Maverick Moments

These stories highlight students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

Six students posing in purple shirts for photo

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.

Lindsay, a chemistry major at the University of Minnesota–Morris, was planning to go to pharmacy school after earning her bachelor’s degree. As an undergraduate, she worked for student activities and became involved on numerous campus committees. She was able to learn about activities and experiences that she could share with students “outside” of the classroom.

At the beginning of her final year at Morris, Lindsay started to ask her mentor in Student Activities more questions about his line of work and the field of Student Affairs. As a result, she attended an undergraduate conference for Careers in Student Affairs hosted by the Minnesota College Personnel Association (MCPA). That conference helped Lindsay confirm what her next steps would be following graduation. She was still going to continue her education, but it was going to happen in another field: Student Affairs.

Before she graduated, Lindsay came to Minnesota State University, Mankato for an on-campus interview with the Counseling and Student Personnel department, which runs the College Student Affairs master’s program. While visiting campus, she was impressed with the professors and the radiating passion for teaching and developing students that radiated from them. Lindsay could also tell that the current students in the program truly enjoyed their experiences, which energized her.

During her graduate school search process, Lindsay knew that graduate school was going to require a large financial commitment. She was hoping to find a graduate assistantship that would provide professional development opportunities and assist with the overall cost. Lindsay was thrilled when she was offered an interview for a graduate assistantship with Residential Life at Minnesota State Mankato.

For the last year and half, Lindsay has moved into the Student Service Coordinator role. Her responsibilities include managing the front desk of McElroy Residential Hall, preparing for residence opening and closing, monitoring security, residential hall occupancy management and providing student enhancement activities.

During the second year of the master’s program, students are required to complete an internship. Lindsay has found her second internship site home in the Office of Student Affairs at Minnesota State Mankato an experience that has given her perspective on a broader spectrum of student affairs issues as well as higher education. She is excited to be working on a sophomore communication project to improve student retention.

In Lindsay’s short time in Mankato, she has had an impact on the students, peers, staff and faculty she works with. Dr. Penny Rosenthal, one of Lindsay’s professors and advisor, states, “Lindsay is one of the most calm and calming College Student Affairs students I have ever met. She is a strong team member who can easily lead or contribute in meaningful ways to a group and a group’s leadership. Lindsay has an exceptional work ethic and consistently produces high quality course work and participates in meaningful ways to class discussions. Finally, it is apparent that Lindsay enjoys her life, school, and work – this makes her a joy to work and laugh with.”

As Lindsay nears graduation and reflects upon her time as a student in the program and as a young professional in the field, she feels that the College Student Affairs master’s program has given her the foundation and knowledge she needs to embark on her professional career. Lindsay also appreciates her graduate assistantship and internship; each of those experiences have given her great experiences that she can bring into her next career move.

As she nears graduation in May, she has started her job search around the Mankato area.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

Ashley Brittain

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.

Ashley Brittain, a native of Waukesha, Wis., visited many college campuses during her college search. When she toured Minnesota State Mankato, she felt the most at home, and when she started as a student she quickly found a “second family” on campus by rushing for a sorority. She’s been surprised by the extent of support and opportunities she’s received as a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma—otherwise known as Tri Sigma.

As a member of Tri Sigma, Ashley has had the opportunity to bond with other members of Greek Life on campus. “As an only child, it was great to have a bunch of sisters and brothers around on campus who were all tied together by a common bond,” she says.

Ashley enjoys meeting new people and being exposed to new opportunities—including being able to hold leadership roles within the sorority.

Those leadership roles have given her the foundation and experience to take on an even larger role within the Greek Life community. Ashley was just appointed to the Panhellenic Council to serve as the Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing. In this role, she will collaborate with her counterpart on the Interfraternity Council. These two councils oversee and provide guidance to all Greek sororities and fraternities.

Together, they will work to market all Greek Life events. In addition, Ashley and her counterpart will work on marketing pieces for next fall’s recruitment and/or other programs, produce Greek Life videos, manage Greek Life social media accounts, distribute the Greek Life newsletter, host round tables, and help where there is need. The goal behind all this work for both officers is to create a supportive and engaged Greek community on campus.

Not only is Ashley excited to help connect the Greek community at Minnesota State Mankato, but also she is also thrilled to be working with the Dance Marathon. This event is a fundraiser that hosted as a collaborative effort by the Greek community at Minnesota State Mankato every spring. Their goal is to raise donations for the patients Gillette Children’s Hospital.

Ashley continues to appreciate all the opportunities that are available in the Greek community. She knows that the great experience she’s had will help provide a springboard for reaching her goals—including working in public relations for a nonprofit—after graduating in May 2016.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

Matt DuRose

This photograph was taken on Matt's first day of graduate school classes. His children insisted he take a first day of school picture like they do.

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.

Currently, Matt is a Commander assigned to the geographic area that includes Minnesota State Mankato and the surrounding off-campus housing. He enjoys being around campus again and connecting with students, staff and faculty. Matt has also had the opportunity to oversee the department’s new officer training program and internship program, in which many of the participants have a connection to Minnesota State Mankato.

Every year, Matt will recruit at many of the job and internship fairs on campus. Through his recruitment, Matt is able to supervise up to four interns each semester. Matt enjoys this experience because he is able to connect with other students who are pursuing a passion of his. In addition, he is able to help provide an experience for these students to get hands-on experience in the field. This real-world experience opens doors for other opportunities, such as the volunteer police reserves or even full-time employment.

Over the years, Matt has also partnered with different student organizations and offices to provide programs. He has started to reach out to student organizations across campus beyond the Law Enforcement club, in hopes of expanding the Department of Public Safety’s services in other areas besides just safety and enforcement.

For example, Matt and many of his colleagues have collaborated with Student Health Services and Health Pros. Together, these groups sponsor a program known as House Party. This event is a great way to help provide education around the potential dangers of binge drinking. This is just one of the many events that Matt contributes to on campus to help connect the campus, the community and the Police Department.

Recently, Matt began thinking about his own career goals. He has always wanted to be able to advance within his own department, so he started looking around for ways to increase his knowledge. This period of self-reflection led him to enroll in the Public Administration master’s program last fall.

Even though he had the full support of his wife and kids, as well as the support of his unit, Matt admits that he was a little nervous about getting back into the swing of school after being away for 15 years. After a couple weeks of classes, however, that all changed.

That’s when Matt realized that this time, being in the classroom felt different. The program includes students of diverse backgrounds who are all interested in public administration for varying reasons. As a result, the classroom discussions are fruitful.

When doing his homework at home, often with his two kids keeping him company, Matt is able to grasp the readings and apply the ideas to his own professional experiences. He is also able to share his perspective during the classroom discussions. Although Matt appreciated his experience as an undergraduate at Minnesota State Mankato, he feels that what he is learning as a graduate student is much more rich.

Matt’s real-world experiences with the Mankato Department of Public Safety have had a huge impact on his learning in the classroom. Likewise, the content he’s learning in the classroom can be applied right away to his professional experiences. This practical experience that Matt, and many other graduate students encompass, is a great asset to pursuing advanced degrees at Minnesota State Mankato.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

Seth Hoscheit

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.

Seth, a native of New Ulm, Minn., refereed basketball and football games and was an umpire for baseball games in high school. When he transitioned to Minnesota State Mankato as an undergraduate, continuing to officiate allowed him to stay involved in athletics —and helped cover some of his expenses as well.

Seth’s interest in officiating led to a connection with Todd Pfingsten ’89, the director of Campus Rec. Pfingsten’s guidance and mentorship helped Seth grow as a referee. “[He taught me that my] job as an official is to work hard for the players on the court and ensure that they have a fair opportunity every time,” he says. “The job is not about [the officials], it’s about the athletes having an enjoyable experience, and [the officials] are a large part of making sure that games are fun and safe.”

“I have been one of Seth’s mentors the past few years and have thoroughly enjoyed our interactions both on and off the court,” Pfingsten says. “He is a student of the game, is professional, a great communicator with players, coaches and fellow officials, and has a great feel for the game.”

Pfingsten was particularly impressed while watching Seth officiate during a playoff game between St. Clair vs. Madelia this spring. “The two coaches I was sitting with were impressed with how Seth just blended in and didn’t stand out,” he says. “He just managed the game, called what needed to be called and helped the kids have fun.”

The impact mentors such as Pfingsten have had on him over the years led Seth, who is now working on his graduate degree in Sport Management, to reach out to other aspiring officials himself. As the graduate assistant for the Campus Rec office, his job is to recruit, train, schedule, supervise and evaluate all of the officials for all of the intramural team sports, as well as managing some of the scheduling of team sports and individual/dual activities. Seth has also stayed connected with the Mankato Area Officials Association.

Through both of these organizations, Seth is able to work with and evaluate up-and-coming officials. He values the opportunity to work with these new officials and help develop their skills. “It has been fun to watch these young officials get better over the past year,” he says.

Seth also appreciates the connections he has been able to make with the community. Over the past couple of years, he has worked in high school games, college games and youth tournaments, which has allowed him to interact with a wide range of individuals and visit many sporting venues in the area.

As Seth works towards his graduate degree, he wants to continue officiating. Eventually, he would like to work as a referee for basketball and football in a big conference at the Division I or II level. With the help of mentors like Pfingsten, he will continue to improve and chase this dream.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

Stephanie Trejo

Stephanie Trejo, recipient of the Steve & Judy Legenhausen Distinguished Scholarship Award.

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.

Stephanie, a senior at Butterfield Secondary, had many big decisions to make regarding where she wanted to pursue her bachelor’s degree. Growing up within 45 minutes of Minnesota State University, Mankato, Stephanie always knew it was a great school. It wasn’t until her junior year, when her high school counselor took their class on three college visits, including Minnesota State Mankato, that Stephanie knew it was the place for her. “After the visit, I knew that I could picture myself pursuing my degree there,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to attend a school like MSU that has diversity and academic challenges.”

Stephanie also appreciated the sense of community on campus. After growing up in a town of around 600 people, Minnesota State Mankato’s size felt like the perfect transition for Stephanie.

With the decision of where to go made, Stephanie now has other important decisions to consider. She’s still figuring out what she will major in. At the moment, she’s focused on either Communication Disorders or Social Work—but she is glad that she’ll have the opportunity to explore many options at Minnesota State Mankato.

She’s also glad that she’ll be able to continue pursuing extracurricular activities. Throughout her high school career, she has been extremely involved in many activities. Since ninth grade, she has played the bass clarinet in the Senior High Band and recently participated in the Section 6 Honor Band. She has also participated in one-act plays and served as her class president since 10th grade. Stephanie has been involved in many community service events as well, such as elementary reading nights, preschool screening, community nights. She has also served as a translator as parent/teacher conferences or new student orientation, which influenced her decision to minor in Spanish.

One of the final decision-making steps in determining where Stephanie will go to college was the financing of her education. In January of this year, Stephanie applied for the Presidential Scholarship—a stressful process, because the application includes two personal essays. Stephanie wanted both essays to accurately represent herself so that she would be considered a candidate for the scholarship.

In February, Stephanie was invited to campus to interview for the Presidential Scholarship. After the deadline dates passed and she hadn’t heard anything about the scholarship, she assumed that she had not received one. Although she was disappointed, she was extremely grateful that she had been considered as a candidate.

But in March, Stephanie received a call from the Admissions Office informing her that she would be the first recipient of the new Steve & Judy Legenhausen Distinguished Scholarship Award. Specifically designated for a first generation student, the scholarship will cover all tuition and fees for four years. It is one of the University’s most prestigious scholarships. “I am very grateful,” Stephanie says. “I still can’t even express how grateful I am.”

Receiving this new scholarship made all the difference in Stephanie’s decision to attend Minnesota State Mankato. Now she is just excited to come to campus next fall and start her first year at Minnesota State Mankato.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.