Acclaimed StepUP Program, staff take on increased national role in reducing stigma

Patrice Salmeri named Executive Director for Recovery Advancement

Patrice Salmeri was appointed to the position of Director of Recovery Advancement for the nationally acclaimed StepUP Program.(MINNEAPOLIS)—Students across the nation who seek to live in recovery from substance use disorders will have greater opportunities for success thanks to the generosity of donors to the Augsburg College StepUP® Program.

“This is a pivotal moment for students in recovery across the nation and how we serve them,” said Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow. “We are poised to leverage our 20-year national reputation as the gold standard in collegiate recovery in enhanced ways: to encourage and shape how other colleges and universities throughout the nation support young people in championing lives of recovery, to work to effect policies and programs that will staunch the opioid epidemic gripping our nation, and to reduce the stigma associated with addiction so that young people can lead lives of meaning.”

Continue reading “Acclaimed StepUP Program, staff take on increased national role in reducing stigma”

Scott Washburn discusses public figures’ privacy with MinnPost

Scott Washburn, assistant director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® program, was one the experts interviewed by MinnPost for an article examining public figures’ right to privacy as well as the rights of the public figures’ significant others. The article examined an overarching theme that probed, “How much of a candidate’s own personal life should be made available for public debate?”

In responding to a question on whether it is appropriate for the mental health or addiction history of a political spouse or other family member to be made public, Washburn argued that sort of political playmaking goes over the line.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate at all,” Washburn said. “The candidate is running, not the family member. The electorate is voting for the candidate, not the family member. The family of a presidential candidate is going to be dragged into the public eye, but I think it’s important to respect some boundaries here. It’s an issue of respect and privacy. The candidate would be fair game from my perspective, but I don’t think family members should be. It just reflects how low things have gone in this political race.

All that being said, if the family member chooses to publically disclose his or her personal history, then that is a different conversation.”

Read additional responses from Washburn in “When is a public figure’s mental health or addiction status off limits?” on the MinnPost site.

Expert: Salmeri available to respond to President Obama’s address on substance abuse disorders, prescription drug addiction

Patrice Salmeri is director of Augsburg's residential collegiate recovery program

MINNEAPOLIS — Patrice Salmeri, director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® Program for students in recovery and President of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, is a national expert available to talk to media about President Barack Obama’s announcement to bolster medial services for persons in recovery from substance abuse disorders.

When: Salmeri is available until 6:30 p.m., beginning immediately following President Barack Obama’s announcement. (Watch President Obama on the White House live stream at 2:15 p.m. EST at https://www.whitehouse.gov/live.)

What: Salmeri can address the importance of eliminating stigma by:

  • Shifting language used to describe these disorders. For instance, rather than using the term “addiction,” shifting to “substance abuse disorders” to recognize that addiction is a medical issue.
  • Treating substance abuse disorders as medical issues, not unlike society responds to diabetes or other chronic medical illnesses.
  • Ensuring those with substance abuse disorders can access mental health and substance use services as readily as other medical services.

How: Call Stephanie Weiss, director of news and media services, at 612.330.1476.

Full Bio: Patrice Salmeri is the Director of the StepUP® Program at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the largest residential collegiate recovery programs in the nation. She also serves as the President of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education.

She is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development specializing in leadership and spirituality, and also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Augsburg teaching courses related to chemical dependency. During Salmeri’s tenure as Director of StepUP, the program has experienced a 250 percent increase in the quantity of young people in recovery pursuing a college education.

In 2011, The U.S. Department of Education appointed Salmeri a Fellow for the United States Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention. In 2013, The Association for Recovery in Higher Education presented Patrice with The Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Collegiate Recovery.

Scott Washburn is interviewed by MinnPost

MinnPostScott Washburn, assistant director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® program and a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, was one of three experts interviewed by MinnPost in an article examining the impact of Minnesota’s legalization of medical marijuana on teens’ views of the drug. Citing multiple studies, the article explains that there is growing concern that recent legalization of the drug will result in a lower perceived risk, which could result in increased teen use.

In the article, Washburn agrees that there is a correlation between the perceived risks associated with using a substance and actual use of it. He references an ongoing University of Michigan study that tracks high school students’ views and habits regarding a variety of substances. In looking at their data on tobacco and marijuana use, he says, “What’s noteworthy is that in 2010, those two lines crossed. Tobacco use started to decline in 1998 continuing up to 2014. But marijuana use continued to go up and eventually was higher than tobacco use.” Washburn attributes this reversal to our culture’s “significant shift in attitude about marijuana use.”

Washburn then outlines his approach to unraveling what teens and students sometimes see as mixed messages, that the drug is medically beneficial while being potentially addictive and harmful. “I tell my students that just because a drug can harm you doesn’t also mean that it can’t help you,” he says in the article. He adds that, “Vicodin and Oxycodone are legal drugs, but just because they are prescribed by physicians for valid reasons doesn’t mean that they can’t be harmful and dangerous when used incorrectly.”

Read: ‘It’s just pot’: Does legalization of medical marijuana change teens’ attitudes about it? on the MinnPost site.

Auggies in 2014 nab international, national, state media spotlight

Top 21 news stories featuring Augsburg faculty, staff, students, alumni

Members of the Augsburg College community were featured in more than 220 international, national, and statewide media stories in 2014. Faculty, students, alumni, friends, and staff shared expertise on scholarship and pedagogy, experience as Auggies, and insight on current and special events. Here we take a look at a very small fraction of the many times Auggies made the news during the year. To see more of the coverage earned by Auggies, visit the News and Media blog on a regular basis and read the “Other Information” section of the Augsburg Weekly archives. Thanks to all those who shared their time and stories and helped put Augsburg at the table on so many topics.

International Stories

  • John Zobitz spoke with the International Business Times.
    John Zobitz spoke with the International Business Times.

    John Zobitz talks to International Business Times: Associate Professor of Mathematics and environmental science researcher John Zobitz helped to answer the question posed by many in the wake of a recent record-setting snowfall in the Buffalo, N.Y. area — Why is it so cold and snowy in November? The reason is global warming, according to Zobitz and other scientists studying the Earth’s climate. Read more about how changes in the Earth’s temperature influence weather patterns on the International Business Times website.

  • Auggies in the Augsburger Allegmeine: Three Auggies were featured in a story in the Augsburger Allegmeine’s series, “We are all Augsburger.” Natalya Brown 14, Kayla Feuchtmann 14, and Jens Pinther 14 shared photos of themselves on campus, their areas of study, and comments about Augsburg College’s namesake with the German newspaper’s Nicole Prestle. See the story on the Augsburger Allegmeine website. Click on the photo in the story to go to a gallery of photos of the three students.

National Stories

Katie Clark, nursing faculty, talked with Girls Life magazine.
Katie Clark, nursing faculty, talked with Girls Life for the August/September issue of the magazine which is read by 2 million girls.
  • Katie Clark in Girls’ Life magazine: Nursing instructor and the director of the Health Commons, Katie Clark, spoke in July with Girls’ Life magazine to answer questions posed by the magazine’s readers. The publication, which has a readership of more than 2 million girls ages 10-15, is sold at many major bookstores throughout the nation. Clark answered a range of questions for the  August/September issue of the magazine.
  • Stephan Eirik Clark all over the place: Augsburg Assistant Professor Stephan Eirik Clark was featured in media across the nation after his debut novel, Sweetness #9, received the “Colbert Bump” on The Colbert Report. In many instances, Augsburg College was mentioned. See a range of the coverage on the News and Media blog under the tag “Stephan Eirik Clark.”
  • Yemi Melka 15 featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education: Yemissrach “Yemi” Melka ’15, a chemistry and international relations student, recently spoke with Beckie Supiano of The Chronicle of Higher Education about Melka’s participation in the Model United Nations. Melka, a Peace Scholar, is interested in exploring how scientists can use their expertise to promote international peacemaking. Listen to “A Science Student Talks Her Way onto the Model UN Team.”
  • Alex Peterson ’16 talks with The Scientist: Augsburg College StepUP student Alex Peterson ’16 was interviewed for the cover story in the February edition of The Scientist magazine for an article titled “Pain and Progress: Is it possible to make a nonaddictive opioid painkiller.” Peterson, a student in Augsburg’s successful StepUP program for students in addiction recovery, shared his story and perspective on opioids. Read the article here.
  • Hans Wiersma in Christian Science Monitor: Hans Wiersma, associate professor of religion, spoke with the Christian Science Monitor about whether a Baptist church in Kansas could continue after the passing of its charismatic founder. Read Wiersma’s comments in the article “Could Westboro Baptist survive without founder Fred Phelps.”

State Stories

Janice Gladden '14, left, graduated with honors in communications.
Janice Gladden ’14, left, graduated with honors in communications.
  • Janice Gladden ’14 talks with WCCO: WCCO profiled the graduation from Augsburg College of Janice Gladden ’14, who left college 35 years earlier. Gladden put on hold the education her father urged her to pursue while her husband developed his baseball-playing career, going from an amateur free agent to major league star. Her husband would become a champion left- and center-fielder for the Minnesota Twins and go on to play in two World Series. She shares the story of returning to pursue her college education, of finishing what she started at the urging of her daughter (also an Auggie), and of her early years working to support her husband. Dan Gladden shares his pride in seeing his wife graduate. Watch the WCCO story, “35 years later, woman who put school on hold for former Twins player graduates.”
  • Tenzin Yeshi Paichang ’16 talks with media: Auggie Tenzin Yeshi Paichang ’16 spoke at length with media in the days before the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Forum about meeting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at several junctures throughout Paichang’s life. Read “Dalai Lama’s visit will be third juncture for Augsburg student,” by Maja Beckstrom, Pioneer PressPaichang also shared his story with WCCO. Watch “Dalai Lama visits Minneapolis for NPPF and Tibetan New Year,” by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield, WCCO. Additional coverage of the NPPF — totaling more than 40 stories — is on the News and Media blog by searching for “NPPF.”
  • President Paul Pribbenow talks to MPR: Minnesota Public Radio’s higher education reporter, Alex Friedrich, visited Augsburg College’s campus to experience a day in the life of an Auggie. Friedrich blogged throughout the day about his experiences and found that Augsburg College has a wide variety of traditions and experiences to offer to its students, faculty, staff and alumni, and also to its neighboring communities, as well. During the visit, he met with Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow to discuss Pribbenow’s vision for the College, his commitment to Augsburg students, and his passion for bow ties. Read “The man leading a changing Augsburg.” More stories from the MPR visit are featured in “MPR offers readers a glimpse into Augsburg College life.”
  • Jennifer Simon talks with KSTP 5: Jennifer Simon, director of Augsburg College’s American Indian Student Services, talked to KSTP TV about the College’s 6th Traditional Powwow. Simon shared highlights of the powwow, including recognition of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for a gift of $250,000 for endowed scholarships to support American Indian students. Watch “Traditional Powwow at Augsburg College Thanks Local Sioux Tribe.”

Stories Featuring Faculty

  • Phil Adamo on set with Diana Pierce at KARE 11.
    Phil Adamo on set with Diana Pierce at KARE 11.

    Phil Adamo on KARE 11: Associate professor of history and director of Medieval Studies at Augsburg College, Phil Adamo, was a guest on KARE 11 on Halloween to talk about the origins of the holiday. Adamo shared with Diana Pierce and viewers how Halloween started as a Celtic festival that celebrated the final harvest and eventually was incorporated into Christian traditions to lure non-Christians into the Church. He also discussed the origins of the bonfire, jack-o-lanterns, and Halloween candy. Watch the segment “Halloween History 101” on KARE.

  • Andy Aoki on KARE 11: Political Science Prof. Andy Aoki spoke with KARE 11 about the importance of creating diverse police departments in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The story, which took a look at local police departments, was being explored in light of recent clashes between the public and police in Ferguson, Missouri. Watch the interview on “Ferguson fallout: Looking at local police diversity.”
  • Joseph Erickson in the Pioneer Press: Professor of education and former member of the Minneapolis school board Joseph Erickson spoke with the paper for perspective on contract talks between the St. Paul Public Schools and the St. Paul Federation of Teachers. Erickson told reporter Mila Koumpilova that the agreement, which averted a strike, represents a “creative mix of contract changes, addendums to the contract and board resolutions.” Read the full story on the Pioneer Press website.
  • Jenny Kluznik 13 in Mpls. St. Paul Magazine: Assistant Professor Jenny Kluznik ’13 MPA, who teaches in the physician’s assistant program, spoke with Mpls. St. Paul Magazine about her decision to return to college so she could join the fast-growing PA field. Kluznik shared her decision to become a PA, why she picked Augsburg College, and shared advice for those considering going back to school. The profile of Kluznik was part of a longer story that explored education needs behind some of Minnesota’s fastest-growing careers. Read “Jenny Kluznik, 33.”
  • spotlight-coverJoyce P. Miller in OR Today: Joyce Miller, an assistant professor of nursing, was profiled in OR Today about her nearly 40-year career as a nurse, transition to the classroom, and work in diverse communities through the Health Commons projects. Miller, DNP, RN, shares in the story her perspective on transcultural nursing, actively listening to the needs of patients, the complexity of healthcare, and the importance of establishing rapport and trust with patients. Read “Spotlight On: Joyce P. Miller, DNP, RN” in the online edition of OR Today.
  • Michael Wentzel on KSTP 5: Mike Wentzel, assistant professor of chemistry at Augsburg College, spoke with KSTP TV about a new study that found marinating meat in dark beer reduces the cancer-causing carcinogens that form when grilling. Wentzel said that a chemical in beer is shown to lessen the formation of harmful molecules during the grilling process and, therefore, can help lower the harm to people who eat grilled meats. Watch the KSTP story “Augsburg chemist: Marinating meat in beer reduces cancer-causing chemicals.”

For more faculty featured in the news, search the Faculty category on the News and Media blog.

Stories Featuring Alumni and Friends

  • Edor Nelson ’38 was presented a special jersey in honor of his 100th birthday.
    Edor Nelson ’38 was presented a special jersey in honor of his 100th birthday.

    StepUP supporters speak with MinnPost: Kevin and Polly Hart, mentors for Augsburg’s StepUP Program, were honored at the annual StepUP Gala for their avid support of the program. The Harts, who have volunteered with StepUP for several years and are in recovery from addiction, were presented the Toby Piper LaBelle Award for their dedication to serving students in recovery. Kevin Hart spoke about the honor and his work with the recovery community in “Sobriety champion Kevin Hart offers financial and emotional support to people in recovery.”

  • Edor Nelson ’38 earns statewide attention: Legendary Auggie coach, athlete and instructor Edor Nelson ’38 died August 27 at the age of 100. Nelson, who led the Auggie football and baseball teams for nearly four decades, died only nine days after a centennial birthday celebration at Augsburg where hundreds of friends and Auggies turned out to honor him. Nelson’s birthday celebration and his death garnered an outpouring of attention thanks to the hard work of staff in the Athletics Departments. See the coverage in “Coach Edor Nelson ’38 honored by community, media.”
  • Kuoth Wiel '13 played a role in The Good Lie featuring Reese Witherspoon.
    Kuoth Wiel ’13 played a role in The Good Lie featuring Reese Witherspoon.

    Amineh Safi 14 in Star Tribune: Star Tribune columnist Gail Rosenblum featured Augsburg College student Amineh Safi ’14 in a recent story examining news coverage of Muslims. In the column, Safi described findings from her research on the portrayal of Muslims in the media and her experiences with diversity in college. Safi’s research opportunity was offered through the McNair Scholars program at Augsburg and conducted under the mentorship of Diane Pike, sociology professor, who also was quoted in the column. Read “Time to look at news coverage of Muslims” on the Star Tribune website.

  • Kuoth Wiel ’13 in national media: Social psychology major Kuoth Wiel ’13, a star in the feature film “The Good Lie,” has garnered a plethora of media coverage. The film, which was released in Minnesota Oct. 17, has been well received and is generating Oscar buzz. Augsburg has received several media mentions thanks to Wiel, both prior to her graduation when the College sought to place her story with media, and since the film’s release. Check out the most recent coverage in “Kuoth Wiel ’13 gains wealth of media coverage.”

Recovery Campus magazine interviews StepUP’s Patrice Salmeri

Recovery-Campus-Issue-4-CoverPatrice Salmeri, director of Augsburg College’s StepUP program, was featured in Recovery Campus magazine to discuss her role as incoming president of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education.

Salmeri, who has overseen the StepUP program since 2002, began her tenure as president of ARHE in June 2014. Taking on the new role while continuing as director of StepUP has her exactly where she wants to be in life.

“This work is my calling; I have no doubt about it,” she said. “It has been confirmed over and over again. I am exactly where I need to be right now.”

Read Salmeri’s story on the Recovery Campus website.

MinnPost features StepUP Gala honorees

KevinKevin and Polly Hart and Polly Hart, mentors for Augsburg’s StepUP Program, were honored at the annual StepUP Gala for their avid support of the program.

The Harts, who have volunteered with StepUP for several years and are in recovery from addiction, were presented the Toby Piper LaBelle Award for their dedication to serving students in recovery.

Kevin, who is also a StepUP advisory board member, said working with the program has been inspiring. “Being a fellow addict and knowing firsthand what these kids have come through, to hear their stories and see them succeeding in college was very uplifting,” he said.

To read the Harts’ article, visit the MinnPost news site.

Augsburg’s StepUP program receives media mention

MinnPostScott Washburn, assistant director for Augsburg College’s StepUP program was mentioned on Minnpost.com.

The StepUP program, which aims to help students with histories of addiction thrive on campus, was mentioned as part of an article about P.E.A.S.E. Academy, which is a similar local program at the high school level.

Washburn, who is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, said that the biggest threat for students dealing with addiction is being around their nearest and dearest on campus. “We know from research as well as experience that the No. 1 relapse trigger is the influence of peers,” Washburn said. 

Visit the MinnPost website to read the article. Learn more about StepUP on its program site.

White Bear Lake couple will be honored Oct. 24 for dedication to addiction recovery community

Kevin and Polly HartHarts to be recognized at StepUP® Program Gala

(MINNEAPOLIS) – Two leaders in the addiction recovery community will be recognized for their commitment and generosity to Augsburg College’s StepUP® program for students in addiction recovery. Kevin and Polly Hart of White Bear Lake, Minn., will receive the Toby Piper LaBelle Award at the Augsburg College StepUP Program Gala on Oct. 24 at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.

“Kevin and Polly have brought so much value to the StepUP program, the students in recovery we serve, and the recovery community as a whole,” said Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow. “We are blessed to call this dedicated couple our friends and are proud to honor them with this award.”

The Harts have given significant time and resources to the College’s program, which is a leader and award-winning model for residential addiction recovery communities at campuses across the nation. Kevin serves on the advisory board for the StepUP Program where he helps guide and shape the program. He also is a board member of The Retreat, a recovery program in Wayzata, Minn. The Harts volunteer countless hours for these programs and also mentor youth in recovery.

Continue reading “White Bear Lake couple will be honored Oct. 24 for dedication to addiction recovery community”

MinnPost features StepUP in story about collegiate recovery

MinnPostAugsburg College’s StepUP program, a residential program for undergraduate students in recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol, was featured in the MinnPost. Program Director Patrice Salmeri was interviewed about StepUP, orientation for students, and the role of StepUP in shaping collegiate recovery programs at other institutions. Read “Sober-living communities make college possible for students in recovery.”