International Symposium on Lasallian Research

Minneapolis Campus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Sept. 24-26

This yearly symposium gathers creative minds to dialogue about the key characteristics or key areas that comprise the field of Lasallian research today; look beyond a study solely of the origins, tradition, and heritage in Lasallian research; break open the possibilities for Lasallian research in the 21st-Century; and propose avenues or topics for future needed Lasallian research. The goal is also to develop a community of scholars committed to supporting, conducting, and publishing Lasallian research.

More than 120 Lasallian educators and scholars from numerous countries will gather to present and discuss current research Sept. 24-26 during the sixth annual symposium.

While IALU promotes and fosters research collaboration among Lasallian researchers in strategic areas, these themes certainly must not preclude the pursuit of other lines of research according to the individual missions and visions of IALU member institutions. For the period 2013 to 2018, the following are the IALU strategic research themes.

  1. Food, Nutrition and Health (biochemistry of food products, science and engineering of potable water, cancer risks and cures from food, economic impact studies of nutrition programs in schools)
  2. Sustainability and the Environment (dealing with climate change, eco-design of houses and urban centers, industrial ecology, air and water quality monitoring in megacities)
  3. Education and Learning Innovations (access to education among the poor, impact of use of tablets for learning math and science, coping mechanisms among children with learning disabilities, predicting the academic emotions of young learners based on physiological signals)

Keynote Speakers:

Tracy Adams

CEO, yourtown, Australia
“Learn, Do, Measure-Repeat, an examination of child welfare in Australia” 
Tracy Adams has more than 25 years of experience with yourtown—a Lasalllian organization that provides services and advocacy for children throughout Australia—and was appointed CEO in 2008. She has directed significant company growth, including an operating budget increase of more than $20 million, a client increase of more than 100% and a greatly enhanced advocacy platform for those experiencing social exclusion. She has frequently addressed government enquiries into the welfare of Australian youth. A graduate of the Harvard Business School General Management Program and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (AIM), Adams has previously been the vice-president of Peakcare Queensland, Queensland's peak body for child protection, and is currently a member of the Cannon Hill Anglican College School Board.

Dr. Carlos Costa

Dean of the School of Engineering, De La Salle University, Bogota, Colombia
“Lasallian Higher Education and the New Global Agenda: Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals”
Dr. Carlos Costa holds a doctorate in geographic information systems and satellite images from the University of Cambridge in England. He was coordinator of the biodiversity conservation project at the University of the Andes, Alexander von Humboldt Institute; research associate in the department of geography of the University of Cambridge; and structural design engineer at UNION Tec de Bogotá. From July 2001 to January 2004 he was director of environmental policy for the National Planning Department. Between January 2004 and May 2008, Dr. Costa was director general of the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (Ideam). Since May 2008 he has worked with the World Bank on climate change issues, serving as a consultant to the Water and Urban Development Unit for Latin America. In 2009 he was appointed as Minister of Environment Housing and Development by then President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe. Currently, Dr. Costa serves as dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad La Salle in Bogota, Colombia, as well as the vice-president of ACODAL (The Colombian Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering.)

Dr. Christine Nowakowski and Dr. Olaf Gruess

“General Mills Global Connections: External Networking at General Mills”

Dr. Christine Nowakowski

Principal Scientist, General Mills

Dr. Christine Nowakowski began her career at GMI in 2000 as a scientist in the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. Since then she’s held roles of increasing responsibility in ITQ supporting research and development activities in Grain and Technology, Meals, Big G and more recently in GTECH since its inception in 2007. Dr. Nowakowski is a technical expert for the company; she is a recognized authority and highly sought out consultant on many food science topics including sugar crystallization and taste receptor chemistry. She leads several long-term research initiatives (sodium reduction technology, sugar reduction technology, flavor perception) as well as creates technical solutions that enable on product launches e.g., (gluten-free Cheerios and Annie’s Toaster Pastry). She is the author of more than 21 publications and patents. Dr. Nowakowski received her B.S in Microbiology at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and her M.S. in Food Science and Ph.D. in Food Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  


Dr. Olaf Gruess

Distruptive Technology Manager; Global Connector, General Mills

Dr. Olaf Gruess has over 17 years of experience at General Mills, leading new product development (baked goods, yogurt, cereal bars, shelf stable and frozen meals) and strategic research initiatives (sodium reduction technology, taste perception), as well as roles in marketing, connected innovation, and early start-up evaluation. Currently he is focusing on identifying technologies externally and developing implementation strategies for those technologies into the broader organization. Dr. Gruess is also creating a novel value stream by incubating internal technologies together with potential external partners. Dr. Gruess serves as a judge and mentor at MassChallenge, the world’s most start-up friendly accelerator and at the European Food Venture Forum; he is on the Industrial Board of the Integrative Food and Nutrition Center at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland and also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Institute for Food Technology (DIL). He received his master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Bonn, Germany and the University of Ghent, Belgium, as well as a Ph.D. in Food Science from the University of Bonn, Germany.