MSU President's Newspaper Column

February 4, 2023 

Why we do what we do

For about 134 years, students have enjoyed first-class experiences at Mayville State. What makes the Mayville State Experience special? It’s the faculty and staff who take a genuine interest in the success of their students, and in the case of our coaches, it’s the student-athletes. Without a doubt, our people set us apart. When we say we care, we really mean it.

In just the last short while, we’ve seen so many examples that point to the fact that our faculty and staff mentors are helping outstanding students to become the best they can be and live their lives to the fullest.

Mayville State student researcher Brooke Roeges and faculty research mentor Dr. Michael Kjelland were in Hawaii in December to present the findings of their Mayville State research team. They took part in a highly regarded conference focused on breakthroughs in cancer research. In their poster presentation, they demonstrated the findings of their Mayville State team which has studied the effects of wheat bran compounds in pancreatic cancer intervention.

In addition to Roeges and Kjelland, members of the research team who have done this work are recent Mayville State graduates Hayle Boechler, Taylor Stegman, and Sean Pollack, along with faculty member Dr. Khwaja Hussain.

Dr. Hussain has led other research projects at Mayville State, including several projects in which he and his student researchers have studied ways to make use of wheat bran, a by-product of the wheat processing process. The bran is essentially waste, so finding ways to use it is a value-added component to the wheat farming industry, as well as a help to areas in which it can be used, including to strengthen plastics.

I have just learned that Kaitlin Ensign, a student researcher who works with Mayville State’s Dr. Tom Gonnella in his research lab, won an award at a conference competition held this past weekend. We’ll be learning and sharing more details of this exciting news soon, but we do know she has received a travel award that will be applied toward her expenses related to attending a regional chemistry conference in St. Louis in October.

Carly (Boe) Flanders graduated from Mayville State with a degree in English Education in December of 2022. While she was completing her student teaching experience in Minto (N.D.) Public School during the fall semester, she wrote for a grant to help improve access to technology for students. We’ve just learned that Carly won the $10,000 grant award for her school and will get to put it to good use in new technology classes at Minto, since she is now employed there full-time as a middle school English and technology teacher. This is a great example of how Mayville State is impacting the workforce in North Dakota by providing excellent teachers who are making an impact on their students.

I could not be more Comet Proud of these students, recent graduates, and their faculty and staff mentors, and so many others who are having and playing a role in impressive experiences at Mayville State University.

We know that the legacy of shining stars at Mayville State University is bright for the future.

Daniel Suda, a senior at Sacred Heart High School in East Grand Forks, Minn. will be joining us at Mayville State next fall. Daniel played football and he wrestles. He also plays trombone in the band and sings in the choir. Daniel drives 50 miles every day from his home in Halstad, Minn. to attend school.

He recently took first place among seniors in an essay contest sponsored by Knights of Columbus Christ the King Council 5341. The topic presented to student writers was what young Christians can do to encourage family members and friends to return to their faith after they’ve fallen away.

Daniel obviously took the assignment seriously and put a lot of thought into identifying some solutions to the problem. Along with many others, I was impressed with his insight and positive outlook. I very much look forward to meeting Daniel when he joins the Mayville State family next fall.


Day in and day out, we all take the good with the bad, and so often it is the achievements of others that are a driving force in our desire to make the world a better place. By lifting others up, we make ourselves better too … and this is why we do what we do.