SENIOR SUCCESS: Ready to Take On the World
| by Carol Best firstname.lastname@example.org
Four seniors relate their MNU experience and future plans.
Breanna Barney (’19)
Middle School Math Education - Math teacher at Northside Community School.
Summa Cum Laude; Phi Delta Lambda Honor Society; Student Athlete-Track & Field
Breanna Barney grew up in Olathe and lives near campus. Growing up in a Christian home, the university environment is what she expected – a great school, centered on Christian living.
She loves the small campus and the one-on-one relationships it allows her to build with professors.
Breanna’s goal is to teach math to young people. She’s been challenged and “pushed along” by her professors. Dr. Mark Brown, professor of mathematics, has been particularly inspiring.
“Just seeing how he works with people, how he conducts his classes, and how he gets along with his students is inspiring to me,” she says. “It is nice having good Christian role models.”
Breanna chose her major because teaching is her passion.
“I have a big heart for the youth, especially for middle school,” she says. “I like math, but more importantly, I like how young students view math. It is not an easy thing to teach middle schoolers, but I love seeing them learn and grow.”
She believes the purpose of teaching is to make lifelong learners.
“Teaching and coaching are very important to me because you’re raising the next generation and encouraging them to have an even greater impact on society,” she says. “That’s what I want to do, impact them because I know they will do great things.”
Malique Taylor (’19)
Psychology - Accepted to Graduate School.
Malique Taylor was recruited to play defensive back in football at MNU from San Diego, California. He says MNU is his home away from home because of the people he has met here—friends and professors alike. He also thinks Kansas is very friendly compared to California.
Being on the football team at MNU has taught Malique important life skills and provided the opportunity to serve others. Majoring in psychology has opened his eyes to some of the reasons behind human behavior.
“One thing I have discovered recently is there are many reasons for a person’s behavior at our age and because of that, wanting to learn more about different people has become more intriguing to me than before,” he says.
Malique interned with KidsTLC, an Olathe organization that fulfills the need for emergency shelter for abused and neglected children.
“The kids that I work with have traumatic pasts and behavioral issues, and I’m able to come alongside them and help guide them in the right direction,” he says. “It’s very rewarding.”
Malique plans to pursue his Master of Arts in Counseling at MNU this fall. He credits his undergraduate professors for helping him realize his passion for working with children.
“If I’m able to help provide them with a healthy and positive way of thinking early on in life, then I think that’s an investment worth making,” he says.
Shaterra Strong (’19)
Kinesiology - Applying to exercise science graduate programs.
Shaterra Strong says she chose MNU in part for its size, and she enjoys the welcoming environment on campus. The California native delights in how open students and faculty are and in learning how everyone is different.
Passionate about fitness and health, Shaterra wants to help people be more active and live a better lifestyle.
“I would love to host health and fitness events in the future to get people moving and embracing their health,” she says.
Being involved in cheerleading along with encouragement from family and friends helped her persevere in college.
“They really inspire me to keep going and they support me in everything I do,” she says.
Microbiology with Dr. Rion Taylor was one of her favorite classes. She especially enjoyed learning about and testing for bacteria.
Her goal in life is not only to be successful and enjoy her work but to help others along the way.
“It is important to not only better myself as a person, but also help to better others,” she says. “If I could give advice to a younger version of myself, I would say, ‘Just follow your gut, whatever comes to your heart, you follow it no matter what.’”
Carlos Guzman (’19)
Biology - Accepted at KU Med School. Summa Cum Laude; Phi Delta Lambda Honor Society; MNU Honors Program; Student Athlete-Track & Field, Cross Country
Carlos Guzman transferred to MNU after a rather unhappy semester at another university.
“I just felt very alone and kind of lost,” he says. “I reached out to MNU because I wanted to be in a smaller community, and I felt empty not playing sports.”
Coaches at MNU welcomed Carlos “with open arms.” He’s spent his Pioneer college career as a student-athlete on both the Track & Field and Cross-Country squads.
“MNU gave me the best of both worlds with an amazing college academic and athletic experience as well as opportunities to be close to my family and see them grow,” says the Overland Park, Kansas, resident. “I discovered that sometimes you have to take a step back from everything and take life into perspective.”
Carlos has exciting plans. In fact, he was just accepted into medical school at the University of Kansas.
Inspired by his late grandfather who was a psychiatrist, Carlos chose medicine because he felt called to help people heal. He is anxious to explore medicine from pediatrics to geriatrics to see where he might fit in best and he feels well prepared with his MNU education.
“I learned how to balance the rigors of academics and athletics, my relationships, and my faith,” Carlos says. “Most importantly, I learned—and continue to discover—how to find God in everything I do.”
Special thanks to students Dywon Byrd, Alesia Jackson and AJ Stephens who contributed to this feature. Want to read about more MNU students? Visit Neer News on Instagram.