SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Bland credits supporters for all her growth

MINOT, N.D. – Payton Bland, an Arizona native, arrived at Minot State in the fall of 2018.

Like most students, she arrived here unsure of where she would end up four years later, but she was determined to gain new experiences and ended up meeting some great people along the way.

In 2019, Bland became a co-director of the student activities club MSU Life, where she helped students receive a full experience of events that brought joy to Minot State. By doing this, she met one of her role models that gave her the ability to grow into who she is today.

“Aaron (Aaron Hughes, student activities coordinator) is solely the reason I have grown as a person these past four years. She is someone I consider family, a friend, mentor, and so much more. There’s no words to describe how thankful I am to have met her,” she said. “Aaron is the epitome of a rockstar! I would say I will miss her, but we will always stay besties.”

Bland will forever cherish having the ability to host all the bingo events, a feeling like no other when a student shouts out bingo and rushes up to collect their prize.

Outside of MSU Life, Bland explored her interests to find what she was truly passionate about. Receiving her Bachelor of Science in Marketing this spring, she also realized a passion for American Sign Language during her time here at MSU.

“MariDon Sorum (special education instructor) and Erica Bailey (instructor) have a glowing passion for ASL, and it makes me want to do nothing more but continue learning the language! The two of them have helped me realize what I love this past semester, and I’m very grateful for them as well,” Bland said.

Coming to Minot State, Bland knew she wanted something new and has been able to proudly achieve that goal, but she knows that she wouldn’t have been able to do it without a great team of supporters on campus.

“Along with Aaron Hughes, Leon Perzinski (Student Center director), Janna McKechnie (alumni relations and annual giving director), Lynda Bertsch (career services director), and Courtney Brekhus (wellness specialist) have been by my side for four years now,” she said. “These five individuals have brought so much joy to my life and have helped me get to where I am today. And what’s better is that they will continue to push and support me after graduation.”

As for the near future, she will be back on campus for the fall to complete her ASL concentration. She also has the opportunity to teach a spin class, but hopes to do some traveling as well.

Although she has a bit more studying to finish, Bland has been so happy with her experiences she’s gained at Minot State, but most importantly the life-long connections she will have moving forward.

“My favorite memories align with my favorite people I have met here, and I have no clue what I would do without all of them! I am so grateful for this experience and these past four years! Roll Beavers,” Bland said.

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: 05/13/22   

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