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Alaskan Students Call MNU Home

From Glaciers to Wheat fields

June 19, 2013

At MNU, we’re a family made up of people from throughout the United States and abroad. But what draws students to come to MNU from far-away places--say, Alaska? Madison Collins (’13), Amelia Collins, Marjie DuPea, Josh Heer, and Garrick Sargento are five Alaska natives who did just that. The five friends, who grew up together in church and Nazarene district events, say the long journey has been worth every mile. 

When sisters Madison and Amelia Collins of Eagle River, Alaska, began touring colleges, they looked for a place with just the right balance of a supportive community and opportunities for adventure. And once they toured MNU, they found it.

Madison, who double majored in corporate communication and sociology, says that even beyond friendly faces and a change of scenery, MNU offered her an all-around unforgettable college experience.

“I was looking for an education that would allow me to experience all of the fun college has to offer, such as dorm life, sporting events, a campus community, opportunities to grow intellectually, and support for my faith, which is what MNU provides,” Madison says. “I really felt that this is where God wanted me.”

Now that she’s graduated, Madison says she gained more than a diploma from MNU.

“What I value most from my MNU experience is the friendships and relationships I've been able to build,” Madison says.

Amelia, who will graduate next year, adds that the opportunities she’s had at MNU have formed her not only a student, but as an individual.

“I have taken advantage of the programs offered and will have completed two semesters off-campus by the time I graduate--those experiences are invaluable,” Amelia says.

Junior ministry major and Anchorage native Josh Heer was familiar with MNU because his parents, Andy ('91) and Stephanie (Friesen ’91), are Pioneers. As soon as Josh visited the MNU campus, he knew he was home.

“I’ve come to love MNU, and I would definitely recruit others to come,” Josh says.

In a way, he already has. Josh laughs about “pushing” his friend Garrick Sargento to attend MNU. Now, as a sophomore athletic training major, Garrick says MNU is shaping him both academically and spiritually.

“The environment here at MNU is what I like the most,” Garrick says. “There are so many people here who have helped me grow in my faith.”

Senior nursing major Marjie DuPea agrees that the community at MNU has changed her life.

“My MNU experience thus far has been great,” Marjie says. “I’ve really opened up to make new friends, and I’ve been blessed by the people here.”

As these five Alaskan friends make plans for their futures at MNU and beyond, they plan to continue living out the pioneering spirit first drew them here.

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