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Cassie Neuharth: Soaring to new heights!

For an introvert, it would be easy to get lost in a sea of 3,600 students. The days would fall into comfortable routine: get up, go to class, eat and return to the residence hall. Uneventful is pretty much how graduating senior Cassie Neuharth spent her first year at Minot State University.

"All through high school, I was a very shy person," Neuharth said. "When I was a freshman at MSU, I lived in the dorm and the only people I knew were my roommate and next door neighbor."

Neuharth's original intent was to spend two years at MSU taking general courses and then transfer to another school to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine. However, after a few classes and conversations with a few communication arts faculty, including her dad (Kevin Neuharth, associate professor of communication arts), she changed her career path from "undecided" to broadcasting with an emphasis in public relations.

"Communications (classes) just clicked with me," she said. "I love to talk to people and that's what public relations is. You have to talk to people and relate to the public about a product or a company. I found that really interesting."

What really transformed her poise and confidence, though, was studying abroad. In 2009, she studied in Kristianstad, Sweden, and lived in the International House with 80 other students from all over the world.

"Studying abroad taught me more about myself than anything. I was 4,500 miles from home and family. At first I was without my computer, Internet, and never used a cell phone—the only way to communicate with my family was with a phone card and a phone several blocks away. I learned I was able to get out of my comfort zone, be independent and put myself out there more."

When Neuharth returned to MSU, the shy girl was gone. In 2010 she joined the Student Government Association as a senator and served on various committees. She was recognized as Senator of the Month in 2011. She co-founded the MSU chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America and is a member of Media Ink. She was a writer and 2010-2011 editor of the Red & Green. She took her skills out of state, interning in summer 2010 with Signature Advertising in Denver and Jefferson County Human Resources in Colorado. She interned in the Office of International Programs at MSU in summer 2011. She is listed in the 2012 "Who's Who Among Students in American Universities."

"Looking back, if I went to another university, I would not have gotten the same experience. I would've been a tiny fish in a huge pool," Neuharth said. "Knowing my teachers changed the way I learned. They make classes interesting and bring real world experience into the classroom which inspires me to want to learn more. They want us to succeed."

Editor's note: For three years, Neuharth was the student worker in the Public Information Office. Among her many duties, she kept our perspective relevant to students and wrote most of the student profile stories for MSU's website. Her presence will be greatly missed and we wish her success in her career.