Student Profile: Soua Thao

Soua is a first-year student majoring in youth studies through CEHD. Get to know this St. Paul native and the work she is doing both at the university and for people around the country as she serves on the    Soua ThaoNational Youth Leadership Council’s Youth Advisory Council.

Why did you choose to attend the University of Minnesota?

I chose the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities because they are the only college, out of the many that I have searched for, that has the specific youth studies program. Also, the Twin Cities has such a huge network of non-profit organizations and people. It’s close to home, but when I’m here, home is a world away. It’s a good balance.

What would you like to do with your Youth Studies major and Leadership minor?  Where do you see yourself in ten years? 

I want to work with non-profit organizations that focus on youth leadership and youth voice. I want to empower youth to make a difference in their communities. I am also thinking about going to graduate school for Education Policies, so in my youth work there may be that aspect of educational equity. In ten years, I see myself working at a non-profit organization and working with youth.

Congratulations on being selected to represent National Youth Leadership Council as a Youth Advisory Council member. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you got involved with NYLC?

In summer of 2013, I attended the National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) in San Francisco, California, hosted by the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) which is based in St. Paul, MN. NYLT opened my eyes to the problems that our country is currently facing, such as the achievement gap, racism, and social injustice. After NYLT, I was accepted to serve on their Youth Advisory Council (YAC). I served on the NYLC YAC for a one-year term during my senior year of high school and re-applied to serve another term this year. I am happy to say that I will be serving on the NYLC YAC for the next two years, as I also enter my first years of college.

What kinds of things do you do as a Youth Advisory Council member?

As a Youth Advisory Council member, I plan and facilitate workshops focusing on the achievement gap, service-learning, racism, and leadership, in local and national conferences such as the Overcoming Racism Conference and the Empowering Youth Conference. I also have the opportunities to go speak to groups, such as Carleton College about youth activism and organizing. I get to represent NYLC at events like We Day MN. NYLC also hosts a conference every year called the National Service-Learning Conference. Last year, I planned an on-site service project, spoke as a youth emcee, performed on the plenary stage and facilitated a workshop at the conference. This year, as a YAC member, we are also working towards launching a National Campaign.

Are you involved in any organizations on campus?

Yes! I am a part of the University YMCA as a mentor for their Y Mentors: Literacy Matters Program and their Y Collegiate Achievers Program (Y CAP). I am also involved in Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF) on and off-campus.

What’s your favorite thing about going to school at the U?

I think my favorite thing about going to the U is having so many opportunities to explore and experience new things. There is also such a huge network and support system here, I love it!

What tips do you have for students looking to make the most of their campus experience?

Because there are so many things to do here, prioritize. It can get overwhelming when you want to do everything. Also, explore and try new things. Get involved and get to know people. College is a time to explore. Make the best out of it.

What do you like to do when you have free time?

What’s free time? Haha, just kidding. I’m so busy that I barely have free time, but when I do, I like to jam out, go explore parts of campus and Minneapolis that I haven’t been to before, or just relax and have some time for myself.


 “It goes without saying, but it’s one of the most storied, if not the most storied rivalry in college football. It’s certainly the oldest.”  Cameron Botticelli

It’s Axe Week, Gopher fans. Today, our beloved Minnesota Golden Gophers will take on the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. It’s the final day of the regular season and there’s a lot on the line. Minnesota and Wisconsin have already battled 123 times on the gridiron, but today’s matchup is arguably the most significant one in the history of this Big Ten rivalry. This year these two teams are not only fighting for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, but they’re also vying for the Big Ten West crown, and a trip to the conference title game against Ohio State.  Continue reading THE BATTLE FOR THE AXE

Top 10 Ways To Warm Up Your Home This Winter (Without Running Up Your Utilities Bill!)

Broke college kids do some pretty funny things in hopes of trying to save money. They feast on Ramen, steal napkins from Chipotle (instead of buying them elsewhere!), and wait as long as they possibly can before turning the heat on in their apartments/houses. During a MinneSNOWta winter, many students will mosey around their homes wearing two sweatshirts, wool socks, and a winter hat. Why? Because they’d rather lounge around wearing half of their closet than crank up the heat. It might be 63 degrees in your room, but you’re being told to “layer up!” and “suck it up!”.

If your roomies won’t budge yet, or let you within 5 feet of the thermostat, what should you do? READ THIS BLOG. It’ll teach you how to warm up your home without running up your utilities bill!

If you want to stay nice and toasty warm this winter, try:

1. Preventing doorway drafts. In many college houses/apartments, you’ll find a lot of space between the end of a door and the floor. And, these large gaps under doors oftentimes cause unwanted drafts to enter into a room. Products such as “draft blockers” are known to fill in these gaps, but try using a piece of pipe insulation instead. Using pipe insulation will prove to be cheaper for you and it works just as well. Simply open up the insulation and wrap it around the bottom of the door(s). Doing so, will tightly seal the bottom of the doorway and prevent drafts from A) coming in and B) cooling you off.

2. Use curtains to keep you cozy. After all, they aren’t just for decoration. Just like pipe insulation, curtains can be used to block drafts as well. By hanging curtains over your windows, you can prevent drafts from drifting in.

3. Let the sunlight shine on in. When the suns out, keep your curtains open. Utilize the sunshine to help heat your home. Even with low external temps, the sun can still impact the temperature of your house/apartment- for the better! (Especially by your south-facing windows).

4. Use candles and oil lamps to raise room temperatures. The flames on candles and oil lamps may be small, but they still give off a good amount of heat. If you light a couple of candles or oil lamps throughout your home, you’ll raise room temperatures and make your place smell oh-so-good. It’s a win-win!

5. Run your ceiling fan in reverse. Did you know that ceiling fans were designed to be used in both the summer months and in the wintertime? (If you didn’t, don’t feel bad! Most people don’t know about this.) During winter, the warm air generated by your heating system naturally rises to the ceiling, while cooler air sinks down to the ground. In order to force the cool air to be drawn upwards, we recommend that you adjust your ceiling fan to run in the reverse direction. This will then push the warmer air down and leave you feeling toasty.

6. Open up that oven. Break out your cookbook and bust open your oven. Use this kitchen appliance as much as you can in these next few months. Try using it to whip up some tasty meals and then after cooking, let your oven door sit open. This will give off a substantial amount of heat and keep your kitchen feeling cozy.

7. Take advantage of your other appliances. If you have a dishwasher, or a washer/dryer, run them when you’re home. These household appliances kick off a lot of heat and you should be there to relish the warmth.

8. Heat up with a humidifier. Not only will using one of these prevent chapped lips and dry skin, but it will also make your home feel warmer. Moist air feels warmer than dry air does, and thus, a humidifier will make a cooler temp. feel more comfortable.

9. Use a rug to get snug. Here’s a fun fact for you- as much as 10% of a home’s heat is lost through bare floors. So, what should you do? Scope out a reasonable rug that will prevent the heat from escaping!

10. Increase the temp. with tin foil. Place tin foil behind your radiators, space heaters, or heating vents to reflect heat back into your house.

Have any other tips on how to stay warm without racking up your utilities bill? Tweet us at @CEHDugrad! 

Photo Cred: Six Sweaters, Candles, Humidifier, Fireplace

DIY: Minnesota Cutouts


If you’re looking for a study break, weekend project, or an early start on holiday gifts, you’re in the right place. These state cutouts are almost as fun to make as they are cute! IMG_6921


  • 2 pieces of card stock or scrapbooking paper (any color)
  • Tracing paper
  • Printed outline of state
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Heart stickers
  • Scissors/ X-acto knife


1. Find an outline of Minnesota (or a state of your choice) by advanced Google searching black and white images. Print.


2. Once you have your outline, use tracing paper to make an outline. Cut to size and tape to the card stock you plan to make your cutout of.


3. Using your scissors, carefully cut around the outline.


4. Once you have your outline, heat up the glue gun and secure your cutout to the second piece of card stock.


5. Top off your creation with a heart sticker in the place that you call home.


You’re done! Frame your creation and display your Minnesota pride. Almost any kind of paper can be used to make this, so use your imagination. The only modification needed is to substitute a glue stick instead of hot glue when working with lighter paper.


What did you think? Show us your creations by tagging @CEHDugrad on Instagram or Twitter. Check out our Pinterest page for more Minnesota love, college tips, and UMN happenings!

*Inspiration for this post is credited to

16 Gifs That Describe Exactly How We Feel about Beating Iowa

GOPHER FOOTBALL BROUGHT HOME THE BACON AGAINST IOWA. This border battle has existed for well over 100 years, leaving the victorious team to take home the highly-esteemed bronze pig statue. Today, Floyd of Rosedale returned to Minnesota for only the fifth time since 2000 and we couldn’t be more excited.

Here’s a little sampling of how we feel.

Today’s 51-14 win makes for one exciting day to be a Gopher. Ski U Mah!

Gif sources: TwilightSnuggieMinionsLady and the BaconWill SmithPig and strawBacon treeDancing girlUP!ShakeDydrekBaconMaxwellVictory DanceTeacup pigDancing Bacon, Border

Registration Tools

We aren’t going to tell you that registration is stressful– you already know. As if picking out classes isn’t stressful enough, avoiding scheduling conflicts and meeting graduation requirements is about as easy as a Monday without coffee. Thankfully, One Stop offers tons of tools that will make this registration the easiest yet.

Class Schedule

Need to take a Sports Management class but don’t know what ones will work with your schedule? Class Schedule is the first place to turn when you want to see all the times and days of every class in a department.

USE THIS IF: you want to see all the classes in a specific department, as well as the days and times they’re offered.

Class Search

If Class Schedule were Google, Class Search would be the advanced search. Here you are able to make your search more specific and include preferences like the days you want to have class, campus location, online or offline, level range, and credit range. You can also search by professor and keyword. If you’re interested in yoga, for example, seeing what yoga classes the university offers is only a click away.

USE THIS IF: you need to find a class that meets almost any specifications you may have!

Course Guide

Pre-reqs, descriptions, and workload, oh my! Course Guide gives you the information behind the name. Using Course Guide, you can discover the course’s professor, grading basis, and even how many pages you’ll be expected to read each week.

USE THIS IF: you want to figure out exactly what’s behind a course’s name. 

University Catalog

Whether you’re considering a different major or just checking which options fulfill your requirements, University Catalogs is the place to look. If you’re looking further than undergraduate, you can also check out the U’s graduate programs.

USE THIS IF: you want to explore major requirements and graduate programs.

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If you aren’t using APAS report, simplify your life and log on. APAS is the same tool that advisors use to make sure your course requirements are being fulfilled. Using APAS is as simple as following a stoplight: anything green is good to go and anything red alerts you of an unfulfilled requirement. Find out more about using APAS here!



Graduation Planner is a resource that allows you to map out your semester. Once you have decided the classes you plan on taking to fulfill your course requirements, plug them into Grad Planner. This tool helps you map out how many credits to take as well as how you will balance your course load. It also shows potential schedule layouts so you can map out your classes (although Class Search or Class Schedule are the most accurate places to look to find exact times.) The best feature of Grad Planner may be its ability to run an APAS report on your planned classes. It’s also nice to be prepared for an advising appointment with your Grad Planner filled out to help both you and your advisor see how you plan to satisfy graduation requirements.

USE THIS IF: you need to map out more than one semester of classes.

*These tools are great aids to the registration process, but remember the importance of checking in with an advisor to ensure that everything is correct.

Happy registration!

Post-Halloween Cleaning Hacks

Now that your haunted Halloween bash has ended, deep cleaning your apartment is highly recommended. Your place may be filthy, but we have the fix. Just keep reading to find out about our tidy-up tricks! 

1. Did a side dish explode and leave your microwave messy? Simply fill a glass with water and a few slices of lemon and place it in your microwave. Run the microwave until the water starts to boil. Then, let the glass sit and steam in the microwave for a moment before opening the door. This will loosen up all of the substance buildup in your microwave and make it much easier to wipe up the mess. Your microwave will be spick and span in 5 minutes and you won’t have to worry about scrapping away any spots.

2. Stop the scrubbing. Got gunk on your glass bakeware? Try cleaning it with aluminum foil and just a dab of dish soap. Roll the aluminum foil up into an itsy, bitsy ball and begin. Your glassware should sparkle in no time!

3. Speed up your slow drain. If Shaggy crashed your Halloween party and accidentally spilled the remainder of Scooby’s snacks down your sink, it may be draining a bit slower. To fix this, drop 4 Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain and then trail that with 1 cup of distilled vinegar. If you wait about 10 minutes and then proceed to rinse the drain with boiling water, you should be good to go. (There will be no reason to complain about your drain anymore!)

4. See ya later, lipstick stain. Although no one knows how that ruby red lipstick ended up on your bathroom wall, you still have to get it off. So, try spraying the stubborn spot with hairspray, let it sit for a good 10 minutes, firmly dab the area with a damp rag, and then continue to clean it as you normally would. This little trick is my personal favorite, and I promise that it works!

5. Go away, grease! GASP! Next to the lipstick stain, you also found a greasy handprint. Now what? Completely coat the grease stain with white chalk and then sit back and relax for a couple of minutes. After a few minutes have passed, wipe the chalk away with a damp washcloth and prepare to be amazed. Voilà, the grease will be gone!

6. The water rings were where? Forgot to use coasters? Have no fear, we know the cure for that. To get water rings off of your wood furniture, all you have to do is soak up the excess moisture with a towel and then break out your handy, dandy blow dryer. If you blast the damp spot with your hair dryer, these wet rings should disappear within a matter of minutes. 

7. See no stains. It isn’t a Halloween bash until someone spills punch on the cream carpet, right? Right. But the real question is, how do you remove this wicked stain? Try dosing it with a mixture of 2 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Proceed to lay a damp washcloth over the affected area and then take a hot iron to the cloth. Note that you should set the iron on a steam setting and place it over the washcloth for approximately 30 seconds. This trick produces results fairly quick!

8. Broken glass? No biggie. To accompany the punch stain left on your cream carpet, there was also a glass broken in the kitchen. What’s the best way to ensure that all of the scattered pieces have been picked up? Take a slice of white bread to the mess! By carefully pressing the piece of bread over the area, even the tiniest remnants of glass will be removed from your floor. (Sigh of relief!)

We hope these Halloween cleaning hacks are of help to you, and that our blog post taught you something new!

Photo Cred: Microwave, Stop Scrubbing, Alka-Seltzer!, Lipstick Stain, Greasy Handprints, Water Rings, Spilled Punch, Bread & Broken Glass, Soap