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Luke Vaneps
Grand Rapids, MN
Fisheries & Wildlife Science, Viking Quarterback

Luke knew exactly what he was looking for in a college. He wanted a college where he could play football, and he wanted to major in Fisheries & Wildlife. VCSU offered both.

As a high-school senior, Luke's football team went to the state championship for the first time in 14 years with Luke leading the team as quarterback. So he knew that where ever he went, he wanted to keep playing. After looking at Bemidji State and Jamestown College, Luke selected VCSU.
"These are all good schools," said Luke. "But VCSU came across as the one that related to me on a personal level. VCSU is like a big family. Even on the football team, everyone is supportive and makes a very friendly atmosphere."

Luke also found the major he wanted at VCSU. "I took a high school class in Fisheries & Wildlife, and I just loved it. As soon as I found out that VCSU has a major program in Fisheries & Wildlife, I made 2 visits to campus, met Dr. (Bob) Anderson who runs the program, and my mind was made-up."

Once on campus, Luke got right to work. "Football practice started a few weeks before classes, and that was a great way to get to know the team. Then, during my first semester, I took 19 credits. With that load, plus football and work study, I didn't have a lot of spare time. But it was a great semester -- I just barely missed the honors list."

Especially because he is paying his own way through college, value is a big issue for Luke. "VCSU is definitely a better value than schools with tons of people in each class and not much access to the professor. Here, most of my classes are 10-15 students; my biggest lecture class is around 50 students. It seems like at bigger schools, you pay more money to get less. I don't think you can learn as much from student-teachers as you can directly from the professors. At VCSU, if you need help in a class, you get one-on-one time with the professor."

By working hard, saving his money, and with help from the Dr. Charles House scholarship and aid from the Blandon Foundation, Luke was able to get through his Freshman year without a lot of debt.

Valley City also played a role in bringing Luke to VCSU. "I love to hunt and fish, and the Valley City area has a lot of that to offer. The main flyway goes right through this area, so duck and goose hunting is amazing. Quite a few guys on the team hunt, and being so close, it is easy to get out. The deer hunting is great, too, and in the winter, we get into ice fishing."

Luke is also excited about his career prospects. "Everything Dr. Anderson does in class is based towards jobs. He even lets us know when jobs are available by updating a job board. Our fieldtrips are practical experiences that we will give us skills we will need when we get jobs. For example, the first week of school, we went duck banding, and more recently, we went Northern spawning. Right now, it seems like there are lots of jobs available that I'd be qualified for."

In short, Luke loves it here at VCSU. "A chance to play football – the major I want, great people, not too far from home and a great area – VCSU has it all."