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North Park University Students to Attend Conference in Sweden September 12-16

Swedish American Bridge

Bridge Conference focuses on the environment, entrepreneurship, cultural exchange

CHICAGO (August 29, 2012) — Four senior North Park University students will be among about 60 students from the United States, Canada and Sweden who will attend the Swedish-American Bridge Conference in Karlstad, Sweden, Sept. 11–16. The conference aims to promote an eco-friendly and sustainable existence, focusing on the roles of cultural organizations, entrepreneurship and future-oriented research, said Dr. Charles Peterson, dean, College of Arts of Sciences, and director, Center for Scandinavian Studies.

North Park University and other universities of Swedish heritage in the United States were invited to select four students to participate in the conference, Peterson said. Two women and two men were chosen from several qualified applicants by a committee of University faculty in the sciences and business, he said. Each student submitted essays expressing interest in the conference, including experience in environmental studies or entrepreneurship, Peterson said.

North Park University students who will attend are:

  • Calise Berger, Eagan, Minn., biology major: She wrote that she has visited scientific laboratories in St. Louis, to learn about career paths in research, and has visited community-based coffee and bread-making companies. "I am excited about pursuing further education in biological research, particularly within the realm of environmental microbiology," Berger wrote, adding she has "a deep interest in sustainability and stewardship when it comes to experiencing and utilizing our natural resources." She expects to learn more about sustainability and stewardship at the conference.
  • Alexander Elliott Gutierrez, Chicago, business and economics major with a marketing concentration: Gutierrez said his reason for attending the Karlstad conference is that he wants to participate in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's GO to 2040, a comprehensive regional plan to help seven Chicago-area counties and 284 communities plan for sustainable prosperity. "I also hope to learn which post-graduate degrees … to pursue on sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation efforts that complement many of the world's cities," Gutierrez wrote.
  • Kia Lewis, Reston, Va., communication/media studies major: Lewis has studied in Seoul, South Korea, where she saw first-hand vigorous law-enforced recycling measures. She also participated in the White House Young America Series in Chicago this year, where she joined other students in conversations about environmental topics. "I am still new to the subject of environmental issues," Lewis wrote, adding that attending the conference could help her learn from peers who are more experienced and well-versed about global concerns, and help her decide about attending graduate school.
  • Jon Ten Brink, Grandville, Mich., environmental science major: Ten Brink has worked at an organic, community-supported agriculture farm in Wisconsin, and North Branch Projects, an Albany Park organization that serves as a community bookbinding facility. Ten Brink is also interested in conflict transformation that has focused on cultural barriers and conflicts. "I have developed a passion and value for cultural exchange and cooperation," he wrote in his essay. "This conference offers a great opportunity for me to further my education within the environmental field, my knowledge of small business, and cultural experiences in a whole new way."

Attending with the students are Dr. Wesley E. Lindahl, dean of the School of Business and Nonprofit Management and Nils Axelson Professor of Nonprofit Management, and Peterson. Conference keynote presenters are Dr. James "Jim" C. Spohrer, director of IBM University Programs worldwide; Jonas Hafström, Sweden's ambassador to the United States; and Mark Brzezinski, United States ambassador to Sweden.


Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Learn more about Scandinavian Studies at North Park University.