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MSU Profiles

Rewarding experience results in a dream come true

There are many reasons why students choose to attend Minot State University. For Jacob Schillo, recent graduate, former member of the U.S. Air Force and father of two, Minot State's proximity to the Minot Air Force Base made it the perfect location to pursue his undergraduate degree. However, MSU's dynamic learning environment and small class sizes inspired Schillo to not only pursue an academic goal, but also his childhood dream.

"By the time I was in fourth grade, I knew I would join the Air Force," Schillo said. "By eighth grade, I dreamed of becoming a doctor, in particular an infant cardiologist. I just knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. I went on to join the Air Force, and now that I've graduated with my degrees in biology and chemistry, I plan on obtaining my Ph.D. in genetics. Although it may not be infant cardiology, MSU set me on this path through the amazing opportunities in cancer research and the ability to work closely with my professors, in particular Heidi Super."

Minot State has a growing reputation for wonderfully small class sizes, a dynamic and hands-on learning environment and the ability to work closely with quality professors. What many potential students may not know is that Minot State offers the opportunity for students to work alongside professors on various research projects. Schillo took full advantage of doing just that by working closely with Super, Department of Biology chair, doing cancer research.

"It's been a privilege to work alongside Dr. Super," Schillo said. "Her work in cancer research is incredibly important, and having the chance to be able to present our findings and information at conferences in places like Baltimore and New Oreleans alongside some of the greatest minds in the field is truly amazing, especially when you are surrounded by 18,000 other cancer researchers with the same goal as you. Being a part of that has probably been the most influential reason as to why I want to go onto obtain my Ph.D. in genetics. To be able to work alongside her, ask questions and be in a supportive learning environment has been extremely helpful in obtaining my undergraduate degree."

Being a successful full-time student can be challenging. However, being a successful full-time student with a wife and two kids can be somewhat overwhelming. For Schillo, the rewards far outweigh the challenge.

"I couldn't have done this without the support of my family," Schillo said. "With the extra work in research in addition to classes, there are times when it feels a bit overwhelming, but then my son will say just the right thing at the right moment and make me laugh. He sees the work I am doing and has said he too wants to be a scientist someday. It just puts everything in the right perspective, and I know what I am doing is important. I know I will be making a difference in the lives of others."