Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#SummerOrangeCrew Explores the Great Food on Grand Avenue

One of the perks of being a Macalester student is having access to a plethora of restaurants and cafes on Grand Avenue. There are so many options to choose from within just two blocks of campus so the #SummerOrangeCrew decided to have a picnic lunch with food from a variety of places nearby. This is not an exhaustive list but it will definitely give you an idea of what Grand Ave has to offer to you as Mac student.


Eloise and Zane sampling the options

I got lunch from the Saint Paul Cheese Shop! I had the t-chut sandwich, which has brie, turkey, and cranberry chutney, and rose lemonade. The Cheese Shop is really cool because it has a huge variety of cheeses to choose from, as well as sandwiches and melts that you can buy for lunch or dinner. The t-chut is my personal favorite and (in my opinion) a classic! - Zane

I decided to get my lunch at The St. Paul Cheese Shop, just a walk across the street on the corner of campus. The Cheese Shop is a small store with a big selection of artisan cheeses and sodas. They also sell a variety of sandwiches and melts and even offer a student discount if you show your ID. I ordered a mozzarella and tomato melt and a bag of potato chips to go with it. It also comes with a shot of delicious tomato soup. The whole meal only cost me ten dollars and it’s easily my favorite lunch option within walking distance of campus! - Connor


Pad Thai is a Grand Avenue staple (as evidenced by the fact that three of us chose it for lunch). For me, ordering my meal is an exact science: chicken pad thai (no onions) with medium spice and a side of their peanut-y satay sauce. The dish also comes with a side of peanuts for texture, and a couple slices of lime for zing. SO good. Plus, the lunch special is a huge amount of food for a relatively low price. I was stuffed halfway through... so now I get a tasty lunch tomorrow, too! - Angela
Another ‘grand’ lunch meal (and deal!) along Grand Avenue: Pad Thai’s Pra Ram Rong Song, a dish of steamed spinach, broccoli, and carrots with traditional coconut and peanut sauce. I’m a big fan of their #513 (an ammmazing eggplant and tofu dish), so when I saw that it wasn’t on their lunch menu I was a little apprehensive… I’m pleased to say, however, that I’ve found another favorite thanks to our #SummerOrangeCrew picnic! - Mo

Thai cuisine has always held a special place in my heart, yet I somehow managed to go through three full years as a Mac student without ever eating at Pad Thai on Grand Avenue. WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING WITH MY LIFE?! The chicken green curry that I devoured during our picnic lunch was so good that I can’t believe it took me this long to enjoy the food that Pad Thai has to offer. I will definitely be going back many times over the next year to make up for all the spicy curries that I have neglected until now. - Ben


As a Chicago boy, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to pizza. Luckily the Italian Pie Shoppe, located mere steps from the corner of campus, does a whole lot of justice to my hometown favorite: deep dish! Today for the picnic I decided to go with their specialty spinach pizza, complete with fresh diced tomatoes, italian sausage, and of course a lot of melted mozzarella beneath that thick layer of sauce. I always look forward immensely to my meals at the Pie Shoppe, knowing that each time I’ll come away satisfied after enjoying a little slice of back home. Pun absolutely intended. - Dan


The St. Paul Meat Shop is already a favorite spot for many Mac students to grab a bite to eat, so when word came out that the owner was going to be opening a Meat Shop just a block down Grand Ave., there was a lot of excitement around campus. This week I finally got the chance to try it out, and let me tell you, it lived up to my expectations. It was a tough decision but I chose to get the turkey club sandwich with tomato-bacon jam and greens, and it did not disappoint. Suddenly deciding where to go for a sandwich just got a lot harder! Also, you can show your Macalester Student ID at the Cheese Shop and the Meat Shop to receive $1 off your order! - Atticus


My lunch was from Shish, a mediterranean restaurant that has tons of delicious vegetarian and vegan options. I got the falafel burger, a house-made and tasty piece of falafel sandwiched between tomatoes, slices of avocado, aioli, and a toasted bun. It was the first meal I got at Grand Avenue my first year, and the same dish I’ve had on each of my birthdays as well. Yum yum yum yum yum! - Eloise

Learn more about the #SummerOrangeCrew's adventures...

Summer Research and Internhips in the Twin Cities

One of the many advantages of being at a Liberal Arts institution like Macalester is the exposure to opportunities that would be otherwise reserved for Graduate students. With guidance from the Career Development Center and the Science and Research Office many international students are able to obtain grants and fellowships for research outside of campus. Macalester’s location in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area opens up a broad range of opportunities for students to supplement their on-campus education with real-world learning experiences. Here are two examples.
My name is Akanksha and I am a rising Senior from Kolkata, India at Macalester College - I’m a Statistics/Neuroscience double-major and am passionate about all things that intersect those two fields- think Artificial Intelligence, working with big-data, neural/behavioral data analysis, and so on!

The summer after my sophomore year, I knew that I was interested in certain fields of study, but I had no idea about specific career choices that I needed to make. That was also when I started my summer research position as part of a student statistics consulting group of sorts, and we worked with several amazing Mac professors from the Math and Bio department. We were responsible for a host of things - including the revamping of a Mac lab-course! Not only did I have one of the most fun and enriching experiences, it also gave me a sense of direction of where I wanted to go next - I went ahead and declared a Stats major (quite late in the game) and continued to look for similar experiences.

That’s me outside my MDH office!
This led me to my current job as a data scientist at the Minnesota Department of Health - a job that I both adore and am enlightened by. As part of the Injury and Violence Prevention Unit, I conduct data analyses to observe and interpret health-related trends in MN. It’s an immersive experience and I am exposed to a deeper understanding of public health surveillance and epidemiological systems and how to use them fully to inform policy making decisions and raise public awareness. I have worked on a number of different projects including environment related deaths in MN (deaths due to heat, cold, flooding, etc). My more recent project includes an analysis on firework-related injuries and a data-brief that I did for the 4th of July.

One of my favorite aspects of the job is that my supervisor often gives me impromptu stats lessons in the middle of analysis meetings - the work environment has the perfect combination of corporate and academia vibes and it is immensely satisfying to work here!

I spend the rest of my time this summer  hanging out with my friends, running and doing yoga!

Me and my friends at Northern Spark (an
all-night art and light festival hosted in
Minneapolis annually).

That’s me and a friend enjoying some apple pie
at a U.S. Independence Day barbeque!

By Akanksha '15
Kolkata, India

My name is Aman Imani. I’m a rising senior at Macalester pursuing a double major in Biology and Chemistry. I am particularly interested in genomic engineering as a field of study and potential career path. However, like many of my Macalester classmates, I have other academic interests I am also interested in exploring. This summer I was able to obtain two internships is very different fields: science and business.

That’s me at my research lab at the University of Minnesota!

Genetics excited me ever since I took it in high school. I only narrowed down my interest to genomic engineering after taking Seminar in Genome Editing with Professor Mary Montgomery last Spring. While Macalester’s course-related laboratory component is a great introduction to the subject, independent laboratory research is indispensable. To this end, I got a position in the Schmidt-Dannert Lab at the University of Minnesota this summer. I started work in April so I could hit the ground running by the time summer came around. My supervisor, Chris Flynn, is a Ph.D. candidate and a wonderful mentor. Together, we are working on mushrooms that are agricultural crop pathogens. By modifying the protein profile of this mushroom, we hope to mitigate its toxicity and further its application in medicine. Chris provides the perfect balance between supervision and independent learning. I’ve learned a lot about laboratory techniques, critical thinking, troubleshooting and the process we call ‘research’ from him.                 

While my experience at the Schmidt-Dannert Lab continues to be very rewarding, I was also keen on getting a peek into corporate America. I applied for many internships and ultimately settled on working as an Analyst at R&D Systems (Minneapolis), a company specializing in manufacturing biological tools for research. My job involves reading a lot of scientific literature and creating a synopsis, of sorts, about how various products are being used. This internship dovetails with my passion for science since my work has exposed me to essential techniques in biology like cell culture and flow cytometry which I can apply to my research. This helps me do my job at the University of Minnesota better, too.

By Aman Imani 16
Mumbai, India

Friday, July 17, 2015

#SummerOrangeCrew Goes to a Minnesota United FC Game

Last night, the #SummerOrangeCrew journeyed 30 minutes by car to Blaine, MN to see Minnesota United FC compete against the Jacksonville Armada. Minnesota United competes in the North American Soccer League NASL which is the second tier of professional soccer here in the U.S. This was the first Minnesota United game for any of us in the Crew. The introduction to the soccer club could not have been any better.

View of the field from our seats in Schwan Stadium

There was plenty of action in the game including a first half red card for one of the Jacksonville Players, a second half ejection for the Jacksonville coach, and four goals and a shutout for Minnesota United (three of the goals happened at our end of the field so we got to see some awesome play up close and personal). Minnesota United controlled most of the game and dominated the scoreboard.

Minnesota United supporters, called the Dark Clouds, celebrating one of United’s four goals
Aside from the soccer match, there was plenty of other entertainment at the stadium. Food trucks, a whacky half time performance involving playing soccer while inside giant inflatable bubbles, and the constant chanting and cheering from the Dark Clouds supporter section really made the stadium atmosphere enjoyable and fun. Let’s not forget the team mascot, the Loon, taking selfies with fans around the stadium!
This is yet another incredible experience that the Twin Cities area has to offer. Needless to say, I had a great time at the match and have discovered a new favorite sports team to support here in the Twin Cities. Come on, you Loons! Minnesota black and blue! 

Ben Kaufman ’16
Bainbridge Island WA


Sunday, July 12, 2015

#SummerOrangeCrew Attempts the "Lumberjack" and Learns About MN History

Summer is almost halfway done, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten the chance to explore the Twin Cities more than I usually do in the school year! On Tuesday, the #summerorangecrew went to Nelson’s Ice Cream - we wanted to get the Lumberjack, which is the store’s “challenge” and has 5 scoops of ice cream and 3 toppings. Unfortunately, they were out of the bowls they usually use, so we each picked a flavor (except Zane, who’s lactose intolerant) and got them in smaller bowls. I got Java Chip, the closest to Coffee Oreo which isn’t offered at Nelson’s and is usually my favorite flavor. We also got Black Rum Cherry, Cookie Dough, White Chocolate Raspberry, and Moose Tracks. Yumyumyumyumyum.

After Nelson’s, Connor, Atticus, and I headed to the Minnesota History Center! We took the 74 bus route, which brought us right from Nelson’s to downtown St. Paul, about 3 blocks from the History Center. The Center is free to everyone on Thursdays, and there was also a free a performance from a Baltic music group as part of the Nine Nights of Music series. The museum is arranged in 5 ongoing exhibits and 2 featured ones that rotate more frequently. We started at the ongoing ones, with “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation”, which detailed the lives of people who lived during the Depression, World War II, and the post-war boom. They had recreated the counter that would be in a diner in the 1930s, including a soda fountain and ice cream bar. There was also an ammunition packing challenge, where you had one person rotating the conveyor belt and everyone else trying to assemble ammunition as fast as possible. The requirement would have been to pack 15 ammunition in one minute, but Atticus and I could only get about 10 done while Connor rotated the belt...it was harder than it looked!! My favorite part was a recreation of a WWII combat fight, which was inside a replica of a C-47 plane. It was extremely well designed, so the benches shook and the windows looked like clouds were floating past.

Then we headed to “Grainland”, which is a smaller part of the “Then Now Wow” exhibit and includes a grain elevator that you can climb through, which follows corn and soy from farm to farm. It was definitely designed for children, but Atticus, Connor, and I all went through it more than once!
We dressed up in clothes from the sod house. Yes..those are bonnets on Atticus’s & Connor’s heads.

Inside the grain elevator! A little claustrophobic, but still fun (& educational!)
After the grain elevator, we headed to the rest of Then Now Wow, where we tried to push a cart with the strength of oxen and dressed up in the clothing of a pioneer family from the 1870s. We also saw a modern tipi and drilled in an Iron Range mine.

After Grainland, we walked through “Open House”, which details the lives of families who lived at 470 Hopkins Street in St. Paul’s East Side. It’s extremely interactive, and I think I could have spent hours poking around the furniture (which usually had built in artifacts and information) and trying on the clothes. We then went to “We Are Hmong”, one of the featured exhibits, and then to the other feature, “Inspiring Beauty”. We’d been inside for quite a while at that point, and the music show was just starting so we headed to the huge patio outside the museum where we watched people dance along to the music and others just enjoying the weather and sounds. 

Outside the museum, where some people were learning how to dance to Baltic music while others sat and listened. That’s the St. Paul Cathedral in the background.
They had some food options at the music show, but we decided to walk down the Union Depot to explore downtown a bit more. We passed a really cute sculpture of the Peanuts, so of course I made Atticus and Connor pose with them. :)

Inside Union Depot - it’s HUGE!
After seeing Union Depot, we caught the 63 bus route back down Grand Ave all the way to campus, and we stopped at Chipotle on the way for some post-museum dinner. All in all, a great afternoon!

Eloise Terry ‘17
Needham, MA



Monday, July 6, 2015

#SummerOrangeCrew Goes to Midway Pro Bowl


Last Thursday, the #SummerOrangeCrew started off the holiday weekend in style with a little bowling. This outing had the added bonus of being our closest yet, as Midway Pro Bowl lies on University Avenue, just over a mile from campus!

Picking silly names for everyone on the scoreboard...Le Condor, Merci Beaucoup, and AnnieBananie, and Atticus Finch-Kleen
With all nine of us present, we quickly rented out two lanes and shoes for the evening, grabbed balls, and set to work showing off our bowling prowess.

Like many businesses in the neighborhood and around the Cities, Midway has a special deal for college students, offering two games for the price of one every Wednesday and Thursday night. Taking full advantage, we rolled four games apiece, dropping pins to our hearts’ content for over three hours (with a snack break, of course!).

Ben showcasing impeccable bowling form
While we were waiting our turn to bowl, we were usually dancing, as Midway’s sound system cycled through a variety of tracks – from Stevie Wonder to Daft Punk – all night long.

We all enjoyed our great night out at Midway Pro Bowl and hope to be back soon. Stay tuned for more #SummerOrangeCrew outings in the coming weeks, including a Minnesota United soccer match!
Until next time, so long from the #SummerOrangeCrew!

Dan K. ‘17
Chicago, IL