Magnus the Good Fellowships

The “Magnus the Good” endowed fund, established by friends of the former Paracollege, supports a series of awards to encourage student-faculty collaborations in undergraduate research, or in exploration of innovative applications of learning.

Established in 2003, the fund honors several important values of the college, including (1) that faculty and students learn well when they collaborate in one-on-one partnerships for research and/or reflection, and (2) that students learn well through having opportunities to apply and extend classroom learning.

Thus, the fund supports projects that provide opportunities for collaborative work between students and faculty, and that situate the proposed project in the context of the student’s interests and work, and also in the context of the faculty member’s interests and work.

Watch for a Call for Proposals by campus email for the next academic year.

Announcing the 2013-14 Magnus the Good awards:

Optogenetic investigation of neural circuits underlying reward seeking Jay Demas, Physics and Biology; Shelly Dickinson, Psychology; Stefan Lemke ’14

The neural underpinnings of complex psychiatric disorders, such as drug and alcohol addiction, are thought to involve maladaptive circuits in regions of the brain that mediate reward-seeking behaviors. While a basic anatomical understanding of these areas exists, what is less understood is exactly how excitement or inhibition of a specific neuron population in turn excites or inhibits other populations of neurons, and ultimately affects behavior. Investigating these relationships may provide insights into how current treatments of addiction function, as well as motivate the production of new treatments. Lemke, Dickinson, and Demas propose to use a new approach based on optogenetics, a recently developed suite of molecular tools that enables neuroscientists to turn activity on or off in specific neurons using only light, to probe the functional connectivity of the brain’s reward circuitry.

Am I From Mars? International Relations for an Afghan Child Tony Lott, Political Science; Mirwais Wakil ’15

International relations texts are written from a perspective that allows for a comprehensive understanding of international law, institutions, and organizations, and an analytic framework based on power, the distribution of power, and constraints on power.  However, these texts never speak to international relations through the eyes of individuals.  Wakil and Lott ask whether it is possible to re-examine international relations through the eyes of individuals affected by war, power, statecraft, and international law.  They will present the results of their investigation at a professional conference in the summer of 2014 and seek to publish the findings of this study as a book manuscript.

Multicultural LGBT Youth: An ebook Anthology Nancy Aarsvold, Instructional Technology; Maria Kelly, Education; Josiah Mosqueda ’15

This project aims to produce an ebook anthology based on submissions from and interviews of multicultural LGBT students aged 18-25. This anthology continues the work of an Interim independent study project that identified the need for the development and/or collection of resources for Twin Cities area schools to share with students and families, especially at the middle school level. The primary work of this project is to create a resource that will help foster greater awareness of the unique multicultural experience of the LGBT community around the Twin Cities.