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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Each academic year provides the opportunity for the Office of Student Affairs to continue to strive towards our mission, vision, and strategic goals. The Student Affairs Highlights stories shares the growth and accomplishments of each of the units under Student Affairs. Read the following stories to learn more about how Student Affairs Offices are fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.


Bretta Gonzales

New Equipment, New Outlook: How Campus Recreation’s Investment is Benefitting the Growth of Both Students and Staff at Minnesota State Mankato

Bretta Gonzales was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She took a chance coming to Minnesota State University, Mankato four years ago when she began her undergraduate studies in Exercise Science here. Now as a first-year Graduate Assistant in Campus Recreation, she continues to help others on campus and in the community find passion in health and wellness. Read More.



David Jones

Why I Give to Minnesota State, Mankato

Our shared love of Minnesota State University, Mankato pulls us closer. It is a University with a special impact on everyone who studies here, works with the students here and invests in the future of this institution. I should know. I walk the walk every day as I work to help students achieve their goals and dreams. As the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, I wish to share a little bit more about what Student Affairs and the University are doing to live like Mavericks!  Read More.



Gabe Hewitt

Former MSU Editor-In-Chief Gabe Hewitt Finds Success in a Changing Industry

After receiving his associate’s degree from Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Gabe Hewitt had his sights set on attending a four-year institution where he could continue his passion for journalism. He instantly became drawn to the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus for its diverse organization opportunities and close community-like environment. At Minnesota State, Hewitt would pursue Mass Media and go on to become Editor in Chief of the campus newspaper and President of the Society of Professional Journalists. Read More.



Faical Rayani

Faical Rayani Finds Community, Passion at Minnesota State Mankato

Faical Rayani has never been a typical student. From starting his own registered student organization to becoming President of the Minnesota State Student Association (MSSA) he has impacted both people and policies at Minnesota State Mankato. Now as state chair of Students United, he continues to use his leadership and passion to bring positive change to the Minnesota State system. Read More.



Jamie Waterbury

New University Dining Center Promotes Positive Changes

The University Dining Center completed in January has not only brought new food concepts, but also a large sense of community to the Minnesota State Campus. Jamie Waterbury, operations manager for Dining Services, has seen first-hand how the state-of-the-art space has positively impacted students and the employees who work there. Read More.



Monica Warner

MSSA Senator Monica Warner is Providing New Opportunities for Students Across Campus

Ever since elementary school in her hometown of Eagan, Minn., Monica Warner has known she wanted to be an educator. Warner has also been passionate about the environment and found Minnesota State Mankato to be the perfect opportunity to combine those passions. As an Elementary Education major in her junior year at the University, she cannot wait to start empowering the minds of children across the state. But before graduation comes in 2019, Warner has many things she hopes to accomplish as she continues to be a leader and an innovator on campus. Read More.

Carolyn Nelson

New $420,000 Grant is Helping Students in Need Stay Enrolled

Carolyn Nelson has always seen the value of working hard to accomplish her goals. She grew up in a small community on a multi-generational farm, and excelled in her high school work. Carolyn then chose Minnesota State University, Mankato to further her education because she received the prestigious Presidential Scholarship. After graduating and working as a paralegal for a few years, the opportunity opened up for her to return to Minnesota State Mankato as an admissions officer. She had a great experience at her alma mater and was passionate about giving back to the school that challenged her and provided her with continued growth as a person and a student. Read More.

Maria Ruiz-Mendez

The Journey to Become the 84th Student Body Vice President

Maria Ruiz-Méndez was born and raised in Mexico before migrating with her family to Le Center, Minn., when she was in eighth grade.  Her parents moved her to Minnesota to provide a better education and more opportunities for Maria as well as her older sister and younger brother.  When she arrived in Le Center, Maria spoke no English and discovered there was no diversity in her small grade of just 32 people.  She began teaching herself English through movies, books and computer activities.  It was a challenge, but Maria faced it with drive and determination to make her parents proud because of their sacrifice to move far from their home for a better education for Maria and her siblings. Read More.

Rachel Hoehn

Something Bigger Out There, For All of Us

In her final weeks before graduation, Rachel Hoehn overheard some shocking statistics regarding homeless youth in the Mankato area and knew she had to do something about it. Read More.



Tyler Keller

The Presidential Scholarship Makes an Impact

Tyler Keller is a junior at Minnesota State University, Mankato majoring in Math Education. He was a Freshman Representative for the Student Council and a Community Advisor in McElroy Residence Hall his sophomore year. He's also active in intramural sports, a member of the Honors Program, and a Presidential Scholar. Read More

Ryan Strelow Portrait

From Student to Award Winner to CSU Technical Coordinator

Ryan Strelow is currently the Centennial Student Union's Technical Coordinator, a role he has had since February 2016. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Design and Technology from Minnesota State University, Mankato in December 2015. During his coursework, Ryan began designing lighting for dance concerts. It was through the Spring 2015 Dance Concert that Ryan began his path to receiving national recognition for his design. Read More

Mai Xee with family in Thailand

Traveling with a Purpose

Traveling with a purpose… That's just what Mai Xee Vang did last year on a trip to Laos and Thailand with six other students. Mai Xee is a Psychology major at Minnesota State University, Mankato and will be graduating this May. She was born in Thailand; a year later her family arrived in the United States where they stayed with her mother's parents in Oak Grove, Minn. Read More

Student wall climbing

Climbing in Her Own Direction

"Confidence has a big part in everything. Aim high and challenge yourself," Ellyn Gibbs, a Minnesota State University, Mankato junior majoring in Mass Media said. Arriving at Minnesota State Mankato from her home town of Stanchfield, Minn., a small community north of the Twin Cities, Ellyn's curious spirit is what has begun to lead her down an exciting new path of adventure, learning and self-discovery. Read More

Tyeesha Wesley

Hall Director Focusing on Student Success through Involvement

Tyeesha "Tye" Wesley came to Minnesota State University, Mankato from Valdosta College in Georgia in July 2014 to be a Hall Director in the Julia A. Sears Residence Community. With one year under her belt, she is excited for this school year and her latest accomplishment of becoming an American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Ambassador. ACPA Ambassadors connect their institution to the ACPA and to other institutions by building a community with a focus on knowledge sharing and innovative ideas. Read More

Wendy Schuh, director of Student Health Services

Keeping Students Healthy through the Support of Grants

Student Health Services is a valuable resource on the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus—but the department’s work to keep students healthy and in class learning could not be completed without the utilization of external funds such as grants. Wendy Schuh, director of Student Health Services, has been instrumental in seeking out grants totaling more than a million dollars to fund Student Health Services initiatives so that student fees can remain low while students receive the best care and information possible. Read More

Ashley Gooler

From Undecided to Project Engineer

When Ashley Gooler entered Minnesota State University, Mankato she wasn’t clear on the direction she wanted to take her education. Switching her major three or four times, she finally landed in Construction Management. It was after taking her first class with Dr. Leah Roue that Ashley knew this was the major for her. Read More

Student studying in the CSU

The Heart of Our Campus

Have you been to the Centennial Student Union (CSU)? Sure you have, but it’s not just a place you go to grab a bite to eat on campus. “The Union is more than a structure. It is the lifeblood of the University—a place where students, staff, faculty and the public are educated, have fun, create and learn more about differing cultures,” said Centennial Student Union and Student Activities Director Mark Constantine. Read More

Students talking in hallway

Counseling Center Provides Sought-After Training Program

Many programs at Minnesota State University, Mankato require students to complete an internship, which allows them to gain practical, hands-on experience before entering the workforce. Many internship sites are right on campus. The counseling Center, housed in the Centenntial Student Union, is a highly sought-after site from professional programs in Mankato as well as the Twin Cities metro area. Read More

Stephanie Trejo

New Scholarship Makes a Lasting Impact for an Incoming Student

For most high school seniors, the decision to further their education is the first of many big decisions. The importance of a campus’ size, the institution’s location, the major course offerings and the cost of attendance become common conversation topics. This was not any different for incoming first-year student, Stephanie Trejo. Read More

Seth Hoscheit

Officiating Intramurals Leads to Long-Term Career Dream

For many students at Minnesota State University, Mankato, the Campus Recreation office (otherwise known as Campus Rec) allows them to get involved, be active and fulfill their competitive hankerings by participating in intramurals. However, graduate student Seth Hoscheit has found another edge to intramurals that may lead him to an unexpected career. Read More

Matt DuRose

Real-World Experience Changes the Learning in the Classroom

For the last 15 years, Matt DuRose has been working for the Police Services Division of the Mankato Department of Public Safety. Throughout his tenure, he has applied the knowledge and skills he learned at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he earned a degree in Law Enforcement. Read More

Greek Life student

Greek Life Provides Unexpected Experiences

Although Minnesota State University, Mankato may offer prospective students a “homey” feeling during campus visits, it’s usually not until class is in session and students are able to get involved that they are able to find their extended family and start to feel at home on campus. Read More

Graduate students in the Counseling and Student Personnel department

Graduate Assistant, Lindsay Brown, Appreciates the Opportunities to Grow As a Student Affairs Professional

Student Affairs is not necessarily a common profession for undergraduate students to pursue. In most cases, students are unaware of this field and the possibilities it yields. That was certainly the case for Lindsay Brown, a current graduate student in the Counseling and Student Personnel department. It wasn’t until her senior year of college that she identified her passion and interest in Student Affairs and decided to pursue a career in this field. Read More

Carl Vagle

Minnesota State Mankato—A Large Campus with A Small Campus Atmosphere

Transitioning to any new institution can be overwhelming and daunting. Imagine transitioning to four different institutions before finally finding your “home away from home.” Current Minnesota State University, Mankato student Carl Vagle has a story that involves a number of transfers before finally finding his second home at Minnesota State Mankato. Read More

Residential Hall Community Advisors group photo

Community Advisor, Amin Jalalzadeh, Continues to Serve His Peers

For most students at Minnesota State University, Mankato, a new school year means a new set of courses with fresh, new faces. However, for Community Advisors (CAs) in the Residential Halls, a new school year means a whole new floor of neighbors and roommates. Amin Jalalzadeh, a third year veteran CA, could not contain his excitement regarding the new group of students on his floor. Read More

Ben Shakespear

Ben Shakespear Shares Gratitude and Excitement for His Time Spent at Minnesota State University, Mankato

Ben Shakespear, a native of Sydney Australia, moved to Minnesota three years ago to enroll at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Although Shakespear is a long way from home, he has made a home here at Minnesota State Mankato. Read More

Orientation Peer Assistants group photo

MacKenzie Becker: Using Personal Experience as a Resource for New Students

Summer is in full swing at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In spite of the rainy couple of weeks, students around campus are being active outdoors, training for upcoming sporting seasons, taking a few credits or assisting with New Student Orientation. Throughout the summer, various groups of new faces visit campus as they prepare for their transition to college. Read More

Reece Hemmesch Graduation Speech

Graduation Marks the Beginning of a New Chapter

As another school year comes to an end, we say farewell to the students graduating. Each and every student at Minnesota State University, Mankato leaves an impression on the students, faculty and staff staying behind. Through involvement in the classroom and extracurricular activities, students are able to find a sense of community. Reece Hemmesch, a Mass Media and History double major, found an outlet for his passions by writing for the on-campus newspaper, The Reporter. Read More

Student Health Services received the Underage Drinking Prevention Teen Influence Award

House Party Receives Recognition from MADD

Student Health Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato has developed health education programs to help inform students about the dangers of high risk drinking – including House Party, an annual event that is held each fall. This spring, the House Party event received the Underage Drinking Prevention—Teen Influence Award from the Minnesota Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Chapter. Read More

Career Development Center assistant helping a student

MavJobs Provides Unforeseen Internship Opportunity

Searching for and deciding on a future career can be an overwhelming task for any college student. The Career Development Center (CDC) at Minnesota State University, Mankato prides itself on providing the necessary resources to help students explore their interests and strengths so they can choose a major relevant to their intended career field. Read More

Campus Kitchens Volunteers

Student Driven Hunger Relief Program

Since 2005, students at Minnesota State University, Mankato have guided Campus Kitchen, a hunger relief project. The Campus Kitchen Project is a national initiative aiming to empower students to take action in their communities while also developing leadership skills. Volunteers eager to support this cause, are lead and trained by our own student staff here on campus. Throughout the academic year, students serve over 1500 hours of service. Read More