Minnegram editor Christine Hansen retires

April 18, 2024

Christine (Chris) Hansen has worked for the Minnesota Water Resources Center (WRC) for the last 17 years. In that time she has worn many hats, interacted with a myriad of graduate students, served several different WRC directors, and helped countless people who simply stopped by the WRC office in McNeal Hall. In what will be her last Minnegram post, we asked her a little about her time with the WRC, and what she anticipates life will be like in her well deserved retirement. 

Photo of Chris Hansen and her daughter Sarah
Chris (right) and her daughter Sarah (left) working together at the Ordway Center For the Performing Arts

How long have you worked for the WRC?

I came as a temp in September 2007. At that time, the Minnegram editors were Water Resources Science graduate students who would be trained into the job. After they graduated, that process would be repeated. After my arrival, WRC leadership thought that I should be the permanent editor for MInnegram.

What has changed the most about your role with the WRC?

Everything. When I arrived in 2007 there was no job description for me, so my duties grew up around me.  My job really defies description. Also, the phone doesn’t ring much these days. I would like to think that is the result of an informative and accessible WRC website. 

What will you miss most about working for the WRC?

Definitely the people. My work family and also the random people just walking in the door. Undergraduates who recognize the old school pencil sharpener and come into use it give me special joy! 

Any memories about the WRC that Minnegram readers might enjoy?

Learning how to interview people about topics unfamiliar to me was a very rewarding challenge. My husband Leo is a writer and he said the secret to a good interview is to ask your subject questions and think, I love you, I love you, love you the entire time.  You are a better listener and communicator if you put your mind into a caring place. 

Photo of Chris Hansen and her son Dane
Chris and her son Dane in Alaska

What are you looking forward to most about retirement?

Freedom to just walk out the door at any time and do whatever. Golfing mid-week, mid-day. Travel; long trips, short trips, all the trips. And doesn’t everyone say pickleball? I did buy paddles and a new place is opening by me, so that is on the list too. 

Any final thoughts for the readers of Minnegram?

The more removed humans become from the natural world, the more vulnerable they are to misinformation and shaky science. Science is not advocacy and advocacy is not science. Knowledge can only come from observation and unbiased research, and I am proud to have worked for a center that provides fact-based knowledge to a world awash in data that can be manipulated. I feel really good about that. 

Congratulations on your retirement, Chris! We will miss you.

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