Category Archives: Student Profile

The 411 on the Society for Human Resource Management

This interview spotlights the Society for Human Resource Management as well as Laura Heinzen’s role as the President of this student group. Looking to learn more about SHRM and how it can have a positive impact on your life? Then check out the following post, CEHD!

How did you get involved in SHRM?

My academic advisor recommended it to me, so I attended a meeting on a whim. I liked it so much, I kept coming back!

Describe your role as President of this student group.

As president, I coordinate all of the speakers and meetings, and oversee the director of membership, director of finance, and vice president. Basically, I make sure everything is running smoothly!

How is this student group making a difference in your life?

I always leave SHRM meetings feeling so rewarded. It has really helped me feel more confident, and has made my college experience so much better.

How is being a part of this student org. helping to prepare you for your future career?

Before I joined SHRM, I was didn’t know what Human Resources was all about and if it was right for me. After I went to a few meetings, I finally felt like I had found a place where I could share my passions with others, and I knew HR was the right path for me. In addition, most all of the speakers who come to our meetings are directly linked to hiring decisions at their companies, so it’s a great (but not scary!) networking opportunity!

What is your favorite SHRM-related memory? SHRM 3

One of my favorite memories was last semester when there was a speaker at a meeting who gave us advice the entire time. Not only was this some of the most useful and inspiring advice, the speaker who was presenting was also very funny! We were all laughing so hard the entire time, and still bring it up as one of our favorites.

How would you describe this student group to someone who has never heard of it?

We are a group of students who are interested in learning about Human Resources, making lasting friendships, and creating a network of professionals who can help you in your future career.

What volunteer activities and social networking events does the Society for Human Resource Management group engage in?

This semester, we have done a few volunteer activities. We partnered with another student group on campus and worked at People Serving People, helping to renovate a homeless shelter. We are continually hosting events, and have big things in the works for next fall!

What personal/professional qualities do members of SHRM possess?

Our members are so friendly. We are not one of those “exclusive” clubs that looks down on new members; instead, we embrace them! I feel so lucky to be a part of such a special group on campus.

Describe a typical member meeting.

A typical meeting includes an HR professional speaking about his or her experience in Human Resources, specifically about what his/her particular area of HR includes and what a typical day looks like for him/her. There is usually socializing before and after between members, and food during the meeting!

What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to join the Society for Human Resource Management?

Email us at! We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have, and we always love having new people come to our meetings. Don’t be intimidated because it’s in Carlson or because you might not know anyone—SHRM will no doubt surprise you!

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


Get involved!! I have made so many friendships as a result of joining clubs, and have learned so many useful things in a fun way. Even if you are unsure about joining a club/student organization, I urge you to try it out a few times. It might surprise you, and the members are usually very welcoming!

Continue reading The 411 on the Society for Human Resource Management

Here’s What the President of SMA Had to Say

This interview spotlights the Sports Management Association and the role Keegan Zimprich plays as one of the Presidents of this student group. If you want to learn more about SMA and how being a part of it can impact your campus experience in a positive way,  read on!

How did you get involved in SMA?

I initially got involved in SMA at the beginning of my Freshman year. I went to a meeting with a friend who was also interested in a career in sports and was hooked after just one meeting.

Describe your role as one of the Presidents of this student group.

As President, I oversee the executive board and try to ensure that all members are given a valuable experience each time that we meet.

How is being a part of this organization making a difference in your life?

SMA is providing me with ample opportunities to gain knowledge about the vast industry of sports. I also have established many great contacts to network with in the greater Twin Cities area that will undoubtedly prove to be valuable in the near future.

How is being a part of the Sports Management Association helping to prepare you for your future career?

As previously mentioned, SMA is helping me prepare for my career by giving me the opportunity to establish contacts in the sports industry and the opportunity to form relationships with other UMN students who I may be working with in the future.

What is your favorite SMA-related memory?

This past fall when the group toured the “New Vikings Stadium Preview Center” in downtown Minneapolis. We got to see to-scale models of suites and gathering spaces, as well as renderings of what the downtown east area will look like following construction of the stadium.

How would you describe this student group to someone who has never heard of it?                                                               

The above picture is of this year’s SMA intramural volleyball team.

SMA is a student group designed to give students an environment to learn more about the highly-competitive sports industry in a hands-on way. Perhaps the greatest benefit of being in SMA is the opportunity to network with industry professionals and other UMN students who are also interested in pursuing a career in the sports industry.

What volunteer activities and social events does this group engage in?

Besides our bi-weekly meetings, SMA is involved in intramural leagues around campus. In the past year, we have also attended a Wolves game as a group and plan to attend a Twins game later this spring.

What accomplishment(s) is SMA most proud of?

Our ability to foster growth in members, all while having fun and gaining valuable knowledge.

What personal/professional qualities do members of this student group possess?

The group is made up of exceptional students who are eager to grow and gain knowledge of the sports industry.

Describe a typical member meeting.

The meeting will begin with a brief overview of what’s going on in the group, including future events and opportunities. We then hand the meeting over to the guest speaker who takes up much of the time. Before the meeting ends, we hold a Q&A session with the guest speaker.

Does SMA provide students with networking opportunities?

Absolutely. Students have the chance to network with the industry professionals who come in as our guest speakers, as well as other students at the U who have similar career interests as them.

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

This photo features a few of the SMA board members with the Little Brown Jug!
This photo features a few of the SMA board members with the Little Brown Jug!

Get involved! College is not just about the learning that takes place in the classroom. In order to be a well-rounded individual upon graduation, students need to have experience and knowledge that can only be found outside of the classroom. Find a group that interests you and don’t hesitate to get involved.

Continue reading Here’s What the President of SMA Had to Say

CEHD Study Abroad: Puerto Rico

It’s been said that travel is the best way to learn about yourself and the world around you, and over winter break, three participants in CEHD’s  Puerto Rico: Diversity and Social Capital Under the Sun program did just that.

1ae26c_f3372636dacd4e13b8f57cbd3f7ef329.jpg_srz_157_157_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzLeidy Kasper is a CEHD senior who is majoring in Family Social Science with a minor in public health.


1ae26c_6db1d2e24963440982a1d9e23e4fa29a.jpg_srz_159_159_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzChloe Villegas is a CLA senior who is majoring in African American & African Studies with a minor in public health.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 10.42.59 PMMegan Pieters isn’t a student, but instead involved in the UMN community as a coordinator for the CEHD America Reads program.

Read on to find why each participant– whether a CEHD student, CLA student, or university employee– chose this CEHD  program as their way of exploring the world.

Why did you decide to attend a Global Experience Opportunity program?  What drew you to Puerto Rico, specifically?

LK- I wanted to experience studying abroad at least once in my undergraduate career without being gone for an entire semester. What drew me to Puerto Rico was the program’s topic of social capital and diversity, which I thought was closely related to my field of study and personal interests. I also liked that our program leader was a native Puerto Rican, which made me feel that we would learn authentic information about the diversity and culture of Puerto Rico. Also, Puerto Rico is a beautiful island and who wouldn’t want to spend winter break in 70-degree weather?

CV- Last spring, I was offered a study abroad scholarship through the African American & African studies department . That same day, I found the Diversity and Social Capital Program in Puerto Rico on the learning abroad website and I was so excited, I was probably the first one to sign up! What drew me to Puerto Rico specifically was my personal interest in Puerto Rican history and culture, given that my father’s parents are from the island and my ties to the heritage. I really wanted to gain a deeper understanding of my ancestral history and what was it that made my community so proud to be Puerto Rican.

MP- I learned about the new GEO course in Puerto Rico from an email. The topic, diversity and social capital, aligned with my personal and professional interests. I was also interested in Puerto Rico specifically, because I minored in Spanish and hoped to gain (or regain) some Spanish skills there. As soon as I sat down with the program leader and got my questions answered, I knew I was in!

Photos by Megan Pieters
What was the most meaningful thing you learned on the trip?

LK- Diversity manifests itself in many different ways. Diversity can come from a mixture of different categories working together. Although Puerto Rico is just one place, there are a plethora of different ecosystems, plants, and people that inhabit the island. Each piece of the island is important and contributes to what makes the island diverse and unique.

CV- The most meaningful thing I learned on the trip was the strong value of community in Puerto Rico. Before leaving for Puerto Rico, our instructor Dr. Maria Pabon encouraged building community among each other in the group and I am glad we did because that is the way of the island. Despite the socioeconomic reality for many of the communities we visited, there were always people outside, sharing a meal, enjoying the beach, and just having a strong gratitude for living life surrounded by loved ones.

MP- In addition to learning more about the complex relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, I learned a lot about the power of language on the trip. By that I am referring to several facets of language- that which allows or prevents communication with others and access to resources, the ways in which we engage in dialogue, and the words we choose to identify ourselves and others.

Photos by Chloe Villegas

What were your favorite activities abroad? 

LK- One of the places that I enjoyed visiting the most was the Bioluminescent Bay. We kayaked through a narrow canal at night, to get to a bay, which has microorganisms that glow when they are moved. Visiting the Capitol building in San Juan was another of my favorite activities.

CV- My favorite activities abroad were the many guided tours we embarked on: museums, government sites and buildings, historical sites and cities, and nature tours. Most importantly visiting various beautiful beaches and stuffing my face with delicious Puerto Rican food (especially the fried Frituras.)

MP- I think I had the most laughs on a group excursion, kayaking the bioluminescent bay. I also loved paddle boarding, visiting the rainforest, exploring the cave systems, and everything we did outdoors!

Photos by Leidy Kasper
Photos by Leidy Kasper

Ready to have an international adventure of your own? The Puerto Rico program is expected to be held again over winter break 2015-16. For information on learning abroad programs and how they fit into a CEHD education , visit the CEHD Learning Abroad website or email

Student photos are credited to the program’s official blog.

The Scoop on the CEHD Undergraduate Student Board

This interview  with Ms. Courtney Koplien spotlights Courtney’s experiences as the president of CEHD’s Undergraduate Student Board, provides general information about the board, and touches on how to make the most of your campus experience.

How did you get involved with this organization?

I joined the board as a freshman! I knew I wanted to get involved in some sort of club on campus to start meeting new people and getting my feet wet in college, and this seemed right up my alley. I had been a part of student council in high school, so when I talked to some advisors at Welcome Week, this seemed like a good mix of past knowledge and new experience!

Describe your role as President of the board.

As President of the board I oversee all of the board’s actions. We went into the year with goals we wanted to accomplish and events that we wanted to put on, and executing those events is part of my role. I have worked with Career Services and the CEHD Alumni Society to plan career workshops and networking opportunities for students. Another duty of mine is to oversee the members of the board and make sure everyone is involved and informed. I am so lucky to have a great team to work with this year who bring so many creative ideas to the table and who are willing to put time in to creating flyers and posting on social media, as well as doing some behind the scenes work.

What is your favorite memory from your years on the board?

During Homecoming this year we handed out free donuts to students and staff! We had a great turn out and gave away 500 donuts! Everyone on the board was able to be there for part of the time and it was a great way to bond, as well as talk to our fellow classmates and brighten everyone’s morning!

Homecoming Breakfast
This picture is from this year’s Homecoming donut breakfast.

How would you describe the Undergraduate Student Board to someone who has never heard of it?           

The CEHD Undergraduate Student Board is a club that works to better the lives of students in CEHD by helping boost their professionalism, aid in networking and putting on fun events to unite the college.

What special projects has the board worked on in the past? Are there any upcoming initiatives that you’re excited about?

Every year we work with Career Services to put on some career workshops where students can come in and learn how to enhance their professional skills. This year we are hosting 3 workshops: Resume and Cover Letter Writing Workshop (2/4 from 10:30-11:30, 325 EdSci), BrandU Online, which focuses on working on your online appearance to employers (2/9, 2:30-3:30, 330 EdSci) and Mock Interviews (2/17, 11:00-12:30, 330 EdSci). We also host an Alumni Networking Event, which is our most important event of the year! Students come in and connect with CEHD alumni and ask questions about their major and potential career fields! That event is February 25, 5:30-7:30 in the Mississippi Room at Coffman. Additionally, we can be found giving out free food on the Knoll to students during Homecoming and the week before finals each semester!

What accomplishment(s) is the board most proud of?

This year I think we are all proud of our increased number of members and the initiative our members are taking. We have had a lot of great discussions about what the students of CEHD can benefit from and how we can help the community and it has been really great! Plus, hearing how our events have made an impact on the lives of CEHD students always makes us happy and proud to know we are doing our job!

What makes a good board member?

A good board member has to be self-motivated and responsible. We provide many opportunities for the members of our board to get involved with the process of posting on social media, marketing our events, designing spirit wear and banners and networking. We appreciate those members of the board who take initiative when opportunities arise and can be trusted to get the job done!

What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to get involved (with the Undergraduate Student Board)?                 

This photo was taken 2 years ago at an alumni networking event.
This photo was taken 2 years ago at an alumni networking event.

Getting involved is such an important thing to do at this point in our lives and I think that the CEHD Undergraduate Student Board is a great place to do that! With many different roles and opportunities there is always something to do. Plus, it is a great way to practice your social and professional skills! If you are looking to get involved with the CEHD Undergraduate Student Board you can email us at We meet every other Wednesday night from 7:00-8:00pm. You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@cehd_usb) or Instagram (@cehdusb) to keep up with our latest events and happenings in CEHD!

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

As soon as I got involved on campus, my college experience skyrocketed. Getting involved with the board helped me practice my professional skills and allowed me to meet new people. When I got more involved during my classes (and stopped being scared about raising my hand) I felt like I got more out of my education and connected more with my professors. By getting an on-campus job I felt more connected to the inner-working of the university and expanded my social circle. Getting involved and immersing myself in whatever I do has worked for me to truly make the most of every opportunity that has been presented to me.

Why are you enrolled in CEHD? What do you love most about the College of Education and Human Development?

CEHD houses my major, Kinesiology. CEHD is a tight-knit community that I feel so connected to. I feel like I can, and have, made relationships with students and staff in the college that I would not be able to do in another college. Being able to communicate with others has been a great part of my experience in CEHD.

Fun fact about yourself?

I am a Kinesiology major and will be graduating this spring! After graduation I will be starting Physical Therapy School in the summer here at the U! I am so happy to be staying here in Minneapolis and I am thrilled to be a gopher for 3 more years!

This picture features Courtney (in black) and her Vice President, Sarah Minsky (in maroon).
This picture features Courtney (in black) and her Vice President, Sarah Minsky (in maroon).

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.

Meet Mateo Fischer

Mateo FischerMateo Fischer is a sophomore from New York studying sports management in CEHD. Fischer, is more than just a student, however. His blog, Observing Baseball, ranks among the top twenty MLB fan blogs.

What is your background in sports? How did you get involved in baseball?

I was a student manager for my high school baseball team and I started with my baseball blog because a high school English teacher had us do an extra credit assignment writing a recap of a World Series game. I was so thorough that she actually gave me extra credit on my extra credit assignment. She then recommended that I write more about baseball. I had always hated writing, but for my sixteenth birthday, I opened a baseball blog to try it out and then just kept on going with it for a years after that.

What does your job as the author of Observing Baseball entail?861202_542521229166080_463808807_o

It is a personal blog, so I just write whatever I want to about baseball. This mostly entails my adventures going around to baseball stadiums and catching baseball, but I write about other things such as when I went to statistical analysis conferences and general baseball things during the winter when baseball is in its offseason.

What are your career goals?

Ever since I was in the third grade, I have said that I have wanted to be a general manager of a baseball team, so that is why I went into sports management at Minnesota.

What has been your favorite moment as a baseball blogger?


My favorite moment as a baseball blogger is probably when I got free ticket to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference because I had taken pictures the previous year and the conference organizers actually used the pictures for their purpose and thanked me by giving me a complimentary ticket to the conference the next year.

Congratulations for being selected as on of the top MLBlogs. Can you tell us a little bit more about this achievement?

Every year does their rankings for the year in terms of all of the blogs that are on their network in terms of page views. There are over 100 fan blogs on the network, and for the 2013 calendar I was in the top 20 for the fan blogs in terms of page views which was as a result of at that point three years of building a fan base.

What’s your favorite stadium/ baseball team?


Although I am from New York, I am a Twins fan and my favorite stadium is Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I was initially a Yankees fan, but evolved to become a Twins fan because I could appreciate them more from a general manager’s perspective.

How is the UMN Sports Management program helping you develop your career?

It helps immensely with forming connections in the sports industry and preparing myself for a career in the industry/baseball operations.

Homecoming King Candidate Barflaan Tedoe

Happy Homecoming, Minnesota! Homecoming week officially kicks off tomorrow with Goldy’s Homecoming Kickoff from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Coffman Front Plaza, but we’re starting our celebration early by talking to the lone CEHD homecoming king candidate, Barflaan Tedoe.


What is your major?

I’m currently double majoring is Sports Management and Journalism.

What activities are you involved in at the U?

I’m involved in MSA (Minnesota Student Association) as an At-Large Representative; an Assistant Admissions Counselor in the AdmissionsOffice; a peer mentor in the Huntley House for African American males, a Living Learning Community; Gopher TV, a student driven journalism group; a general member of the Black Student Union; a Co-Chair of PRISM (Poised Revolutionary Individuals Saving the Media;) and The Roosevelt Institute UMN Chapter which is a policy writing group .

What’s the best class you’ve taken within CEHD? What made it so great?

My favorite class that I took in CEHD was my Principles of Psychology which was co taught by Naim Madyun and Katherine Wambach. The reason why the class was so great they had an extremely interactive lecture, plus they used popular culture references to supplement  the material.

What is your advice for current CEHD students looking to get the most out of their undergrad experience?

I would say make the extra effort to connect with your Professor because they are willing to help all students. I would also stress to students that making connections with people in your classes is a MUST. No one gets through college by themselves.

Give a shout out to this year’s homecoming performers, Walk the Moon and Iggy Azalea!

I am most excited to see IGGY AZALEA; we have actually been dating for 7 months in my mind now so it would be nice to meet up with her again. Honestly I’m excited for Iggy because I was one of her first fans and I tweeted it last year during spring Jam that we should have her for Homecoming and you can check my Twitter account if you need proof.

What is the best part of being on homecoming court?

The best part about being on Homecoming Court is taking part in all of these wonderful events and basically representing the University Of Minnesota. Most importantly I take pride in the University of Minnesota trusting us with the privilege to represent the U on a larger basis.

Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?

I see myself working for E! News or the Today Show in New York and hopefully being a broadcast journalist.

If you could have dinner with any people whom would you pick?

I would choose Kanye West and Barack Obama.

What’s your favorite place to hang out in the Twin Cities?

My favorite place to hangout in the Twin Cities is BY FAR Pizza Luce downtown because the food is always amazing and you meet the most interesting people while eating there.

There you have it, UMN. Show some support for a fellow CEHD student and vote for Barflaan here! Have a wonderful homecoming week and check out our Twitter to enter to win one of two $20 bookstore gift cards!

Recap of Winning the NIT and Interview with Oto Osenieks

“Alright, first things first… when I got the job, everybody said pick them 10th or 11th in the BIG 10. It’s not their year, it’s a total rebuilding job. They’ve got no experience in the point guard spot, and their frontcourt is weak.  Everyone doubted us, and that’s just a fact. It’s okay though. We ended up with 25 wins and we won a championship. Don’t let anyone tell you that this isn’t a big deal.” – Coach Richard Pitino (Source)


This was Coach Richard Pitino’s first season at the U and honestly, many fans thought that this would be a year centered around “rebuilding” his team. Coach Pitino did establish a resilient bond with the young men on his team during this past year, however, he also did much more than that. He accomplished something that many coaches do not, something that he should indeed be proud of. During his first season with a new team, he brought home a championship title. This year the Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the National Invitational Tournament with a final score of 65-63. Minnesota wielded an offense ranked in the top 40, while SMU’s defense ranked in the top 20. The Gophers shot 49 percent from the field and worked hard enough to overcome SMU’s tough D (Source). It was a close game that had fans sitting on the edge of their seats, and Goldy crossing his fingers. Winning the NIT championship game is a major feat for Minnesota, it shows that there is a lot in store for next year’s basketball season. Moreover, it exemplifies that the U is very lucky to have hired Coach Pitino, for with his help, the men’s basketball team surpassed fan expectations for the 2013-2014 basketball season. Minnesota’s men’s basketball team did make history this past year and that’s something to celebrate- go Gophs! Likewise, I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing one of their very own- Oto Osenieks.

Interview with Mr. Oto Osenieks-

Background information- Osenieks was #10 on the court and he measures in at 6 foot 8 inches tall. Originally from Riga, Latvia, Oto Osenieks played as a forward for the U.

1. How do you keep track of everything? What helps you stay organized?

“Well, I normally remember a lot of it- my memory is pretty good. I also write in a daily planner sometimes, and I talk to my tutor. My tutor has a copy of all of my syllabi and that’s really helpful.”

2. How do you manage your time? What do you do to balance school, basketball, and a social life?

“It’s hard to balance these things because we don’t have a weekly schedule for basketball. Normally we find out in the morning what time we will practice later that day, and then I have to plan my day around that. Each day is different. I also have study hall two times a week for an hour and a half each time. School is important to me, and so is basketball. My social life comes third during basketball season, but I am friends with a lot of the guys on my team. We spend a lot of time together during the week, so we’re pretty close. And, I try to spend the weekends with my other friends. I have more free time on the weekends.”

3. What’s your major? What do you like most about it? What type of job are you hoping to get upon graduating?

“I am a Business and Marketing Education major and I am minoring in Sports Management. Some of my CEHD classes are really fun and I like them a lot. Also, I still have access to Carlson classes and I really like that, too. I will graduate this coming May and then I want to go on and continue with schooling. I want to get my Master’s degree in Sports Management. Towards the end of this season, I suffered from a bad knee injury, so I won’t be able to play basketball anymore. But, Coach Pitino has already agreed to let me coach with him next season. During the 2014-2015 basketball season, I will get to help out the team and I’m really excited about that. In the future, I want to coach basketball. And, if that doesn’t work out, I might become an athletic director or maybe even a chef- I love to cook!”

4. Best perk of being a student-athlete?

“Winning (laughs). And, I love the atmosphere on game days!”

5. Favorite memory from the 2013-2014 season?

“My favorite memory from last season is winning the NIT championship. It was an awesome way to end my basketball career, and it’s something that I’ll never forget. I also liked it when we beat Indiana. When the game ended, our fans rushed the court.”

6. Tell me a fun fact about yourself- something most people don’t already know.

“English is not my first language, it’s my third. I speak Latvian, Russian, and English. Oh and it’s funny because watching “Friends” helped me learn how to speak English. I put on English subtitles and then watched all 9 seasons of this show! I moved here five years ago, but before that, I used to wake up and watch U.S. college basketball games. They aired at 4:00 am in Latvia, but I didn’t mind waking up early to watch them. I loved it. I always knew that I wanted to play college basketball. I came here (to the United states) to play college basketball and to earn a degree.”

This is a short video segment which features Coach Pitino giving a S/O to Oto after winning the NIT game against Florida State. Click here to view it-

Osenieks helped lead Minnesota to victory this past year, however, he’s not going to stop there. After wrapping up a legendary basketball season that was filled with 25 wins and five consecutive victories in the NIT tournament, hopes are high for this upcoming year. Both Osenieks and his teammates want to use this NIT championship title as a catalyst to achieve a new, weighty goal during the 2014-2015 bball season. Minnesota wishes to return to the NCAA tournament next year, for that’s what the Gophers did after their previous two NIT championship wins.  After winning the NIT in 1993, Minnesota advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1994. Additionally, the Gophers won the NIT again in 1998, then went on to compete in the famed NCAA tournament in the year 1999 (Source). People often say that history has a way of repeating itself, and in this case, I hope they’re right. Now that Coach Richard Pitino has a year of experience under his belt, no one knows what this beloved team is capable of. If the Gophers work hard and incessantly strive for success, hopefully they can continue to surpass the expectations of their fans. The future for this sports program looks bright, so The Barn better be ready!  Ski-U-Mah!

Richard Pitino

Photo/Video Sources: Pic taken during championship game, Pic taken with the trophy, Video of Pitino’s Speech, Barn

Meet Guest Blogger Mary Russell!

Meet Mary Russell, a Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies senior, who will be serving as a guest blogger on her upcoming trip to Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania! The upcoming trip, which will take place from January 2nd to the 18th, features a weeklong trip where students will summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. Dr. Connie Magnuson, Director of the Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies program, will lead the trip. 

Mary, who is involved in women’s rugby and Cru, is one of fifteen students who will be attending the Tanzania trip over winter break. Russell is a seasoned veteran at traveling abroad, having also studied abroad in Belize with Dr. Mangunson last winter break. To get to know Mary a bit better, we asked her a few questions about her study abroad experience and what she is expecting for her upcoming trip. 

What was your favorite part of the Belize trip?

I’m a certified diver, so getting underwater again was pretty magical. Also, the hikes were a lot of fun!

What made you decide to participate in another study abroad session?

Partly because I caught the travel bug, partly because I needed the next “big thing,” partly because I’ve never been to Africa.

What are you most looking forward to on your Tanzania trip?


What advice do you have for students who are thinking about studying abroad, but worried about the cost or fitting it in their schedules?

DO IT!!! DO IT WHILE YOU CAN!!!! There aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to relay the message I’m trying to convey… apply for scholarships, take on extra shifts at work, beg parents for early Christmas money. Make it work!

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?

Antarctica! It’s on my to-do list, and although it’s high on the list, I have a feeling it’s the least accessible and won’t be crossed off for many, many years.

Photos from Russell’s Belize Trip  MaryRussell

We are wishing Mary and the rest of the CEHD community a great time on all of their study abroad adventures over winter break! We can’t wait to hear more about Mary’s trip next semester.

If you have a study abroad experience of your own that you’d like to feature on the CEHD Undergrad Experience blog, please email us at or get in touch with us on Twitter!

For more information on study abroad opportunities, check out the UMN Learning Abroad Center website!