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Majors & Degrees

Embrace the Unknown

May 1, 2024

Don’t be intimidated by life’s uncertainty, be motivated by it.

That’s the advice Dakota State University graduate student Zach Rohrbach plans to share with his fellow graduates at the 2024 spring commencement.

The Aberdeen, S.D., native will receive his master’s degree in Health Informatics and Information Management on May 4. He is also the student speaker, chosen by a committee to represent the students. This opportunity was “a great way to use these past experiences to motivate others,” he said. He will tell his fellow graduates that they have the skills and know-how needed to move into their careers, which is a lesson he learned as an undergraduate at DSU.

Rohrbach started college as an exercise science major, planning on a career as a physical therapist. It only took one semester for him to realize he wasn’t comfortable with the direct, hands-on care involved with that job. Changing to Dakota State’s health information management major allowed him to continue working toward a degree in healthcare, where he can still help people and benefit the community, just from a different perspective.

His DSU coursework in health information was excellent, he said, and prepared him well for his job with the North Dakota Health & Human Services Department, where he provides informatics and data to decision makers. He works from home, a natural transition after doing many online classes. The University’s 4+1 program allowed him the flexibility to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. He may consider continuing his education at DSU in a few years by pursuing a doctoral degree.

The University provided more than academic advantages. Rorhbach played center for the Dakota State football team, and found that being on an athletics team provided something of a support net. His teammates and coaches were “people I could talk with about things, like study questions, or issues with classes or registration. There was always someone to help you out.”

To help out his fellow graduates, he’ll remind them that graduation is not the end, it’s a new beginning, and “Life is what you make of it, so keep learning.”

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