Adrienne Tryan faced many challenges on her path to success, including a major health scare. But the Arches, Minn., native was determined to earn her bachelor’s degree and continue toward her goal of becoming a physical therapist.

“Ironically, while studying brain pathophysiology in the summer of 2016, I was diagnosed with a vestibular schwannoma, a non-cancerous tumor on my eighth cranial nerve,” said Tryan.

Despite having severe balance issues, vision problems, and deafness on the right side, on top of other symptoms, she did not let the tumor stop her. Tryan found rides to school, developed creative ways to study, and managed to maintain her grades. After the semester, she shifted her focus to self-care.

“I had brain surgery to have the tumor removed, and I took the fall of 2016 off to recover,” said Tryan.

Upon returning to campus, Tryan began working with the Winona Survivors Unite in Exercise practicum, a program that pairs cancer survivors with Movement Science students.

“Academically, I love the coursework and opportunities offered to the Movement Science major,” explains Tryan. “One such opportunity is the Winona Survivors Unite in Exercise practicum. Students meet with their clients, assess the client’s physical needs, create an exercise prescription, and then exercise with the client twice per week.”

She adds, “This practicum is a win-win. The clients benefit from the exercise as well as the social support, and the students learn how to interact professionally with a client.”

After graduation, Tryan will start working toward her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She was one of only 45 doctoral students selected out of about 600 applicants.

“Have confidence in yourself and use it to succeed in your future,” she said. “Make real connections with people and appreciate those around you. Pay attention to the little things and allow yourself to enjoy life. Spend time outside and find exercise that you enjoy.”

WSU Spring Commencement Ceremonies will take place Friday, May 4, in McCown Gymnasium on the Winona campus. The 9 a.m. ceremony will feature the College of Business and College of Science and Engineering. The 12:30 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts. The 4 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

For more information, visit or call University Communications at 507-457-5024.