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MSU Profiles

Early influence leads to university success

Minot State University's student success is more than earning a diploma. It is helping students achieve their full potential as confident and well-rounded students who are prepared to pursue their aspirations with a sincere understanding of what it takes to meaningfully contribute to society and the common good. In order for its students to succeed, Minot State embraces and puts into action a philosophy of commitment and dedication focused on engagement in the classroom, on campus and in the community. The level of Minot State's engagement was just one aspect that helped Annika Kraft, MSU junior and Minot native, decide MSU was the right school for her.

"It feels like Minot State has always been a part of my life. It started with the early promotion of the 2013 centennial," Kraft said. "MSU reached out to my fourth grade class. The university embraced us as its potential incoming centennial class of students. In fact, one of my classmates had the honor of naming the MSU mascot, Buckshot. In seventh grade, I was awarded a $100 scholarship, and I once received a postcard with my name spelled out by the MSU cheerleaders."

In high school, Kraft became involved with MSU Summer Theatre. The experience cemented her already developing sentiment about MSU.

"I think one of the biggest draws for me was MSU Summer Theatre," Kraft said. "I got involved during my sophomore year, and there was such a sense of community. There was so much to learn, and it was so much fun. You could just feel the sense of engagement and love within the group, and it really made you want to be a part of that."

Kraft is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in chemistry, but her interests are diverse, and she is regularly involved in many different things on campus, including MSU theater productions. In 2015, she had the distinction of becoming an Irene Ryan nominee for her role in the play, "Circle Mirror Transformation," directed by Kevin Neuharth, professor of communication arts.

"I get a lot of my inspiration and guidance from my professors and advisors," Kraft said. "They each help me in different ways. Naomi Windburn, chemistry instructor, is always there for me when I am searching for answers and encourages and guides me in the right direction. Neuharth is so down to earth. He never hesitates to push me in a way that sometimes drives me mad, but then later, I realize that the direction I'm headed in helped me learn and grow so much."

Kraft describes her experience as a "balancing act," that encourages her to work harder and take the opportunities as they come.

"I always do what I can to put my best foot forward," Kraft said. "I don't just want to tunnel through my degree without having made the most of my experience at Minot State. Sometimes you just have to work a little harder to succeed and be able to explore all the opportunities that come your way."

Kraft will be featured in the upcoming MSU Theatre Arts Program production of Melanie Marnich's, "These Shining Lives," Feb. 24-27 in the Aleshire Theater.