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Taking the pressure off

February 15, 2014
By Jim Tate , Marshall Independent

If you go to the doctor's office enough times, you're bound to develop an interest in medicine.

That's the way SMSU sophomore Rebecca Koepp sees it.

"Ever since I was a little girl, I was in the doctor's office a lot, and that made me interested in a health care field," said Koepp. "If it wasn't pneumonia then it was bronchitis or a lot of other things. If you can think of it, I probably had it."

Koepp, the daughter of Wayne and Kerry Koepp, selected SMSU as her college "because I liked the class sizes. Belle Plaine is a small school (her graduating class was 104), so it was an easy transition. It's far enough away but close enough if something did happen I could get home. I also love the professors here, they've always been so helpful."

One of those professors, Dr. Jeffrey Bell, recently talked to her about going on to pursue a master's in exercise physiology.

"It would be an additional two years. I just figured it out two weeks ago, what I want to do. I'm excited,"?she said.

She carries a 4.0 grade point average and is helped financially by several scholarships, including the Chub Weatherby Women's Golf Scholarship, an Emerging Student Scholarship and a Leadership Award. She also received a Pohlad Scholarship through her high school upon graduation.

"Those really help a lot. Receiving scholarships helps relieve the stress of paying for tuition. It's such a great honor to receive them, and every little bit helps,"?she said.

It's been an academically challenging semester for Koepp.

"I'm taking 14 credits, but it's been hard - general chemistry, exercise physiology II. It's so much studying and concentration. It can be overwhelming at times,"?she said.

Several scholarships give her the benefit of not having to work part time during the school year, something she's grateful for.

"I can give all of my attention to my academics. Next year is going to be a tough one also," she said, referring to upper-level courses in her major.

The annual Scholarship Recognition Luncheon will be next Saturday in the Conference Center. Scholarship recipients like Koepp will be recognized, as well as the individuals and organizations that help make scholarships possible at SMSU. During the short program, six SMSU students will talk about their experiences at SMSU and what scholarships have meant to them.

Koepp is in her second year on the golf team, though ankle surgery cut short her freshman season. She's looking forward to March golf trips to Florida, Arizona and Missouri as the Mustangs gear up for the spring season.

She grew up a range rat and has been golfing "since I was two or three. Dad took me out, and that sparked an interest," she said. She works at her home course, Valley View in Belle Plaine, in the summer months.

At SMSU, she is the treasurer of the Colleges Against Cancer group that puts on the March Relay for Life event. As part of that, she traveled to Hope Lodge in Rochester last month.

"We helped feed cancer patients, and give them a break from their treatment. That was an eye-opener," she said.

Now that she has a clearer idea of her career path, she can enjoy the rest of her undergraduate years at SMSU.

"I like everything about it," she said. "Everyone is so helpful and understanding. It's a great place to be."



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