Editor's Note

When I considered themes for this year’s issue that were representative of the arts, humanities, and social sciences, “wonder” came to mind for many reasons—the curiosity that leads students and faculty to ask questions and explore the unknown; the delight felt when learning or experiencing something new and / or astounding; the admiration developed over time as one’s knowledge deepens but the unknown expands and / or evolves. 

As always, the subjects of this year’s stories broadened my conceptualization of the theme. 

In many ways, I was pushed to ask what I take for granted—what hard-earned skills have become overfamiliar to me? What remarkable sights have faded into the background? What guiding ideas have I assumed to be true without interrogating them myself? What acts of joy have I brushed off in the race of completing daily tasks? 

How lucky am I to have small children at home who invite me to lay on the floor with them and look up? Who ask me why someone has purple hair? Who shriek in delight when Cheerios spill everywhere after they accidentally drop the box? Who want to test what sinks or floats? Who hand me book after book after book to read to them?

In short: how lucky am I to have the daily reminder to look at things anew? 

I hope the stories in this year’s issue of Confluence reinforce the value of wonder for you and encourage you to find more opportunity for it in your routines.

portrait of Whitney Jacobson

Whitney Jacobson 
Editor, Confluence

View the 2023–2024 Confluence Publication

Duluth fills me with wonder.

In early 2023, alumna Max Brunner (Digital Art and Photography ’12) had a longing for human connection, so she took a walk.

At the end of Fall 2022 semester, after extending multiple opportunities for students to catch up and successfully finish her course, Instructor Susan Perala-Dewey

If one has never been taught how to find common ground and create avenues of communication across difference, how is one to learn those skills?

Thanks to a generous endowment, the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is developing its first college-wide internship scholarship. 

When considering a gift to CAHSS, a Charitable Gift Annuity offers a unique and impactful way for you to contribute to UMD while also securing stable income for yourself (or a loved one) during you