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.

Photo of Andrew Oxenham, University of Minnesota Department of Psychology

Facing the Music: Reproducibility Studies to Guarantee Scientific Validity

Throughout many science communities, there is a growing call for the results of important research to be reproduced to verify the validity of earlier studies. Within the Department of Psychology, Professor Andrew Oxenham is conducting a multi-site reproducibility study on the effects of musical training on the perception and neural coding of speech.
Photo of Monica de la Fuente Iglesias

Sociolinguistics in Spain

Two PhD candidates in Hispanic & Lusophone Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics are looking at sociolinguistics of two communities in Spain. Carol Ready conducts ethnographic research involving Moroccan immigrants in Granada and Mónica de la Fuente Iglesias examines language variation in the Spanish spoken in Galicia.
Photo of Anika Hauck

Learning Without Borders

“Studying French and its culture makes me feel more like a citizen of the world,” says Anika Hauk, a student who studied abroad in Montpellier, France last semester. Explore what Hauk and other undergraduate students learned about themselves while learning abroad.
Photo of Ceclia Pompeo

Interning in France

Senior Cecilia Pompeo spent her junior year in Montpellier, France. Not only did she create amazing connections with her host family, but she also participated in two different internships that challenged her language skills and gave her professional experience abroad.
Portrait of Carissa Coudray

Ready for Research

“I knew that my intention was to ultimately get a PhD in psychology and to be a licensed practitioner. I knew what I wanted to do, and I was ready to do what I had to do to get there.” Alum Carissa Coudray (BA ‘18) is pursuing a higher degree in her field. With the help of research opportunities in the psychology department and connections with faculty, she is able to turn her goals into a reality.
Portrait of Kerry Witherell

Beyond the Classroom

With busy schedules and professional demands, it can become easy to get caught in the trap of your own work and inadvertently ignore the needs of other communities. Dr. Kerry Witherell is working to break her students out of their regular routine by serving people who need audiological services in Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood.
Portrait of Jayanthi Sasisekaran

The Science of Stuttering

Language and our ability to communicate unites us. For some, however, disorders such as stuttering make connection more difficult. Through her research in the Speech Fluency Lab, Dr. Jayanthi Sasiekaran examines speech and language processes that contribute to speech fluency to understand why some people stutter.
Portrait of Heather Johnson.

Conway and Locke on Personhood

Philosophers John Locke and Anne Finch Conway don’t exactly agree on the answers to some essential philosophical questions: What is a person? How do persons remain the same over time? PhD candidate Heather Johnson investigates these questions and more by studying the similarities and differences in these thinkers’ ideas.

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