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Seizing the fast track to success

An old soul in a young body. That is how many who know her describe Minot State University finance major Emily Roark. She knew what she wanted early in life and started on the fast track to law school her sophomore year of high school.

"I didn't want to be in college for eight years," Roark said. "So I started taking classes through MSU the summer before my junior and plan to graduate from MSU in spring of 2017."

MSU is the perfect fit for the busy Berthold native. It allows her ample opportunities to be involved, as well as close enough to home to be a part of her two younger sibling's lives. She is thankful to have supportive, encouraging parents, and her father, Michael Roark, inspired her interest in law. She also has a keen interest in business.

"My dad is a highway patrolman, business owner, farmer - really a jack of all trades," Roark said. "I was always interested in what he was doing, and law was always interesting to me. Well, I know that finance is good for personal life, and in the business world, so I decided to become a business lawyer."

Roark is no stranger to hard work in order to achieve her goals. Applying as a resident assistant before moving onto campus, Roark dove straight in to university life.

"I needed help financially, and being an RA, I met a lot of new friends and references, and it helped me get involved on campus and in the community," Roark said.

In addition to school, RA duties, campus and community service, Roark started an internship under Dean Frantsvog, attorney at law and MSU associate professor of accounting and finance.

"It's great," Roark said. "He (Frantsvog) has helped me a lot. He brings me in to meet his clients, asks my opinion, then he tells me how it will actually go, and he's also thrown me out there to work on projects and is always encouraging me. He's been a big influence, helping me figure out what to do."

Roark also utilizes campus services such as tutoring to enable her to excel in her more challenging course work, such as biology.

"I met a girl in class and we went to tutoring every time it was offered," Roark said. "Dr. (Paul) Lepp is a great teacher, but biology is hard for me, so my friend and I went to tutoring about 96 hours a month."

One might wonder how Roark manages to balance completing a four year degree in two years, an internship, working as a resident assistant, community service, endless hours of tutoring, class time, family and friends. She knows life balance is essential.

"My planner is my life saver, I bring it everywhere," Roark said. "I have a million sticky notes and a lot of late night coffee runs. My life is like a triangle - social life, sleep and good grades - I'm constantly spinning."

While Roark tends to stay busy and is goal oriented, she also knows the importance of an occasional reprieve.

"The opportunities seem to just fall in my lap," Roark said. "I take them all in as I can. I have to stick with the people who are a positive influence, and I know how important it is to keep making those connections."