Senior Spotlight: Hannah Deplazes

By Emily Schmidt
University Communications Student Assistant

MINOT, N.D. – Throughout her time at Minot State, music performance major Hannah Deplazes has earned two full ride scholarships for playing her cello, all the while raising her son and expecting another child at the end of May.

Deplazes started taking cello lessons with Division of Performing Arts Chair Erik Anderson while she was in middle school. She received her first full ride scholarship when she decided to stay in Minot to pursue her passion for music at Minot State.

“I felt comfortable with him and comfortable not getting into too much student loan debt by coming here,” she said. “I knew it would be a good foundational start because it wasn't so big, and I'd get good attention from the teachers and be able to get help and learn rather than going to a huge school and maybe not getting that same attention.”

While cello may be the focus of her schooling, another priority entered Deplazes’ life in 2019 when she had her son, Shepherd.

“Before having him, I was probably practicing four hours a day, and now with him, I probably only practice one or two, so I just have to make my time very efficient," she said. “Say he's taking a nap for an hour, I decide, “Do I clean up the house? Am I going to do homework for an hour?’ and whatever I decide to do, I have to get it done before he wakes up, so that's been something that's kind of cool. I've gotten better at just getting things done on time.”

Her family life and her schooling eventually overlapped when she decided to study motherhood in college for her Honors thesis.

“I started Googling mothers in college, and I started seeing that the student-mother graduation rate is much lower than the average female student graduation rate,” she said. “I thought, if they need the education to make more money and support their kids, why are they starting to drop out? After a ton of reading, I was able to connect on a personal level.”

Her project included surveying college mothers and compiling the results to draw conclusions about the graduation rate disparity. See the recording of her presentation, “Motherhood in College: Balancing Studies and Family,” ONLINE.

After successfully balancing motherhood with her own studies, Deplazes will graduate this semester and walk at the ceremony if her second child doesn’t arrive first.

“I'm lucky that I have family in the area,” she said. “If I ever need help, I can call them, and they can watch him for me. I'm also lucky in some ways with the pandemic because before, it wasn't an option to call in to class. I can be home and still be able to participate, and he can be watching TV or something, so I haven't had to find daycare. Being at a smaller school too, everyone's very accepting with Shepherd. Everyone in the music department, they always get so excited to see him. He has friends and hangs out with everybody.”

But the balancing act isn’t over yet, for Deplazes accepted another full ride scholarship with a paid teacher assistant position in music theory at the University of Houston, Texas. There, she’ll pursue a master’s degree in music performance.

“The teacher there, his name's Tony Kitai, and he has played in Houston Symphony for over 20 years,” she said. “I want to be able to play in a professional symphony, so I feel like he'll have a lot to teach me and show me all about the business.”

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: 05/05/21   

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