Senior Spotlight: Haley Hildenbrand

By Amanda Duchsherer
Digital Communication Specialist

MINOT, N.D. – Haley Hildenbrand credits a high school teacher with helping her realize her dream career.

“It’s a pretty cool story, at least to me,” said Hildenbrand. “I’m really good at math. I knew I wanted to do something in math, but I didn’t want to be a teacher so I didn’t know what I was going to do. And finally, I was in this intro to chemistry class and the teacher pulled me aside and said, hey, you know you can do this for a living. And I was like, what? There’s no way. She said, yeah, you have the math foundation. If you want to do this, you’d be really good at it.

“Ever since that moment, I was in her room all the time, soaking in all the information, and she was telling me about all of it. It was the coolest thing ever, the way she took me under her wing and told me I could do this.”

The spark Debra Compton ignited in the Parker, Colorado native inadvertently led her to Minot State. While her basketball skills would have enabled her to play NCAA Division I ball, pursuing a career in chemistry was more important.

“That’s the challenge as an athlete, sometimes, when you have a major you want,” she said. “I could have gone and played Division I because I was talented enough at the time, but they wouldn’t let me study what I wanted. But that’s why it worked out, I was able to study what I wanted while still playing basketball. I was happy to be successful on the court and, academically, it was all I could ever want.”

In addition to her achievements on the court and in the classroom — with several academic and athletic awards testifying to the fact — Hildenbrand also spent her time at Minot State in the Beta Gamma Phi Science Club, on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and serving as the athletic senator in the Student Government Association her sophomore year.

Off campus, an internship in 2019 at a company in Beulah that produces CO2 from coal for fracking operation in Canada has led to a future opportunity.

“I did get a job offer to go work at Dakota Gasification,” she said. “Basically, it’s the same job I did as an intern but as a full-time employee. I will literally be living the dream.”

Hildenbrand is ready for the next step, having just wrapped up her one-and-a-half-year research project with Bob Crackle, associate professor of chemistry.

“We did research with caffeine and dimerization. All of those lab classes, I just loved them,” she said. “My favorite part of my major was just the different lab classes and getting to know each professor in the labs. I liked when in organic, I was just doing organic chemistry. Then when I was in biochemistry, I was just focusing on biochemistry in the lab. It was pretty cool to see all the different facets of chemistry. I’ve met so many people since I’ve been here and they’ve all shaped and changed how I am as a person now.

“I loved being on the team and being in the chemistry lab. I’d go from weights at 6 a.m. and run to the lab at 8, all sweaty. It was interesting juggling at times, but thankfully professors and coaches are willing to work together to let you get it all done. There aren’t a lot of places that let you do thank. I’m very lucky.”

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: 05/14/21   

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