Gustavus Campus News
Gustavus Adolphus College chemistry professor Dwight Stoll was recently named to The Analytical Scientist’s power list as one of the top ten separation scientists in the world.
The power list breaks down the best analytical scientists from across the globe into 10 categories based on their area of research. Of the 100 total selections from academia and industry, Stoll is the only honoree from a private liberal arts college.
Within the separation scientists category, Stoll is recognized as one of the foremost experts in multidimensional liquid chromatography, which is a technique that allows researchers to separate complex substances so they become easier to analyze.
“I feel compelled to keep pursuing answers to the questions that will lead us to the next breakthrough,” said Stoll, who recently won an Agilent Technologies Thought Leader award to lead an international team of researchers using two-dimensional liquid chromatography (2D-LC) for biopharmaceutical analysis.
“[Stoll] is a scholar, a deep thinker, a superb motivator of undergraduate students, and a creative, focused separation scientist,” one of his nominations read. “As a leader in the emerging field of multidimensional liquid chromatography separations, Dwight’s influence will be felt for decades.”
“It is humbling to be recognized alongside some of the current leaders in the field of separation science,” Stoll said. “I think this recognition from the community speaks not only to the quality of our work, but also to the increasingly important role that 2D-LC is beginning to play in fields ranging from life science research to environmental analysis.”
Previously, Stoll has been recognized with the John B. Phillips Award, LCGC’s Emerging Leader in Chromatography Award, the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the American Chemical Society’s Young Investigator in Separation Science Award, and was named to The Analytical Scientist’s “Top 40 Under 40 2014 Power List.” He also won the Gustavus Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award in 2016.
“Dwight continues to distinguish himself as one of the nation’s top liberal arts research professors, and this accolade is further proof that one can reach the highest levels of scientific excellence while actively teaching and mentoring undergraduate students,” Gustavus Provost and Dean of the Faculty Brenda Kelly said. “We’re proud of Dwight’s important contribution to the growing field of multidimensional liquid chromatography and look forward to seeing the impact of his research in the future.”
After an open nomination period, Stoll was selected for the honor by a panel of expert judges including The Analytical Scientist editorial team along with 12 well-respected scientists with experience in the field of analytical chemistry. Judges ranked the individuals and the top 10 for each category were named to the list.
To learn more about the Stoll’s work at Gustavus, visit the Gustavus Newswire.
About The Analytical Scientist
The ability to separate, identify, and quantify the chemical components of materials – analytical chemistry – has an enormous impact on our lives; on the food we eat, our environment, energy supply, and the medicines we take. The Analytical Scientist integrates all aspects of the topic, from advances in science and technology to first-hand accounts from the labs that test athlete’s samples; and from progress in business and policy to advice for career development and job satisfaction.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
The New York Rangers’ first win of the season was sealed on October 8 after defenseman Brady Skjei netted the game-winning goal over the Montreal Canadiens. Six months and nearly 80 games from now, the National Hockey League’s Rangers hope to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth-straight season. Between now and then, the players will travel thousands of miles, manage the inevitable ups and downs of the season, and – hopefully – stay healthy throughout the campaign.
As the director of strength and conditioning at Velocity Training Center in Edina, Minn., Meinz and his assistants led two dozen hockey players from the NHL, American Hockey League (AHL), ECHL, and various European leagues through off-season workouts to prepare their bodies for the rigors of a professional hockey schedule.
“With the pros, everything is at the highest level,” Meinz said. “They’re all elite performers and their needs are different than the average athlete.”
Meinz writes the workout plans and sets the programming for the athletes, but he works closely with teams’ training staff to make sure each athlete’s individual strengths and weaknesses are addressed. Each day during the summer, he arrives at the facility before 7 a.m. to prep equipment and make any final tweaks to the training schedule before leading two groups of professionals through their 90-minute morning workouts.
“Dan does a great job of listening and has a good feel for each player’s needs and wants,” Rangers captain and two-time NHL All-Star Game selection McDonagh said. “His workouts provide a great balance of player-specific exercises and group work to get us ready for a successful and injury-free season.”
“This is a perfect fit,” echoed Skjei, who represented the Rangers on the NHL’s 2017 All-Rookie Team. “Dan has a great mentality in the weight room. He’s very smart and knows what he’s doing but likes to have fun during the workouts.”
Meinz majored in health fitness, played on the Gustavus football team, and presented his undergraduate research at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Regional Meeting during his time on the hill. After graduation, he completed his master’s program in exercise physiology at Minnesota State University, Mankato and interned at the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Performance Center in Colorado Springs, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Michigan before joining the team at Velocity.
“The Gustavus health and exercise science program provided great preparation and opportunities,” Meinz said. “I was way ahead of the curve in grad school, which really set the tone for my career.”
In addition to working with professional athletes during the off-season, Meinz oversees strength and conditioning programs for athletes ranging from middle school to college while supervising the day-to-day operations of the training center. He primarily works with hockey players, but also guides football, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, and skiing athletes through sport-specific strength and conditioning programs.
Most of his time outside the gym is spent with his fiancé and their daughter, but Meinz also enjoys time outdoors and likes catching up with his old Gustavus teammates.
“Gustavus is a special place,” he explained. “The close-knit campus, the way that students develop and grow with support from faculty, staff, and their friends – it’s a great community.”
Meinz also watches a lot of hockey. Even though he’s a Minnesota Wild Fan, his work with Skjei and McDonagh has created a soft spot for the Rangers. He’s glad to play a behind-the-scenes role in getting the athletes ready to perform at the highest level.
“I’ve seen how much work it takes to get to the NHL and how much it takes to stay here,” Skjei reflected. “We push each other hard in the summer because we all want to be better than the next guy.”
“The guys are really down to earth,” Meinz said. “It’s rewarding to watch them play on TV in the winter and have them in my gym every day in the summer. I love my job.”
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
The Gustavus Adolphus College communications studies department is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its signature course, Public Discourse. Centered around a semester-long civic engagement project, the course provides students with practical public argument skills and seeks to prepare students to act on the great challenges of our time.
“It didn’t take us long after our first pitch and trial semester to realize that we had something special,” communications studies professor and department chair Leila Brammer said. “There is an exhilaration to the course that comes to life in every Public Discourse classroom. From watching students take something and run with it to collaborating with my colleagues to refine the course’s content, this class is truly empowering for both our students and faculty.”
Designed to integrate argument and civic engagement, the popular course challenges students to identify a problem in a community, research it fully, examine ways to address the problem, and ultimately take action. Throughout the semester, students simultaneously work on their individual community projects and collaborate in a workshop setting to learn theory in public argument and research material.
Created by the communications studies faculty to replace a public speaking requirement in the department, the course’s evolution and growth over the last 10 years has been the result of an intensive collaborative process involving both students and faculty in the department.
Now, both students and faculty are looking back warmly. The self-proclaimed “Public Discourse family” congregated over Homecoming Weekend at Gustavus to celebrate the progress of the course and its impact on the communications studies department, the students, and the communities in focus.
John Baron ‘17 made the trip back to the Hill to celebrate. Shortly after double majoring in political science and communications studies last spring, Baron accepted a full-time job opportunity with Optum as a senior research analyst. His time in Public Discourse did not let him down.
“My employers asked about my ability to solve problems and critically analyze possible solutions. Those are the specific skills I had practiced in my work with Public Discourse. On top of it all, I could show that I had created a significant real-life solution,” said Baron. “One of my biggest takeaways from the class is the power of knowing your audience. Understanding the major issues your audience cares about and wants to hear about is so crucial in any class or job you have in life.
Beyond the analysis and skills he developed, Baron appreciates the transformative power of the class, which he saw first-hand as a teaching assistant for the course.
“To watch the students go from the broad brainstorming of the first day of class to presenting their final plans and solutions to these major problems was so remarkable,” he explained. “I really saw how the class can change the way someone approaches any sort of problem in their life.”
Megan Fillbrandt ‘20 enrolled in Public Discourse as a first-year student, arriving on the first day a little uneasy. By the end of the semester, Fillbrandt had identified a lack of transportation for the elderly community in her hometown of Watertown, Minn., researched extensively, and presented a solution in front of Watertown’s city council. By the next year, the new transportation system she proposed was up and running across the city.
“When I found out that Watertown had their first rider through WeCab and that it was a success, I was beyond excited. If you believe something is possible and you are passionate about it, it is possible to make a change,” said Fillbrandt.
Each academic year, nine sections of the course are offered, engaging approximately 140 students from across all disciplines. Encouraged to take complete ownership of their projects, students are allowed complete freedom in selecting their target community. With 140 students engaged in different communities, like Watertown, around the state, country, and world each year, the civic impact of this course is significant.
“This course is special in its fostering of the student. Students learn a process in its entirety, gain confidence and empowerment, and see themselves as citizens of this world. Not only do they learn that they have a voice that matters, but they are able to use it in real-life communities. We know our classrooms on the Hill are stretching into communities all over the state and the world, and that is very important and very cool to be a part of,” Brammer said.”
What’s next for the Department of Communication Studies? Capitalizing on the decade-long success of the Public Discourse program, the department looks to spark conversations that address pressing issues and make reasoned, community-based decisions through its newly-announced Public Deliberation and Dialogue program.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Gustavus Adolphus College will host the 53rd annual Nobel Conference on its Saint Peter, Minn. campus October 3-4. “Reproductive Technology: How Far Do We Go?” will cover issues such as gene editing technology, “three-parent babies,” and male contraception while exploring the complex ethical questions that accompany these technologies that can fundamentally impact human experience.
“We are incredibly excited to bring together this amazing group of scientists and experts to grapple with these complex issues,” Nobel Conference Chair and Associate Professor of Classics and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Yurie Hong said. “Our hope is that our attendees and viewers come away from the conference with a deeper understanding of the many implications of reproductive technology and the importance of thinking about science from multiple perspectives.”
The two-day conference will bring together leading experts from Princeton University, the National Institutes of Health, University of California-Berkeley, Newcastle University, and the World Institute on Disability to address questions such as:
- How have scientific and technological discoveries assisted, suppressed, and transformed reproduction, and how will they continue to shape age-old debates about parents and children, individuals and society?
- How safe are new techniques and what might be their impact on human health and social health?
- Who decides which technologies to develop, how they are funded, and who should have access to them?
Ruha Benjamin of Princeton University will kick off the conference with a justice-oriented approach to reproductive technologies. Jacob Corn, Diana Blithe, Alison Murdoch, Marsha Saxton, and Charis Thompson will discuss the many issues — both scientific and social — that stem from these developing technologies, and Jad Abumrad, host of Radiolab on National Public Radio, will serve as the closing speaker.
Based on audience and speaker feedback, a change to the schedule this year will include expanded panel discussions and question-and-answer sessions in order to better explore the many issues at play in the quickly evolving field of reproductive technology.
Visit the Nobel Conference website for more information about speakers and topics.
(All events take place in the Lund Center Arena unless otherwise listed*)
Tuesday, October 3
8:30 a.m. — Doors Open
9:30 a.m. — Academic Procession and Opening Ceremony | Welcome from Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman
10 a.m. — Lecture by Ruha Benjamin | Rethinking Reproduction, Re-imagining Technology
10:30 a.m. — Panel Discussion and Audience Question-and-Answer Session
11:30 a.m. — Lunch Break
1 p.m. — Lecture by Jacob Corn | CRISPR Gene Editing
1:45 p.m. — Lecture by Marsha Saxton | Disability Rights Meets DNA Research
2:30 p.m. — Panel Discussion and Audience Question-and-Answer Session
4 p.m. — Dinner Break
6:30 p.m. — Policy-driven improv by The Theater of Public Policy | To Fertility and Beyond
8 p.m. — Music at the Nobel Conference | Bjorling Recital Hall*
Wednesday, October 4
8:30 a.m. — Doors Open
9:30 a.m. — Lecture by Alison Murdoch | Reproductive Technology Regulation in the UK: 40-Year Review
10:15 a.m. — Lecture by Diana Blithe | Prospects and Pipeline for Male Contraception
11 a.m. — Panel Discussion and Audience Question-and-Answer Session
12 p.m. — Lunch Break
1:30 p.m. — Lecture by Charis Thompson | The End of the World As We Know It? Human Technology Futures in a Time of Automation, Augmentation, and Deselection
2 p.m. — Panel Discussion and Audience Question-and-Answer Session
2:45 p.m. — Closing Plenary Panel | Future Challenges, Future Questions in Reproductive Technology
6:30 p.m. — Nobel Banquet | Alumni Hall, Johnson Student Union* | Separate Ticket Required
7:30 p.m. — Closing Lecture by Jad Abumrad | Reproductive Technology and the Radiolab Podcast
Tickets for the 53rd Nobel Conference are still available. Tickets for the conference and meals can be purchased online at gustavustickets.com through Friday, September 29, or by calling the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.
The Nobel Conference will be livestreamed on the Nobel Conference website. Lectures will be archived and available for viewing on request beginning in mid-October.
About The Nobel Conference
Following the dedication of the Alfred Nobel Hall of Science in 1963 at Gustavus, the Nobel Foundation granted approval for an annual science conference to be held at the College. For five decades, Gustavus has organized and hosted The Nobel Conference, which draws about 4,500 people to the college campus in Saint Peter, Minn. The conference links a general audience, including high school students and teachers, with the world’s foremost scholars and researchers in discussion centered on contemporary issues relating to the natural and social sciences. The Nobel Conference is the first ongoing educational conference of its kind in the United States. It is made possible through income generated by a Nobel Conference Endowment and the support of annual conference contributors.
Gustavus Adolphus College senior Sara Graves is back on campus for a few months this fall in between her summer research position at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and the Mayo Graduate Research Employment Program (GREP), which she’ll begin after graduation.
The Faribault, Minn. native’s success in the research field follows a unique path.
Taking advantage of Gustavus’ Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) program, Graves applied to college during her junior year of high school, a year before her peers. Moving to campus the next fall, she spent her senior year of high school as a typical first-year student on the Hill, taking classes, eating in the Caf, and doing her own laundry. At the beginning, staying at Gustavus for her entire college career was not a part of the plan, so she began applying to other schools. But her search didn’t last long.
“I just decided that I liked it here too much to leave. I kind of fell in love and didn’t move out, and that was that,” Graves laughed.
During her first year, Graves became a member of the Newman Center, a Catholic student organization on campus. The following year, she joined the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and began touring with the close-knit group of musicians. Now, she serves as the president of the Newman Center and remains an integral part of the wind orchestra after three cross-country tours and countless hours of rehearsal.
Inside the classroom, it did not take long for Graves to find her place in the biology department. She planned to become a doctor and declared a biochemistry major in hopes of pursuing a pre-med track. A couple semesters later, she accepted a summer position in a research lab at the University of Michigan in 2016. There, Graves assisted in a neuroscience pharmacology lab, helping a team study an isolated gene connected to bipolar disorder. The lab’s stipend made her travel possible, and she entered the research lab hoping for more experience in both the biology and medical fields. When she left, she found her path had shifted again.
“They have this saying about being bit by the research bug, and when it happens, it really happens. I don’t think I entirely understood or appreciated science fully until I began conducting research. Then, it hit me. We can use science to better the world and help people,” said Graves.
When she returned to campus, Graves pursued her new interest. She joined Professor Jeff Dahlseid’s lab and assisted in investigations focused on cell protein levels during a January Interim Experience research course in 2017. Then, she received the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Mayo this summer. As an assistant in Dr. Madhu Grover’s gastrointestinal lab, Graves studied irritable bowel syndrome and its connection to food poisoning.
“It was different than anything I had done before, so it was very interesting. I was tasked with searching for markers in people with food poisoning that later developed post-infection irritable bowel syndrome. Clinically, this will hopefully lead to the identification of specific determinants that can be used as therapeutic targets in order to decrease the instances of PI-IBS,” Graves said. “I learned a lot. I learned that I love lab independence and being able to have responsibility for my lab work.”
Her time at Mayo not only reaffirmed her passion for research, but it also introduced her to the graduate programs available at the school. At the completion of her GREP position this spring, Graves will begin her graduate studies program in pursuit of a doctorate in biology. The comprehensive program may take five to seven years to complete.
For Graves, this just means more opportunities to be in the lab.
“I feel very lucky because I found out what I am good at and what I really enjoy early on. I really hope everyone gets to feel that was about something,” Graves said.
To learn more about research opportunities at Gustavus, visit the undergraduate research website.