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“I feel there is no way you can’t do well here because the teachers are so willing to help you be your best. They really pushed me to be who I wanted to be. The student-teacher relationships are so important here – they are really willing to learn your name.”
McKinley Bender, senior, pre-physical therapy

University Communications

Senior Spotlight: McKinley Bender

Minot State helps Bender achieve her goals

MINOT, N.D. – Friday’s commencement ceremony at Minot State University will be a little bittersweet for senior McKinley Bender.

The pre-physical therapy major who has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average while at MSU, won’t actually graduate.

Instead, she will transfer to the University of North Dakota in the fall as she was accepted as an early decision applicant into UND’s Professional Physical Therapy Program and plans to complete a doctorate of physical therapy degree.

“It’s tough,” she said when asked about graduation day. “I’ve worked really hard in my science classes and have been determined to get into PT school. I’ve had some plan Bs in mind, but I worked really hard to get to this point. I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”

While she isn’t getting her final degree at MSU, she believes the school and its dedicated faculty have prepared her for her next three years in school.

“I feel there is no way you can’t do well here because the teachers are so willing to help you be your best,” she said. “They really pushed me to be who I wanted to be. The student-teacher relationships are so important here – they are really willing to learn your name.”

Bender, a Minot native, wasn’t as sure about her future plans when she arrived at MSU. After taking some dual credit courses in high school at Minot State, she decided to enroll, following sister Brooklyn who was a nursing major. She thought about going into nursing and occupational therapy before deciding on physical therapy.

“I knew it was going to be something in the medical field, but I wasn’t sure what for sure,” Bender said. “My sister went here and liked it, it was close to home, and I thought it would be a great place to start.”

Throughout her time at MSU, Bender has been active in clubs, groups, and activities on campus including a member of the Biology Research Neurophysiology and Psychology team, treasurer of the Beta Gamma Phi Science Club, and as a peer mentor and Orientation/Transition Leader. She hopes to shatter the myth that you don’t get involved as much if you live at home.

“People told me that I wouldn’t get involved if I didn’t live on campus, so it kind of made me do that a little more,” she said. “MSU has so many events and things you can do like M Life events. It’s what you make of it that matters.”

While Bender knows she is going into the physical therapy field, she isn’t 100 percent sure what direction it will take her in the career field. But, she believes it will have something to do with sports.

“I’m really into sports and athletics. I love to run,” she said. “I like to be able to help people reach their goals and help motivate them to get better. I had a lot of opportunities to work with different age groups and right now I like working with children – I work part time at the Jack Hoeven Wee Links – but I still need to find what I love.”

ABOUT MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 05/10/18



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