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Meet commencement speaker Nathan Kurtti

Published December 2016


Hazen, North Dakota 


English education


·      Tutor for the NDSU Center for Writers, ACE Tutoring and the Red River Valley Writing Project

·      Volunteer at the Wellness and Empowerment Center, working closely with students and New Americans to help them improve their communication skills

Academic Honor Society

Member of the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society for English and English education majors

What is your message for the graduates?

My message is that anyone can be a positive role model, if they are willing to put in the effort and have the motivation to help others. No matter who you are, if you put in goodness, you will get goodness out. You get back what you give, and that’s essential to positive role modeling.

Why do you volunteer and mentor?

I do what I do because I noticed I have a positive effect on others. From helping others, I realize that, no matter the size of what I’m doing, I can have a lasting impact.

How has NDSU prepared you for your career?

It pushed me to go outside my comfort zone. It gave me a chance to always look to improve, and NDSU taught me to never lose what I want most in life – whether it’s pursuing my degree or having a positive impact on the community.

What was your favorite event or activity as a student?

Some of the best moments for me are going out with the people I met at NDSU and having that bonding experience – that promotes our student culture.

Describe the student experience at NDSU.

NDSU has a sense of community, not only in class but at events like Bison games, music and theater or honor society events. People really care about getting to know one another and hearing each other’s stories.

In 2015, you went back to your hometown to direct a local theater production of “Oliver!” What did you gain from that experience?

It was the 10th anniversary of Sakakawea South Shore Community Theater and people were struggling to find a director. Seven years ago, my mother convinced me to try out for theater in high school and it was the best thing I ever did.

Directing helped me grow as a person, and putting on a show during the summer helps bring a community together. It gave people of all ages a chance to showcase their talent, so it meant a lot to me.

What are your career goals?

In January, I’ll start teaching at the high school in Beulah, North Dakota. Eventually, I’d like to go to graduate school and hopefully earn my master’s degree in either education or English. I’m not sure when, but sometime in the future I’d also like to teach abroad. I’ve also had the thought of possibly running for public office.

Why did you choose NDSU?

My uncle went to NDSU for pharmacy and my family are huge Bison fans. I have a lot of family here in Fargo. So, not only is NDSU a great university, I get to be around my family.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-1068 - Fax: (701) 231-1989
Campus address: Old Main 204
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Last Updated: Monday, December 12, 2016 5:07:05 PM
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