BERLIN (AP) — A survivor of the Holocaust and a young Jewish immigrant have spoken about their lives in Germany at a special parliamentary session commemorating the victims of the Holocaust 76 years after the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland. Eighty-eight-year-old Charlotte Knobloch and 33-year-old Marina Weisband told lawmakers on International Holocaust Remembrance Day how their lives as Jews in Germany are still far from normal almost eight decades after the Nazis murdered 6 million European Jews in the Shoah. Following their speeches, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others bore witness in the parliament’s prayer room on Wednesday as a rabbi put the final touches on a restored Thora scroll.
ISTANBUL (AP) — Three Turkish sailors who were on board a cargo ship attacked by pirates off the West African coast have returned home. Fifteen kidnapped sailors remain missing and one Azerbaijani crew member was killed during the attack. The Liberian-flagged M/V Mozart was sailing from Lagos Nigeria, to Cape Town in South Africa when it was attacked on Jan. 23, some 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers) northwest of the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe. Fourth captain Furkan Yaren told state-run Anadolu news agency he hoped the kidnapped sailors would rejoin their families soon. He said he was wounded from a fall while trying to avoid capture. The pirates left him behind along with two other wounded sailors.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — As the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign accelerates, governors, public health directors and committees advising them are holding key discussions behind closed doors, including debates about who should be eligible for the shots and how best to distribute them. A review by The Associated Press finds that advisory committees created to help determine how to prioritize vaccine doses have been holding private meetings in at least 13 states that are home to more than 70 million people. In at least 15 other states, such meetings are open to the public. But even in those states, governors and health officials can modify or override committee recommendations with little or no public explanation.
The memory of Declan Sullivan permeated campus Saturday, from the band’s pre-game performances to Irish coach Brian Kelly’s post-game press conference. The football team honored Sullivan with a moment of silence immediately following the national anthem, as well as a prayer led by University President Fr. John Jenkins. Notre Dame and Tulsa players also wore green shamrock helmet decals emblazoned with the letters “DS” in black. Prior to kickoff, the band dedicated its Trumpets in the Dome performance to Sullivan, and played the Alma Mater at the conclusion of its halftime performance. After Notre Dame’s loss to Tulsa, Kelly remembered Sullivan, who he estimated was one of only a dozen student workers he has known personally over his 20-year coaching career. “I got a chance to meet Declan and know him because of all the time he spent in our office, especially this summer,” Kelly said. “As you know, he was a lover of film and writing … I’ve got great memories of him just being in the film and video offices. “You know, you think you’re strong and able to handle all of those things that are thrown at you. This one was very difficult.”
Editor’s note: This is the first installment in a three-part series about the experience of LGBTQ students at Notre Dame in light of recent requests that the University grant club status to a gay-straight alliance. For more than 25 years, Notre Dame students have asked the University to formally recognize a student organization that addresses the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community on campus. The requests have come in many forms, including student government resolutions, a report to the Board of Trustees and applications from student organizations requesting to be officially recognized as a club by the Student Activities Office (SAO). Each time, the University rejected the request, but also affirmed its commitment to meeting the needs of LGBTQ students in ways other than a student-to-student group, according to rejection letters. The University has historically cited a conflict with Catholic teaching as a reason for rejecting the clubs. Last week, students submitted the most recent application asking that SAO recognize a gay-straight alliance (GSA). It was the fourth application for a GSA in the last six years, Peggy Hnatusko, director of student activities for programming, said. Hnatusko said the proposed GSA is under review, but also said the current structures the University offers best meet the needs of LGBTQ students. “It remains the viewpoint of the Student Activities Office that due to the sufficiently complex nature of the issue, the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning students can best be met through the structures that are currently in place,” she said. Student body president Pat McCormick said the University has made significant progress on addressing the needs of LGBTQ students over the years, but students have come to him asking for the next step. “Students are asking and seeking a peer-to-peer kind of group where gay and straight students can come together and have their own kind of independent group,” he said. “The core element that we’re trying to seek is whether we can make some kind of progress in trying to advance the spirit of inclusion further in ways that are consistent with Catholic teaching.” A long history The names and specific objectives of the groups have changed over the years, but since the 1980s, unofficial student groups for LGBTQ students have sought official University recognition. “There have been a number of applications received by the Student Activities Office whose purposes cover a wide array of gay and lesbian student issues,” Hnatusko said. “These proposals have ranged from providing a support group to establishing a gay- straight alliance.” Hnatusko and representatives from Student Affairs were unable to provide the exact number of times a student group serving the needs of LGBTQ students has requested club status and been denied. Based on interviews and copies of rejection letters obtained through student government records, The Observer verified seven requests. Senior Sam Costanzo, who submitted this year’s application for a GSA, puts it at around 15 times. University representatives could not confirm or deny this number, The first request on record dates back to 1986, when a group called Gays and Lesbians at Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s College (GLND/SMC) asked for club status. Student Affairs denied the request, according to rejection letters. “It is our judgment that formal recognition of GLND/SMC carries with it an implicit sanction for a homosexual lifestyle which is not in keeping with the values of the University or the teachings of the Church,” according to an excerpt from the 1986 letter. The next request came in 1992, when SAO denied GLND/SMC club status based on the 1986 decision, according to a copy of the rejection letter. That decision was appealed, and then-Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia O’Hara upheld the rejection. “And then it blew up,” Costanzo said. “In 1993 and 1994 this became like the Viewpoint war. And then 1995 was when it really reached fever pitch.” In 1995, student government’s Campus Life Council (CLC) passed a resolution asking the University to recognize GLND/SMC. The bylaws of CLC required O’Hara to publicly respond to its request. In an open letter to the Notre Dame community, O’Hara denied the request because the University did not think granting GLND/SMC club status was the “appropriate means to the agreed upon end of building a supportive environment for our gay and lesbian students.” Instead, O’Hara created an ad hoc committee to advise her on how, apart from recognizing a student organization, the University could do a better job serving LGBTQ students. In 1996, this committee’s recommendations led to a standing committee comprised of faculty, administration members and students to advise the Vice President of Student Affairs on how to address LGBTQ student needs. In 1997, the University added a Spirit of Inclusion to its student handbook, du Lac. It states that Notre Dame welcomes LGBTQ students and seeks to create an environment of “in which none are strangers and all may flourish.” “We value gay and lesbian members of this community as we value all members of this community,” it states. “We condemn harassment of any kind, and University policies proscribe it.” By 2006, the standing committee morphed into the Core Council, which is the University sanctioned structure in place today, Hnatusko said. Most recently, applications for club status have been for a GSA, rather than a group for LGBTQ students alone. Hnatusko said since she took her position in 2007, there have been four applications for a GSA. Room to work together Over the years, the University has expressed a desire to meet the needs of LGBTQ students, but in a way that is consistent with Church teaching. Core Council has become the University’s primary resource to do so. As an advisory board for the Vice President of Student Affairs, Core Council is comprised of four administrators and eight students, the majority of whom must identify as LGTBQ, said co-chair Sr. Sue Dunn. “We’re not a club, and that’s a great distinction to make, because we answer directly to, as an advisory group if you will, to the Vice President for Student Affairs,” Dunn said. Core Council works with organizations across campus to raise awareness and educate the community about LGBTQ issues. It also hosts a monthly coffee where students can get together to be social and monthly discussion groups regarding LGBTQ issues, Dunn said. This year, Core Council was given its own space in LaFortune, and it now hosts Safe Space hours several nights a week, where students can come in to talk or simply hang out. “We’re definitely in a good position of growth phase now,” Dunn said. Dunn said Core Council differs from a GSA in its composition and nature. “Some of the more pastoral needs are met by the Core Council’s structure,” she said. “Sometimes there is an ebb and flow to student groups that are only run by students … Part of the reasoning in coming up with this sort of structure is that there would be some stability.” Senior Jason G’Sell, who serves as co-chair with Dunn, said from the perspective of a gay student, the Core Council does not eliminate the need for a GSA. “Frequently, they say the Core Council is doing what the GSA is doing. We could have a thousand Core Councils and that wouldn’t be enough,” he said. “There will never be enough [safe] space.” G’Sell said a GSA could provide an option for students who do not like Core Council events, as well as appeal to students who are less comfortable with their sexuality. “There’s a conception that if you walk into our events, it’s like you’re going to have a rainbow flag stamped onto your forehead, [that] you’re outing yourself to the world and everyone’s going to know, and that’s scary for people who aren’t really comfortable with their identity,” he said. “[In a GSA], identity is less important because it’s for LGBT people, and questioning people and allies. You can perhaps choose which one you want to identify as. “And I would say at Notre Dame, that is particularly important.” AllianceND This year’s application for a GSA comes from an unofficial club, AllianceND, which meets biweekly, Costanzo said. The application comes after Student Senate passed a resolution last month asking the University to give club status to a GSA and in the wake of a video released last week by the 4 to 5 Movement, which advocates for an improved environment of inclusion for LGBTQ students, faculty and staff. “There is just a lot of energy and excitement in how we can continue the remarkable progress that’s been made in expanding inclusion at Notre Dame,” McCormick, student body president, said. Costanzo said the current proposal strived to work within the standards of the University and Church teaching. “There’s been this long standing perception or misunderstanding that we are a certain type of group of students and that we are seeking to get this approved for it to be like a locus of sinful interaction between students,” he said. “We’re going to be subject to the same standards and scrutiny as every other student club if we’re approved … We’re trying to make it clear that we’ll work within the boundaries [of Church teaching.]” Costanzo said if approved, AllianceND would not seek to usurp the responsibilities of Core Council. Rather, it would complement the structures already in place. He said Core Council is “a static hub of support,” whereas a GSA would be “peer to peer, not tied down to an institutionalized office.” Hnatusko, who is responsible for making the final decision regarding prospective clubs, said the GSA application is one of 22 applications for new clubs SAO received by the deadline last week. As the first step in the approval process, Hnatusko said she will review each proposed club and look at a number of factors related to the club’s purpose, proposed activities and feasibility. The club must also be consistent with the University’s mission and Catholic teaching, according to du Lac. “That’s usually where it’s been killed,” Costanzo said. Hnatusko said this process can take several weeks, but if the club meets University standards for recognition, it is sent to a branch of student government for approval. She said SAO will send letters regarding the status of proposed student clubs after all 22 have been reviewed, which must be finished by the end of next semester. If approved, Costanzo said AllianceND would be like any other student club. “We could flier. We could have our own events … We were kind of thinking of having a service component to the GSA too,” he said. “We could get out into the campus to change the culture. So in that sense, it’s proactive, but it’s not activist-y.” McCormick said the time is right to approve a GSA. “There is no better time. We’ve had progress for so many years now,” he said. “Why not continue that? Why not continue this march forward?”
Saint Mary’s junior Anna Ulliman will bring new technological gadgets to campus by serving as a Google Student Ambassador (GSA) this academic year. Ulliman said the GSA program enables Google to partner with academic institutions to promote the use of technology at the grassroots level. “I applied for the position as Google Student Ambassador in June of this past summer,” she said. “Soon after, my application was reviewed, and I found out I was going to have the amazing opportunity to serve as a Google Student Ambassador at Saint Mary’s.” Ulliman said her role as a SGSA is to help students and faculty discover how Google tools can improve collaboration and increase performance. “As a Google Student Ambassador, it is my responsibility to make Saint Mary’s a more connected campus through the use of Google,” she said. “I’m working with the college’s administrators, clubs and organizations, professors and students to do just that.” Last month, Ulliman ventured to the West Coast to attend a summit hosted by Google. She worked with members of the Google teamwand learned how to take on her new role as aAGSAyas effectively as possible. “In August, I attended the GSA Summit in Mountain View, Califa, during which I collaborated with other GSAs and Googlers to start generating ideas about how to fulfill my position as GSA this year,” Ulliman said Ulliman said Saint Mary’s is an excellent place to implement technological changes and adjustments because it constantly trieg to improve for the students and faculty. “My biggest goal is to make Saint Mary’s an even better community with the help of Google,” Ulliman said. Some specifics that will help me achieve that goal include fun campus events, technical info sessions, working with clubs to increase the efficiency of their organizations and collaborating with administrators. Contact Kelly Rice at email@example.com Saint Mary’s junior Anna Ulliman will bring new technological gadgets to campus by serving as a Google Student Ambassador (GSA) this academic year. Ulliman said the GSA program enables Google to partner with academic institutions to promote the use of technology at the grassroots level. “I applied for the position as Google Student Ambassador in June of this past summer,” she said. “Soon after, my application was reviewed, and I found out I was going to have the amazing opportunity to serve as a Google Student Ambassador at Saint Mary’s.” Ulliman said her role as a SGSA is to help students and faculty discover how Google tools can improve collaboration and increase performance. “As a Google Student Ambassador, it is my responsibility to make Saint Mary’s a more connected campus through the use of Google,” she said. “I’m working with the college’s administrators, clubs and organizations, professors and students to do just that.” Last month, Ulliman ventured to the West Coast to attend a summit hosted by Google. She worked with members of the Google teamwand learned how to take on her new role as aAGSAyas effectively as possible. “In August, I attended the GSA Summit in Mountain View, Califa, during which I collaborated with other GSAs and Googlers to start generating ideas about how to fulfill my position as GSA this year,” Ulliman said Ulliman said Saint Mary’s is an excellent place to implement technological changes and adjustments because it constantly trieg to improve for the students and faculty. “My biggest goal is to make Saint Mary’s an even better community with the help of Google,” Ulliman said. Some specifics that will help me achieve that goal include fun campus events, technical info sessions, working with clubs to increase the efficiency of their organizations and collaborating with administrators. Contact Kelly Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org
At Wednesday night’s Student Senate meeting, student body president Alex Coccia updated members on the student government’s new campaign combating sexual assault, One is Too Many.“We now have 135 volunteers trained for [the campaign],” Coccia said. “We’re already getting positive feedback.”Several volunteers started door-to-door visits in their dorms to discuss the launch of the campaign and speak about resources available on campus pertaining to sexual assault, he said.The Gender Relations Center is also helping with the campaign by providing student government with pamphlets detailing ways friends can help victims of sexual assault, Coccia said.National engagement and outreach director Rosie Shepherd attended the meeting and presented her resolution outlining the Senate’s support of the organizational bylaws of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Student Body President Conference.Coccia attended the inaugural ACC Student Body President Conference shortly after the University joined the ACC in September 2013.According to the resolution, which passed during Wednesday’s meeting, the goal of the president’s council is to “foster cross-campus communication between active institutions in the ACC; continue the pursuit of being pioneers of higher education, athletics and extracurricular activities; enable collective actions that affect all participating institutions; and promote a strong relationship among all institutions.”Senators also discussed upcoming signature dorm events and general on-campus events. Toni Schreier, McGlinn Hall senator said Majors Night will take place in South Dining Hall this Thursday from 6-8 p.m. “Everyone is welcome, and we’re expecting both teachers and professors from every department to be there,” Schreier said. Schreier also reminded senators that McGlinn casino night will take place this Saturday from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.O’Neill Hall senator Kyle McCaffery said only one dorm has currently entered a contestant for next Thursday’s Miss Notre Dame pageant, an O’Neill signature event. There is, however, still time to sign up. Other events in the next month will include the Keenan Revue and Lewis Hall of Pancakes (LHOP), which will occur on Feb. 7.Tags: Senate
The Office of Digital Learning continued its ND Digital Week events with a discussion of digital scholarship and its potential impact on the humanities lead by University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts associate professor Tara McPherson Monday in Carey Auditorium.“I want to talk to you as a humanities scholar on how we can imagine scholarship anew given the networked ecology that much of our data and scholarly archives now inhabit,” McPherson said. “I teach in a school of cinematic arts. These archives which are being built without any mind or preservation or any sustainability for the future could be the textual or visual evidence for countless dissertations in my field for decades to come.”McPherson said humanities scholars’ ability to include meaning, emotions and consciousness in archived data is invaluable. She said the USC’s Shoah Foundation dedicated to providing audio and visual testimonies regarding the Holocaust.“Humanities scholars are building really rich datasets of our own,” McPherson said. “There are over 54,000 testimonies in this rich archive — hundreds of thousands of hours of footage. … We’re not going to figure out what this means as evidence or as archival testimony without the work of humanities scholars. They’ll be really important to help us think through the emotional aspect, the embodiment, trauma, memory, on how … they carry the gesture of a survivor’s body as they recount a memory.”McPherson said the newfound range and depth of data ready to be published and accessed by an unprecedented number of people mandates changes made to the practices, the publication and medium of the academia in humanities.“Then there are a variety of ways new scholarly practices have emerged as we think about what the digital age affords us,” McPherson said. “There is a project undertaken by Kathy Rowe at Bryn Mawr … that opened a particular issue up about open peer review as opposed to closed, blind peer review practices we tend to fetishize as scholars and they found an interesting set of practices in open peer review that were no less rigorous than blind peer review.“Another increasingly important thing for scholars to think through now is who we let publish our work so that a public library of science that makes scholarship free and public to all and not behind paywalls and not behind subscription magazines,” McPherson said.McPherson said she experiments with new mediums of academia like the USC-hosted online journal Vectors, which features interactive Adobe Flash projects. Scalar, another academic online platform automatically links publications’ citations to other relevant scholarly pieces and multimedia, McPherson said.Although these emerging platforms employ kinesthetic components to convey information in more meaningful ways, they face the issue of credibility, McPherson said.“I really love Vectors and continue to work in it but there are lots problems as well, particularly from a librarian’s point of view,” McPherson said.McPherson said that the accessibility of digital scholarships is a double-edged sword.“Just click ‘Go Live’ and put a link on your website,” McPherson said. “But very few tenured university committees are going to take that seriously because we advocated a responsibility to reevaluate work [in traditional mediums].”Even so, McPherson said digital scholarship increases the mediums of ingenuity and ingeniousness.“Anybody could do some work in Scalar and it could be brilliant,” McPherson said.Tags: digital scholarship, Digital Week 2014, Office of Digital Learning, Tara McPherson
Peter St. John | The Observer Junior Adam Kulam, a resident of O’Neill Hall, beat 12 other contestants to win the title of Mr. ND.Junior Elizabeth Cameron, who organized the pageant with sophomore Holly Harris this year, said it serves as an opportunity for each male dorm to display an aspect of the dorm personality.“[Mr. ND] is very representative of all the dorm communities,” Cameron said. “It’s a super fun, eclectic event.”Walsh awards three different titles to contestants: “Mr. ND,” the top honor chosen by Walsh Hall’s rector and two Assistant Rectors as well as the reigning Mr. ND champion; “Mr. Walsh,” chosen by the women of Walsh Hall; and “Fan Favorite,” chosen by the crowd through a text-poll.Cameron said winners are judged on “personality, technical skill and overall talent.”During the pageant, each contestant had time to perform a talent in front of the crowd. This year’s talents included a reenactment of the “Jingle Bell Rock” scene from the movie “Mean Girls” by freshman Michael Newcome of Duncan Hall, a PowerPoint presentation about parietals by junior Patrick Messina of Siegfried Hall and a ribbon dance to the George Michael song “Careless Whisper” by freshman Ryan Burns of Sorin College.At the end of the night, Walsh crowned junior Adam Kulam of O’Neill Hall — who performed “Defying Gravity” from the musical “Wicked” for his talent — as Mr. ND. Kulam won favor with the judges through his use of props including a fidget spinner, a broom and a padfolio. Kulam delivered a six-minute performance where he danced and sang lines for multiple characters.When asked about how he felt about winning the pageant’s top prize, Kulam said, “I feel weightless … as though I were defying gravity.”This year’s “Mr. Walsh” was junior Davis Gonsalves of Dunne Hall. Gonsalves, who wrote a letter to the editor in The Observer earlier this semester ranking Notre Dame’s resident halls, re-ranked the male residence halls to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” for his talent.Gonsalves noted before he began that in his earlier rankings he chose Walsh Hall as the best women’s dorm on campus and stood by the claim. Gonsalves’s rewritten lyrics to “Piano Man” claimed Dunne Hall was the best men’s hall, eliciting several jeers from the crowd.Sophmore Jay Herrans of Stanford Hall was rewarded for his acoustic performance of Maroon 5’s “She Will be Loved” with the title of “Fan Favorite.”Following the announcement of the winners, Kulam, Gonsalves and Herrans each received a sash with their respective titles emblazoned across the front. Balancing out the Mr. ND Pageant, O’Neill Hall will be holding its annual Ms. ND Pageant in the spring of 2018.Tags: dunne hall, Mr. ND, O’Neill Hall, signature event, Stanford Hall, Walsh Hall Walsh Hall hosted its 17th annual Mr. ND Pageant, which invites men from each of Notre Dame’s male dorms to compete for the ultimate title of “Mr. ND,” on Thursday.The Mr. ND Pageant is Walsh Hall’s signature event, with all proceeds from ticket sales benefitting Joseph Academy — founded 34 years ago by Notre Dame alumni to assist young students with learning disabilities — in Chicago.
As someone who researched cultural divisions for many years, Mary Ellen Konieczny had a way of bringing together those of differing opinions.“She was really interested in cultural conflict and, in particular, cultural conflict in religion and polarization in the U.S. Catholic church,” Linda Kawentel, a former Notre Dame doctoral student, said. “And so, one of her interests was actually getting people to talk to each other — not only about theology, but even just to get people to know each other.”Professor Konieczny, the Henkels Family Associate Professor of Sociology, died Feb. 24 at the age of 58 due to complications from cancer.She was known as a prominent sociologist and researcher in her field, Fr. Paul Kollman, an associate professor of theology and her former classmate and colleague, said.“I just appreciated having a friend on the faculty like her who knew enough about my field to be conversant and also was a good sociologist,” he said. “[She] helped me understand her field and study of religion from the perspective of her discipline. She was a very generous, acute, thoughtful person.”Professor Konieczny, who also went by “MEK,” was in the process of studying the role of religion at the U.S. Air Force Academy. She was also researching Our Lady of Kibeho — a Marian apparition in Rwanda — and its role in healing divisions in the country after genocide.“Everything she worked to study was somehow focusing on this question of polarization and connection, and I think that recurs again and again in her life, in how she lives as a person, how she wanted to always connect people and also what she wanted to study,” Ann Mische, associate professor of sociology and peace studies, said.Professor Konieczny and Mische formed a book-writing group with sociology professor Erin McDonnell to hold each other accountable during the writing process. Mische said these meetings formed some of her favorite memories with Professor Konieczny.“I really loved meeting with her every week, talking through our projects, seeing her figure something out,” Mische said. “She was struggling and struggling with something about her book, and as we would talk, seeing her excitement as she figured out the way that she was going to solve this problem in the writing of her book, that was really fun.”McDonnell said she came to know Professor Konieczny as someone who always pushed others to achieve their highest potential through this process.“I came to realize that Mary Ellen was someone who had very high standards and aspirations, but had that rare ability to be honest and vulnerable about her own uncertainties,” McDonnell said in an email. “At the same time, she was a stalwart cheerleader for her students and colleagues, always willing to be the mirror that reflected back our best selves when we were uncertain.”Professor Konieczny was a particularly objective instructor, junior Jeffrey Murphy said.“One of the four founding fathers of sociology, Max Weber, used to say that it is a great attribute of professors to be politically impartial,” Murphy said. “He basically said that students should walk away from your class and have no idea where you stand on the political spectrum. That’s how good you should be at not letting your political beliefs influence the way in which you present information, and to this day, I have no clue where she fell on the political spectrum.”Kawentel, who earned her Ph.D. under Professor Konieczny’s guidance, recalled their long discussions and ability to connect over a number of subjects.“We could easily jump from topic to topic and it would be an engaging conversation,” Kawentel said. “Anything from teaching to personal life to sociology and research to faith and feminism. She was just fun to talk to and whether that was like our meetings in her office or over a glass of wine at her house, she was a very lively conversationalist.”Through these conversations, Professor Konieczny also created a space for marginalized students to discuss their experiences, senior Salonee Seecharan said.“I’m a brown, first-generation immigrant woman, and that can be difficult at Notre Dame sometimes,” Seecharan said. “And I’m Hindu, I’m brown, I’m a woman — she understands some of those things, and some of those things she doesn’t. She’s Catholic, so there’s a big difference, but there was something very safe about walking into her office.”Seecharan said Professor Konieczny was also known for her sense of fashion.“She just wore things that were really flattering and very, very stylish. … [she wore] lots of bright colors,” Seecharan said. “It really reflected her person: very welcoming and very bright — very sunshiney, even in the winter.”Professor Konieczny went out of her way to help others, Seecharan said, even writing recommendations while she was ill.“She was one of my application [recommenders], and that was when she was sick,” Seecharan said. “I didn’t know at the time, because she didn’t tell us — it was kind of a surprise for the students, we knew she wasn’t doing well — but I was applying in November, December and she wasn’t feeling well at the time, and she still did it. She could have told me she just couldn’t, but she did it.”Abigail Jorgensen, a doctoral student, also noted Professor Konieczny’s influence on her life. She first met Professor Konieczny as an undergraduate student and when she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology, Professor Konieczny became her advisor.“She just really took what I wanted to do and made it into something that I could see as a reality which was really cool, especially for a job like being a professor where less than 1 percent of the population has a Ph.D. so it doesn’t seem all that attainable especially if you’re from somewhere in Minnesota that has one stoplight,” Jorgensen said. “But it was really cool for her to take that and make it into a visual reality that I could see and work toward.”Taking a holistic approach to education, Professor Konieczny was interested in all aspects of her students’ lives, Jorgensen said.“Just as an advisor she really cared not just about what I wrote that day or what I had written the week before [or] what conferences I had applied to,” Jorgensen said. “ … She really cared about the whole person, not just the work you produced.”Tags: Mary Ellen Konieczny, professor, sociology