Brown comes full circle

By Emily Schmidt
University Communications Student Assistant

MINOT, N.D. – After graduating high school in Ryder, going to college was not initially on Dakota Brown’s radar, let alone being accepted into medical school.

“I didn’t really know if I wanted to go to school that long. In high school, I wasn’t really interested in school,” he said.

Brown ‘19 left North Dakota to join the national guard after graduation, and he returned to Ryder after eight months of training.  He then decided to earn a degree at Minot State.

“The Ryder-Makoti area is very small; I graduated with seven kids in my class, including myself, so I had a very good relationship with all my teachers and all my classmates,” he said. “We were very close, and Minot State was nearby. I just wanted to come back and be able to visit my family whenever I wanted, and Minot State’s also a small school, and I like the opportunities I had to interact with my professors one on one. That was really important with me. I felt like it was more of a close-knit community than a larger school would have been.”

This type of community is where Brown thrives, and he began forming those same close relationships with his professors at the University.

“I have a really good relationship here with Dr. (Paul) Lepp. I did research with him, and I work out with him regularly. As soon as I got here, I was able to start research with him, and that really helped me and gave me an opportunity to excel at something not every student has the opportunity to do,” he said. “It looked very good on my med school application. I think it was just the small class sizes that benefited me. I was comfortable, and I was able to interact with the professors and focus on the material. Every professor here pretty much has an open-door policy, so if you have any questions you can just go and talk to them.”

“Dakota was a great student,” said Lepp, biology department chair. “He was diligent, studious and above all curious.”

Since graduating from Minot State last May, Brown has kept busy working as an EMT as well teaching a cellular biology lab here at the University. He took a gap year to prepare his medical school applications and study for his admission test and eventually was accepted into the medical school at the University of North Dakota.

“I’m looking forward to actually getting started with my career path,” he said. “Going through undergrad, you’re still pursuing your career path, but once I get into medical school, it’ll be just medicine focused. I’m looking forward to getting to interact with different types of patients; I mean, I get to do that now being an EMT but it’s in a different setting. I’m going to be the student. It’ll be a different mindset. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Professor Lepp agrees.

“Dakota will be a first-rate doctor,” he said. “He is so outgoing, and he will connect well with patients.”

UND was the only school Brown sent an application, and that was intentional.

“I’m from North Dakota, born and raised. I thought about applying to other schools, but it came down to where I see myself, and I see myself in North Dakota, staying in the area,” he said. “UND’s primary purpose is to educate and provide competent physicians for services in North Dakota, especially in rural areas, and that’s really what my passion is, for rural medicine.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 03/09/20   

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