MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

May 26, 2018

Durant’s Mayville State experiences gave her a firm foundation on which to further her education and pursue her goal for a career in ecology

Mayville State has a history of providing a wonderful basis of pedagogy and experiences that set graduates of science programs on a path to success and fulfillment. Many further their education and enjoy satisfying careers as doctors not only in the medical field, but also as holders of Ph.D.s who are researchers and teachers in advanced capacities. The experiences gained at Mayville State open doors for exciting opportunities for these graduates.

Cheyenne Durant, whose hometown is Ada, Okla., graduated from Mayville State University in May of 2017. She earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in biology and a minor in sociology. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in natural resource management at North Dakota State University. She also works as a research assistant for studies focused on restoring wetlands and controlling invasive plant species.

In her major at Mayville State, Cheyenne’s coursework involved biological sciences and human-related issues. In most of her major courses, she and her classmates studied how cells grow and function to support living organisms, how genes and molecular biology influence cellular function, and how gene expression changes to environmental stressors, and thus promotes adaptations and evolution of organisms. With her future goals in mind, this partnered well with what she studied in her sociology minor, which focused on human psychology, laws, and how society conducts itself based on its history, culture, and politics.

As a Mayville State student of Dr. Khwaja Hossain, professor of biology, she also worked as a research assistant in his lab. She is grateful for the role he has played in her success.

“He not only taught me about genetics and cell and molecular biology, but he also gave me vital experience working in the lab as a research assistant. His mentoring provided me with the knowledge to design and conduct experiments, write findings in reports and on posters, and present those finding to professors and peers. Dr. Hossain went above and beyond and assisted me in beginning my journey through graduate school and got me connected to those in the science field. He, along with Mayville State faculty members Dr. Aaron Kingsbury and Lona Smith, provided me with opportunities to attend conferences in the United States and to have international learning experiences as well, in Canada and Japan. I can’t thank them enough for their guidance.”

Working as a research assistant at Mayville State gave Cheyenne experience in working with a team, managing a laboratory, and organizing and leading experiments, all experiences vital for her as she works toward her goal to work as an ecologist.

After completing her master’s degree, Durant plans to pursue a career in wetland restoration, ecology, or wildlife biology, or with the Department of Natural Resources.

We are proud of Cheyenne and all of our graduates who are making a positive difference in the world. We look forward to hearing about all of the good things we know are in her future. Likewise, we commend our faculty and staff who go above and beyond to ensure that our students get the best possible education and help light the fire for future success.