You reached this page through the archive. Click here to return to the archive.

Note: This article is over a year old and information contained in it may no longer be accurate. Please use the contact information in the lower-left corner to verify any information in this article.

Student's MPR story takes hard look at her family's wartime experience

By David Gonnerman '90
September 20, 2010

In this Ansel Adams photograph are letters that Fink's uncle Bob Yonemitsu wrote to his sister while he was fighting overseas in 1943. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

A combination of grants from St. Olaf allowed Mara Kumagai Fink '11 to spend the summer researching the camps that imprisoned more than 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, including members of her family. Fink filed a story for Minnesota Public Radio that tells what she learned about the camps from visits with family members.

"Ever since I was in grade school I've known that my Grandma Kay was forced to live in an internment camp during World War II," says Fink on MPR. "But whenever I ask her about it, she tells me it wasn't that big of a deal."

"How could living in desert camps with barbed wire and guards with guns be fine? My Grandma's memory is not what it once was, and so I took her younger sister with me to the internment camp in California where her family was sent during the war."

Kloeck-Jenson and Ken Olsen Internship grants funded Fink's research travel this summer. An Entrepreneurship Grant from the Center for Experiential Learning will allow her to create a program that teaches elementary students in the Northfield and St. Louis Park school districts about Japanese American internment history.

Contact David Gonnerman at 507-786-3315 or