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By Dr. Joy Hoffman

Published 12:00 p.m. on June 28, 2024

Hello, Beaver Nation!

What a great opportunity to e-connect with BSU’s wonderful alumni and friends! In case you did not know, I am a Minnesota transplant from Southern California. People in SoCal always ask me when I’m coming home and I tell them, “I’m already here.” I absolutely love Bemidji, weather and all! I am fortunate to be part of this community and serve as first spouse for BSU. It has been an honor to meet many of our current students and alums who consistently show me why BSU is such a special place. They are wicked smart, strong, determined and resilient. Their stories are inspiring and have a common theme – BSU changes lives.

The stories awaiting you in this issue focus on incredible women. They are teachers, leaders, performers, researchers and more, and Bemidji State University is at the foundation of each of their narratives.

This issue’s feature story will introduce you to a BSU alumna working in one of the highest front-office positions in professional sports. For the last 13 years, Sianneh Mulbah has worked in a variety of positions for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and WNBA’s Lynx, and today she is the organization’s chief people and inclusion officer.

Staying on the field, you will also meet former BSU softball star Leah Daume, who now sees the game from the other side of the mask as a Division I umpire who has officiated everything from regular season to the Women’s College World Series.

In the classroom, Dr. Samantha Jones, associate professor of biology, and BSU graduate student Kaysie Maleski are collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on research into the state’s aspen forests and the woodpeckers who nest there. The work is supported by the tree ring lab in Hagg-Sauer Hall, where Jones teaches BSU students how to find the stories hidden behind a tree’s bark.

For generations, BSU has been known for its outstanding vocal music programs. In this issue you will meet third-year student and vocal performance major, Hailee Colgrove, whose talent and voice are carrying this tradition well into the future. I had the privilege of listening to Hailee perform at Opera Night in January. Our students are truly talented, and I hope you can make plans this fall to see Hailee and her fellow BSU musicians perform on campus.

These are some of the highlights, and I know you will enjoy reading the stories of just a few of the incredible BSU women who are helping to create a better future in their worlds.

Enjoy these warmer months! John and I are looking forward to summer activities, spending time with family and friends, and a little travel. Summers do seem to fly by, but fall semester is always an exciting time to welcome new Beavers to campus and enjoy many local events and programs.

Happy (rest of) summer to all of you, and Roll Beavs!

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