Voices of DiversityPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/diversity/commission/anneschnura.html
The Perfect Fit: Growth, Immersion, and Giving Back to the Community
By Kouliga Koala
We met with Anne Schnura, a recent graduate who shared her decision to come to MSU and her immersion within the campus community. She described her volunteer experience around campus as well as in the Mankato community.
“I can honestly say that my experience in Institutional Diversity has allowed me to grow and learn not only a lot about myself but about other people. I grew up in Chicago and it is a diverse community but being here was a whole different level of diversity and I really enjoyed it. I was immersed in that community and I loved every second of it. It was the best learning experience I have ever had.” Schnura said
Schnura grew up in the South side of Chicago. She got her Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Administration and a minor in Psychology. Her first full time job was a Park District Administrator in southern Illinois. Even though it was a great job and a great experience, she was ready to “move up.” All the jobs that she was considering required a Master’s degree. Upon research for a Master’s program, she came across MSU in April 2011.
When she called the program she was interested in and described her interest, the professor who answered the phone told her “you sound like you would be a perfect fit, so go ahead and apply to the school and come on over.” She applied and got admission into the school. She also applied to different graduate assistantship positions and got one in Institutional Diversity. That was the beginning of Schuna’s journey at MSU. She has just graduated with a Master’s degree in Experiential Education.
She is very passionate about helping other people and treating people fairly. She feels very passionate about that because she thinks everybody needs to be treated fairly no matter who they are and how much their paycheck says. She always finds something to do during her free time. “I love the outdoors; it is definitely a passion of mine. And one of my favorites is riding my bike here in town. There is ton of trails; there is always somewhere to go in town,” she added.
Since her arrival at MSU in 2011, Schnura has been very active. As a graduate assistant for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Center and the Center for American Indian Affairs, she provided assistance to students by helping them choose classes, participating in recruiting students, and executing programs in both centers. In addition, she has taken various volunteer positions around campus and Mankato. As someone who loves to help others, she has taken initiatives in order to give back to the community. She serves as one of the assistant coaches for the women’s rugby team here on campus. In addition, she is a volunteer firefighter in Mankato, where she wants to spend one more year to get additional experience.
MSU has been a place that provides opportunities to learn and grow. Institutional Diversity was welcoming, which is where Schnura had her most enjoyable moments. She said, “I can honestly say that my experience in Institutional Diversity has allowed me to grow and learn not only a lot about myself but also about other people.” She became fully immersed in what she called “community. “I was immersed in that community and I loved every second of it. It was the best learning experience I have ever had,” she added.
If there is one thing that Schnura sees could help improve students’ experience on campus, it would be “having a graduate assistant orientation on campus, having a day where every semester, all the graduate assistants come together and meet each other, so then they can start their own support system through that.” For her, that will be an opportunity to build useful connection earlier. “There were a lot of graduate assistants that I did not know were graduate assistants. Having something like that to start that connection early will be great because I did not make that connection until my last semester. It does not have to be every graduate assistant but it can be within departments,” she explained.
When asked her closing thought, Schnura made reference to her decision to come to MSU, a community where she felt understood and comfortably integrated: “Coming to Mankato was one of the best decisions I have ever made because it has allowed me to grow and be comfortable with who I am and accepted.”