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Keeping you in touch with MSC Southeast

Commencement Ceremony in Winona on May 13, 2022

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 Commencement CeremonyMSC Southeast Commencement Ceremony

Graduation is an exciting time for students, family, friends, faculty, and staff. The commencement ceremony is a celebration of your graduation.

Friday, May 13, 2022
7 pm
Memorial Hall, Winona State University
175 W Mark St, Winona, MN  (map)

This year, there will be one Commencement Ceremony for the entire college - Red Wing, Winona, and Online - held on Friday, May 13, 2022 at 7 pm. The event will take place at Winona State University in Winona. The public is welcome to attend, or you can watch the Live Stream online.

NOTE: The ceremony will be streamed online via Microsoft Teams. If you don't have Teams installed on your desktop, you can watch it in a browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.). If you want to watch the live stream on a mobile device, you will need to download the Microsoft Teams app and install it. 




We are planning for an in-person ceremony with unlimited attendance. If we need to change our plans, updates will be posted on our website.

If you have additional questions about graduation and the commencement ceremony, please read through our detailed Graduation FAQ page.

If you still have questions, please contact Casie Johnson at 507-453-2663 or

MSC Southeast eliminates $20 application fee, hosting virtual OPEN HOUSE on Thursday, May 12

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MSC Southeast eliminates $20 application fee, hosting virtual OPEN HOUSE on Thursday, May 12

We're excited to announce that MSC Southeast's $20 application fee has been permanently eliminated. Prospective students can now apply and be admitted at no cost!

"In order to enhance access to higher education, we are removing a financial barrier," said Tammy Vondrasek, the college's Director of Admissions and Enrollment. "For some of our students $20 is a lot of money -- not having to pay it will help them get started in their education and out into the workforce sooner."

To help prospective students understand the admission process, the college is offering a virtual Open House on Thursday, May 12, 2022 from 5-6:30 pm. Now's your chance to get ready for Fall Semester 2022!

Since the Open House will be held on Zoom, advance registration is required. After signing up, participants will receive the Zoom link by email. Sign up at  

The virtual Open House will start with a brief welcome and overview by admissions staff. Then participants will be able to visit different "Zoom Rooms" to learn more about specific topics in-depth:

  • Explore Red Wing and Winona programs 
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships 
  • Disability Services 
  • Registration and Transfer Questions 
  • Ask questions and more...  

"The Virtual Open House is a fun and convenient way to learn more about MSC Southeast.  Learn about high-demand career fields, how to enroll in the college, transferring from another college, how to pay for your education with scholarships and financial aid, and more," Tammy Vondrasek said. "We can answer any questions you may have about starting college at MSC Southeast this Fall. We hope you'll join us!"

To sign up for the Open House, go to:

May 12 Student Guitar Show at MSC Southeast in Red Wing showcases the sights and sounds of students' newly-built instruments

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May 12 Student Guitar Show at MSC Southeast in Red Wing showcases the sights and sounds of students' newly-built instruments

Guitar built by studentSTUDENT GUITAR SHOW
Minnesota State College Southeast, Red Wing campus
Thursday, May 12, 2022
1 pm to 4 pm
308 Pioneer Road, Red Wing, MN

Download a Flyer (PDF)

The annual Student Guitar Show at Minnesota State College Southeast in Red Wing will showcase a bumper crop of new guitars built by the college's first- and second- year guitar students.  Flat top acoustic guitars, archtop guitars, electric guitars, and mandolins will be on display and played in concert by professional musicians.

The Student Guitar Show is an exhilarating experience for anyone who loves handcrafted musical instruments, but most of all, it's a thrill for the students who race right up until the last day to finish their instruments on time. The event takes place at MSC Southeast (308 Pioneer Road, Red Wing, MN) on Thursday, May 12, 2022 from 1 to 4 pm.

The Guitar Repair & Building (first year) and Guitar Development & Production (second year) diplomas at MSC Southeast are unique full year accredited college-level programs that draw students from all over the United States. First year students learn all aspects of acoustic and electric guitar repair before starting their own guitar builds. In the second-year program, students learn advanced techniques including elaborate inlay and more sophisticated finishing processes.

Admission is free and open to the public - please join us!

About the Musicians

Mike Cramer

Guitarist Mike Cramer is a music major from the University of Northern Iowa. His award-winning flatpicking technique has earned him championship titles in both the Minnesota State Fair Flatpicking Competition and Wisconsin's Upper-Midwest Flatpicking Contest. A fluid and powerful guitarist, Mike is as comfortable playing jazz standards as he is playing Bill Monroe's bluegrass instrumentals. He plays guitar in The Barley Jacks.

Phil Heywood

Fingerstyle guitarist Phil Heywood has been based in Minneapolis-St. Paul since the mid-1980s, performing locally and regionally while also establishing himself in the greater guitar and acoustic music world. In 1986 he won the National Fingerpicking Championship, and followed up in 1987 by winning the American Fingerstyle Guitar Festival Competition. He plays with a bluesy swing and tone, lyricism, and groove.


Transportation Career Night set for Thursday, March 27 in Winona

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Transportation Career Night Logo

Transportation Career Night set for Thursday, March 31 in Winona

Learn about opportunities to accelerate your career at Minnesota State College Southeast

Transportation Career Night
Thursday, March 31, 2022
6:00-7:30 pm
Transportation Center at MSC Southeast Winona Campus
1250 Homer Road, Winona, MN
Register in advance for chance to win a door prize!




Transportation Career Night is coming up on Thursday, March 31, 2022! Prospective students and their families, job seekers, or anyone interested in learning more about the Minnesota State College Southeast's transportation programs are all welcome to attend. Admission is free and open to the public.

Four college programs will be represented:  

  • Auto Body Collision Technology
  • Automotive and Light Duty Diesel Technology
  • Transportation Management
  • Truck Driving

Transportation programs at MSC Southeast offer certificates, diplomas, and degrees that can lead directly to high-paying, high growth occupations. At Transportation Career Night you can tour our state-of-the-art facilities and experience hands-on activities. Plus, industry representatives will be available to discuss opportunities in these high-demand job markets. We want to give current and future students a realistic idea of what transportation careers can offer.

Transportation Career Night - Matco TableTransportation Career Night Highlights

  • Hear more about opportunities for careers from industry representatives
  • Visit with program instructors from a variety of our trade programs
  • College admissions and financial aid staff available
  • Application fee waived - Save $20!
  • Enrollment incentive! Apply to Auto Tech or Auto Body at the event, and attend class this fall, to receive an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet - our gift to you.

Plus, we are offering two amazing door prize opportunities at Transportation Career Night: 

  1. Register in advance to attend the event for a chance to win a Snap-on Socket Set.
  2. Apply to the college or register for classes at the event for a chance to win a Matco Tools product.

Must be present to win prizes; winners will be chosen at the conclusion of the evening.




S-O Discount Deals holding Food Drive for The Pantry in Red Wing

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S-O Discount Deals holding Food Drive for the Red Wing Pantry

Kimberly Mc Veigh and Shawn ChaskaGreat news, Red Wing -- there's a new store in town!

Shawn Chaska and his fiancée Oksana have opened a new discount store in Red Wing called S-O Discount Deals at 1890 Old West Main. To help get the word out about all the great deals the store has, they are hosting a drive to help stock up the college's Food Pantry throughout the month of February.

S-O Discount Deals has a very wide variety of items including clothes, housewares, food, appliances, baby items, cleaning supplies, and more. "The best part is, that most of their items are 40-60% off retail value, which makes them great items to donate without breaking the bank," said Kimberly McVay, a Basic Needs Outreach Specialist at the college.

S O Discount Deals in Red WingUntil the end of February, Shawn will be donating a chance to win store credit when people give to the MSC Southeast Pantry. Donors will get a chance win $10-$30 worth of store credit. 2 items equals one chance, 4 items equals 2 chances.  He is offering up to $100 in store credit total. 

"Shawn has also created a table with item ideas for people to donate and someone already bought the whole table to donate to us!" said Kimberly. "The generosity I have seen these last few months has been so amazing and so heartwarming."  

All of the items on this table were purchased by a donor and donated to the MSC Southeast Pantry.

   S-O Discount Deals   

Bike program helps adapt recumbent bike for injured cyclist

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Recumbent Bike

Bike program helps adapt recumbent bike for injured cyclist

When Red Wing resident Tristan English realized that his recumbent bike needed a highly specialized modification, he thought of MSC Southeast's Bicycle Design and Fabrication program. Tristan had been an avid cyclist biking thousands of miles a year, but following an injury, he had to switch to a recumbent bicycle.

Due to the injury, he was having trouble getting the recumbent bike moving from a standing stop. "Like a skateboard, I do a push off to get it rolling. But this bike was too low for me to get it moving,” he explained.

He needed the seat raised a few inches, which was quite a problem since the seat is mounted on a track that allows it to be moved forward and backwards along the bike frame. (It's not like a conventional bike seat on a post that can be moved up and down easily.)

Welding instructor Mike Ford and his bike students tackled the issue by disassembling the seat support system, templating four pieces of metal to expand the vertical rise, expertly welding them into position, and repainting the parts to match. 

Mike Ford said, "No matter what we’re building, it has to be structurally sound, it has to be functional, and and it has to be right aesthetically."

On February 8, Tristan came back to pick up the bike and was thrilled with the result. Reider Litz, one of the program’s students, took time to set up the precise location of the seat. He also adjusted the bike’s pedals and Tristan’s bike shoes so that he could clip in more easily. Tristan took a test ride around the parking lot despite the February ice and snow and it looks like he'll be ready to hit the road this spring!

Watch a video of Tristan's test ride on Facebook

This cardboard template shows one of the four pieces of metal that were designed to fit the existing structure. 

Bike Template

This photo shows the finished work, after the metal pieces were welded into position and painted.  

Bike Modification


MSC Southeast honored with Winona Area Chamber of Commerce 2021 Innovation Award

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2021 Innovation Awards CeremonyMSC Southeast honored with Winona Area Chamber of Commerce 2021 Innovation Award

Innovation Award PlaqueMinnesota State College Southeast was honored by the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce with the 2021 Innovation Award at its Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony on January 28, 2022. The award recognized the most innovative ways that business have adapted to the new challenges, new opportunities, and new ways of working brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Innovation Award is sponsored and selected by Watlow. The school won the award for "finding innovative ways to service the rapidly changing needs of their students and business partners and for developing new courses and new machinery to assist with those changing needs."

"The Innovation Award is a testament to all the hard work put in by the faculty and staff at MSC Southeast to be more flexible for our students as a result of the pandemic," said President Marsha Danielson in accepting the award.

Minnesota State College Southeast has been responsive to the changes in business and industry by continually developing training and learning opportunities. For example, in the last two years the college has launched partnerships with area businesses to offer training in mechatronics. A new certificate in electronics is now available for high school students. Additional investments in the college over the last year have increased the college's potential to offer state-of-the-art learning in updated shops and labs. 

The Admissions staff has developed new recruiting processes, such as offering virtual open houses, admissions meetings, and financial aid information sessions via Zoom. These practices have proven so effective that they will be continued going forward, regardless of the status of the pandemic. Simulations developed by instructors and an enhanced online presence have offered greater flexibility for all students, including hy-flex class delivery where students can attend virtually or in the classroom. 

"We've grown into a comprehensive community and technical college that really supports students across the Southeast area and is vitally connected to the workforce in our area," said Chad Dull, Vice President of Student Success, in a video that was produced especially for the Chamber banquet. "There is a sense of community here. People believe in one another, people support one another, and there is a lot of energy around making it a very vital, special place." 

Watch the video produced by Mallard Productions, Winona

Nominations open for Minnesota State Excellence in Teaching Award

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Nominations open for Minnesota State "Excellence in Teaching" Award

Do you know or have a great instructor? Has attending a class or program here at Minnesota State College Southeast made a positive impact on your life and changed it for the better? If so, then please nominate that instructor for an "Excellence in Teaching" award from the Minnesota State Board of Trustees. One nominee will represent our campus and possibly be named the state-wide Teacher of the Year.

Nominations can be made by students, alumni, staff and faculty. Simply fill out the survey below with all the required fields for that person to be considered. It will only take a few minutes, but the recognition and appreciation of that instructor could be life-changing and a chance to recognized statewide!


The deadline for making a nomination is December 1, 2021.  




Students visit Effigy Mounds National Monument

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Effigy Mounds Field Trip

Students visit Effigy Mounds National Monument 

10 students from the Winona campus and online attended a field trip organized by Student Senate on Friday, October 15, 2021 to Effigy Mounds National Monument in Harper's Ferry, IA. Effigy Mounds is a 1500 year old burial site of the Woodland Indians who lived in this region and built incredibly complex mounds in the shape of bears, thunder hawks, and conical mounds overlooking the Mississippi River. 

 Students from environmental science classes, history classes, PSEO, and sociology classes took part in the trip. Many students commented how good it felt to be around other students and appreciated the opportunity for hands-on learning.

Highlights of the trip included completing the seven mile round trip from the visitor center to Hanging Rock, with 3 miles of it being an advanced hiking trail. We also saw four whitetail deer. The most exciting part of the trip was an eight foot bull snake who demanded to cross the trail in front of us!

The Effigy Mounds Field Trip is held most years in the fall -- take advantage of this wonderful opportunity if it comes up again next year.

To see a complete gallery of photos, including a video of the bull snake, see our Facebook photo gallery.

MSC Southeast hosting Workforce Summits to gather critical feedback from business, manufacturing, healthcare partners

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MSC Southeast hosting Workforce Summits to gather critical feedback from business, manufacturing, healthcare partners

Officials at Minnesota State College Southeast have announced three online Workforce Summits to give the public an opportunity to share trends and ideas with college leadership.  

  • Business Workforce Summit
    Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 8 to 10 am
  • Health Sciences Workforce Summit
    Friday, October 29, 2021, 8 to 10 am
  • Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Summit
    Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 8 to 10 am 

The summits will be held via Zoom; to participate, please email Amy Drazkowski at or call 507-453-1479. 

"We believe that in a thriving regional economy, business and education must share a common understanding of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by the workforce," said Dr. Marsha Danielson, President of Minnesota State College Southeast. "At our Workforce Summits, we want to learn more about the changing needs of our community partners." 

MSC Southeast is beginning its next round of strategic planning this year. The information generated by the Workforce Summits will inform the college as it lays plans for future program development.  

"We need to be sure that curriculum development and design is keeping current with the needs of area workforce sectors," said Dr. Danielson. "The Workforce Summits will provide an opportunity for the college to deepen relationships with local business leaders and develop pathways to employment for its students."  

College faculty and staff will also participate in the Workforce Summits, with the objective of identifying possible partnerships, better understanding local workforce needs, and determining potential areas for program modification or development. 

Dr. Danielson encourages business, healthcare, and manufacturing partners to participate. "For your business, participating in the Workforce Summit and building relationships with local educators will help create a pipeline of skilled future employees," she said. "We appreciate your commitment to the region's workforce needs." 

For more information, agendas, and Zoom links, please email Amy Drazkowski at or call 507-453-1479. 

SLAM -- Students Learning Advanced Manufacturing -- made an impact in Cannon Falls this summer

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SLAM  -- "Students Learning Advanced Manufacturing" -- made an impact in Cannon Falls this summer

In July 2019, Minnesota State College Southeast was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to create an 11-credit Engineering/CNC Certificate in four regional high schools. The program launched with students enrolled in Cannon Falls High School and Chatfield High School in the first year, followed by Red Wing High School in 2020. 

SLAM intern Mitch Hoffman buffs a plaque at GeminiNamed SLAM (Students Learning Advanced Manufacturing) by the students themselves, the program has given high school students a chance to get hands-on experience in an industrial setting and earn college credit for coursework related to engineering. 

"The objective is to develop a pipeline of skilled technicians for industry, working closely with local industry partners for support, such as summer internships," according to Calvin Clemons, MSC Southeast's Director of Trade and Technology. "In Cannon Falls, students have been enrolled in print reading, precision measuring/gauging, and CAD/CAM/3D printing the past couple of years." 

This summer, three students from Cannon Falls High School had the opportunity to intern at Gemini, one of the region's largest advanced manufacturing facilities. Founded in 1963 and headquartered in Cannon Falls, Gemini has facilities throughout North America. Its product lines include signage, custom plastic parts, hard cases, bronze plaques, and engraving materials. 

While Gemini has been an industry partner since the inception of the SLAM program, student internships were not possible in the first year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, students were able to begin internships there in June.  

But it's not as easy as you might think to place students in manufacturing environments. Since the students are under age 18, special safety and training conditions must be met. Minnesota State College Southeast worked with the state's Youth Skills Training (YST) Program to get the program approved.  

"YST had to review MSC Southeast's curriculum and the manufacturing equipment that Gemini planned to have the students operate.  All parties, including the students' parents or guardians, then signed an agreement outlining the scope and schedule of work at Gemini," Calvin Clemons said.   

Sue Lawlor-Rod, a Career Navigator with the Southeast Service Cooperative in Rochester, helped the students with applying for the internships. She noted that Gemini was named CTE (Career and Technical Education) Community and Industry Partner of the Year for its support of Cannon Falls High School and its students. 

"Gemini excels as a community and industry partner," Sue Lawlor Rod commented.  "Beyond its involvement in programs like Youth Skills Training and SLAM, Gemini has consistently been a leader in supporting our schools through equipment donations, financial support, a scholarship program, and more."   

Mitchell HoffmanMitchell Hoffman, a senior at Cannon Falls High School, is one of the SLAM students who interned at Gemini this summer. He said he has really enjoyed his time at the company.  

"I love it! It's been great - everyone is so friendly. I feel accepted by everyone," said Mitch. "One of my favorite parts of working here is that it's not just a bunch of employees, it's really a close-knit group. If I need help with a machine, I can go up to any one of the machinists and ask --everyone wants to help."  

Mitch said that before coming to work at Gemini, he didn't fully realize the scope of the company. "I knew Gemini was big, but I did not know that there were seven different buildings here," he said, explaining that he was working in Building 2, where metal plaques are precision machined out of solid aluminum, bronze, and brass.  

"Every single one is a custom order. I think they are really cool -- you never see the same thing twice. Nothing is mass produced." 

Among Mitch's duties at the company has been tending to the 18 CNC machines in Building 2. "We have to keep the coolant stocked and at the right level in each machine. We can't let the level get too low, because then the tool can break, and the plaque will be ruined." 

He's also gained experience loading and unloading the CNC machines, sanding the sharp edges of the plaques by machine and by hand, and in the shipping area. 

Mitch Hoffman and co-worker"We try to give the interns a broad exposure to what we do," said Margaret Lampman, Associate Human Resources Manager at Gemini. "The students have fun! I met with them after their first week. They really want to get their hands dirty -- they all want to learn and get that hands-on experience." 

She added, "SLAM is an extension of our work in the community. It helps build a pipeline of skilled labor for the future; helps students develop skills for work and life; and of course, it helps us find great talent for our business."

Gemini Vice-President of Human Resources, Phil Jacobson, said, "With all of these programs involving students, it's a triple win, because the students win, Gemini wins, and the community wins."  

Going forward, Career Navigator Sue Lawlor-Rod will be available to help the students with preparing their resumes so they can leverage their technical work experience as they pursue their education and career goals. 

Calvin Clemons expressed the hope that the students will choose to continue their education at MSC Southeast. "They will graduate from high school with valuable college credits in hand," he said. "That gives them a great head start in CNC Machine Tool, Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies, or a similar technical program at our college."

FREE COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics on Campus

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FREE COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics on Campus 

Covid-19 Vaccine Icon

Get a shot and get a FREE Southeast hoodie! 

 MSC Southeast is offering free Covid-19 Vaccination Clinics for all students and employees in September. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021: Winona Campus, Room 205, 10 am - 2 pm

You have the choice to receive the Johnson & Johnson (one-shot) or Pfizer vaccine. If receiving the Pfizer vaccine, an appointment will be scheduled for a follow-up shot. Walk in, no appointment necessary - although you may schedule an appointment if you would like at

Thursday, September 9, 2021, Red Wing Campus, Room 314, 10 am - 2 pm

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (one-shot) will be available on the Red Wing campus for all students, faculty, and staff of MSC Southeast. Walk-in, no appointment necessary.  

NOTE: Limited to MSC Southeast Students and Employees Only!


MSC Southeast welcomes its ninth president, Dr. Marsha A. Danielson

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MSC Southeast welcomes its ninth president, Dr. Marsha A. Danielson

Dr. Marsha A. DanielsonOn July 1, 2021, Minnesota State College Southeast welcomed its ninth president, Dr. Marsha A. Danielson. She comes to the college with 25 years of higher education experience in the Minnesota State system at South Central College and Minnesota State University, Mankato.  

"I have been waiting for the opportunity to become the president of Minnesota State College Southeast. I am not just looking to be a college president, I want to be your president," Dr. Danielson said.  

President Danielson succeeds Dr. Larry A. Lundblad, who served as interim president of Minnesota State College Southeast from February 2018 to June 2021. 

"The college has done great work under Larry Lundblad's leadership. It is poised for growth, and I am a builder," said President Danielson.

From 2015-2021, Dr. Danielson served South Central College in Mankato and Faribault as vice president of economic development, advising the president on corporate education, economic development, and growth opportunities for the college, and providing leadership in many functional areas including government and international relations, grants, communications, and comprehensive workforce solutions.

Previously, she was senior associate to the president and dean of economic development at South Central College. At Minnesota State University, Mankato she worked in several areas including development, alumni relations, external relations, and marketing and communications from 1996 to 2007. 

Dr. Danielson attended North Hennepin Community College, then earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management at and a master's degree in Higher Education/Higher Education Administration at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She holds an Ed.D. in Community College Leadership from Ferris State University (MI). 

MSC Southeast is an ideal fit for Dr. Danielson both professionally and personally.  

"The small size of the college, its rural location, entrepreneurial spirit, and its ability to keep up with the rapid pace of change are important to me," said Dr. Danielson. "Personally, I am excited to be here and appreciate the beauty of the bluff country. We are outdoor enthusiasts and love the lakes, river, biking, arts, and festivals."  

Student Success and Workforce Development 

President Danielson is ready to lead a group of dedicated faculty and staff in helping students reach their full potential.   

"The faculty are at the core in helping students attain their personal and professional goals," she stated. "We need to be student-ready, and there is a culture of caring and wraparound services here. The college is driven by the goal of student success."  

Moreover, she added, "The region's economic engines -- manufacturing, health care, transportation, and tourism --need employees, and our students must graduate ready for a career or prepared to succeed in 4-year college or university environment." 

While her focus this summer is on getting to know community leaders in business, industry and education throughout Southeast Minnesota and nearby Wisconsin, President Danielson is also looking forward to enjoying outdoor activities with her family. "Every year we bike the Cannon Valley Trail and the Root River Trail, and we kayak from Cannon Falls to Welsh on the Cannon River." 

This year, she won't have to travel as far to enjoy the regions bluff's and rivers -- and she is likely to encounter MSC Southeast students, faculty, staff, and alumni along the way! 

Welcome Dr. Marsha Danielson, President of Minnesota State College Southeast! 

MSC Southeast announces $50,000 Otto Bremer Trust grant to support college students' basic needs

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MSC Southeast announces $50,000 Otto Bremer Trust grant to support college students' basic needs   

Otto Bremer Trust (logo)Minnesota State College Southeast is grateful to announce the award of a $50,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust. The purpose of the grant is to help the college meet basic needs and provide wraparound support to low-income students pursuing post-secondary education in southeastern Minnesota. 

On June 30, 2021, the Otto Bremer Trust announced $12,125,516 in grants and program-related investments to 210 organizations as part of its most recent grantmaking cycle. Organizations across Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin received awards. 

"We are pleased and grateful to be among the organizations that are recognized by the Otto Bremer Trust for making a positive impact on their communities," said Dr. Marsha Danielson, President of Minnesota State College Southeast. "As a technical and community college, students come to MSC Southeast seeking new credentials, retraining, and career advancement. This grant will help them attain their educational goals and find stable employment in high-demand jobs that pay sustainable living wages."

The grant from the Otto Bremer Trust will provide a significant boost to the college's efforts to be more holistic in serving students. In the past year, 77% of MSC Southeast students were eligible for federal Pell grants, indicating the high level of need among the college's student population. The college has greatly increased its capacity to serve students with on-campus Food Pantries and social services provided by Basic Needs Outreach Specialists and a Student Success Advisor.   

"As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, access to basic needs such as housing, food, and transportation is more challenging than ever for many of our students," said Josiah Litant, MSC Southeast Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. "This grant will allow us to augment our level of support for students and will be critical to helping them on their pathway towards graduation. We are deeply appreciative to the Otto Bremer Trust for being a partner with us in this work." 

Amanda Griffin named Outstanding New Educator of the Year by Transportation Center of Excellence

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Amanda Griffin named Outstanding New Educator of the Year by Transportation Center of Excellence 

Amanda Griffin 2021Minnesota State College Southeast Automotive Technology Instructor Amanda Griffin has been named the Outstanding New Educator of the Year by the Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence. 

Amanda Griffin is not only the lead instructor in MSC Southeast's Automotive Technology program, but she is also a graduate of the college. In 2006-2008, she obtained a diploma in Automotive Technology and an associate degree in Individualized studies. While taking general education courses she served as a lab assistant in the program. That's when Amanda first realized how much she enjoyed working with students.  

Amanda gained experience in the automotive industry as an automotive technician for almost fourteen years, but always hoped that one day she would be able to come back to teaching. That opportunity presented itself in 2019 when she joined the faculty of Minnesota State College Southeast.

Having served as an auto center service writer and technician, driver's education instructor, and as a technician, Amanda has seen first-hand the challenges and opportunities that come with working in the industry. Her main goal in the program is to prepare students with the knowledge to make repairs correctly and efficiently, but more importantly to teach them the confidence to return cars that can be driven safely -- that every car represents a customer's life in their hands. 

Additional awards presented for 2021 by the Transportation Center of Excellence included: 

  • Academic Professional of the Year: Leanne Pearson, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
  • Exemplary College Program of the Year: Kevin Hyduke and Wayne Trenholm, Hibbing Community College, Automotive Technology Program
  • Hall of Fame: Dale Derung, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
  • Outstanding Educator of the Year; Jeff Schneider, Moorhead High School
  • Program Supporter of the Year - Individual: Judell Anderson, AASP-MN 
  • Program Supporter of the Year - Business: Brenny Transportation

"Congratulations to all of these well deserving individuals! We are proud to sponsor these awards to showcase all of the wonderful work happening across our state," said Cassidy Jelen, TCOE Project Coordinator.

A formal presentation of the awards will take place at the Midwest Teachers of Transportation and Industrial Areas conference in August. 








Five Winona Area Learning Center Grads named Papenfuss Scholars at MSC Southeast

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Zachary Weilandt and Group

Five Winona Area Learning Center Grads named MSC Southeast Papenfuss Scholars  

College and high school staff surprise students at home with the good news -- 2 years of college, all expenses paid

Above: Winona ALC staff and MSCS Admissions Representative surprised Zachary Weilandt (third from left) with the news that he had been awarded a Papenfuss Scholarship.
Right: Faith Borzyskowski was surprised with a swag bag full of goodies from the college. 
View the Facebook Photo Album

On June 23 and 24, Minnesota State College Southeast and Winona Area Learning Center staff members surprised five recent high school grads in person with balloons, swag bags and great news! Each was notified that they had been selected as a Papenfuss Scholar. 

The Papenfuss Scholars Program (PSP) will meet the all of the college expenses for these Winona ALC graduates at MSC Southeast for up to two years. This program is made possible by a generous gift from the Jerry & Patricia Papenfuss Family Fund of the Winona Community Foundation.

Faith Borzyskowski"Originally, we planned to send out a letter, but then we thought it would be more fun to go see the students in person," said Emily Cassellius, principal of Winona Area Learning Center. "We contacted a family member in advance so that we knew they would be at home but we could still surprise them. It was a great celebration!"

The students and their planned majors are:  

  • Faith Borzyskowski, Associate of Science in Nursing 
  • Devin Foster, Software and Web Development 
  • Ethen Infield, Construction Technology 
  • Ike Scholl, Computer Engineering Technology 
  • Zach Weilandt, Electronics Technology   

"It was wonderful to be a part of this exciting day," said Chris Cook, MSC Southeast Admissions Representative. "It was a great show of support for these amazing students!"

Funds will be awarded as "last-dollar" scholarships, meaning that after federal and state grants and any other scholarships are applied, the program will cover the remainder of their tuition and fees. Several of the students noted that without this support, it would have been impossible for them to attend college.  

"Not only will tuition, books, and fees be covered, but each student will receive a modest stipend to help with living expenses," said Josiah Litant, MSC Southeast Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.  

The students will also have the advantage of working with a dedicated Student Success Advisor, Shannon Sullivan. Shannon previously worked at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and was a Retention Advisor, Financial Aid Assistant, and an Admissions Assistant at MSC Southeast for seven years.   

"We are excited about having a special person at the college to provide ongoing support and who will be a point person so we can stay in touch with our graduates going forward," said Emily Cassellius. "And we are all so grateful to the Papenfuss Family Fund for their generosity in making this opportunity possible." 

"We look forward to welcoming these students into the MSCS community and being part of their ongoing journey; MSC Southeast is proud to be their educational institution of choice," commented Josiah Litant. "We are eager to continue building our relationship with the Winona Area Learning Center and their graduates through this visionary partnership."


Class of 2021: Graduate Success Stories

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Class of 2021 Graduates

Michaela Spear, Mathew Chesang, Helen Schmitz, and Braxton Waller

Class of 2021: Graduate Success Stories

Graduating from high school and college - at the same time

Michaela Spear was on track to get enough credits to graduate from Houston High School by the end of tenth grade, so she started taking college classes at Minnesota State College Southeast through the PSEO program, which allows high school students to take college classes at no cost.

This spring, she graduated from both high school and Minnesota State College Southeast at the same time, having already completed a two-year college degree in Administrative Assistant. Read Michaela's story

Grateful for the support that made his success possible

Last December, Mathew Chesang graduated from Minnesota State College Southeast's Practical Nursing program with honors. He passed the NCLEX-PN(r) exam this spring to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. Now he is ready to enter the workforce and move forward with his hard-won professional skills. 

He appreciated the welcoming environment at the college. "Everyone was very friendly to me, very helpful, the students, the staff, and the teachers. I also liked it that there were small classes," he said. As he celebrates college graduation, Mathew is grateful for the support of his wife, his kids, his classmates, the nursing department faculty, and the staff of CareerForce Winona. Read Mathew's story

Back to college while caring for her family

Helen Schmitz remembers the exact moment she decided to go back to college. "It was the last Sunday in July of 2018. I literally woke up that morning and thought, I want to go back to school. I knew there had to be some kind of program for me at Southeast," she said. 

She found success at the college. Though she's considered a member of the class of 2021, Helen actually graduated from MSC Southeast at the end of Fall Semester 2020 with an associate of applied science degree in Criminal Justice. She has already moved on to the next stage in her education, having transferred to Winona State University's Legal Studies program for a bachelor's degree. Read Helen's story

Southeast changed his perspective

MSC Southeast wasn't Braxton Waller's first attempt at going to college, or even his second. Previously he had enrolled at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and later UW-Stout. But Southeast became a home to him. He graduated with honors this spring, having completed an associate of applied science degree in Information Technology Support.

"I struggled with school my whole life, but there was a shift when I started doing it for myself -- not because someone else expected me to. Southeast has actually shifted my perspective," he said. Read Braxton's story

DiaSorin donates state of the art lab machine to Biomed Tech

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DiaSorin Donation

DiaSorin donates state of the art lab machine to Biomedical Equipment Technology program

Liaison® XL diagnostic machine can run 180 lab tests an hour

When you go to the doctor's office, you need to be confident that your test results will be delivered quickly and accurately. Medical laboratory testing equipment makes such results possible. And Biomedical Equipment Technicians make sure that the equipment runs perfectly. 

Students in the Biomed Equipment Technology program at Minnesota State College Southeast now have the opportunity to train on diagnostic equipment donated to the college by DiaSorin. Based in Italy, DiaSorin operates globally in laboratory diagnostics. The company develops, produces, and markets testing devices and equipment that enable doctors worldwide to accurately diagnose medical conditions.

"We were happy to donate one of our flagship laboratory devices and install it in MSC Southeast's lab. We hope that this contribution can better prepare students to enter the diagnostics job market," said Jennifer Theisen, an HR executive at DiaSorin. "We already have a great partnership with Minnesota State College Southeast. We have had several interns from the school and were pleased to place graduates of the program in full-time positions."

"This is high end lab equipment from a worldwide company," said Marc Kalis, an instructor in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program. "Having it in our lab will be a good marketing tool to show prospective students what they will be working in our program. DiaSorin will use it for a recruiting tool also, because they need technicians."

The Liaison XL allows med lab techs to run multiple tests on a continuous basis. "The med lab techs can load in samples, and the machine automatically adds the correct reagents and incubates them for the correct amount of time," explained Marc Kalis. "This machine has the capability to run 180 tests per hour, and it can run more than 100 different types of tests."

A key step in operating such equipment is making sure it is properly calibrated. The Liaison XL will alert the operator if it requires service. If a machine isn't performing correctly, a trained biomedical equipment technician will perform diagnostics and make necessary adjustments and repairs. 

"Not only did DiaSorin donate and install the Liaison XL, but they will also send us a trainer to show us maintenance and repair procedures in detail," said Marc Kalis.

"We are very grateful and excited for this donation. Partnerships and support from world class companies like DiaSorin allow us to provide the highly trained technicians our communities need," said Chad Dull, MSC Southeast Vice President of Academic Affairs. "Biomedical Equipment Technology is a vital and important program that meets the needs of our community and provides our students with a family supporting wage. MSC Southeast is committed to providing world class education and training to our students and this donation allows us to do just that."

Biomedical equipment repair is an up-and-coming occupation that is in high demand. The number of job openings is expected to outnumber qualified applicants, due in part to the increased demand for health care services and the increasing complexity of the medical equipment used in hospitals and by private practitioners. 

For more information about the program at MSC Southeast, see Biomedical Equipment Technology.

Photo caption: Biomedical Equipment Technology students gather around the new Liaison XL machine donated to the college by DiaSorin.

Workforce Development Scholarships increased to total of $162,500 for 2020-2021

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Workforce Development Scholarships at MSC Southeast available again in 2021-2022 academic year

Liz LeeThe ongoing shortage of qualified employees in Southeast Minnesota continues to be an issue for the region's employers. Fortunately, even with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, students have been coming to campus at Minnesota State College Southeast to train in high-skilled, high-demand occupations. 

However, the cost of tuition and other college expenses is still be a challenge. 

"The pandemic has created additional financial burdens for many students. This year, Workforce Development Scholarships are providing our students with the  funds they need to stay in college and complete their degrees for the many well-paying jobs that are currently available," said Larry Lundblad, Interim President of Minnesota State College Southeast. 

Recognizing the need for more graduates in career and technical programs, the Minnesota State Legislature first allocated funding for a program piloting Workforce Development Scholarships in 2017.  In 2021-2022, the state of Minnesota has allocated 34 Workforce Development Scholarships for $2500 each for MSC Southeast students, a total of $85,000. Additional funds may be designated by Minnesota State College Southeast Foundation for workforce scholarships.

"I'm proud to have been the chief author of this original legislation and have continued to support this funding every session. The Workforce Development Scholarships have allowed many students to pursue and complete their career and technical education goals and enter the workforce in high demand fields," said Rep. Barb Haley (District 21A, Red Wing). "MSC Southeast's implementation of these scholarship programs also encouraged private dollars, which further leveraged the opportunities for more students. The Workforce Development Scholarships are a win-win-win: students benefit, businesses and industry benefits, and the college benefits!"

Liz Lee (pictured above) is a Practical Nursing student on the Red Wing campus and was awarded a two-semester Workforce Development Scholarship this year. "I can take what I learn -- hands on, clinical, classroom, and lab -- and be ready for job interviews and actually working in the field," she said. 

"We are very grateful that the Minnesota State Legislature is providing the resources to encourage students to pursue these career fields," said Larry Lundblad. "Workforce Development Scholarships help make it possible for them to stay in college and complete their programs."

To apply for a 2021-2022 Workforce Development Scholarship, go to The deadline to apply for Fall scholarships is June 1, 2021.


Graduate Akilah Childs returns to MSC Southeast to serve as Basic Needs Outreach Specialist

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Akilah Childs - 2021Back to school - to serve

Graduate Akilah Childs returns to MSC Southeast to serve as Basic Needs Outreach Specialist through the AmeriCorps VISTA program

When she was a student at MSC Southeast, Akilah Childs made a major impact, serving on Student Senate, working as a peer tutor, planning campus events, and helping Student Services with recruiting and admissions. She graduated from the Early Childhood Education program in 2016.

MSC Southeast is excited to welcome Akilah back! In January 2021, Akilah returned to serve the college community in a new role - as an AmeriCorps VISTA member volunteer. 

"A lot of people at Southeast were very supportive of my success and helping me find my way. I made really strong connections with my teachers, my advisors, and people in student affairs," explained Akilah. "I think I found myself here. It's very fulfilling and it makes me feel good to know that I made an impact by who I was."

Akilah Childs in food pantryAmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) volunteers serve full time in non-profit organizations and public agencies for one-year terms. Academic Success Coordinator Arielle Pompilius, who has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer herself, was instrumental in applying for the college's participation in the program.  

"We have been awarded a five-year grant to participate. In the first year, we are in Phase One, which is needs assessment," Arielle said. "Phase Two runs for three years and is focused on building community partnerships. And in the last year of the grant, we will survey the program's efficacy."

At MSC Southeast, Akilah will serve as a Basic Needs Outreach Specialist. "My role here is to provide service to both the Red Wing and Winona campuses, helping strengthen and find new relationships within the communities to help our students. I will also be a resource for our students, whether that means food security, transportation options, finding jobs and other resources after graduation, drug and alcohol mitigation -- any type of resource that would fulfill a basic need for any of our students."

When she's on campus, you're likely to find Akilah in the food pantries (now located in Room 313 in Red Wing and adjacent to the Student Commons in Winona). She is responsible for stocking and organizing the pantries. With the aid of CARES Act and state grants, the pantries have expanded to include refrigerated and frozen foods. Custom cabinetry has been built and installed by Construction Technology program students and additional shelving has been purchased.  

Food insecurity - and other concerns

"We know that food insecurity is an issue that is impacting students not only nationally but also locally. A 2019 survey of Minnesota State 2-year college students reported that one in three ran short on food, and 26% said they went hungry," said Melissa Carrington-Irwin, MSC Southeast Associate Dean of Students & Director of Student Success. "By offering our students access to fresh food as well as to non-perishable staples, we are helping to reduce the stress of wondering where their next meal will come from."

As Akilah recalled, "I was a single mom when I was going to school here. The last thing you want to do after working all day, or being in school, is going to pick up your kids and then hitting the grocery store. Especially in a time like now with COVID, everybody could use a little bit of help. And the support is here. We want to normalize the idea of getting help, remove the stigma."

Akilah's job is a creative challenge, because as an Outreach Specialist, she needs to find ways to connect with students. "I'm looking forward to doing the advertising and marketing to the get the word out to everyone. I encourage students to email me and ask me for things they want to see in the pantry, or ask me questions about anything they might need."

She said she had already connected with students about how they can get assistance paying for their prescriptions or eyeglasses. "It's not just about having food pantries on campus; it's helping with anything our students need."

You can contact Akilah by email at She would love to hear from you!


© 2022 Minnesota State College Southeast

RED WING CAMPUS | 308 Pioneer Road | Red Wing, MN 55066
WINONA CAMPUS | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987
COLLEGE PHONE | 507-453-2700 | 877-853-8324

Minnesota State College Southeast is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible. MSC Southeast is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination in employment based on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.


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