“I am Ashley and I am from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I started my college career at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln where I studied food science. I studied food science because I wanted to be in a science related major but did not want to be limited to chemistry or biology. During my time at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, I discovered my Catholic faith and it changed my life. I contemplated studying theology for a little while, but ultimately decided to continue with my food science track because I found it was more relevant and helpful. Food is a necessity in everyone’s lives and I believe that I could make an impact in others lives by staying in this major. With the help of my Catholic faith and seeing how much it changed my life, I discovered that I wanted to give everyone else the opportunity to better their life and generations to come as well. I joined a group on UNL’s campus called FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) Missionaries and with their help and encouragement, I became a missionary myself. FOCUS Missionaries is the reason why I am currently living in Mankato, Minnesota. Mankato is the smallest city I have ever lived in, and the slower pace has been a hard adjustment for me. However, my heart belongs in Lincoln, Nebraska, where my life was a little more upbeat and the Catholic community was incredible. I think someday I will eventually end up going back to Nebraska for good. If I had advice for anyone out there, it would be to find faith. Life is so inconsistent and forever changing. There are going to be high moment and low moments, people will walk in and walk out of your life, but faith will never change. Faith will always be there to get you through everything life has to offer and give you something greater to look forward too.”
Photo & Caption: Brady Sloan, Katelyn Boucher, and Merissa Roth
“My name is Britney, and I am currently a student athlete here, at Minnesota State University Mankato. I am a freshman, and on the soccer team here. I grew up in Plainfield Illinois, and I have been playing soccer ever since I was five years old. I really enjoyed growing up in Plainfield because it is only about 45 minutes away from Chicago. I would often go to Chicago to spend time at the beach, or go ice-skating by the Bean in the winter. I chose to come to Mankato because of the people, soccer, and to pursue my dreams of becoming a speech pathologist. In high school, I had a few setbacks from tearing two ACLs, my meniscus three times, my MCL twice, and fracturing my tibia all while playing soccer. When I was a junior in high school I bounced back. I become the captain of my high school soccer team, and during my senior year I committed to play soccer here, in Mankato. Throughout this year I have made amazing memories. My freshman soccer season was a lot of fun. I got to play the sport I loved while being surrounded by my best friends. It has been tough being 6½ hours away from my family, but soccer and the amazing people I’ve met has helped me adjust to college life. I wouldn’t trade Mankato for any other school because I have made incredibly bonds with my teammates and roommates. I am so thankful for the little girl inside me that told me to continue playing soccer because if I hadn’t I never would’ve met my best friends.”
Photo &Caption: Carly Czaplewski, Danielle Tazic, and Rachel Wangen
My name is Cameron. I am 20 years old and a junior from Shakopee, MN. I have been playing baseball since I was really little and my whole life revolves around it. My parents have been my biggest supporters throughout my life, as they always drove me to my baseball games no matter what time or where it was all across the country. Keeping up with sports all over the place is no small feat for any family; especially mine, because we have a lot going on at home and my two step brothers and three dogs need attention as well. I also love to do anything else that keeps me active, such as playing basketball and tennis, and I have also run a couple 5K’s and 10K’s. Really, anything that keeps me busy. I moved to Mankato to pursue my baseball career at Bethany Lutheran college. I also wanted to be at a smaller campus. I’m majoring in Business Marketing and minoring in legal studies. My half-brother has a similar job in this field and it seemed like a good gig, he gets to go do really cool stuff, like going golfing, getting tickets to floor-side Timberwolves games and getting suites at Wild games to entertain potential clients. In 10 years I hope to be pursuing my career at a good business and working my way up to a manager position. Also, I want to have a good family with a nice house.
Photo & Caption: Brooke Engen, Josef Thibodeau
Hello, my name is Ken, and the biggest thing I fear in life is dying early and not being able to reach my full potential. Currently, I am living life to the fullest by trying new things everyday including food, different kinds of activities, and doing whatever I believe will conquer my fear. I also like to spend my time staying healthy and active. Getting to the gym and eating healthy meals both contribute to the ongoing fight against my fears. While fighting my fears, I have learned many things from the biggest influence in my life, my mother. She has taught me the most important lesson and that is how to be independent. This means being able to care of myself without relying on anyone and holding myself accountable. She is the strongest, smartest, and nicest person I know. It is reasons like this why I look up to her and consider all the things she has to teach me. Not only does she influence what I do in life, but also what not to do. At this point in my life I can say the most important thing is happiness. I believe that happiness is the key to anyone’s success. In my eyes being happy is important because it shows that you take care of your mental state which directly reflects your life. When you are happy, everything you do seems more fun. When you are not happy, some things might not seem as fun as they normally are. If you live life to the fullest and enjoy the little things while staying happy, I believe you have the keys to a long and successful life.
Photo & Caption: Shane McMahan, Dylan Kolquist, Sarah Wall
Meet Cameron, he currently is a Mankato, MN resident. Cameron has a fear of rodents that was developed when he was fifteen-years-old. While he was doing laundry, he stepped on a rat and killed it with his bare feet. After the incident, he ran upstairs to his room and was so upset he was about to cry. He has never tried to get over his fear nor has anyone tried to help him, but he does try to kill them when he sees one. He says, “I’d rather live with fear and be comfortable than face my fear and be living a lie.” He is not willing to get over this fear, if someone were to offer him help to overcome his fear, he would say no. He has now has gained a fear of opossums, because they are ugly, have pink hands, a nasty face, they look dirty, they move weird, and have nasty teeth. He believes that in ten years he will still fear both rodents and opossums, because they are still in the world and they only way to stop being afraid of them is if they go extinct.
Photo & Caption: Faith Krause, Estefani Jaramillo, and Kiley Demery
This is Ashley. She is a 19-year-old first year student at MSU from Owatonna, MN. Ashley originally wanted to go the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, but they were not flexible with her having to start college a semester late. After touring different schools, she decided to go to Mankato instead, and is really happy with her choice. Ashley knew that MSU has a good nursing program, which is her major, as well as good ROTC program. Nursing has been her dream ever since she was little. Ashley knew she didn’t want to be a doctor because she never thought she was smart enough for that, and she wanted to be a vet for a little while but didn’t want to see sick animals all the time. So, she decided a nurse was going to be a good fit for her. Ashley finally decided that it would be a perfect fit when she was in AIT (Advanced Individual Training) and learned all kinds of medical concepts. After learning how to treat a gunshot wound and how to start a direct line IV, Ashley knew that something in a high-intensity medical environment would be a good fit. Something Ashley has done that she is proud of is completing her military training and becoming a combat medic. Basic training, at the time, was the one of the hardest things she had ever done. “Looking back at it, it wasn’t too bad” she says. This past summer, her AIT was focused on how to become a combat medic. Ashley said that was the hardest and most stressful, yet one of the best things she’s done. She made many great friends and memories, and she learned how to do amazing things to help save lives. If Ashley had the opportunity to go back, she would in a heartbeat. In the next ten years, Ashley could see herself working on an Army base being an active duty nurse. Ashley thinks being young, right out of college, and being stationed somewhere would be one of the best ways to see the world. She hopes to get stationed somewhere cool like Hawaii, Italy, or Germany and every day after work or on the weekends she can just go explore. That is Ashley’s dream.
Photo & Caption: Merissa Roth, Brady Sloan, & Katelyn Boucher
This is Jack, and he is back here at Minnesota State for his second year of college. He originally came here to play baseball, but his dreams fell short after the first year. Now he spends his time focusing on classes and having fun playing intramural sports such as softball and basketball. Even though his goal of playing collegiate baseball fell a little short, “I am excited to have a little more fun with it and play some intramural sports.” He is originally from Jordan, Minnesota and was a three-sport athlete there. For him, Mankato is the place to be, “when I was in high school I loved coming down here to play, there are so many nice facilities I thought it would be a great place to come for college and I was right.” His favorite part about Minnesota State is the people, hanging out with friends, and meeting new people. This makes sense because the first time that I met him he was probably the friendliest person and I knew he would be a good friend. His future plans include perusing and achieving his academic goal of getting his degree in environmental science. He is also planning to responsibly have the time of his life while living in a college town next year. While living with the new friends he has made, he is looking forward to his future living situation. He says, “big plans are ahead of us all and I am looking forward to making the best of every little moment.”
Photo & Caption: Robert Meidl, Cameron Kline, and Will Conard
“Stay true to yourself. Don’t do something because it’s what the crowd would do. Do what you know is right. I didn’t go to college. I graduated from high school and got married right away and had my babies. A few years ago, I made the decision that my life and my husband’s life would be better off as not a couple. I’m fearful that I won’t find that one true love of mine. That I will end up living the rest of my life alone. At one point I thought I’d go back to college, but I enjoyed my family. I enjoyed watching them grow up. I enjoyed going to their sporting events and if I did go on back to college I may not have had time to be able to go to all of the events. So instead I worked and spent time with the kids. I have raised three sons who are kind and caring. Three boys who have wonderful families and would do anything for anyone. I hope to retire in the next 10 years so I can have time to spend with my grandbabies and maybe volunteer somewhere that I can be helping people”
Photo & Caption: Kenzie Hendley, Torey Richards, and Lexi Maehren
“I grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. The place was a lot more alive then the cities here in the U.S. You could go to a restaurant at 4 p.m. or 4 a.m. and it would be open. I remember I went to LA over winter break, and the restaurants there closed by 8 p.m. It’s the same with Minneapolis, but Minneapolis even shuts down on the weekend. When I was looking for colleges, my uncle had attended school at St. Cloud State University here in Minnesota, so he recommended I go to Mankato or St. Cloud for my schooling. I don’t know why, but I decided on Mankato. Initially, I had started out with mechanical engineering, but I found the professor for that dry and methodical, so I changed to electrical engineering, which is much more exciting. I graduate this spring and plan to go to Indiana afterwards to celebrate my cousin’s graduation at Purdue. After that, I’m not sure what I’ll do, but I hope to get a job somewhere in the energy sector. The thing about electrical engineering is that most of the jobs are in government licensed agencies and businesses despite being a broad subject. Even installing solar panels and batteries at data centers requires government certification. For now, I’ll take it easy and worry about that later.”
Photo & Caption: Kayden Bourgoyne, Ira Raber, and Terrel Dawkins
“Hi, my name is Libby. Since I was a little girl it had always been my dream to be a hairdresser. Now I am a hairdresser in Mankato, Minnesota. Although in college, I wasn’t always working towards being a hairdresser. As a freshman in college I started off wanting to do dental hygiene, but I did not enjoy it at all. I then went onto graphic design which I still have a passion for, but when picking your major, it has to be something that you want to do for the rest of your life and I did not see that for me. So that’s when I went to hairdressing. I have been a hair stylist for 4.5 almost 5 years and currently work at Baxter’s Hair Shop, and previously worked at Regis Hair Salon in the Mankato Mall for a year right after graduating school. When I first started at Baxter’s we were employees of the business and would receive an hourly wage, but in June there was a law that was passed where you don’t have to get your managers license. So now us employees pay weekly to rent our chair and then we get 100% of our commission. So, I’m like my own boss! I love hair styling and see myself continuing this profession in the next ten years, but it isn’t so easy. Being a hairstylist is really hard on my body. After standing for 8 long hours with very few breaks, it takes a toll on my back. I often get many massages. Even through the pain, being a hairstylist is so rewarding. My happiest moments when doing hair is when clients come in and their bummed out because of their current hair style. Then seeing their reaction after you do their hair and seeing their tears because they are so happy is the most rewarding feeling. I truly love my job!”
Photo & Caption: Rachel Wangen, Carly Czaplewski, and Daniell Tazic