Inspiring Graduate Grace Minder, B.S. Applied Social Science

'This time has given me the confidence to go out into the world and do my part in making my community a better place to be.'
May 30, 2023

Inspiring Graduate: Grace Minder (’23)

  • Hometown: St. Paul
  • Degree: Applied Social Science, concentration in Anthropology and Sociology
  • Minor: Sustainability

Grace Minder landed a career before graduation as a mental health practitioner in the Twin Cities. She’s joining the team at People Inc., the largest mental health nonprofit in Minnesota.

“They offer mental health care to people in prisons, homeless people, at-risk youth, as well as those in the deaf community and many other populations,” said Minder, who completed undergraduate research about students with learning disabilities.

“I came to Stout as a student that did not have a clear sense of direction. All I knew is that I wanted to help people,” she added.

Minder earned her B.S. in applied social science from UW-Stout on May 6, along with 1,173 graduates.

Grace Minder, 1
Inspiring Graduate Grace Minder with Chancellor Katherine Frank at commencement / UW-Stout

How have your UW-Stout education and experience changed you?

School was really hard for me, and I battled with my mental health for two years. I ended up taking a year off school, and I didn't know if I would ever come back.

During my time off, I grew a lot as a person. But I missed the classroom. I met with Professor Arthur Kneeland and he got me in contact with Tina Lee, program director of applied social science. I knew I found the major for me.

Coming back to school in the APSS major was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I am now a motivated, involved and creative student. I have found confidence in myself by finding my calling. I have formed incredible relationships with my peers and professors that helped me connect on a deeper level with my education.

Applied Social Science spring 2023 grads
Spring 2023 applied social science graduates / UW-Stout

How has UW-Stout prepared you to work in your field?

Stout absolutely prepared me for my career. My major did an amazing job of educating me on so many of the important aspects of our society and how they are all connected. I was able to envision a career for myself working with a nonprofit.

I have been given the tools to understand the issues in our world and have grace for people in a way I couldn't imagine before.

What stands out about your UW-Stout experience?

What stands out most about my college experience would have to be my professors who have supported me since day one. Tina Lee, my adviser and mentor, saw a potential in me that I couldn't even imagine seeing in myself. She was so persistent in telling me that I could achieve big things and accomplish anything that I slowly started to believe her. There is a sociological theory called labeling theory. The idea is that people become what the world sees of them. In this situation, I became what she saw in me.

Grace Minder, 2
Grace Minder and Program Director Tina Lee / Grace Minder

How did you overcome the challenges you faced in earning your degree?

I have always seen myself as a below-average student. It wasn't for a lack of caring; it was just that school was hard for me. I learn in unique ways, and the traditional classroom doesn't always work for me. Coming back to school in the APSS major not only changed my perspective of what higher education looks like, but it changed my perspective of myself. I realized that I am incredibly smart and capable of great work. Having the support of my professors and the flexibility in my education gave me the opportunity to be great in ways I never expected.

What are you most proud of as you finish your degree?

I am proud of my work, including my capstone projects, my various research projects, my NCUR presentation and accepting a position at People Inc.

What I am proud of most is who I have become throughout my time here at Stout. I don't even recognize the person who walked onto campus during my freshman year.

This time has given me the confidence to go out into the world and do my part in making my community a better place to be.

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