This spring, three Minnesota State College Southeast Students — one from Winona, one from Red Wing, and one online — were named to the All-Minnesota Academic Team by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the honors society for two-year colleges. Their achievements were recognized at a banquet in April celebrating their college accomplishments and service to the community service. Congratulations to Abigail Backman, Sophia Kiesow, and Adam Spearman!
“Abby, Adam and Sophie exemplify all of the best qualities of Southeast students. They shine on all fronts: academics, service, and leadership,” said PTK advisor Jean Egbert, a math instructor at the college. “We are proud to celebrate this recognition with them and know they will bring their remarkable skills to their next stage in life.”
• Winona: Abigail Backman, a second-year radiography student, graduated in May 2019. During her three years at MSC Southeast she has been involved in various clubs and committees including Student Senate, the Diversity Committee, the Radiography Advisory Committee, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), and Radiography Club. She has also served as the president for both the Radiography Club and PTK Beta Rho Mu. Backman began taking general classes at MSC Southeast for health care and quickly found herself drawn to radiography. After graduation from Southeast, she plans to transfer to Winona State University to earn her Bachelor’s degree in health care leadership, all while working full time as a radiographic technologist.
• Red Wing: Sophia Kiesow is a non-traditional student returning to college after a hiatus of 12 years, seeking to become a registered nurse. She will be starting a core nursing program in fall 2019 and intends to finish this educational endeavor with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She has been named to the President’s List each semester, has maintained a 4.0 GPA, and is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa. Without the support of her husband, Barry, she claims she would not have been able to do so well academically. She is the mother of five children: Dan, 13; Owen, 12; Jacob, 11; Madison, 9; and Eli, 8. When not studying, she enjoys cooking, vegetable gardening, and volunteering as a medical staff member at the local Care Clinic in Red Wing.
• Online: Adam Spearman (above, right) is an distance learning student from Indianapolis, Ind., and graduated in May 2019 from the online computer aided drafting and design program. He has had a love for all things mechanical his entire life, from playing with Legos as a kid to becoming a mechanic. When he decided that his career path was moving toward the innovative and ever-growing field of CAD design, he reached out to MSC Southeast to gain more information on its program, and eventually applied after instructor Jim Ziegler answered every question he had. During Spearman’s two years as an online student at MSCS, he has worked at a full-time job at a company in Columbus, Ind., where he helps produce service and parts manuals for Cummins using various CAD software programs. Spearman has been a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society since November 2018 and has also been named to the President’s List every semester for having a 3.5-plus GPA.
The mission of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize academic achievement of college students and to provide opportunities for them to grow as scholars and leaders. Membership in Phi Theta Kappa is by invitation only to eligible students; requirements include a 3.5 minimum GPA and at least 12 credits at the college. Minnesota’s state academic team is a division of the Academic All-American Team for community, technical and junior college students, an international program sponsored annually by PTK, USA Today and the American Association of Community Colleges.