For Mariah Mrotek, Winona State University was a place to explore new opportunities and find her voice.

“I was able to put myself out there and take chances that put me into positions of leadership. The influential people I met along the way have encouraged me to never settle and always say yes to new opportunities,” Mrotek said.

Mrotek, of Racine, Minn., will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication Advertising and a minor in English: Applied and Professional Writing. She was selected by the Student Senate to be one of three student speakers during the Spring 2017 Commencement exercises.

“WSU has helped me to achieve my goals by presenting me endless opportunities to grow in my career,” said Mrotek. “I have gained valuable leadership and teamwork skills that have helped me in achieving personal goals.”

During her time at WSU, Mrotek served as president of AdFed, president and treasurer of Her Campus, a photographer for the Wellzine magazine, and was a member of Chi Alpha ministry. Mrotek even found time to be the Social Media Content Manager and Lead Web Communication Assistant in WSU’s Web Communications Office.

“Nothing is ever going to just come to you. You must work for what you want and rewards will find you,” Mrotek said.

Mrotek is also proud to be a first-generation student—the first in her family to graduate with a four-year degree.

“I enjoy making my family proud and being a role model for my younger sister as she soon begins her career journey,” she added.

As Mrotek graduates from WSU, she plans to continue being inspired and inspire others.

“I have met some amazing people along my journey here at WSU who have guided me to success,” said Mrotek. “I am truly grateful for my time spent as WSU and intend to keep those memories close to my heart.”

WSU Spring Commencement Ceremonies will be at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Friday, May 5, in McCown Gymnasium. The 9 a.m. ceremony will feature the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts. The 12:30 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Business and the College of Science and Engineering. The 4 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. For more information on commencement, visit http://www.winona.edu/graduation/commencement.asp.

For more information, contact University Communications at 507-457-5024.

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Brian Waldbillig

Brian is a Public Relations major and Communication Studies minor from Farmington, MN. His hobbies include photography, hiking and going to concerts.