Why did you choose Concordia and what are the benefits you have experienced from that decision?
I chose to attend Concordia due to the strong alumni connections, the close-knit community, and the traditions. Recently, during my summer internship in Senator Hoeven’s D.C. office, I connected with a Cobber alum, Berit Dockter, to discuss issues surrounding the nutritional impact of the 2018 Farm Bill and other concerns on nutritional policy across America. I have enjoyed connecting with individuals, such as Berit, who built their foundation at Concordia and are now utilizing their knowledge to help better the world. I have made the most amazing friendships during my last three years at Concordia and have loved learning and growing alongside these lifelong friends. Concordia is a school that prioritizes relationships and, for that, I am forever thankful.
What activities are you involved in?
I have been involved in the Student Government Association (SGA) where I served as a first-year rep (freshman) and student body VP (sophomore), the Women in Business club, TEDxConcordiaCollege planning committee, and athletics throughout my time at Concordia. I have also held an internship with Emerging Prairie and an internship with U.S. Senator John Hoeven in his Washington, D.C., office. In my senior year, I’m focusing on engaging in on-campus events while also focusing my time on my classes and my internship in Senator Hoeven’s Fargo office.
How do you balance academics with extracurriculars at the college level?
I have found that “balance” depends on the week; all my weeks look very different. Finding time to spend by myself is huge; it’s hard to pore into my academics and extracurriculars if I am not giving myself the space to reflect and relax. I enjoy starting my day early to immediately plan and tackle some of my daily tasks. Sundays are typically my day to plan out my week and prepare for the week ahead; when I find that time to prepare for the week early, I can balance more and be more present throughout the week. With all that being said, finding time for fun and friends is important! There’s a lot to balance in college, and life in general, but finding time to spend with friends and family is important.
How did you decide on your area of study?
Combining political science and business has allowed me to build upon my passions for people and governmental affairs. I have enjoyed the combination of these two paths of study and have seen issues discussed in both come to life through my internship with Senator Hoeven and my internship with Emerging Prairie.
Have you had a favorite professor or class and why?
I have been fortunate to have all great professors throughout my college experience, but the professor that I feel I have connected with the most is Dr. Leila Zakhirova. My favorite class was Russian Politics, taught by Dr. Zakhirova; I took this course during the spring semester of junior year. I took Russian Politics during the beginning stages of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, so learning and studying Russia and then talking about the crisis in Ukraine in real time made for an interesting and quick-paced way of learning.
How has faith played a role in your life?
I would never be where I am today without my relationship with God. My faith is the most important thing in my life. The world is fleeting, but the love of God is forever a stable force. In a world filled with so much instability, the consistency of God’s love keeps me going. I still remember journaling the night before my first day of college and writing a prayer that the Lord would help guide me as I embarked upon my college journey. I was so nervous that my faith would be shaken; however, the older I get, the more I see His hand in every experience, relationship, and part of my life. The stronger my faith becomes, the more beautiful the world around me becomes. My relationship with God doesn’t mean I don't go through difficult times, but it’s given me hope and peace through some of the most challenging points of my life and makes the best parts that much better.
Have you had a PEAK (Pivotal Experience in Applied Knowledge) opportunity and, if so, what did you learn?
My first PEAK experience was my internship with Emerging Prairie, a nonprofit organization centered around entrepreneurship and community building. I learned the power of connection and received a lot of great opportunities to help plan and execute events such as TEDxFargo and StartupBREW.
Please tell us about your internship in Washington.
I interned in the office of U.S. Senator John Hoeven (N.D.) this summer and it was the most incredible experience. I got the chance to engage with the senator’s team and attend different events and hearings on numerous issues. The work was exciting, quick-paced, and filled with many learning curves and experiences. It was a unique experience to see firsthand topics in some of my political science courses brought to life in conversations and happenings in D.C. I learned a lot about myself and got more clarity on my next steps after graduating.
What have you learned about yourself and what skills have you gained?
Moving halfway across the country, in and of itself, was a learning experience. I learned so many things about myself throughout this experience. I gained confidence in my ability to make and pursue a dream. I learned how to interact and communicate my ideas while also respecting and appreciating the ideas that others brought forth. I furthered my communicative skills and have a lot of clarity about what I want to pursue after college.
What was your favorite part about your internship experience?
My favorite part of my internship in D.C. was meeting and surrounding myself with goal-oriented individuals. I made terrific connections on and off the Hill and got a new perspective on many issues. I also enjoyed speaking with Senator Hoeven’s North Dakota constituents and helping them to gain clarity on specific issues.
What advice would you give to another student who is applying for a similar internship?
Just do it! Be bold and stay true to yourself. Though it’s important to have a circle of acquaintances that supports and pushes you, it’s equally as important, if not more, to be that person for yourself. Find something you’re passionate about and explore that area fully. College is the perfect time to take opportunities and pursue things that sometimes can scare you. Work hard, connect with people genuinely, and never be too afraid to take the leap of faith and pursue something you’re passionate about doing.
What has been your favorite memory so far at Concordia?
The best part about Concordia is all of the friends that I have met throughout my last three years. It’s been fun building those friendships and navigating college with them all. A memory that sticks out to me the most is my junior year homecoming; the weekend was so fun and memorable. I felt that things were beginning to return to normal, and it felt good to be able to attend the homecoming game and all the traditions that I fell in love with my first year returned after a year of multiple COVID restrictions.
What advice would you give to a student considering Concordia?
If you’re looking to build one-on-one relationships with your professors and want a school with a good balance between fun and academically driven, Concordia is for you. Though Concordia is a smaller campus, you get all the perks of being a part of a close-knit community and being surrounded by two larger universities, MSUM and NDSU. The F-M area is a great place to be a young person; it’s filled with numerous opportunities and people who want to see you prosper. The genuine care for their students drew me to Concordia when I toured as a senior in high school and, to this day, that care has never ceased.
What are your career goals?
I am currently planning to take a gap year before attending law school. I have a few different ideas of what I want to pursue professionally. Still, I am very much in the stage of life where I am experimenting with different interests and seeing the best professional fit for me.
How has your Concordia experience prepared you for life after college?
Concordia has taught me to stand for what I believe in. Concordia has challenged me through extracurriculars and academics, helping me become a better advocate for my beliefs while conversing with others about their beliefs and viewpoints. Concordia is a community-focused campus and has opportunities that stretch across multiple interests. There is value in everyone’s interests and Concordia has taught me to appreciate the input of others on a deeper level.
Published October 2022