CLA Stories

CLAgency strives to enrich the value of a liberal arts education by serving as storytellers for CLA students, faculty, and alumni.

Our goal is to highlight how CLA is shattering expectations of what a liberal arts education can be—transforming CLA into a destination college. As strategic storytellers, we brainstorm with our departments to uncover exciting story ideas that align with CLA Dean John Coleman's Roadmap goals: readiness, research, engagement, and diversity. Each semester, our content creators build a content strategy, conduct interviews, and write at least three feature stories. Our stories are shared on department websites, through social media, and through e-newsletters to alumni and friends.

Photo of Olivia Nortwen, Kylie Sievers, Professor Luis Ramos-Garcia, Danielle Jurichko, and Sydney Provinzino

The Thirst for Justice

After the far-right government executed more than 3,000 young civilians, many Colombian mothers have become dedicated social activists. As part of the Grand Challenges and CLA’s First-Year Research & Creative Scholars Program, a trio of undergraduate students traveled to Soacha, Colombia to interview some of these women. Olivia Nortwen, Sydney Provinzino, and Kylie Sievers explore how mothers are transforming the Colombian social landscape. Their research received the award for “Best Scholarly Presentation” at the 2018 Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Conference.
Portrait of Baryon Tensor Posadas.

Reimagining a Master’s Degree: ALL’s New MA Program

A new master’s program featuring an integrated BA and MA will allow students to simultaneously earn their degree and enter the workforce early and, in doing so, bridging the gap between the undergraduate and graduate studies. “I think it’s part of really building a stronger community within the ALL program,” Baryon Tensor Posadas explains his expectations and excitement for the department’s expansion.
Portrait of Sonja Kuftinec

Encountering Palestinian Displacement & Diaspora through “A Contested Home”

“We feel bigger and more human. It’s something that gives me back my life.” Professor Sonja Kuftinec discusses “A Contested Home,” a collaborative project with Adjunct Professor Avigail Manneberg, which aims to engage with Palestinian displacement and diaspora through Theatre of the Oppressed and other art techniques.
Portrait of Payton Counts

Major Potential

“Even though I’m not using my degree in the way I imagined I would, I wouldn’t have gotten my job had I not had it.” 2018 SLHS graduate Payton Counts is pursuing a career path different than many in her field. Through the help of her education in CLA and the faculty behind her, she is able to do meaningful work in suicide prevention for native youth in the Twin Cities.
Portrait of Jimmy Patiño.

Oppression and Agency: Teaching the History of Chicano/Latino Americans in...

Teaching the history of a nation from a single perspective neglects the experiences, hardships, and triumphs faced by groups that don’t fall within the majority. Associate Professor Jimmy Patiño worked with Minneapolis Public Schools to create a Chicano and Latino history course to address this issue and pass down knowledge to the next generation of scholars.
Headshot of Patricia Ahearne-Kroll

Ancient Identities in Today's World

How can studying ancient religions give us insight into how humans understand their identities today? By studying ancient texts written by Jewish people living outside of Jerusalem, Patricia Ahearne-Kroll’s research strives to challenge the way we think about reconstructed texts and the relevance of ancient studies today in terms of understanding identity.
Portrait of Doug and Jane Gorence.

The Gift that Gives to the Soul

Donors Doug and Jane Gorence often find themselves thinking about the future, asking questions such as “How can I continue to give?” and “How can we help prepare students to make lasting change in society?” Read on to find out why Doug and Jane Gorence choose to go above and beyond and donate to the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts.
Portrait of Hana Maruyama.

A PhD with a Purpose

"What happened during Japanese American incarceration is not coincidental at all—it's just how US settler colonialism has always and continues to function," says Hana Maruyama, whose grandmother and nearly 14,000 others of Japanese ancestry were displaced to Heart Mountain, the same place where the Apsáalooke American Indian Nation had been wrongfully relocated from years before. Maruyama is pursuing a PhD in American studies to further her research on the connections between Japanese American incarceration in the context of US settler colonialism.
Portrait of Susan Craddock

Teaming Up Against TB

Some of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases go unnoticed by pharmaceutical companies. One such neglected disease is tuberculosis, which claimed 1.7 million lives in 2016. Why is this widespread disease getting ignored, and how can collaborations help solve this problem? Professor Susan Craddock’s research looks into a new way of addressing neglected diseases.