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Flood challenges yield hands-on experience

Minot State University's undergraduate programs can be an important stepping stone on the path to various master's degrees and professional programs elsewhere. This is particularly true for MSU senior Haley McClure, a native of Texas. In addition to key mentors and engagement programs on campus, McClure credits her success at MSU to some of the unique adventures she's had while pursuing her undergraduate degree.

McClure has always been interested in becoming a veterinarian. She was privileged to work as assistant hoofed-stock keeper at Minot's Roosevelt Zoo as part of the federal workstudy program. Workstudy programs provide part-time employment for students with financial need, helping them to defray the cost of education. Sometimes these opportunities are aligned with student career interests, allowing them to explore the relationship between education and the workplace. McClure's hands-on experience led to a better understanding and appreciation for crisis and emergency management in the workplace. During the Mouse River flood of 2011, McClure worked with other zoo keepers and officials in the animal rescue and evacuation effort.

"I wouldn't want to go through that again," McClure said, "But I learned a lot because of it. It was a definitely a uniquely challenging experience."

Challenges students face seem unique until they are able to find the right resources and tools to overcome them. McClure recognizes the significance of this in hindsight.

"Looking back, my biggest challenge wasn't the flood, but in finding the right niche, which I now see is a challenge for many incoming students," McClure said. "I was an extremely shy student, which added to my particular challenges, but I overcame this. My advice to all students is, learn to be fearless. Take the risk to get to know others, and you will find your university experience to be incredibly rewarding. In particular, it's important to get to know the faculty and staff on campus. They are such a great source of opportunity and encouragement!"

McClure will graduate in May with her Bachelor of the Arts in biology. She plans to attend veterinary school in Colorado after graduation.