CLA Stories

At Backpack, we’re strategic storytellers for the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. The college is a hub for intellectual and creative innovation, and we tell stories that spark curiosity, connection, and inspiration. Our objective is to transform CLA into a destination college by telling stories about the students, faculty, and alumni.

Jessica Lopez Lyman stands smiling for a portrait in front of a brick building.

The Art of Community: Latina/o/x Activism in the Twin Cities

Professor Jessica Lopez Lyman is following 11 contemporary, local artists to uncover the intersection between art and social justice work. “It's been such an inspiring experience to see these Latinas out there, giving of themselves, using their art as a tool to educate,” Lopez Lyman says. Her research will contribute to the growing scholarship around Midwestern Latina/o/x communities.
Portrait of Professor Ben Munson and Dr. Alayo Tripp

Does What We See Affect How We Hear?

Our ability to understand speech has always been subject to how well we hear. But can cultural, social, and behavioral linguistic differences (within a language) impact how well we hear and understand? Professor Benjamin Munson and Dr. Alayo Tripp are studying the impact of race-based biases on how easily older people understand the speech of younger people.
Shir Alon poses for a portrait outdoors.

A Common Thread: Using Literature to Connect Larger Ideas

Oil, feminism, minorities, and genies. All of these are the focus of classes taught by new Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Professor Shir Alon. Her classes are rooted in her comparative literature background. “I feel that literature provides us with tools and metaphors to think about our social and political life in ways that are more powerful than anything else that I’ve encountered,” she says.
Portrait of Tamara Fakhoury

Meet Tamara Fakhoury: Philosopher, Artist, Educator

“How do I know if what I see is real?” “What makes an action good?” Big questions like these inspired new Department of Philosophy Assistant Professor Tamara Fakhoury to pursue a career in philosophy from her home in Lebanon to classrooms at the University of Minnesota. Fakhoury discusses how she came into philosophy, the nature of her research, and how philosophy fits into all aspects of her life.

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