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Lauren Burress: Rapidly finding adventure at MSU

The opportunity-rich landscape of North Dakota brings some of the most interesting and adventurous students and their families to Minot State University. With so many schools in the country to choose from, many wonder; "Why Minot?" However, for 17 year-old Minot State freshman and defending world champion freestyle kayaker, Lauren Burress, the reply is obvious.

"Why not, Minot! MSU is a perfect fit for me." Burress said. "I am able to pursue my education, stay close to my family and with the amazing on-campus facilities, I am able to stay in shape for the March-to-August competitive season, despite the extreme weather."

Burress, originally from Evansville, Indiana embraces life, kayaking and education with a fierce determination that she says she learned from her parents, Nathan and Kathleen Burress. For the Burress family, there was never a doubt about whether or not Lauren would go on to a university and succeed. When her family relocated to Minot because of opportunities in the oil industry, MSU became her obvious choice. Burress maintains a 4.0 grade point average and confesses to being a bit of a daddy's girl whose success in school and in the water has a lot to do with his inspiration.

Laruen Burress performs during her gold medal run at the 2011 ICF World Championships Freestyle.
Photo: Kathleen Burress - In Motion Photos

"My parents make this possible for me. They have always been supportive and encouraging of my dreams," Burress said. "We lived in a camper, traveling all around the country for competitions, which, like school, take focus, determination and an ability to work well under pressure. I always feel encouraged to do my best, go the extra mile and have fun doing it. I think my dad instilled in me a no-fear approach to life that has really helped me become the person I am. My dad can do anything! We even built our own home here in North Dakota from the ground up! He has shown me that anything is possible."

Burress, a two-time defending junior women's national champion, placed first at the U.S. National Championships in 2011, followed by a gold medal at the World Championships held in Germany. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree with dreams of one day obtaining a doctorate in psychology, with a focus on research. She will graduate with her Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 2018.