MN Lawmakers Visit EAST Program Scholars

CUE Site Visit Photo

On December 11th, 2015, Sen. Kari Dziedzic, along with Sen. Greg Clausen (an Augsburg alum!) and Rep. Jim Davnie, visited with faculty and students from Augsburg’s East African Student to Teacher program (EAST).

Speaking on behalf of the program were Peg Finders (Education Dept. Chair), Audrey Lensmire, (EAST Program Director), and Yodit Tesfaye (EAST Program Assistant).

Four EAST Scholars were selected to explain why they chose the teaching profession and what the CUE fund has meant for them.

Abdiasis Hirsi, who was born in Somalia and spent several years in Kenya before coming to Minnesota, told guests about founding a school in Kenya. With minimal supplies and very little money, Abdiasis played the role of teacher, counselor, administrator, and facilities manager. He is now a co-president of EASTSA, a student association founded and run by EAST scholars, and is pursuing a K-12 ESL license. Abdiasis credited the program’s flexible credit load and Augsburg’s centralized location as vital to his success.

Ebenezer K. Flomo, a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Education program, is pursuing a Secondary Education licensure in Social Studies. Ebenezer spoke about the importance of helping non-native speakers better understand academic tests. He praised Lensmire and Tesfaye for bringing in tutors to provide added support for students preparing to take the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE).

Ayan Mohamed, an undergraduate studying to be a high school English teacher, talked about the value of the program’s bi-monthly seminars. “Building a sense of community has been so important to all of us,” said Ayan. “The meetings provide a place for us to come together, gain a sense of belonging, and encourage one another in our studies and in our lives.” Ayan also noted that teachers with a broader cultural background “are more prepared to help students navigate cultural misunderstandings.”

Osman Hasan, who holds an undergraduate degree in political science and has extensive experience as a connector between the Somali community, local government, and nonprofit organizations, felt right at home amongst the lawmakers. Noting the high demand for teachers of color in the state of Minnesota, Osman spoke about taking his talent for advocacy to the classroom to inspire more students to pursue the education field.

Representative Jim Davnie, an advocate for Augsburg’s inclusion in the CUE bill, credited the Somali community for organizing around the topic of teacher diversity and presenting the issue to state leaders. Davnie also applauded Augsburg’s leadership and Education faculty for ensuring that the EAST program was indeed a success.

The EAST Program was a recipient of funds from the 2013 Collaborative Urban Educator (CUE) appropriation. Augsburg College wishes to thank all of the legislators who worked to make  the CUE  fund and the EAST program a reality.

To learn more about EAST, click here.


EAST Scholars Speak at National Symposium

NCTE Photo 1

In November, three of Augsburg College’s EAST Scholars were invited to Washington, DC to speak at the Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English. The symposium shared the remarkable efforts of teachers, schools, and communities in Massachusetts and Minnesota. Challenging superficial models of diversity in literacy and teacher education, Augsburg’s EAST Scholars joined other featured speakers in discussing innovative approaches in recruiting, training, and retaining teachers from historically marginalized groups and developing transformative campus-to-community pipelines over the long term. The EAST session was titled “Radical Education for Teacher Education and Learning.”

The goal of the EAST Program (East African Student to Teacher) is to recruit, retain, and license highly qualified students of East African descent who wish to become K-12 teachers. The EAST Program is funded by the State of Minnesota’s Collaborative Urban Educator appropriation and receives additional support from the Marbrook Foundation. To learn more about EAST, click here.

Appearing on behalf of Augsburg College were (L to R) Audrey Lensmire, Program Director; Ayan Mohamed, EAST Scholar; Yodit Tesfaye, Program Assistant; Abdiasis Hirsi, EAST Scholar; and Ebenezer Flomo, EAST Scholar.

Six Auggies Awarded Scholarships from Institute for Mexicans Abroad

IME Becas Award Ceremony


On November 20th, 2014, Consul Alberto Fierro Garza of the Consulate of Mexico in Saint Paul and Guido Arochi, Deputy Director General of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME), presented an IME Fellowship Program grant to Augsburg College to benefit Mexican or Mexican-American students.

Augsburg College will provide a 1:1 match of these scholarship funds, thus providing a total of $24,000 for six current students with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status.

“Our DACA students inspire us with their resilience and challenge us to stay true to our mission,” said Dulce Monterrubio, Director of Latin@ Student Services. “These funds will assist DACA students by closing the gap in tuition, fees, and out-of-pocket cost so that they can direct their energy and talents towards their studies, internships, and research endeavors.”

Pictured (L to R): Jay D. Peterson, Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations; Miriam Villaldama Lopez (Women’s Studies, ’16); Alan Medina-Gonzalez (Chemistry, ’16); Dulce Monterrubio, Director of Latin@ Student Services; Lori Peterson, Assistant Vice President, Dean of Professional and Graduate Studies; Gabriela Monge Lagunes (Social Work, ’15)

Not Pictured: Julio Velazco Silvar (Pre-Engineering, ’17), Jose Guadarrama (Mathematics, ’16), and Bryan Sanchez Valencia (Psychology, ’17)

U.S. Bank Supports the Center for Science, Business, and Religion and Student Vets at Augsburg College

Vets Lounge - US Bank and Augsburg College 3

Augsburg College and U.S. Bank celebrated the opening of a new campus Veterans’ Lounge with a dedication ceremony on November 10th, 2014.

The newly renovated Veterans’ Lounge, located in Room 110 of Oren Gateway Center, honors the contributions that student veterans have made to their country. The lounge will host meetings with veteran support staff and features a veteran recognition wall, a computer workstation, a study area, and other resources and materials.

Speaking on behalf of Augsburg were Student Veteran Representative Eric Olson (Army), Keenan O’Neill (Marine Corps), and Josh Pauer (Army). Several other student, staff, and faculty veterans were also on hand for the ceremony.

Representing U.S. Bank was Paul Peel, an Army veteran, along with Jennie Carlson, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Deborah Burke, Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations, and Rebekah Fawcett, Vice President of Employee Relations. Peel, a 2012 graduate of Augsburg’s Master’s in Business Administration program who now works in U.S. Bank’s Corporate Trust division, was excited to be able to connect with current Augsburg student vets.

U.S. Bank recently pledged $125,000 toward the building of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion at Augsburg College. The college has recognized U.S. Bank’s substantial contribution to the campaign by granting naming rights to the new Veterans’ Lounge.

U.S. Bank and Augsburg College are both nationally recognized as top supporters of veterans and military families. For its ongoing efforts to provide transitioning veterans the best possible experience in higher education, from navigating benefits and financial aid to securing an internship, Augsburg was named a 2015 Military Friendly® School.

To learn more about the Veterans’ Lounge and other Veterans’ support services, please email or call 612-330-1151.

Pictured above (L to R) outside of the Veterans’ Lounge in Oren Gateway Center: U.S. Bank’s Paul Peel (’12) and  Board of Regent member Jennie Carlson, Senior Vice President of Human Resources; with Augsburg’s President Paul Pribbenow, VA Certifying Officials Shannon Kasperson and Lori York, and student vets from Augsburg College.

Campus Kitchen Reaps New Awards

Program Overview

Augsburg College Campus Kitchen was founded in 2002, and is currently the most comprehensive Campus Kitchen organization in the United States. Augsburg is one of only two colleges in Minnesota that offer this program.  Augsburg Campus Kitchen provides 18,000 meals annually to the surrounding neighborhoods, mostly derived from overages in Augsburg’s dining services—food that would otherwise go to waste.

Collage of CK Photos

Foundation Support

The success and growth of Augsburg College Campus Kitchen is strongly supported by local corporations, who value the opportunity for their employees to engage more deeply with their communities, and live their values as corporations. Ameriprise Financial awarded Campus Kitchen a $5,000 grant in September 2014. Ameriprise understands that small nonprofits require consistent streams of general operating support, and has supported Campus Kitchen since 2009.


Land O’Lakes also awarded Campus Kitchen a $10,000 grant in October 2014. Land O’Lakes supports programs that alleviate food insecurity. This is the first grant award from Land O’Lakes for Campus Kitchen. Thank you!


Augsburg College Campus Kitchen 2013 Impact

17,000 meals served per year

14,000 pounds of produce recovered

30,000 pounds of produce gleaned from local Farmer’s Markets

100 visits to the campus food pantry

6 community partners

3,000 volunteer hours contributed

360 dedicated volunteers

100 community garden plots

13,000 pounds grown in the community garden


Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) Awards $12,000 in Scholarships

IME LogoThe Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul and the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) have awarded $12,000 in scholarships to students currently enrolled at Augsburg College.

The IME Fellowship Program recognizes colleges and universities who have pledged complimentary grants as part of a commitment to facilitating the enrollment and educational success of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

Dulce Monterrubio, Director of Latino Student Services, and a group of faculty, staff, and students, will attend a November 20th ceremony to accept the award.


Great Lakes Guaranty Corp Awards Augsburg College $150,000

WebHorizontalAugsburg College is one of 10 Minnesota colleges to receive a grant award from Great Lakes, Augsburg will use newly available funds to convert previously unpaid internships into paid placements that support learning on and off campus.  Several Augsburg students are already taking part in this program.  One student is interning on-campus with the marketing and communications department.

The Great Lakes Career Ready Internship Grant was created in recognition that internships are both an important workforce recruiting strategy and a key way for students to gain practical, academically-connected career knowledge. Understanding that students who demonstrate financial need are often unable to pursue internships for financial reasons, the purpose of the Career Ready Internship Program is to create funded internship opportunities for these students and enable them to succeed in these opportunities. This program will support 30-35 student internships during the 2014-2015 academic year.

The grant award garnered media coverage in the Star Tribune article, “Giving beat: Great Lakes Higher Ed gives $5.2 million for internship grants,” and the Inside Philanthropy story, “Graduating Is Not Enough: How This Funder Is Backing Student Career Readiness.”