IAS Top corners
  • Jennifer Gunn


    Jennifer Gunn brings broad experience advancing interdisciplinary research and teaching, both as scholar and administrator. She is History of Medicine Endowed Professor and served for 8 years as director of the Program in the History of Medicine, a program in the Medical School Department of Surgery situated at the intersection of the humanities, social sciences, natural and physical sciences, engineering, and health professions.  She shares leadership responsibilities for the tri-college Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. She is a historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century medicine, interested in the historical intersections of health, medicine, biology, social sciences, institutions, and public policy. Her current work examines the significance of place and practice in American medicine by exploring the history of rural health and medical practice in the upper Midwest, 1900-1950. In addition, she has done extensive research on the history of population studies and demography in the interwar period, and on the history of philanthropy.

  • Susannah L. Smith

    Managing Director

    Susannah L. Smith is a historian of Russia and modern Europe. Her research focuses on the intersection of national identity, official arts policy, and Russian folk music in the Soviet Union, 1917-1945. She studies and performs traditional Javanese music with the Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble. Before coming to the IAS, she was the managing editor of the Journal of Asian Studies, developed the Population Studies minor program and coordinated administration on the IPUMS-International projects at the Minnesota Population Center, and was assistant director of the Making of the Modern World/Writing Program at Eleanor Roosevelt College, University of California, San Diego.

  • Pat Nunnally

    River Life Coordinator and Open Rivers Editor

    As the coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s River Life program, Pat Nunnally works to establish lasting relationships among the University of Minnesota and groups working on river sustainability.

    In the past two decades, Nunnally has developed a unique practice as a consulting historian, communications manager and interpretive planner, with a focus on rivers, trails and scenic byways. He has organized events and conferences with a Mississippi River connection, and has presented his work at numerous academic and professional meetings. He’s also worked with public agencies and private firms on many planning projects for culturally sensitive sites.

    Nunnally’s writings have appeared in a variety of forms, including the ongoing blog River Talk.

  • Brianna Menning

    Program and Communications Manager

    Brianna Menning works on IAS events and programs, as well as communications and strategic planning. She is particularly interested in the role of IAS to communicate the message of interdisciplinary work across the University, and also to engage the public in the work of the University, making programming accessible for everyone. She has a background in the non-profit sector, having directed a national AmeriCorps program on asset-based community development, and serving on the boards of several non-profits. She is a founding member of Daylight Center and School in Kenya, an independent school serving children of nomadic tribes where she has served on the board for more than five years. Previously to her time at IAS, she served as the Associate Director for the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the Humphrey School at UMN. Menning has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Cornell University focused on human rights and social justice, and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Political Science from Bethel University in St. Paul.

  • Joanne Richardson

    River Life Digital Information Strategist and Open Rivers Production Manager

    Joanne Richardson is the digital information strategist for the University of Minnesota’s River Life program. Her undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota focused on geology, architecture, computer science and French, and she received a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the College of Design. Having spent many childhood weekends and holidays backpacking through many of the great American landscapes, she developed an early and lasting love of geology that has colored her interests ever since. She has a particular interest in digital media, strategic communications, and responsive design.

  • Karen Kinoshita

    Executive Office and Administrative Specialist

    Karen worked in the Medical School and the Deans’ office of the College of Liberal Arts before taking up the challenge at the Institute. Karen shares her time between the Institute and home and uses her networking skills to knit students, faculty, and community together. Her interests are in arts, science, technology, and diversity above special interests.

  • Christina Collins

    Digital Media Associate

    Christina Collins is a writer, musician, visual artist and performer. She has a Masters degree in poetry composition, and is engaged in multidisciplinary artmaking with collaborators around the world.

  • Laurie Moberg

    Project Manager for the Mellon Environmental Stewardship, Place, and Community (MESPAC) Initiative and Managing Editor of Open Rivers

    Laurie Moberg graduated from the University of Minnesota with a PhD in anthropology in 2018. Her doctoral research investigates recurrent episodes of flooding on rivers in Thailand and queries how the ecological, social, and cosmological entanglements between humans and nonhumans, people and the material world, are reimagined and reconfigured in the aftermath of disasters. At IAS, Laurie brings her ethnographic sensibilities, attention to story, and interest in human-nonhuman relations to questions of water and absented narratives closer to home.

  • Hannah Baxter

    Communications Associate

    Hannah Baxter’s background includes experience in grant writing, academic administration, and teaching writing. She holds an MA and PhD from Aberystwyth University, where her doctoral research focused on Anglo-Welsh painter and poet David Jones, and a BA in French from the University of Minnesota Duluth.


  • Juliet Burba

    Grants Developer

    Juliet Burba works to develop and manage funding opportunities for the IAS. Before coming to the IAS, she served as a curator and program director at the Bakken Museum and as an exhibit developer and paleontological preparator at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Juliet brings to IAS her experience developing projects to engage the public in trans-disciplinary experiences spanning science, medicine, and the humanities. She holds a Ph.D. from the Program in History of Science and Technology at the University of Minnesota and is an avid generalist by nature. When not at IAS, she helps to manage a 35-horse boarding barn and rides and competes in dressage.