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Ru Xue selected College of Individualized Studies Outstanding Student

Posted August 13, 2020

A Woodbury resident has been selected a Spring 2020 semester Outstanding Student at Metropolitan State University.

Ru Xue graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree focusing on health and environmental science and was chosen Outstanding Student in the university’s College of Individualized Studies. Metropolitan State’s 106th Commencement will take place as a virtual graduation exercise on Aug. 15. With spring and summer 2020 semesters together, Metropolitan State is conferring 791 bachelors, 80 masters, and 17 doctoral degrees. Since 1971, Metropolitan State University has conferred 46,003 bachelor’s degrees, 4,158 master’s degrees and 105 doctoral degrees.

“Metropolitan State provided the most suitable program for me,” Xue says. She had already completed a three-year educational program that did not offer a degree. “I wanted to complete my bachelor's degree in education without repeating the courses I already had. The College of Individualized Studies at Metropolitan State University perfectly fits my education situation.”

The College of Individualized Studies holds the key to the original mission of Metropolitan State University and enables students to self-design multidisciplinary, well-balanced liberal arts degrees. The CIS entrusts students to explore the meaning of their education. Through that exploration students design individualized plans which reflect and fit their personal, educational, and career needs and incorporate past formal college-level learning and learning achieved outside the classroom. In fall 2020, the CIS will also begin to offer a Master of Individualized Studies degree.

As a non-native speaker of English, Xue also worried about her ability to complete the coursework and required readings and discussion responses. Academic advisors and support programs at Metropolitan State provide opportunities for many students who can choose the best academic fit according to their experience or background.

“Most classes require reading lots of materials and writing responses. I have to spend much more time than other students to complete the assignment. I know if I am not working hard enough, I will never have a chance to realize my dream.  The Center for Academic Excellence at Metropolitan State University gave me tremendous help.  I learned lots of writing techniques and critical thinking skills from there,” Xue says. “Instructors, faculties, and staff encouraged me and built my confidence. They prepared the curriculum and ensured the students understood the concepts. Students developed independent critical thinking and analysis capabilities. To have this kind of ability is most important to me.”

Xue is employed by Pace Analytical Life Sciences in Oakdale, where she is responsible for performing and developing methods of pharmaceutical products and devices. With her new degree, she will continue to seek professional growth and prepare for new opportunities. Xue immigrated from Suzhou, China in 1989. She and her husband, Jerry Zhou, live in Saint Paul with their two children, Minna and Shannon.


Each fall and spring semester, colleges at Metropolitan State nominate students for the Outstanding Student and Outstanding Graduate Student awards. Nominees are evaluated on the basis of their academic performance in their degree program, as well as achievements in their community and professional contributions. All finalists are recognized in the commencement program, outstanding students receive special recognition during commencement, and are eligible to speak at commencement.

Metropolitan State University, a member of Minnesota State, is the Twin Cities’ public, urban, comprehensive state university providing lifelong learning and competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels.