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Preparation and Transformation: MNU Made a Difference

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by Carol Best
Apa Visinia a 2023 MNU graduate.
Apa Visinia, a 2023 graduate, poses by the Cunningham Center brick that serves as a reminder of God's grace. Apa proudly wears the Samoan ula fala necklace reserved for momentous occasions and representing his family heritage.

Apa Visinia just graduated after preparing for a career helping others. Apa actually never thought he would complete college. After attempts at two public universities he took a break and honestly thought he’d never go back. Now having completed his bachelor’s degree with a major in Kinesiology he has achieved a dream while making his parents and two older sisters proud.

After high school, a football scholarship took Apa to the University of Kansas. Eighteen months later he left feeling defeated. Difficulty in school and mental stress took their toll.

“I was young, and I didn’t realize there were resources readily available to help,” he says.

The Christian influence at home was strong and though he floundered and felt sorry for himself for a time, he had important support. Eventually, he found work and thought he would just make his way.

“Once I started to move on and got a job, and with the support of family I started getting better,” Apa says.

A few years later, an assistant coach at MNU who had been Apa’s teammate at KU, encouraged Apa to try out for football at MNU.

“I thought, ‘maybe I should see if I can weather the storm this time,’” Apa remembers.

Enrolling at MNU in 2021, he played the position of offensive lineman for the Pioneers while taking coursework in education.

Initially, Apa thought he would like to teach high school history but as his interests and opportunities expanded, he changed his major to focus on health and exercise science. Professors like Brad King, Chris Crawford and Leigh Kreshel have been integral in his progress. He even left football to focus on his studies but says he is grateful for that experience too.

“That’s the strength of MNU,” Apa says. “You don’t get that intimate relationship with profs and advisors at the bigger schools I have been to. I told Prof King, ‘I owe you a ton.’ He said ‘No you don’t! You did all the work.’ I’m just so appreciative of him. Of all of them.”

With a degree in Kinesiology, Apa plans to work in the health and wellness industry and capitalize on his desire to influence others. He’s starting out with a job offer at a Kansas City area high school where he hopes to combine education and coaching.

When he talks about the impact of MNU on his life, Apa wants others to know that education has practically “been a savior” in his life. And for others, Apa Visinia hopes to be a difference maker like the professors who have been there for him.

Do you have an MNU difference-maker story? Share it with us at accent@mnu.edu