A practicum course offered by the University of Minnesota allowed me to spend 20 hours a week covering health topics. My editor gave me assignments all across the board, from agriculture to medical research and women's reproductive health issues.


University of Minnesota researchers has one of the first 'bioprinters' using living tissue

To quote a source: "It's like science fiction." During the practicum, I discovered and broke the news about a U of M research lab that had been among the first to receive a bioprinter. It works like a 3D printer, but is loaded with  ink made of living cells and could be the key to producing transplantable ears, bone and muscle -- and eventually, researchers hope, donor-free organs.


Minnesota's immigrant farmers establish new roots

After noticing that many of the vendors at local farmers markets were Hmong, I wanted to learn about why so many immigrants end up as small farmers in Minnesota. As it turns out, for many immigrants, farming is a familiar job. But when they try to transport those skills to a new country, they learn that farming in the U.S. is a complex business of credit, marketing and networking that advantages natives.


Who will train the next generation of farmers? 

Ag educators -- the high school instructors who teach classes on hunting, the environment, gardening and more -- are in high demand and dangerously low supply. Legislators worried about who will educate and encourage the next generation of Minnesota farmers spent time investigating how to reward college graduates who go into ag education.