Taking the next step: Maggie Maixner plans to stay on at Oak Hills Christian College after graduation

Oak Hills' commencement will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, in the Schreiber Activity Center gymnasium. An outdoor luncheon will follow the ceremony.

Applied psychology student Maggie Maixner will graduate as part of Oak Hills Christian College's class of 2023 on Saturday, May 6, in the Schreiber Activity Center gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — Maggie Maixner isn’t one to plan for the future. Rather, she trusts that the process will lead her to where she needs to be.

“I often find myself thinking ‘What am I going to do in the next couple months?’” Maixner said, “and then as I walk forward, a door has opened for me or an opportunity is presented to me that I love or that teaches me something new.”

Maixner has walked through many doors while attending Oak Hills Christian College, from which she will graduate on May 6.

Earning her bachelor’s degree in applied psychology, Maixner won’t stray too far from her alma mater as she plans to continue working in the college’s admissions office, where she has been a student worker for the past two years.

She doesn’t intend to pursue graduate school unless a specialty piques her interest. She noted previous internship work in counseling, though it wasn’t quite what she was expecting and ultimately, opted to use her degree as a background for other roles.


“I get to work with students and, in a way, counsel them into what they hope for in their future,” Maixner said regarding her admissions work. “It’s still helping them. It’s just not going as much into mental illnesses, but more deciding what’s the best path for their future depending on their life goals.”

Coming to Oak Hills

Maixner’s family moved to the Bemidji area in 2018 when her dad, Ronald, accepted a position at the college as Dean of Student Life.

Trekking from Sheridan, Wyo., Maixner found her place in Bemidji once she began attending Oak Hills in 2019.

“(Sheridan) is very much a ‘rough ‘em up’ town. If you don’t wrangle cows, you’re not good enough,” Maixner said lightheartedly, “so moving to Bemidji and being a person who likes video games, doing art and not just wanting to ride horses all the time, it didn’t make sense to me that that was something I could be.”

Part of finding her niche within her newfound community was being unapologetically herself whether in class or beyond the classroom walls. She took note of her growing confidence since starting at Oak Hills.

“The ability to be quirky, be silly and find friends that want to do all sorts of random things (is how I’ve grown),” she said.

She boasts several types of crafting under her list of skills, but crocheting is one of the main hobbies that she does in her spare time and even to focus on classes.

“I did end up getting tendonitis this past semester, so that stopped (my crocheting) a little bit,” Maixner said, “but I would crochet every single class. I made a lot of stuffed animals … If I wrote notes, I focused on the notes and didn’t actually absorb anything.”


Maixner has even taught potential students how to crochet during college tours, an added bonus of working in admissions.

“I was working as a tutor that year (I started working for admissions) and thought ‘I don’t know if I want to work in admissions because I might be overwhelmed,’” she said, “but then my boss kept getting on my back about working in admissions, so I ended up here.

“I’ve really enjoyed it and it leads on to the next step of my future.”

Aside from her admissions work, she has been involved in various volunteering opportunities with area churches, fulfilling roles with worship teams and maintaining other on-campus involvement.

Learning lessons

During her sophomore year Maixner was Oak Hills’ student activity team leader, an involvement that came with its own set of challenges considering the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

“It was right in the middle of COVID … and when you’re trying to lead activities to get people to come out of their room at a time where everybody’s told to stay away from other people and wear masks, nobody wanted to come,” Maixner reflected. “It was an entire year of feeling like a failure and that I was incapable of doing my job and helping people.”

Maixner faced another challenge with her dad passing away in 2021. The support of other students, professors and mentors at Oak Hills following Ronald’s death provided her with a certain learning lesson.

“Rather than hiding myself away, I learned to open myself up and it’s such a loving community to do that in,” Maixner said, “working through that dynamic of letting people help me and letting people take care of me.”


Such sentiment has led Maixner where she is today: on the cusp of graduation. Once she completes her internship as a teacher’s assistant in the psychology department, she will be stepping through another door as an Oak Hills alumnus.

“I’m just kind of playing the long game at this point and finishing up that internship, but I’m excited to graduate,” Maixner left off. “My main motivation is God and how he leads me and my gifts.”

Oak Hills' commencement will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, in the Schreiber Activity Center gymnasium. An outdoor luncheon will follow the ceremony.

Daltyn Lofstrom is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on education and community stories.
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