to allow other educators and practicing engineers to contribute to the database of design calculations and field examples. Improving student understanding of steel connections is important because they play important roles in the integrity of structures; many structural failures are attributed to connection failures including the failures of the Hartford Civic Center in 1977, the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City in 1980, and the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis in 2007.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 338.59K | Year: 2015

Dr. J. Heath Anderson, of the Minnesota State University - Mankato, and his team of collaborators at Florida State University, Luther College, and the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia of Mexico, are conducting archaeological research to investigate the role immigration played in the collapse and regeneration of complex societies such as states and empires. Archaeology investigates a broad range of environmental, economic, social, and ideological dimensions of human behavior at time scales much greater than several generations. As such, it is particularly useful for producing reliable knowledge about past civilizations that serves to contextualize the present-day problems U.S. citizens confront in their roles as participants in public discourse and the democratic process. The present project investigates questions regarding how people interact under a number of conditions all too familiar to the present day, such as: How do incoming immigrant populations negotiate the use of ecological and economic resources? What kinds of social and ethnic differences form as a result of this process? How do people overcome those differences to form a cohesive government? In the course of investigating these questions, the project also builds and maintains national and international collaborative relationships, provide training for undergraduate and graduate students, safeguard ancient remains under threat of destruction, and involve local populations in the investigation and preservation of cultural patrimony that has global significance. Project results are shared with the public in several ways, including their integration into undergraduate and graduate coursework, publication in peer-reviewed journals, creation of publicly accessible online database, and public outreach in the form of lectures and articles in popular print and online formats.

Dr. Anderson and his research team undertake a program of topographic mapping, archaeological excavation, and analysis of artifacts and human remains to address research questions related to migration and interaction between communities. Specifically, the project addresses broad questions of general relevance in anthropology related to the difficulties in distinguishing between movement of ideas and the migration of populations. The research is conducted in the Tula Region, located in central Mexico, which was incorporated into Mesoamericas first empire until its collapse ca. AD 550. After four centuries, it became the epicenter of regeneration of complex society as the seat of power for the Toltec state. The four centuries leading up to this regeneration are the focus of the present project, when new populations began to inhabit the region. By analyzing isotopes in human bone, trace elements in ceramic and lithic artifacts, and cultural details such as cuisine, iconography, construction methods, and the manufacture of ceramic vessels, the research team can distinguish between the movement of ideas and the movement of people. This is vital in order to illuminate the magnitude of population movement and the social and economic ties and ethnic identities of these incoming populations. Most crucially, the project investigates how these relationships changed in order to weld autonomous communities into a cohesive government in the form of the Toltec state.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ARCHAEOLOGY | Award Amount: 2.33K | Year: 2013

With National Science Foundation support, Dr. J. Heath Anderson and a team of Mexican colleagues will conduct the first intensive archaeological exploration of Cerro Magoni, a site in Central Mexico in imminent danger of destruction. Cerro Magoni is located just north of Mexico City in an area called the Mezquital Valley, which is best known as the location of the site of Tula, the capital of the Toltec state (AD 950 - 1150). The project addresses a recent resurgence in scholarly interest in the collapse and regeneration of complex societies. This topic has been of interest to anthropological archaeologists since the 1970s and 1980s and continues to be an important focus of investigation and critical debate.

The research tests an emerging model for the regeneration of complex society in the Tula area in Central Mexico ca. AD 550 - 950, a time period called the Epiclassic. From approximately 0 to 550 AD, the Tula area was integrated into the political and economic networks of Teotihuacán, located to the southeast in the Basin of Mexico, which was the capital of Mesoamericas first empire and the largest urban center at the time. Four centuries later, power and population were again centralized in the form of Tula Grande, a densely occupied city in its own right located to the northwest of the Basin, and the capital of the Toltec state. The processes involved in the regeneration of complex society in the Tula area during the intervening centuries remain unknown. Over the past six years, ceramic analysis and new radiocarbon dates have indicated that the political landscape during this period might have been much more fractious than was previously thought. Several centers once thought to have been occupied at different times may have in fact been contemporaneous, competing political units that ultimately coalesced into the Toltec state. Absent from these reconstructions, however, is Cerro Magoni, which according to surface survey data was the most extensive and populous settlement in the region during the Epiclassic. However, reliable information derived from excavation regarding the sites true span of occupation is not available. This is critical for testing the emerging multicentric model.

The research provides insight through a program of topographic mapping and stratigraphic excavation. Unfortunately, real estate developers are in the process of purchasing Cerro Magoni to construct a luxury housing development on the site, which will destroy most if not all of the prehispanic remains. The summer of 2012 may be the last opportunity to map and explore this site before its integrity is severely compromised.

The project will improve the production, curation, management, and sharing of archaeological data at Tula by producing a digital database to centralize and back up perishable paper records to improve organization and access. This project also facilitates involvement of local populations in archaeological projects, providing training in archaeological laboratory analysis techniques, continuing a tradition of local involvement in archaeological projects at Tula that spans more than 70 years.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: TOPOLOGY | Award Amount: 24.00K | Year: 2012

The 27th Annual Summer Conference on Topology and its Applications will be hosted by the Department of Mathematics & Statistics of Minnesota State University, Mankato, on July 25-28, 2012. Special sessions are to be offered in Asymmetric Topology, Continuum Theory, Dynamical Systems, Geometric Topology, and Set-Theoretic Topology. Each session has one to two associated plenary speakers. The conference will also feature workshops in Dynamical Systems and Geometric Topology. More details and information can be found at:

The field of Topology, developed as a distinct discipline beginning in the late 19th century in an attempt to provide a flexible framework to answer questions of a geometric and analytic nature, has broadened in the last one hundred years to become ubiquitous throughout mathematics and related disciplines. The field has had great success in connecting with the areas of Algebra, Dynamical Systems, and Computer Logic, as well as Physics, Economics and Biology. Recent advances in Asymmetric Topology have found uses in screen pixelization applications. This series of conferences, which draws a large national and international audience, has likewise broadened over its history and has established itself as a successful venue for the dissemination of results and sharing of ideas among these related disciplines.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ECOSYSTEM STUDIES | Award Amount: 294.43K | Year: 2013

Carbon cycle models are used to assess how future carbon policy scenarios will influence atmospheric carbon pools and climate. The accuracy of those models depends on our understanding of major pathways in the carbon cycle. One such pathway, the decay of dead plant material (litter), is responsible for releasing more carbon into the atmosphere each year than the combustion of fossil fuel. Litter decay in forests is reasonably well understood, but both the rate and temporal pattern of litter decay are different in deserts. The effects of direct sunlight on litter may increase the rate of decay, while the lack of moisture may reduce microbial activity and decrease the decay rate. This project will test whether the optical properties of litter produced by desert plants contribute to the different pattern of litter decay. Laboratory and field experiments will be used to test the importance of sunlight as an agent of litter decay relative to other mechanisms such as microbial activity.

This research, which will be conducted in the Sonoran Desert, will contribute to our understanding of carbon cycling in deserts and in other ecosystems where litter is exposed to intense sunlight (e.g. grasslands and agricultural systems).The investigators will develop a website that contains a guide to litter decomposition for K12 students, a companion guide to aid teachers in conducting litter decomposition experiments, and they will solicit K12 teachers to take part in this experiment. This project will provide research experience for K12 students and teachers, and undergraduate and graduate students.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 600.00K | Year: 2011

The MAX (Mentored Academic Experience) Scholarship Program builds on prior, highly successful scholarship programs at Minnesota State University (MSU), Mankato. The current scholarship program is providing 104 scholarships to at least 60 students over four years to enhance opportunities for academically-talented, financially-challenged students enrolled in the following majors in the MSU College of Science, Engineering and Technology: Mathematics; Computer Science; Information Technology; Biology; Chemistry; Physics; Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, and Computer Engineering; and Electronic, Manufacturing, Automotive and Computer Engineering Technology. Scholarships are available for 26 students per year, starting in their sophomore years at MSU, and are renewable for up to three years. Of the 26, approximately 4 scholars per year are from the Iron Range Engineering program, an upper-division engineering program that draws students from community colleges, which grants MSU degrees to students who will serve the technical needs of companies in the northeast corner of Minnesota where mining is the primary industry.

The scholarship program is creating and maintaining a diverse, interdisciplinary cohort each year starting with scholar selection and recruitment. The selection process is guided by the program goals of 1) increasing the number of underrepresented students in the targeted STEM majors, 2) improving student retention and 3) facilitating professional development of student scholars. Additional recruitment activities involve seeking ways to attract non-traditional students, and partnering with community colleges, specifically Itasca Community College and Mesabi Range College, to promote and provide educational opportunities over a wider geographic area.

The MAX Scholarship Program provides mentoring, financial support, community building, and opportunities to participate in undergraduate research and/or internships. An essential feature of the program is the building of strong interdisciplinary mentoring cohorts that foster academic engagement among the participants. As such, scholarship recipients participate in an active mentoring program focusing on interdisciplinary interactions, academic support and professional development. This interdisciplinary peer-mentoring model was established during the initial implementation of the MAX Scholarship Program, and now includes students studying at a remote campus as well as in a broader range of science majors. All of this work builds upon a STEM integrated network developed at MSU that seeks to understand and address the significant challenges facing students in order to eliminate retention problems and to guide students through their STEM majors, as well as the need for connection and community for STEM majors across disciplines. Additional efforts to develop community and a sense of belonging for the scholars include a weekly seminar, field trips, interdisciplinary projects, interaction with industry partners and alumni, and opportunities to apply theory in research or industry settings.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: COMPUTING RES INFRASTRUCTURE | Award Amount: 145.36K | Year: 2013

The Speech Recognition Virtual Kitchen

Performing successful research on end-to-end speech processing problems requires the integration of many individual tools (e.g. for data cleaning, acoustic model training, language modeling, data analysis, real-time audio, decoding, parsing, synthesis, etc.). It is difficult for new researchers to get started in the field, simply because a typical lab environment consists of a hodgepodge of tools suited to a particular computing set-ups. This environment is hard to recreate, because few people are experts in the theory and practice of all these fields, and can debug and replicate experiments from scratch.

This research infrastructure project creates a kitchen environment based on Virtual Machines (VMs) to promote community sharing of research techniques, and provides solid reference systems as a tool for education, research, and evaluation. We liken VMs to a kitchen because they provide an environment into which one can install appliances (e.g., toolkits), recipes (scripts for creating state-of-the art systems using these tools), and ingredients (spoken language data). The kitchen even holds reference dishes in the form of complete experiments with baseline runs, log-files, etc., together with all that is needed to recreate and modify them.

The project is developing a community and repository by (a) building pilot VMs, (b) engaging the community in using and continuing to develop them on its own, and (c) evaluating the impact of providing VMs for education and research. We envision researchers as well as students downloading a VM, reproducing the baseline experiment, implementing changes, posting their results in the community, discussing with other users who have worked on the same VM, merging improvements back into the VM, which get re-distributed, and finally publishing easily reproducible results. Work with curriculum and project development will support the creation of engaging activities to specifically encourage students at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENGINEERING EDUCATION | Award Amount: 3.99K | Year: 2013

This engineering education research project will support a workshop for emerging leaders and mid-career faculty to build support networks and strategize about leadership directions in the emerging research discipline of engineering education. The workshop builds on a social identity theoretical framework to facilitate membership in a social group, defining the group of emerging leaders in engineering education research, and exploring how differences between groups can be acknowledged and managed.

The broader significance and importance of this project arises from the potential impact on the engineering education research community, and thus the long term impact the research discipline can have on the STEM workforce. This project overlaps with NSFs strategic goals of transforming the frontiers by making investments that lead to emerging new fields of engineering, or shifting existing fields. Additionally NSFs goal of innovating for society is enabled by creating results and research that are useful for society by informing educational policy and practices.

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