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Jaimie McMullen discovers her inner North Dakotan

Until recently, more people moved out of North Dakota, than in. But that is changing, and not always because of oil. Just ask Jaimie McMullen, assistant professor in Teacher Education and Human Performance.

Raised on Vancouver Island, Canada, McMullen attended college at the University of Hawaii. When her parents moved there, McMullen decided she would also like to live in Hawaii, and a course at UH titled "Surfing" cinched the deal. After graduating with a Bachelor of education degree, she was Hawaii's state resource teacher for physical education for nine months.

"I interviewed for the job thinking I would never get it, but thought it (the interview) would be good practice," McMullen said. "They needed someone who had curriculum and standards knowledge, so I got the job."

She later obtained her Master of Arts degree in physical education technology at the University of Northern Iowa, and her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Arizona State University in 2010.

While attending a conference in Indianapolis during her job hunt, McMullen ran into Keven Prusak, a professor at Brigham Young University whose graduate students she'd worked with in Arizona. Prusak insisted his old job - assistant professor at MSU -- was a perfect fit for McMullen. He convinced her to apply for his former "dream job."

"North Dakota was not on my short list of places to live," McMullen said. "The week I came to interview (in the spring), the weather was so nice, which is odd for that time of year. But the whole community felt comfortable and warm. I also felt that the entire faculty would be very supportive of my teaching and research, more than some of the other places I interviewed at. I felt like I would have more freedom to pave my own way."

Swain Hall, knee-deep in renovation with promises of state-of-the-art teacher education facilities, also lured her in.

"We have these great, amazing, top-of-the line facilities that would rival Division I schools within the context of physical education," she said referring to Swain Hall's completed look.

Two years later, McMullen has no regrets.

"MSU has been great because of the support I've gotten for faculty development within the department. It's a great place to come to work every day," she said.

"Just recently I've started to call North Dakota home. My home was flooded, and there's something about rebuilding my house, moving back in and creating relationships with neighbors that solidifies me as a North Dakotan. It took that for me to realize that there is a place for me here."