A Saint Paul resident has been named a Fall 2019 Outstanding Student at Metropolitan State University. Mariah Wilberg, who graduated with a Master of Public Administration (MPA), was chosen as an outstanding student in the university’s College of Community Studies and Public Affairs. She was one of 1,308 students receiving bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees at Metropolitan State’s 105th Commencement exercises on Dec. 14, 2019, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
She was also one of the selected student speakers, and delivered a stirring speech which can be found at https://youtu.be/gcDuDOiuI8U?t=9417.
“It’s a big sacrifice to further your education—but so worth it,” Wilberg said. “I love learning with other students that have diverse educational, professional and life experiences.”
Wilberg earned a Bachelor of Arts in individualized studies from Metropolitan State in 2017 after graduating with a homeschool degree in 2003. She is currently employed as a Statewide HIV Strategy and Services Coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. In 2019, Wilberg was invited to serve as Plenary Speaker at the United States Conference on AIDS, honored in the inaugural 40 Under 40 in Public Health by the de Beaumont Foundation and received both the Esther J. Tomljanovich Award and a Minnesota Department of Health Star Honors Award for Positive Impact.
Active within the community, Wilberg sits on the Ramsey County Corrections Advisory Board, serves on the Leadership Circle of the Minnesota Prison Doula Project and helped create a motivational speaking program at the Ramsey County Correctional Facility in Shakopee. In the past, she has participated in an interview for the Safe Harbor for All strategic planning process in Minnesota and has had her work published by Medscape.
“Mariah is smart, dedicated and motivated to be a positive voice,” said one of Wilberg’s nominators, Crystal Fashant. “Her capstone project is a large undertaking whereby she is creating national standards around HIV/AIDS education so that they are based on the most current science, and this will be disseminated widely via the Minnesota Department of Health.”
Wilberg currently lives in Saint Paul with her husband and pets and prefers to spend her spare time reading, writing, traveling and beating her husband at Mario Kart. She is considering pursuing a PhD.