Scholarship Essays

2017 Scholarship Essays

"How has your parent or grandparent's experience in county government affected you or helped shape your future plans?"


Riley Breuer

My parent's involvement in county government has influenced me greatly. I have learned many skills from my mother's employment as the communications/911 coordinator for Richland County. Two skills that I believe are the most important are her volunteerism and leadership communication skills. I believe having these qualities are very beneficial when working within a community.

Volunteerism is a very important part of any community. My mother volunteers in many different ways in our community. As a student, I have already begun to work to give back to the community that has given me so much. As an agronomist, I will have the opportunities to work with local 4H and FFA groups to help the youth better understand how agriculture affects their lives. I will also be able to work through the county extension offices to help educate adults and children on proper agricultural practices.

Leadership communication is another important skill. I have watched my mother communicate decisions that are best for the community as a whole. As an agronomist, I will be working with farmers, scouts, and many other people. It will be important for me to convey information to those people in a very clear and concise manner. Doing that will not only ensure the farmers of the best possible yield for their crops, but also help preserve one of our greatest natural resources, the land.

Volunteerism and leadership communication are only two of the many skills that I have learned from my mother's involvement in county government. My goal is that with these skills, along with the others I have acquired, I will become the best agronomist possible. In doing so, I hope to contribute to my community in a positive way so all may enjoy it.


Hannah Diehl

My family has a long history of serving in county government positions: my great-grandfather Herbert Huber served as the Grant County Sheriff for one term in the 1950's, my grandmother Audrey Diehl served as the county Auditor-Treasurer in the 1990's and 2000's, and my dad works as the Grant County Emergency Manager and 911 Coordinator and Risk Manager. He was hired during my junior year of college. The job has meant a lot to my whole family, since my dad was either unemployed or underemployed for a year and a half. Although I did not grow up with my dad working for the county government, his job with the county has had a larger impact on me than simply giving my family financial security. I have seen how working for the county has encouraged my dad to learn a new skill set and to take part in the community in a meaningful way. His job gives him purpose, and he reciprocates by serving both Grant County and the community which exists among his fellow county government employees. Watching him take on this job and throw his whole self into learning it has inspired me in my own journey of learning as a scholar. It has also shown me the importance of the work of local community leaders -work which often goes unnoticed and un-thanked. I have a greater respect for such people after seeing the work my dad and his fellow workers accomplish daily for small communities across the state of North Dakota.


Justin Cote-Kanning

Growing up in rural North Dakota, the most profound influences in my life were, undoubtedly, my parents from whom I both witnessed and learned the value of honest and hard work. As a child, my mother began working for Bottineau County Sheriff''8 Department as a, corrections office and 9-1-1 emergency operator (and subsequent lateral move to working into the County Auditor's Office). I had always been interested in law enforcement; therefore, after my mother began working at the sheriffs department I was more than willing to take advantage of every learning opportunity that presented itself. After graduating high school, I enrolled in the North Dakota Police Academy to continue to take my intrinsic interest in law enforcement to the next level. Upon graduating, I worked as a deputy in Renville County, where I realized that this was the work I wanted to do with my life.

As I reflect on my mother's work at the county level, it has taught me that, especially in rural counties, it is vitally important that there are people willing to work for the greater common good. Since my mother's time at the Sheriff's Department and County Auditor's Office, it has become apparent to me that much of the work done at the local and county level is similar to law enforcement, for it's often completed behind the scenes and out of the spotlight, but those are the people whom are immediately turned to in times of crisis. What I've gleaned from watching my mother and colleagues, is that no matter the leadership level, true leadership is vitally important and a true leader is one who recognizes the value of honest and hard work which is done not for oneself, but on behalf of county residents.

Courtney Leben

My father's experience and career within the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department has not only become one of the most influential aspects regarding my career goals, but has continuously served as a model for the positive impacts careers within county government accomplish for their communities. I have been taught the importance of being a compatible combination of both a leader and a follower, always ensuring the mission is accomplished to the best of my ability. My father's career has displayed the black and white aspects of society, whereas my mother's has taught the grey areas. I am grateful for both and believe they have given me the opportunity to view situations in a more versatile way. The Sheriff's Department gave my father the opportunity to attend the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, and because of that, I was inspired to apply for and later be selected as the Midwest Chapter Representative for the FBI Youth Leadership Academy in Quantico, VA. The foundation and values of both the Academy and Department later influenced me to enlist into the Air National Guard as a security forces member. I am humbled to be a part of something greater than myself and have the opportunity to give back to both my community and country. My training emphasized the importance of teamwork and accountability, two traits that I believe the Department continuously displays and what I strive to achieve within my military and civilian career. I am very fortunate for my support system, as well as the comradery my father's career has introduced me to. I look forward to implementing the skills I have been taught into my career as a social worker and security forces member, always remembering the well-being of those participating in the mission are as important as the mission itself.


Beth Podoll

For as long as I can remember, my dad has worked as a civil engineer for the Cass County Highway Department. While he worked, I received the knowledge of government operations and an understanding of how the government serves the public. I have seen firsthand the work that goes into operations both during times of order and times of chaos.

Different departments working together during emergencies demonstrated to me the necessity of every role. The different branches including the courthouse, social services, sheriff's office and the highway department worked closely together forming the sense of community that Fargo is made from. During the floods, I remember the highway department welcoming people from each department into their office to build an easy line of communication. Everyone had a role, and while not all roles earned equal spotlight from a public media perspective, each team member was a necessity in maintaining a positive situation. The lessons I have learned from this such that communication and team work are vital correspond to roles in all settings throughout my life. They appear while being the motivator on the bench during volleyball, while giving my time volunteering, and while coaching a group of high schoolers where I am now the example.

My dad's time in the county government has shown me that there is more to working a "government job" than sitting behind a desk. Each employee directly affects the public. This example I have grown up with has made me more apt to look for a career of serving others rather than serving myself. As a teacher, I will work for the public, trying my best to implement the communication and cooperation that I have seen in the Cass County government.


Madison Solwey

By having my mother work as the Foster County Public Health Nurse, I have seen firsthand how much hard work and dedication it takes to work for a county government. She is constantly putting in extra work, staying late and often going in early, to create the smoothest possible work environment for her and her staff, as well as the community. She's held this position for over half of my life. The years have gone by and every year she seems to better the community more and more. This year, her public health department created a scholarship built around the idea of preventing underage drinking and finding fun alternatives to partying.

My mother's work ethic has definitely rubbed off on me because she taught me from a young age that if you work hard and get the tasks done that need to be done, then you will be all the more satisfied with the final product. I have been able to go behind the scenes of her office and it is very hectic. From unscheduled walk-in vaccinations to all-day foot care every Wednesday, it's surprising how she manages to still find time to support me at all of my activities. My mother is a super hero to me and her hard work in our local county government has inspired me to do my very best at everything I do.