SMSU briefs for Jan. 29

Raappana, Prieto to read Feb. 10 at library, SMSU

Saara Myrene Raappana and R. Elena Prieto will read their poetry on two occasions on Monday, Feb. 10.

The two will read at noon at the Marshall-Lyon County Library, and again at 7 p.m. in Charter Hall 201 at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Their appearance is part of the Visiting Writers Series at SMSU.

Born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Raappana received her MFA from the University of Florida and served with the Peace Corps as an English teacher in southwestern China. Her poetry has been published widely in such publications as Harvard Review Online, Iron Horse Literary Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Subtropics and The Gettysburg Review.

Raappana’s poems have appeared in the Shechem Press Artist Broadside Series in both 2012 and 2014, and her poetry reviews can be found in the American Book Review and The Rumpus. She lives in Marshall with her husband, a member of the English faculty at SMSU.

Prieto was born in Venezuela. Her family moved to the United States when she was 4, and she has lived in this country ever since. After a good deal of moving around when she was very young, her family settled in Norfolk, Neb., where she grew up.

Prieto earned her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her master’s from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Her work has appeared in The Rondeau Roundup, OVS Magazine, Moon City Review and in “A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry.”

Both readings are free and open to the public. They are sponsored by the SMSU English Department. For further information, contact Marianne Zarzana at 507-537-7251 or

SMSU team qualifies for RCA competition

A team of four SMSU culinology majors qualified to compete in the Research Chefs Association Student Culinology Competition March 11-14 in Portland, Ore.

Six teams were selected as finalists from 17 entries. It is the fourth year of the competition. SMSU has won two of the three previous competitions and is the defending champion.

“We are the only RCA-accredited culinology program from the U.S. to compete this year. The other one is our sister school, Taylor’s University from Malaysia, which is also RCA-accredited, and we’re looking forward to some friendly competition with them,” said Michael Cheng, culinology director. “Overall, I continue to be very pleased with the effort put forth by our students in developing their proposal and product concept, as this marks the fourth consecutive year that we have been invited to compete onsite.”

This year’s competition category is Pacific Northwest region food truck cuisine featuring a grab-and-go seafood item. Competitors must also include a sodium reduction method.

SMSU’s four-person team will prepare three distinct varieties of pufflings.

The team will prepare the items, freeze them and have them shipped to Portland before the competition. The day of the competition, the team will then prepare the same items on-site. The goal is to have the frozen pufflings taste as close to the freshly-prepared gold standard pufflings as possible.

SMSU’s team is comprised of captain Erin Badzinski, a junior from Kasson; Katie Langel, a junior from Remsen, Iowa; Eric Iserman, a senior from Summerville, S.C.; and Alissa Partain, a junior from San Antonio, Texas.

Other competing teams include Kansas State University, University of Minnesota, University of Guelph, Canada and Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.