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“My name is Donna, and I am currently a chef at the 1872 Grill, in Julia A. Sears residence hall. I have been working here, at Minnesota State University Mankato for sixteen years. The Julia A. Sears residence hall opened nine years ago, and I have been working here since day one. I love working here, because of how great the kids are. My husband always jokes that we can’t go anywhere without seeing some of the Minnesota State kids I know. I love it, I absolutely love it. Growing up, my family life was rough. I didn’t get along with my parents very well. They always wanted me to be the adult in the family, and take care of my younger siblings. I chose to go a different route and build the life I wanted to live. During college, I lived with my grandparents and worked at a bar. After I graduated, one of my girlfriends and I decided we would take a road trip to visit her aunt in Deadwood. This was in the year of 1972 during the Rapid City Flood. We didn’t even realize we were driving through a monsoon, because we were having so much fun. Our three-day trip ended up turning into three months. It was so sad because many people were never found because of the flood. Back then we used land lines, and it was really hard to reach anyone during the flood. I was able to get a hold of my grandma and she was able to tell my family what had happened. My sister thought that maybe my grandma had just dreamed this, because she wanted it to be true so badly. A week later I was able to get a hold of the rest of my family, and tell them that I was okay. For the next three months, we worked at Dairy Queen because we had no way of returning back home.”

Picture & Caption: Rachel Wangen, Danielle Tazic, and Carly Czaplewski





“Be yourself and try everything. If you don’t, you will regret missing out on all the opportunities. That is my advice. Hi, my name is Daniel, and through perseverance, I have overcome challenges and achieved some of my biggest accomplishments. Throughout my life, my father has struggled with terminal cancer. Experiencing his battle with cancer has made it extremely difficult for us to stay positive in our everyday lives. It has also introduced my biggest fears. I am terrified of being diagnosed with a terminal illness and losing loved ones. Overall, I do not want my actions to cause me to live with regret or shame. Despite watching my father battle cancer, I have been able to achieve one of my biggest dreams. I am a successful student-athlete on the division one men’s hockey team at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU, M). I chose to attend MSU, M because of its hockey team and community. Its location is ideal, the students have formed an amazing community, and I wanted the opportunity to continue my hockey career at a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level. With all these experiences, I believe I have yet to experience the happiest moment of my life. However, my healthy family and success in hockey are the two things that make me undoubtedly happy. Through trying new things, I have not yet come to regret anything. Therefore, I believe everyone should live life to its fullest with no regrets. By doing this, I hope to one day have a wealthy and healthy family of my own.”

Photo & Caption by: Shane McMahan, Sarah Wall, and Dylan Kolquist





Meet Ellyn, a hard-working, compassionate, and fun-loving twenty-two-year-old. Ellyn has accomplished many obstacles in her life and has learned important life lessons from the difficult experiences in her life. We all have had a significant event in our life that changes the way we think and here is hers:

“Back in 2010 during my freshman year of high school, I tried out for an extremely competitive volleyball club team and unfortunately did not make it. This event was significant in the fact that I had always been on the highest-level team and felt extremely defeated. I decided to stay positive and tryout for a different club, which ended up leading me to incredible coaches and experiences. This experience made me realize that not everything in life will turn out how you want it to and that everything happens for a reason. Joining this club team lead me to a coach who ended up being a mentor in my life and taught me so much more than just the game of volleyball. She taught me to always have confidence in myself and my abilities and to never give up. Throughout the season I was pushed out of my very small comfort zone and given opportunities I will never forget. I truly believe that being a part of that team in 2010 has helped shape me into the person I am today. This event has made such a big difference in my life. I gained incredible leadership skills which lead me to becoming the team captain my Senior year of high school. These skills also allowed me to be a leader all throughout college in many ways and eventually lead me to the position I am in today as the store Supervisor at Bath and Body Works. It’s crazy to think how an experience such as joining a sports team in high school, can make such a difference in the rest of your life. I have noticed a major difference in my level of self-confidence and to be thankful for every opportunity that comes your way. Everything really does happen for a reason and I strive each day to stay positive through the ups and downs that life can throw at you and find that reason. Looking back at this experience, I would change my attitude and mindset about this event. When I found out that I did not make the team I originally tried out for, I was extremely upset. I was so focused on the negatives and was beating myself up for not being good enough. Eventually I switched my train of thought and was able to pick myself up and tryout for a different team, however I wish I was not so hard on myself. In five to ten years I see myself married and with kids, hopefully living in Minnesota in a beautiful home, and of course with a puppy! I see myself volunteering to help coach my kids sports teams and teach them life lessons like my coaches once taught me. I see myself having a stable job and enjoying my weekends off spending time with my family.”

Photo & caption by: Blair Wareham, Dimitra Rothweiler, & Sydney Corbin















Dog“Hello, my name is Lushi, but my friends call me Lucia. I am from China. Before I came to Mankato pursuing my master degree, I used to live with my parents and grandmother. I have wanted to have pets since I was ten years old. However, my family never let me have pets. My grandmother is an old fashioned Chinese woman who always says,

“Lushi, no dogs!”

I never had a chance to have a dog. Also, my grandmother always blames my uncle having pets in their house. My uncle has two cats and one dog. I remember that I always went his house to play with his pets, and I really wanted to have the dog like my uncle’s dog. I am lucky because my dream came true. After moving from China to Mankato, I adopted my dog. Her name is Jess, and she is the best dog ever. She feels my emotions. When I am sad and depressed, she always brings her toys to play with me. Having my dog makes me feel needed and loved. As an international student in America, I am so far from my family. However, I never felt lonely in Mankato because I have my best friend Jess.

Photo & Caption by: Luke Dawson, Nick Edstrom, and Uudus Bayarsaikhan



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“My name is Ahmed and I am studying for my Masters in Urban Planning, and Local Government Management here at MSU. I am a firm believer of the idea: If you want to change the lives of the people, you need to be part of the solution.

Therefore, my undergraduate degree was Environmental Science, which is an interdisciplinary academic field. Both Urban Planning and Environmental Science degrees are very compatible in terms of solving the environmental issues that influence our interaction with the natural systems. Mankato has been a wonderful place for me. I’ve been a part of the Mankato community for the last 7 years. I haven’t found any dislikes to make me rethink my stay. It’s a college town that has supported me throughout my academic years. I’m about to finish my second and third degrees next May. I don’t know what the future holds, but so far, I am very happy with my stay in Mankato, Minnesota. My proudest activity that I helped with was The Emergency Community Help Organization (ECHO). It’s a nonprofit organization that provides emergency food assistance to people in Blue Earth County and North Mankato. I loved the time I spent with them. It’s a great way to help the less fortunate people in this community. My favorite soccer team is Arsenal, which is the English soccer team. I was exposed to the Arsenal team at an early age. By then, they were playing the most attractive game in the league. Ever since then, it stuck on my heart.”

Photo & Caption by: Thomas Imholte, Noah Rajtar, Shuaib Mohamud, Jameson Meyer


The Taxi Driver



IMG_1357.jpg“Everyone tends to not love doing his or her job or going to work but I for one, do. Working for WS transportation was definitely a change and a challenge from previous jobs I’ve had. This is a taxi service company. Many people if they can’t get around town will get a cab. Which is what I do. I drive customers to their designated location. I wanted to find something that I would enjoy doing and WS transportation was what made me happy. One of the greatest memories I have from work was when I went on a route to transport a group of college kids. Initially I couldn’t find where this group was located at first. I had to call the guy who requested the transportation to locate where he and his friends were. Once I had located him, he had misplaced his phone. It was like a wild goose chase for everyone. We spent quite some time searching for his phone until he realized that he had his phone in his sock. It was hilarious which made it memorable for me. I feel like there are times where we are put in situations where we don’t ever think we’ll be in but it’s a great learning experience. You never know what you’ll encounter. What makes my job worth continuing is the possibility of new experiences and learning something everyday. It’s also the fact that these customers are very satisfied with my work and that I am able to give them great customer service care. Occasionally they tip extremely well too so that’s a bonus. I have lived in Mankato my whole entire life yet the people I meet and come into contact always surprise me. They are always so kind and good. There will be a couple of times or so when you come across a customer who may have some bad qualities but it’s always about customer care and making sure they get to where they need to be.”

Photo & Caption by: Lynzie Reichel, Arriayn Thao, and Kiara Ubl





IMG_2275.jpg“Living in Mankato has been such a wonderful blessing. I come from a smaller town in Illinois which was great, but it certainly is no Mankato. I originally moved here because it is the town of where my wife lives. My happiest moment in life, was marrying my beautiful wife. I have been living here in this gorgeous city for about three years and 6 months, and every single second of it has been wonderful. It is such a beautiful city and is always growing rapidly. I currently am working for FedEx as a driver here on the weekdays as well as on Saturday mornings. I absolutely love my job especially because it allows for me to be outdoors more, as well as having a boss that is kind and truly cares about us employees. It also allows for me to have a bit more of a flexible schedule which is a very nice perk to have as well. 10 years down the line, I still hope and plan on seeing myself, my wife, and my family still living in the Mankato Area.”

Photo and caption by: David Markiewicz and Justin Duran



IMG_0632.jpeg“My name is Macayla and I’m originally from Green Bay, but moved to Minnesota recently. Even when I lived in Wisconsin I loved the Vikings. My dad would take me to Vikings games, and I even have a Vikings tattoo. I’m looking forward to going to the upcoming Vikings versus Packers game. I am a junior at Minnesota State University-Mankato, so that is what brought me to Mankato. I love going downtown to the bars, but my favorite thing to do is ski at MountKato. There are so many parts of the city that I want to explore, but I have never lived here during the summer so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to venture through. My dream in life is to have a husband that loves me, dogs that snuggle me, and kids that adore me. I am in the Elementary education program at Minnesota State University-Mankato, and I want to be either a Kindergarten teacher or a first-grade teacher. I currently work at an after-school program for kids in North Mankato and I love it. I hope to adopt my kids because my mom and dad adopted my little sister, Cal, from Ethiopia. At first, when she got here, we hated each other. But now we have a strong relationship. She is applying for colleges now and I’m so proud of her. My favorite time of year is Halloween and fall. I love all of the colors of the Midwest and I hope to never move away from here. I like winter too but it just gets too cold for me.”

Photo and caption by: Samantha Zittel, Ceara Golden, Christa Stimson






Humans of Mankato #3.jpg“Hi my name is Olivia, and I’m a student at Mankato State University. I chose MNSU because it is close enough from my parents to not feel homesick, but far enough away to gain privacy. At MNSU, I’m majoring in Child Care Psychology. I was swayed into this major because it is my personal goal to make sure that other children don’t experience the complications of divorced parents like my siblings and me had to. I feel that this split has caused me to be more critical of myself and I need to just calm myself. I’m afraid that I’ll have no one around me that loves when life’s crucial moments arrive. This probably makes me more anxious, but I don’t think anybody wants to be alone. To counter this feeling, I joined theatre. I love being in the spotlight and being given new opportunities. I’m proud of the fact that I got hired in the beginning of freshman year doing a job that makes me happy and easily fits into my schedule. In ten years, I see myself working hard wherever I am and maybe starting a family with a couple dogs. My advice to anybody who reads this blog, work hard at whatever you’re doing, it’ll pay off in the end.”

Photo & caption by: Matt Abel, Ben Clayton, and Lindsey Mattson




Cam Kirksey.jpg“My name is Cameron. I am a biomedical major at Minnesota State University, Mankato. I chose to be a biomedical major because I excelled in my science classes throughout high school. Not only am I good at science classes, I truly enjoy studying the material. Biomedical majors also make very good money, so that is the reason why I was intrigued to study biomedical science. I chose to attend Mankato because it is a good social atmosphere and I received a basketball scholarship to play here. Being on the basketball team is fun but it also comes with hard work on and off of the basketball court. A normal day as a basketball player at Mankato consists of practice, weight training, and conditioning. Being a student and an athlete is a challenging combination but I enjoy it. Basketball can be considered a part time job, because we have scheduled basketball functions for twenty hours per week. However, if you want to be the best basketball player you can be, many hours of extra practice is necessary. Extra practice could include various drills such as working on your jump shot, or even practicing your ball handling skills. These extra hours often make being a college basketball player a full time job. Therefore being a full time student and basketball player is like taking on two full time jobs.  I aspire to be an Anesthesiologist because it is a very important way to help people and make good money. If being an Anesthesiologist doesn’t work out right after college, I want to try and play professional basketball overseas. My biggest role models are my parents because they raised me to become who I am today. My proudest achievement was winning the state championship in high school basketball.”

Photo & Caption: Thomas Imholte, Noah Rajtar, Shuaib Mohamud, Jameson Meyer