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MSU Profiles

Minot State's flexible classes were a perfect fit for our recent graduates

Minot State University students attend class by utilizing various venues. Some students attend class in traditional classrooms, while others take online classes. Then, some students enroll in a combination of traditional and online classes. Meanwhile, others take MSU classes at a non-MSU site.

Katie Iszler was the student speaker at the May 12 commencement ceremony for Minot State University students who attended classes on the Bismarck State College campus. Although she graduated a year early from Gackle-Streeter High School, her pursuit of a bachelor's degree became a long journey.

Initially Iszler planned to go into dentistry, but eventually she discovered her passion for social work. She attended Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., followed by the University of Jamestown. Not comfortable at either school, she tried Bismarck State College, and she loved it there. MSU's social work program at BSC allowed her to learn about programs available to assist future clients and to complete her bachelor's degree in social work.

"Everything fell into place with MSU's social work program," Iszler said. "I am interested with working with all different populations of people, so I am looking for the right opportunity. I have been able to stay in Bismarck, close to relatives, and I have been able to work with a lot of different agencies and learn about agencies where I can help my clients."

Although Iszler is far away from the MSU campus, she feels connected to the university.

"We learn about activities at MSU, and we have the opportunity to participate," Iszler said. "We have had IVN classes with MSU students, so we got a perspective of what it's like in Minot, and I feel like an MSU student."

Like Iszler, Kelsey Stewart's educational path detoured in time and locations. She graduated from Minot State University May 12 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry with magna cum laude distinction. She has been accepted to Colorado School of Mines for its applied chemistry doctorate program.

Stewart first attended Brandon University for a year after high school, but she found she was not ready for secondary education. She moved home to work and save money, and she went on a six-month volunteer trip to the Bahamas. In the Bahamas, she discovered she wanted to study marine biology, so she attended James Cook University in Australia for a year. The native of Morden, Manitoba, then changed her major to chemistry and transferred to Minot State in January 2015 to be closer to friends and family.

Stewart, who wants to do research in alternative, renewable energy, finds the MSU Department of Chemistry is the perfect place to do that.

"In the Chemistry Department, especially in the upper-level classes, the classes are so small that you know the professors and all your classmates, so it's a very personable experience," Stewart said.

Stewart feels Heidi Super, biology professor, has been her mentor and most important influence concerning research. As a memorable experience, she presented her research at the American Association of Cancer Researchers, a national scientific meeting, in 2015.

When Abby Graves made the six-hour trek from her hometown of Benson, Minn., to Minot State University, she found a community much like the one she had left.

"MSU was a good fit because I came from a small town, and it has that feel here," said Graves. "But there's also a lot to do around town and on campus."

Graves began her freshman year as a communication disorders major. However, she switched to elementary education during her sophomore year.

"I wasn't feeling led in the direction of communication disorders anymore," said Graves. "I knew I was passionate about education though, and I always loved my teachers growing up."

Graves' parents are both educators, which also proved to be an influence in her decision to change majors.

Rather than move off campus in her upperclassmen years, Graves chose to work for MSU housing and become a residential hall advisor. Graves' tenure saw McCullough and Cook residential halls become co-ed in 2016.

"Working for housing has taught me leadership skills," said Graves.

In addition to being a residential hall advisor, Graves has been a Student Ambassador, nominated to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and is a member of CRU. Graves believes her involvement on campus has contributed to the formation of many of her relationships.

"Home is six hours away, so there were some events my parents weren't able to attend, but there were people that I worked with who attended as a support group," said Graves. "The support from the people I work with has been amazing."

Casey Feldner was born and raised in Minot, and his parents, aunt and uncles, and grandmothers all attended Minot State University. Although Feldner had aspirations of leaving his hometown behind, he ultimately decided to give his parents' alma mater a try.

"My plan was to go here for two years, get my general requirements out of the way and then transfer to another university," Feldner said. "But all it took was my first semester to really stay here. I got really involved the second semester of my freshman year, and I never looked back."

Feldner's plan to transfer changed because he discovered he could get a quality education in history for an affordable price.

At the end of his first semester, Feldner became involved in Campus Players. He was elected to Student Government Association, and in the second semester of his freshman year, he joined Mu Sigma Tau Fraternity. From then on, he was committed to graduate from Minot State.

"From Greek life, I gained a family I never could have found anywhere else," said Feldner.

As a SGA member, Feldner was co-chair of the Intramurals Committee and was engaged in numerous philanthropic efforts through his membership in Mu Sigma Tau.

One of Feldner's best memories at MSU was when Mu Sigs celebrated the university's 100 year anniversary by creating a chariot float for the Homecoming Parade.

"It was so stereotypically Greek, but the whole day was amazing," said Feldner.

Having graduated, Feldner plans to move to Denver, Colo., and pursue a career as a museum curator.

"I'm going to dip my toes in the water of being an adult and then eventually return to school for a master's degree," Feldner said.

While Feldner plans to begin a life away from his hometown, he fully admits his time at MSU has been integral to the foundation from which he will begin his future. "The people I've met and the experiences I've had here will stay with me until the day I die," Feldner said.

Minot State University has provided a sound foundation for all four of these new alumni.