Research and Scholarship Spotlights

The Research and Sponsored Programs Library is an archive of articles related to research or grant activity from a multitude of sources and departments. We would like to acknowledge the achievements of our faculty members and students by highlighting them as our feature stories.

Post year articles can be found at the bottom of our page and are sorted by the fiscal year published.



Peter Happel Christian

Congratulations to Peter Happel Christian, a recent recipient of the Artist Initiative Grant for Photography from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Happel Christian, along with Phillip Andrew Lewis, received a collaborative Ansel Adams Fellowship award for Creative Photography along with Phillip Andrew Lewis and for their book “Sword of the Sun”. Wherein, Peter developed a one person art exhibit showcasing his talents along with the photograph that has become the cover of the book itself.



 Peter Happel

        (Cover Created By Peter Happel Christian)

Please read the following excerpt from Peter regarding the back story and development of his project” The Sword of the Sun”.


"The work in this book is loosely related to the story told in The Sword of the Sun by Italo Calvino. In the story, an elderly man, Mr. Palomar, swims in a nameless sea at sunset. As he drifts he contemplates the fleeting, spangled shape of the sun casting across the water. He imagines that the sun points its rays at him alone. Mr. Palomar eventually realizes that every person in the world must think this same thing at some point in their life. He goes on to wonder which came first: the sun or eyes to see it.

From the edge of Calvino¹s imaginary, nameless sea, I made the work that shapes this book, Sword of the Sun. In a never-ending effort to make sense of the landscapes around me and the tools of photography, I photographed actions and events in the spaces around my home: my yard, the nameless pond nearby, and a variety of points in between. In these photographs, individual and shared histories of place collide, and splice together a version of where I live. As time skids forward ‹ dragging history, impressions and the things of these photographs I have come to realize that the sword of the sun is the sharpest edge in the world."

If you are interested to know more about Peter Happel Christians work please view his website at:


By: Patricia Bresser "Advance Care Planning Certification Course"

role play practice

(Students Participating in a role playing exercise)

Dr. Phyllis Greenberg from Gerontology and I have co-taught an interdisciplinary course on Advance Care Planning (ACP) certification since fall 2013.  Eighty-eight students successfully completed the course and the certification. They now have the beginning knowledge and skills to assist adults with discussions about their healthcare wishes and completion of a healthcare directive.

The focus of this project was to bring together faculty and students from multiple disciplines to learn about and practice the process of advance care planning. Students read the book, “The Gray Zone” by Deborah Day Laxson, articles by Dr. Atul Gawande among others, role-play multiple scenarios, create an elevator speech related to ACP, and participate in small and large group discussions. Following their certification, students complete service-learning assignments in the community, including at least two one-on-one facilitation sessions, and a group presentation.

These students are now part of a cadre of certified Advance Care Planning facilitators in central Minnesota. They are utilizing their skills as students at the university and, following graduation, as professionals in their workplaces. They also work with family and friends of all ages. The certification is based on an evidence-based curriculum through Respecting Choices in La Crosse, Wisconsin and there are few academic institutions in the country offering this opportunity to their students.

CentraCare Health Foundation supported this project through grant funding. The funding was used to purchase on-line modules each student needed to complete as part of their certification. Dr. Monica Devers, Dean of the School of Health & Human Services, also supported the project through initial funding and allowing us the opportunity to begin co-teaching the course.

This written course evaluation comment was submitted by one of the students: This was a great class! My eyes were truly opened to the concept of ACP. I feel inspired and ready to take my skills into the world to use personally and professionally. One of the best courses I’ve ever taken.” Students who have completed the course are our best ambassadors and are encouraging other students .


By: Bobby Wolf of "Bobby Wolf LLC."


(Breaking New Ground - Bobby Wolf LLC.)

Bobby Wolf arrived at the idea of starting Wolf Auto LLC by complete accident. In 2010, the company that Wolf had worked at for 20 years went out of business. While unemployed and searching for a job, Bobby and his son, Jesse, decided to start a restoration project on an Audi S4 as a gift for his wife, Deb. They purchased it from a salvage yard and fixed it up. “It was stunning -- Pearl white with sport black interior. I remember that it was something special,” Wolf remembers.

Unfortunately, on the second day that Deb drove the car, it stopped running and left her stranded on the side of the road. The timing belt had slipped and destroyed the engine. Wolf was devastated that he didn’t have the funds to fix it. Jesse suggested that they should “part it out” – meaning sell parts of the car on websites such as Craigslist and eBay.

“To my astonishment, these parts were in very high demand and we made back all the money we spent for the car and the cost to repair it in about 1 month. We still had 2/3rds of the car remaining to sell. It quickly became apparent what our future was going to be, selling used Audi parts,” Wolf says.

Wolf’s mother took a line of credit against her house to allow him to lease his first shop and buy some cars to part out. They figured out how to maximize their profits and began to grow very quickly. Within 18 months, Wolf moved the operation from a 1750 sq ft building to 4800 sq ft building, but still were leasing.

“After continued growth, we needed a bigger shop again in our 4th year. We did not want to lease anymore, we wanted something of our own,” says Wolf. Working with the Central Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Wright County Economic Development Partnership (WCEDP), Wolf was able to secure the $668,000 financing package that he needed to build a new facility. The project was completed and the company moved in February of 2015.

The collaboration between SBDC and WCEDP is just one example of the unique relationships the SBDC has developed in order to better serve small businesses throughout the region.  WCEDP Director, Duane Northagen, also serves as a consultant to the SBDC to create a win-win situation in terms of access to services for small business clients within his region.  Duane has worked tirelessly to expand WCEDP programming, and his dual role has allowed him to leverage a greater skill pool while affording the SBDC the opportunity to broaden its presence in Wright County.




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If you have articles you would like added to the library, please email them to or send the article through inter-campus mail to AS210.