Laurie Weber finds enjoyment as a dream weaver
As a work-study student in 1988, Laurie Weber was placed in Bismarck State College's Financial Aid Office. It was her first job off the farm; and as fate would unveil, it greatly influenced her professional journey.
"Everything was done manually. My first three weeks on the job, I filed and filed; there was so much paper," she recalled. "But I loved it. I worked with great people."
She stayed for two years, and left when she completed her associate degree and came to Minot State to further her education. After graduating from MSU in 1992 with a bachelor's in business administration, Weber worked for Target, intending to fast track the managerial training program and manage a store of her own in a metropolitan area. But that was before she met a farmer from Glenburn, and before she said "I do."
For five years, Weber worked in Human Resources at Target-Minot, while juggling a growing family. After the birth of her second son during the 1996 Christmas holiday season, she decided to find a more "family friendly" career. The next fall, she saw an ad for a financial aid counselor at MSU and decided to apply.
"When I saw the ad, I thought ‘this is something I know about; this is something I could do,'" she said.
Weber started in MSU's Financial Aid Office almost a year after her initial plans to change careers. Fast-forward 15 years to 2013, where Weber now serves as MSU's financial aid director.
"It has been a great fit. I love working with the students and staff in this office," she said. The five of us (in the Financial Aid Office) work well together and make a great team."
Regulatory and technological change keeps Weber focused and stimulated by her work. She said what used to take days to complete, can now be done in under two.
"Ironically, the faster we are able to get something done, the sooner people want it," she said.
Another enjoyable part of her job is that financial aid people generally don't leave their positions. Weber has made many lasting relationships over the years within the North Dakota University System and her eight-state region.
"People in this job stick around because we care about making a difference in peoples' lives," Weber stated. "Even though we are the auxiliary side of education, what we do impacts people. Being able to afford education is a key piece … it's very rewarding to help people follow their dreams and get the education they are seeking."
Weber and her husband, David, continue to farm near Glenburn and have three sons.