SAINT PAUL, Minnesota—A Saint Paul resident was selected a spring semester Outstanding Student at Metropolitan State University.
Cynthia Yoder, graduated summa cum laude with two bachelor’s degrees in biology and environmental science, was chosen outstanding graduate student in the university’s College of Science. She was one of 1,058 students receiving bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees at Metropolitan State’s 102nd commencement exercises on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Her initial goal at Metropolitan State was nothing more than to earn average grade marks, “C’s get degrees. I really just wanted to get my degree and find any job that would pay the bills, Yoder said. But after getting her start, she decided to strive more in academics.
“Once here, and after meeting teachers who became my mentors, I found that I wanted more than the bare minimum, my goal then became to do well, and push myself, and find a job that I would like to go to each day,” Yoder says.
Her most challenging experience as she worked towards her degree was to balance school, work, family, and friends. “My own spouse doesn’t get to see me as often as she’d like, but understands how much time and effort schooling takes. Her support has been what’s helped me to overcome every challenge I’ve faced,” she said.
Yoder is from Akron, Ohio, and graduated from Kenmore High School there in 2010. She lives in Saint Paul with her wife, Adrian, their two roommates, and their two cats, tarantula, and darkling beetle colony. She enjoys writing as a hobby and especially horror, fantasy and science fiction. She also likes to hunt, prepare, and collect fossils, mostly from the formations of Chadron and Hell Creek, from ranchland in South Dakota.
Yoder is currently tutors science for the Center of Academic Excellence at Metropolitan State. After graduating, she hopes to find similar jobs as a science tutor, work in a laboratory settings, or as a researcher, and is considering graduate school options. Her primary reasons for choosing Metropolitan are cost, location, and size. Yoder had previously attended a larger college as a PSEO student, but enrolled in Minneapolis Community and Technical College when she moved to Minnesota. She liked and wanted to stay with smaller classes that had more instructor interaction and a community-based learning environment.
Yoder praises Metropolitan State professors and in particular, Dr. Cynthia Harley, who she says was a great mentor who helped her toward graduating and helping decide her career path.
“The entire biology department is amazing, and without them I don’t think I’d have gotten this far, or done so well,” Yoder says.
Of her student, Dr. Harley, an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Sciences, says, “Cynthia represents the best of us. She stands out as a scholar in her classes and tutors others. While taking 18 credits this semester, including research in two labs and a graduate-level course, she still finds time for helping others. She has given so much to Metropolitan State and I view this award as a ‘thank you, for all of that.’”