In recognition of her work on behalf of her community and college students both at M State and statewide, Amanda Schermerhorn has been honored as Student Leader of the Year by the student advocacy group LeadMN.

Schermerhorn, of Detroit Lakes, is a second-year student in the Political Science Transfer Pathway on M State’s Detroit Lakes campus, where she serves this year as vice president of the Student Government Association.

“Being involved with student leadership gives you a chance to help out in your community and beyond,” Schermerhorn said. “You also get the opportunity to be the voice of your fellow students, meet fellow students and share stories, all while learning valuable leadership skills in a positive environment.”

Schermerhorn helped facilitate a LeadMN flu shot clinic on the Detroit Lakes campus last fall, and she has gone on to serve as a legislative advocacy intern with the organization. She has testified in the Legislature at House and Senate committees, advocating for mental health awareness, basic needs and college affordability.

“As an adult learner, going back to school with students half your age can be intimidating,” she said. “My oldest children are 14 and will be freshmen in high school in the fall. By getting involved in SGA and organizations like LeadMN, you are opening up doors to other opportunities you may not have been aware of.”

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At M State, Schermerhorn is the student representative on the President’s Committee on Equity and Inclusion and has joined the student honor society PTK. She has participated in a Minnesota Department of Higher Education panel discussion focused on adult learners in higher education, and she is a federal legislative advocacy student fellow with the National College Attainment Network, helping to advocate for college attainment on the federal level.

“I am incredibly proud that Amanda Schermerhorn has been named LeadMN’s student of the year,” said M State President Carrie Brimhall. “Amanda is passionate about student involvement and has a drive to make change within our communities. She is very deserving of this award.”

Following her M State graduation this spring, Schermerhorn plans to attend Minnesota State University Moorhead and earn bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice, with a minor in Pre-Law, and to ultimately attend law school and work as an attorney in the fields of civil rights and social justice.

“I have always had a desire to speak up on behalf of those who may not be able to speak for themselves,” she said.

LeadMN’s criteria for Student Leader of the Year states that they should be someone “who has excelled both academically, in the association and in their community. This individual should be someone who has risen above all other students both in their actions and their attitude to bring their campus, the association and the community together, as well as given back to each of these communities.

Detroit Lakes student recognized by MN Connections Academy

Detroit Lakes student Jolee Wass was recently named one of Minnesota Connections Academy’s (MNCA) Students of the Month in recognition of her outstanding achievements and leadership in the virtual classroom.

Wass, a sophomore at the public online school, was nominated by her teacher, Ms. Weiss, in recognition of her hard work and desire to be an active participant in the classroom. As a Student of the Month, she will receive a certificate of achievement and be profiled in the Minnesota Connections Academy student newsletter and the school’s social media platforms.

“Our students of the month demonstrate leadership and an extraordinary commitment to learning while serving as strong role models for their peers,” said Melissa Gould, Minnesota Connections Academy principal. “The members of our faculty and staff are proud to give these virtual classroom leaders the recognition they deserve.”

Wass came to Minnesota Connections Academy this year in search of a more individualized learning environment. According to her father, Gary, it took a few weeks to get used to working in the virtual classroom and getting their schedule settled. Overall, the transition went smooth.

“Everyone has been very helpful. The teachers have been available and responded quickly to any questions we had,” Gary said. “Jolee likes the ability to work at her own pace and to determine her own schedule.”

Area students named to BSU dean's list

Several local students have been placed on Bemidji State University's dean's list for academic achievement during fall semester 2020.

Among those honored were:

  • Nicole Alexander, Detroit Lakes
  • Kayla Gordon, Detroit Lakes
  • James Huwe, Frazee

  • Sonja Kolnes, Detroit Lakes
  • Trevor Loberg, Lake Park

  • Jacob McArthur, Waubun

  • Aaron Schnathorst, Detroit Lakes

To be eligible for the dean's list, BSU students must be enrolled for at least 12 credits and earn a minimum grade point average of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) during the semester.