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Letter: BSU’s graduate defenses are one of the best kept secrets

Spring is creeping into Bemidji. Snow is melting, temperatures demand fewer layers of heavy winter gear, and Bemidji State University’s graduate students are completing their degrees, proving to themselves and their peers that they have benefitted from their semesters of post-baccalaureate education by preparing defenses of their personal work. Despite the combative sound of the term “defense,” the experience is generally positive for the students and their committee members.

One of the many wonderful aspects of a graduate defense is that it allows the student to showcase their hard-sought knowledge in a desired area of their field. What’s more, their area of expertise usually shares a strong link with the community of Bemidji. Their work often leads to direct benefits within our community, as these students are members of the community — educators seeking ways to better prepare our children in their classrooms, biologists and environmentalists who are concerned about the health of our northwoods wildlife and fragile ecosystems, and now, managers and business owners seeking to hone their skills in the new MBA program.

Bemidji is filled with culture and the desire to learn. There are traditional skills schools, state schools, alternative schools, colleges and community learning centers all over town. There are engaging opportunities for maintaining sharp minds and a hunger for knowledge at any age. Presenters, speakers, lectures, seminars and workshops throughout the community are open to the public. However, it seems at times that BSU’s graduate defenses are one of our best kept secrets. Somehow, we do not cross that threshold of awareness that says, “Welcome! Come see what our students and your fellow community members have to offer!”

So, I would like to invite you now. Come experience a graduate defense. They are free and open to the public, and they might even spark an interest for some graduate research of your own.

Information for scheduled graduate defenses, also called oral defenses, can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website:

Patty Hartshorn

Administrative Assistant, School of Graduate Studies

Bemidji State University