SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Weninger returns to MSU to follow her dream

MINOT, N.D. – For the average student, once they graduate from high school, it’s straight to a two- or four-year university. For Rhonda Weninger, that is somewhat the case.

Although interested in pursuing an art degree after graduating from high school in Anamoose, where she grew up, her life led her in a different direction. She attended Minot State, receiving her associate degree in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2019 that she finally returned to MSU to follow her dream.

“Taking art classes in high school was not an option for me so I did not have any formal art training. Upon returning to college decades later, I felt out of place since I was old enough to be most of my classmates’ mom, and I was highly intimated by the other art students' natural talent,” she said.

Aside from the overwhelming feeling Weninger felt, she continued to learn more through the art department, and was able to grow in other ways than with just a paint brush.

“The art department faculty reassured me that my determination would aid me more than natural talent would and that my age brought extra wisdom not afforded to younger students,” Weninger said. “In my younger years, I always felt like a follower and never brave enough to be a leader. The art department played a huge part in increasing my confidence in my abilities which will serve me well as a teacher who will be leading a class full of students.”

Her advisor, Micah Bloom, associate art professor, and the other faculty pushed her out of her comfort zone, exposing her to different techniques and art-making processes. She is grateful for their time and effort to help nurture her into the artist she has become.

“I would have never thought to create an art installation for my capstone if it wasn't for the art department faculty,” she said. “By far, that was the most challenging, yet the most rewarding, art I have created.

“I would further accredit my art professors for guiding me to be open to opportunities, new experiences, and taking in cultural events that could grow me professionally and artistically.”

Bloom was so proud of Weninger’s achievements that he wrote a song about her balance between life and school. 

“She took control of her fate. A busy mom with much on her plate. She assisted in the studio willingly. Turned in assignments diligently. The path wasn’t easy, tis true. She grew, she grew, and she grew,” Bloom sang, from a line in his song.

Weninger graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Art along with cum laude honors. She also recently received the Student Leadership and Engagement Award from MSU as well as an Outstanding Student Achievement Award from the art department. She has been on the President’s List five times, as well as received numerous academic scholarships.

She will be continuing her passion for art by teaching at the Lewis & Clark Public School District, comprised of Berthold Public School and North Shore-Plaza Public School, starting in the fall of 2022.

“My favorite memories are completing my capstone last year and receiving recognition for all the hard work and long hours I have spent throughout the last three years,” she said. “I will miss my classmates and the art department faculty as they have become like family to me, but I am looking forward to what the future will bring.”

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: 05/16/22   

» More MSU News