Casselton, North Dakota

Erik Ausk
Major: Secondary Education and History ‘17
Campus: Yankton
Post-Graduation Plans: College of Education Master’s Program, Kansas State University

Why Mount Marty?

When Erik Ausk enrolled at Mount Marty College, he was already familiar with both MMC and the Yankton community. Originally from Casselton, North Dakota, just outside of Fargo, he met his wife, Sarah Furrow, while she was a student at MMC working toward her psychology degree. The two got married while Sarah was a student and decided to stay in the area after she graduated. A decade later, they were ready for another big step.

“In 2014, both of us decided to go back to get our teaching degrees,” says Erik, who graduated on May 13 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and history. “My wife and I both worked full time while we were full time in school, and we’ve got four kids. I appreciated the fact that at Mount Marty, the professors really work with you. They were flexible about working with my schedule, and they helped to make sure I wasn’t overextended.”

Not only that, but Erik also notes that he felt like his nontraditional path was valued in the MMC community.

“I could tell there was an appreciation of my life experience, from my professors and my classmates,” he says.

Mount Marty’s Impact

Through Phi Alpha Theta, a national honor society for undergraduate and graduate students and professors of history, Erik had the opportunity to attend multiple conferences, including the 52nd Annual Phi Alpha Theta History Conference at the University of South Dakota, held on April 20, 2017. There, he presented his paper entitled “Executive Order 9981,” exploring, in historical context, President Harry Truman’s executive order to desegregate the U.S. Armed Forces. Erik was recognized with the Most Outstanding U.S. History Paper Award.

“Those conferences have been a highlight for me,” Erik says, “I’m really appreciative of the opportunities I’ve had at Mount Marty and how much support I’ve had from everyone here to make my dream of obtaining my bachelor’s degree become a reality. There is so much support here — from everyone.”

The MMC Values

Erik is quick to mention hospitality when asked about the MMC values; he’s felt a strong sense of community since his first day on campus. He’s also appreciated the promotion of awareness of God at MMC and says it has “made me a stronger person and reinforced the Christian values I was raised with.”

The value of lifelong learning has had a particularly strong impact.

“I’ve gotten to live that every day as I was going through the program and experiencing how important it is to keep learning all the time,” Erik says. “That’s something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Erik’s formal education will continue as well. In June, he will begin a master’s program in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in civic education through Kansas State University.