Megan Rubbelke: Building community
When Megan Rubbelke, who received her degree in mathematicsthis past spring with a specialization in education, graduated
from high school in the small northern Minnesota town
of Aitkin, she received her diploma in the company of exactly
86 fellow seniors. Small wonder that, when it came time to
choose a college, one of the criteria she sought was community.
“I drew up a spreadsheet of things that are important to me,”
she recalls. “I wanted to stay in Minnesota and discovered
there’s a strong sense of community in CSE, along with a reputation
for rigor and academic achievement.
“These were the largest factors that brought me to the University
of Minnesota,” she said.
“What I would really like to do when I complete my education is to create a program for high school students in northern Minnesota that focuses on academic, social, physical, and mental well being by incorporating international experiences before college.”
With the help of a number of scholarships, including the Richard P. and Judy C. Hokanson Scholarship, Rubbelke began
her quest, throwing herself into a wide array of on- and offcampus
activities, including a stint as president of CSE’s Women
in Math, whose University chapter she helped initiate. But it
wasn’t until she left the country briefly that she found what she
was looking for.
“I really found the kind of community I was seeking in Scotland,”
said Rubbelke, who spent the Spring 2013 semester
studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. “I returned
with renewed determination and helped put together
the Women in Math group. This helped me connect and collaborate
with other student groups.”
From those connections, in turn, Rubbelke was invited to be
a student representative in the CSE Women’s Working Group.
This group is not confined to students but is open to CSE faculty
and staff; among its members are a University scholarship coordinator
and an academic advisor.
The group is a networking organization designed to expand
the boundaries of “community.” To date it has staged nonprogrammed
events, such as book discussions and meetand-
greets, but recently, held its first programmed event at a
popular restaurant near the East Bank campus of the University.
“The idea is to start meeting people outside your own department,”
Rubbelke explains. “That can be hard to do, especially
for students in the upper divisions.” This year the group
is planning events that will bring professional women to campus
to give presentations about their careers and careers paths,
among other pending ideas.
In addition to CSE, Rubbelke is also enrolled in a program
in the College of Education that prepares undergraduates to
pursue graduate degrees in education, which is what she plans
to do after completing her degree in mathematics. She has
already been accepted in the M.A. program in education at the
“What I would really like to do when I complete my education
is to create a program for high school students in northern
Minnesota that focuses on academic, social, physical, and
mental well being by incorporating international experiences
before college,” Rubbelke said. “I want to create networks of
students with a greater cultural awareness who are able to use
their experiences throughout school and into their professional
lives to be successful.”