Academics

Northland Announces 2020 Thief River Falls Campus Student of the Year

Aviation maintenance technology graduate Kathryn Brown is a champion of Northland education, STEM careers, and gender equality

May 6, 2020 — Northland Community & Technical College is proud to announce Kathryn Brown has been named Thief River Falls campus Student of the Year for 2020. Brown is graduating with Academic Honors, earning an A.A.S. degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology from Northland’s aerospace program.

Northland faculty and staff nominated Brown, a Williston, N.D. native, for her natural leadership qualities, her dedication to STEM careers, and passion for encouraging younger students — specifically females — to explore non-traditional educational opportunities and careers in science and technology. Brown has been a willing and impactful spokesperson for Northland both locally and nationally. She was a feature presenter at a Gender Equity in STEM event on campus, which attracted nearly 70 local 8th graders, and attended the 2020 Women in Aviation conference in Orlando, Fla.

According to one nomination letter, Brown immediately sought out more opportunities after these events to “further become a role model for others and share her story about her experience at Northland.” The nomination adds, “Her efforts to not only obtain her degree but to go above and beyond to provide outreach has shown that she more than deserves this award for student of the year.”

Brown likes to think the award is simply the culmination of her years of hard work both in the classroom and out. “It’s been a really good opportunity to grow,” she said of her experience at Northland. “Sometimes you put in the work and feel like other people don’t see it. Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes you come out the other side and have something to show for it and it’s just wonderful.”

Always an ambassador of learning and challenging oneself to push beyond comfort zones, Brown also offered her advice to future students who may be struggling in finding the right direction. “Try everything,” she said bluntly. “Coming out of high school, it's easy to have one career or profession in mind, but for lack of research or lack of funds or whatever it doesn’t pan out. You learn so much about yourself and your abilities when you stretch and try different things… and I think we tend to think that when something’s hard, we’re not meant to do it. But that’s wrong. Don’t give up just because something’s hard.”

As another of her many nominations revealed, Brown is an outstanding example of a natural born leader. She has served in leadership roles in the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association, the Northland Equity and Inclusion Committee, the AMT program industry advisory committee, and supported Northland through her many work-study roles. There is little doubt among those who know her, taught her, and worked alongside her that Brown will have a long and successful career in aviation ahead of her.

Northland Community and Technical College (Northland) is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota. Northland also has an aerospace site in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and a satellite site in Roseau, Minnesota. Northland offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year degrees (A.A.S., A.S., A.A.) in more than 80 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. Northland is a member of Minnesota State, the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. For more information about Northland Community & Technical College, visit www.northlandcollege.edu or call 1.800.959.6282.

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