Written by Stephanie Keydel, career services coordinator
Recent graduate Nate Weishalla was chosen as MSB-Elk River’s Winter 2014 Graduate of the Quarter. He was chosen by staff and faculty based on his involvement in DECA, as a tutor, and in the local community. His dedication to helping others in and out of the classroom was noted as one of his biggest strengths as a student at Minnesota School of Business.
Nate started his education at Anoka Ramsey Community College, hoping to complete his general education requirements before transferring to University ofMinnesota for an environmental science degree. After already investing several semesters’ worth of time and energy into completing those courses, Nate realized the dots were not connecting for him. “I would go into class and just be a number,” he says.
While Nate was contemplating the next step in his educational journey, MSB Elk River had finished construction and opened its doors in Nate’s home town of Elk River. Nate couldn’t ignore the allure of a brand new campus so close to home, and soon afterward he met with Admissions Representative Kate Samuelson. Nate declares that he knew immediately after touring campus that he was meant to attend MSB, and that it would be the right fit for him.
He spent the next four years working to complete his bachelor’s in business administration with an emphasis in marketing, and says it was one of the best decisions he has ever made. “If I had to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t choose any place else,” he happily says of his decision to attend MSB.
When asked what made his MSB education worthwhile, he immediately cites the small class sizes, supportive and welcoming atmosphere, and the dedication of the staff and faculty.
“Brian Stewart pushed me so hard,” Nate explains, and says he would sometimes become overwhelmed at the high standards Brian, program chair of the business and accounting programs, imposed on his students. Nate continues, “But then at the end, I knew why he did it. I appreciated it.” Nate said he feels as though Brian’s continuous push for improvement led Nate to learn more and strengthened his ability to apply the concepts Brian taught him in a real-world setting.
Nate also named Michael Zdychnec, health care management program chair, as an exemplary teacher. “He had a certain way of simplifying difficult concepts to teach them to a diverse [student population].” Weishalla credits Zdychnec’s expertise at differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all learners as critical in helping him understand the theories behind some difficult algorithms.
Knowledgeable instructors are not the only people Nate praised when asked about his time here. He has several fond memories of all the staff that put together Student Appreciation Events, such as turkey bowling and Wii tournaments. He says the helpful friendly atmosphere encouraged him to get involved with student club DECA, and made him want to further propagate the warmth of the campus; Nate could often be seen helping new students find their classrooms or figure out assignments.
During our conversation, Nate also opened up about a particularly rough time in his life; he lost his brother last year after a painful struggle with addiction. He said he couldn’t concentrate on school, and soon landed on academic probation. Part of the probation process was meeting every week with Dean of Students Meghan Paulson. Nate remembers how supportive Meghan was, and notes how he needed to know there was somebody that would keep him accountable for his education. He believes he would not have received that level of attention at a larger school, and credits Meghan with helping him get back on track to success.
After all the hurdles, Nate has jumped through to complete his degree, he is very excited to have that accomplishment under his belt now. He is looking forward to the next stages of his life; getting married in June is next on the list. When not helping to finalize wedding details, Nate is actively looking for a job in the nonprofit sector, specifically in the area of fundraising. “I love people, and I want to help contribute to something important,” he says. He is utilizing his MSB lifetime career assistance by keeping in touch with career services on campus while they work together on his job search process.
Eventually, Nate says he would love to start his own nonprofit to help provide resources for families struggling with addiction issues. He reveals how hard it can be on the entire family when one member is dealing with addiction, and states, “If I could save one life, it would be worth it”.