Hegstad finds her path

MINOT, N.D. – This fall, recent Minot State University graduate Faith Hegstad ’23 took an exciting leap at Pennsylvania State University Law School.

So far, it was every bit the challenge she expected it to be.

During her senior year of high school in Minot, Hegstad applied to MSU, as a social work major, following in her mom’s footsteps as a former Minot State student, but did not decide to minor in law until much later in her academic career.

“I decided to be a social work major before I ever knew I was going to go to law school,” said the current law student.

After taking a law class in her senior year of high school, she became fascinated with the field of study and investigated meshing the two fields. This meant adding a minor in law and legal studies while she pursued a degree in social work. In addition, she also continued to challenge herself with strong extra curriculars, giving them credit for the life skills that she uses today in law school.

“What prepared me most was getting involved with different programs, different scholar programs, and the community,” Hegstad said. “That helped me a lot with the workload of law school. Just to be able to figure out the piece of time management, which is huge. Being at Minot State, with all the opportunities that were available and all the things I was able to become part of, really helped me with getting me ready for law school.”

One of her most notable experiences was with the Looyenga Business Leadership program.

“It was very fascinating to be able to see multiple different perspectives and different majors throughout undergrad, which prepares you for just being in the real world,” said Hegstad when asked about her time in the program.

In addition to this incredible opportunity, she was awarded the chance to be a part of the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) Scholar Program. A nomination-only program, she was nominated by her advisor, Minot State Assistant Professor of Social Work Rebecca Daigneault ’00.

“Faith was my advisee throughout her four years at Minot State, and she expressed, from day one, her intent to go to law school after completing her undergraduate studies. I nominated her to the NDCPD Interdisciplinary Scholar Program for the 2021-22 school year and she was accepted.” Daigneault said.

While in the program, she was supervised by Jolynn Webster from NDCPD.

“Through the Scholar Program, Faith had opportunities to participate in a research-leadership project, family mentorship activities, didactic seminars, and clinical observations. All of these components equipped Faith to gain competence and skills in supporting individuals with disabilities and their family members,” explained Webster. “As the coordinator of NDCPD’s Scholar Program, I am excited about Faith’s studies in law school and the work that she will do in her future career as a legal advocate.”

During her time in this program, she additionally completed a research project noted by Daigneault.

“I was assigned to mentor her research group of three students under the scholar's program. The title of the project was ‘Academic Interventions for Diverse Learners: A Guide for Faculty in Post-Secondary Education.’ The results were presented by Faith and her peers at the annual Minot State poster session in April 2022. Additionally, Faith and I presented the poster at the Annual Association of University Centers on Disability in Washington, D.C. in November 2022,” said Daigneault.

Further, the experiences and relationships she gained through her extra curriculars built strong relationships with her professors. Lacey Corneliusen, Minot State assistant professor of social work, had her for five different social work classes.

“In the classroom setting, Faith actively engaged in the activities and employed critical thinking to enhance discussions, demonstrating leadership among her peers. Her organizational skills further contributed to the collaborative environment,” Corneliusen said. “Drawing from her academic background in social work and her minor in law, Faith introduced innovative solutions that sparked extensive dialogue and exploration of ideas within her cohort.”

Corneliusen was not the only one who noted her ability to balance everything she was involved in though.

“It was amazing to see how Faith effectively juggled her academics, extracurricular projects, studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and part-time work. She made it look easy!” added Daigneault

As she continues the challenging classwork at Penn State, Hegstad is grateful for the tutorship she received at MSU.

“I felt so grateful for Lacey and Becky.” she said. “I had them as professors and advisors and they were so great. I have only nice things to say about them.”

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: 02/02/24   

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