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MSU Profiles

Minot State strengthens family bond

"It was definitely emotional watching Danielle walk across the stage," said Brenda Foster about her daughter receiving her diploma at Minot State University's commencement May 13.

Brenda, president and chief executive officer at First Western Bank & Trust, remembers her time at Minot State.

"Well, when I made the decision to come to Minot State, it was important to me to stay here locally, and it was a comfortable fit for me," Brenda said. "Visiting the campus, the instructors made me feel welcome. I really felt at home."

"I saw a lot of opportunities," explained Danielle about her reasons for choosing MSU. "I saw the opportunity to play on the golf team, to join Student Government Association, and the affordable tuition was important to me as well, and I really enjoyed the smaller class sizes MSU offers."

Brenda graduated from Minot State University in 1984 with an associate degree in general and legal secretarial studies and later returned to MSU to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a concentration in banking and finance in 1992. Foster has been employed at First Western Bank & Trust since 1981.

Within the community and state, Brenda has been involved on a number of boards and committees and is currently campaign chair for Souris Valley United Way. She is a board member of the Minot Public Schools and the Minot Public School Foundation. A Junior Achievement volunteer, she was instrumental in bringing Junior Achievement to Minot in 1997.

Brenda has served Minot State in a variety of capacities. She is currently a member of the MSU Board of Regents. She is a past president of the MSU Alumni Association, a past participant in the Beaver Booster Membership Drive and a past member of the MSU Task Force of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce, in addition to being MACC treasurer, representing the business community.

"Being active in the community has always been important to me, and I see Danielle following that trend in giving back," said Brenda.

"We have both been involved in the chamber," said Danielle about similarities between the two. "I was SGA's representative on the chamber's board. I reported on what was happening on campus and specifically what SGA was doing."

Like mother, like daughter, Danielle graduated May 13 from MSU with her Bachelor of Science in accounting. As team captain of the MSU Women's Golf Team, she led her team and participated in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. In 2014-15, she was SGA vice president for state affairs. In that capacity, she represented MSU at monthly North Dakota Student Association meetings and kept MSU students informed on political issues and drafted resolutions on proposed legislative measures. During the MSU Centennial Celebration, Danielle participated in two Power of 100 service projects benefitting the community. She belongs to the North Dakota CPA Society. She has received the Athletic Director's Academic Achievement Award and was listed on the President's List and College of Business Dean's List.

"Students get an education that is second to none," Brenda said. "Everyone, administration, professors and staff, listen to the students and are very good at taking input back and really being able to implement some of the thoughts and ideas students have. Students matter at MSU, and it is affordable. Graduates get a great education, a good start, and go on to have successful careers."

Danielle recently completed a tax internship at Brady Martz, a public accounting firm, and will attend the University of North Dakota Law School this fall. Her interests lie in tax and corporate law, but she is open to other options.

"I had wonderful experiences at MSU from working with the Minot area legislators as SGA's vice president for state affairs to having opportunities for internships," Danielle said. "I feel internships are huge. When trying to get a job, connections made during internships are important."

"Minot State really has a good partnership with the business community," Brenda said. "Being in the banking business, we are very happy to offer internships to Minot State students because we hope to potentially keep those interns on as employees. We really value the relationship we have with Minot State. It has been good for us and hopefully for MSU."

Minot State has positively impacted the entire Foster family.

"Minot State has become important to our family in so many facets," Brenda said. "Seeing Danielle's experience, our son, Dustin, could see MSU would be a good fit for him. He liked the small class sizes and has enjoyed his freshmen year. My husband, Wayne, an electrician by trade, graduated elsewhere but took classes in MSU’s Business Department when he was transitioning into having his own business a few years ago and now works for the Corps of Engineers at Minot Air Force Base."

"I am grateful for all the people I met along the way," Danielle said. "The accounting faculty have been wonderful seeking internship and scholarship opportunities for its students and encouraging us to apply for internships."