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MSU Profiles

Focus, purpose, commitment: MSU student reflects Minot State's mission

Minot State University's core purpose is reflected in the spirit and diversity of its students. The dedication to helping people appreciate life and learning, as well as contribute meaningfully to the lives of others empowers students to become strong leaders who are committed to making a difference in their communities. For Whitney Molina, a Native American student from Montana, the traits and traditions of Minot State are more than just a good reason to choose MSU for a good education - it serves as a great destination filled with opportunity and a chance to help realize her dreams of making a difference.

"I was raised outside the reservation in a very small town sandwiched between Fort Belknap and Fort Peck, near the Rocky Boy Reservation," Molina said. "While I didn't grow up on the reservation, I have very strong ties to my heritage, and I hold the traditional values, morals and concerns very close to my heart. I think MSU has that same sort of focus and energy, and where MSU is located has a lot to do with that. Being in a seemingly remote, rural location may appear to be a challenge, but it is actually an exciting opportunity to experience an amazing diversity of people from all over the world. You can't get this same sort of experience anywhere else."

Many students begin their academic adventure without a clear vision of their future. For Molina, the academic path wasn't initially clear, but her purpose and mission were. Minot State prides itself on its commitment to service and the community, both globally and locally. Although, following in her sister's footsteps in attending MSU, Molina forged her own path by exploring the diverse selection of courses that MSU offers, in addition to her passion for basketball and engaging in the spirit of service both on and off campus.

"Nursing wasn't what I originally wanted to do," Molina said. "I was looking at law or something in criminal justice. It wasn't until I played in the Native American Basketball Invitational, the largest Native American tournament in the world, that things really came into focus for me. I was grateful to be a part of the team representing the Montana tribes at NABI and went on to win out of 180 teams. It was a bit overwhelming. There was so much to the event - games, lectures, even conferences, but I loved it. I learned so much and most importantly, how critical it is to give back to our youth. Especially since many who grow up on the reservation end up leaving for school or work, never to return. It is a spiraling culture and I find myself wanting to change that - to make a difference. It was a nursing perspective class that made everything sort of come together for me. I found myself realizing how great a degree this would be and all the possibilities that it opens up for me. It gives me an advantage to return home and make a difference in people's lives."

Molina is a member of the Minot State Women's Basketball Team. As a student-athlete, Molina embraces the challenge of keeping great grades and doing well for the team. She recognizes the role her professors and advisor play in making everything possible.

"My professors want me to succeed," Molina said. "I'm not just a number. As an athlete, they recognize the demands on my schedule and what a challenge it can be. They notice the work I put into all that I do, and they are always there to encourage me. My advisor, Janet Gerken, is an amazing woman and a real role model for me. She is always available and always willing to go the extra mile when I need it most. Together, my professors and advisor make it possible to succeed, both in the classroom and on the court. They work with me to make my experience at MSU the best possible experience."

Molina is currently a Minot State sophomore pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.