Student Spotlight: Margaret Steeves

Margaret Steeves
Margaret Steeves

Individualized Studies major awarded LeadMN 100% American Scholarship

A Washburn High School graduate, class of 1977, Margaret Steeves considers two cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Raleigh, North Carolina, her hometowns. Margaret grew up in Minneapolis and eventually moved to Raleigh with her husband, who partnered with Gary Gaetti, the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame third baseman, to start a business in the package industry.

“I raised my children in Raleigh for a major portion of their lives,” Margaret said. “I have many fond memories from my time in North Carolina.”

At 58, Margaret is not only a nontraditional student at Dakota County Technical College, but also one of the most engaged people on campus. While earning an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Individualized Studies, she participates in a range of extracurricular activities, including:

Margaret works while going to school. She’s a phlebotomist at a CSL Plasma donation center. She has also served in a number of roles at DCTC, including as an assistant in the Photographic Imaging Technology program’s studio and the Wellness Center. She has worked the concession stand during Blue Knights NJCAA athletics games under the supervision of Head Fastpitch Softball Coach Tom Cross.

“I currently work in the college library under the direction of Head Librarian Michael Kirby,” Margaret said, noting she keeps busy juggling that job with her DCTC Student Senate duties, various student club activities and her family life.

Dr. Mark J. Welter 100% American Scholarship

Margaret recently received a $500 Dr. Mark J. Welter 100% American Scholarship through LeadMN, a Minnesota public two-year college student association that provides leadership development opportunities as well as representation and communication channels across the state. The rigorous selection process for the scholarship involved completing an in-depth essay that integrated the answers of 24 worksheet questions.

Margaret Steeves: 100% American Scholarship essay

More about the 100% American Scholarship

Overall purpose

To improve global perspectives and enhance competent global citizenship.

Overview and Rationale

The “100% American” scholarship confirms that all people—“all creeds, all colors, all cultures, and all countries—have been “depositors and withdrawers at the world bank of knowledge.” In other words, what we have today is the product of all times, all places and all peoples. The corollary is palpable: there can be no superior race, color, culture or creed. Knowing that human exchanges and borrowings are mutually universal, ecumenical and timeless will assist students in developing an enriched understanding and tolerance for all citizens of the human community.

Stated succinctly, “We must understand our commonalities in order to accept our differences.” To Martin Luther King, this was existential: “Unless we learn to live together as brothers and sisters, we will die together as fools.”

Courtesy of LeadMN

More about Individualized Studies

The Individualized Studies 60-credit A.S. degree enables you to custom-design a program to meet your educational and career goals—goals you could not otherwise accomplish via existing DCTC programs. The program is an ideal choice if you:

  • Wish to explore potential occupational/technical courses in one or more areas of study
  • Are working and wishing to advance their careers
  • Are undecided about their future
  • Are seeking to pursue a baccalaureate degree
  • Have started a technical program, but wish to change direction
To learn more, visit Individualized Studies.

Margaret Steeves campus life gallery

Transfer plans, family and free time…

Margaret is on track to graduate from DCTC in May 2018. She has plans to attend Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota to obtain a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Healthcare and Human Services Management. Her long-range career goals are centered on earning college degrees that will open doors for gainful employment. Her other goals include working on a book, becoming a motivational speaker and one day owning a business of her own.

Margaret Steeves on family

“When I think of family, the concept encompasses many aspects. As a young child, that family is the one you spend time with growing up—some of my favorite family TV shows influenced what I felt a perfect family should emulate.

“My biological family consisted of a mother, father and five siblings. I was the third child born. My parents took in two foster children from Vietnam. I became a foster mother for a little girl so having my parents foster children impacted my decision to have a family of my own.

“For several years, I was a house mother for a halfway house in the inner city of Minneapolis—that can be considered a family experience. When I think of employment at various places, I have felt that kindred family presence.

“I am the mother of three children and, over the years, the family household has changed. However, my love and caring for the best possible life has never changed. I attend several family churches in North Carolina and Minnesota. They are important to me.”

Margaret resides in Bloomington, Minnesota.  She has three adult sons. The eldest earned an associate degree in North Carolina and is working toward a career as a digital animator. Her middle son is making plans to attend Metropolitan State University to study journalism and English. Her youngest son is a talented artist looking at entering the film industry as a director.

When she’s not studying, working or participating in student activities, Margaret enjoys writing, traveling, singing and dancing. “My list of pastimes and hobbies is long,” she said, “but those are some of my favorite things.”

Margaret Steeves Q & A

Margaret Steeves

Margaret Steeves

Why did you choose your career field?
Scott Gunderson [business faculty] and Xuong Tran [TRIO Student Support Services advisor] are two of my mentors at DCTC and they know me well. They encouraged me to never give up and shared the importance of education, finding the path you love and achieving your dreams.

What has been your toughest challenge in life?
When injustice prevailed, I stood up as a voice to help create change. I valued the right for all to live the best life possible by allowing them to receive the education, safety and housing they need.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
I can list many things as accomplishments:

  • Attending my Washburn class reunion this summer with approximately 350 students attending out of more than 500
    • Celebrating a WHS class with friends who flew in from across the United States to attend
    • We danced, hugged, dined, shared great conversations and took pictures with many spending the night at the Sheraton in Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Being an advocate for Make-A-Wish Foundation Eastern North Carolina on the radio and TV
  • Golfing at the Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic with my youngest son
  • Attending a dance-a-thon at Meredith College in Raleigh
  • Celebrating Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida
    • Hugging the organization’s founder, Henri Landwirth, who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp and created a resort that values families with life-threatening illnesses
    • He created hope after what he endured

Accomplishment for me would be every opportunity to be the best I can be and treat others with kindness when they act unkind in hopes it would create more kindness and value for life. I attempted to be the best employee in the special operations department at the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and my coworkers teased me to slow down as I made them look bad. I was hoping they would learn and follow after me to do their best—and they did. I believe I have been the best mother that I can be, the best friend I can be, the best student possible with the many things I am doing. I am a human being who values human life.

Previous work in crime control and investigations

Before moving back to Minneapolis, Margaret worked for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI) in the areas of investigations and crime control. She was a certified Division of Criminal Information (DCI) operator authorized to conduct, modify and expunge criminal histories. She also entered most-wanted criminal profiles into several data bases.

What person has influenced you the most in life?
My Uncle Jeremiah Sullivan influenced my life growing up. He was a farmer in Ledyard, Iowa, and my godfather. He shared the importance of attending church and tithing, welcoming people, hard work, treating people kindly, having fun, facing fears and taking risks; he told me my opinion mattered.

I took several trips to Yellowstone National Park with my grandmother and Uncle Jeremiah. He loved taking pictures of me and I love taking pictures as well. Going fishing, swimming, water skiing, boating, golfing, attending the fair, riding horses were things he ensured I had opportunity to do.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

Time spent on the farm growing up during the summer, along with my uncle’s visits to my school, influenced my life. My mother, Uncle Jeremiah’s sister, taught nursing in Minnesota and influenced my life as well. My mother took my siblings swimming every night after work and ice skating in the winter. She attempted to find the positive in every situation and had a favorite saying, “Be the best you can—that’s all God asks of any man.”

My father has influenced my life, too. He completed his education after having four children and then continued his education, attaining a college degree much later in life. He values education and hard work.

Scott Gunderson, Wes Jorde, Susan Johannsson, Xuong Tran, Jennifer Robinson-West and many mentors and tutors have daily influenced my life at DCTC. I find myself sharing amazing stories of determination with others.

“Margaret is a truly caring person who puts others before self. I hope her future sees her in the human services area.”

Scott Gunderson, Business Faculty and Individualized Studies Advisor

“Margaret is a strongly committed student, and her enthusiasm for student activities continues to be infectious. Students enjoy being around Margaret because she is very welcoming.”

Wes Jorde, Philosophy Faculty, DCTC Creative Arts and Writing Club Faculty Advisor

Writing and the DCTC Creative Arts and Writing Club

Margaret has published a compilation of short stories about a road trip she took to Florida and other states. The book is called Love, It’s Power and a Sound Mind. She believes writing is powerful and can touch the heart of many individuals.

As a way to follow her passion for writing, Margaret serves as president of the DCTC Creative Arts and Writing Club (formerly the DCTC Writers’ Club).

The student club provides participants with the opportunity to explore their writing-related interests, develop their writing abilities, and gain access to a supportive network of peers and mentors who not only share their creative interests and intellectual interests, but also support them in their artistic pursuits.

To learn more about the DCTC Creative Arts and Writing Club, contact:

Wes Jorde
Philosophy Faculty
DCTC Creative Arts and Writing Club Faculty Advisor

Joe Campbell
English Faculty
DCTC Creative Arts and Writing Club Faculty Advisor

Margaret Steeves | 21 Answers

Margaret Steeves

  1. Sandra BullockFavorite season: Summer
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Ocean waves
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: Basketball and dancing
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Northern cardinal
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Europe, Australia and revisit Hawaii
  6. Favorite holiday: Christmas; I love the songs, beautiful lights, gift giving, get-togethers; I also love Easter.
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: American bison
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Sandra Bullock; I’ve driven by her family’s plantation in North Carolina; I love every movie she has been in
  9. Favorite band or performing artist: I went to high school with Jimmy Jam (Harris), who is a producer for many famous artists such as Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, the SOS band, etc. I would have to say I enjoy their music, and smile and dance in the car when I hear it on the radio. I roller-skated at the Roller Garden in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, with Jimmy and many others while attending Ramsey Junior High School.
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Be kind it is contagious! It doesn’t cost you anything, it will come back to bless you. A smile is universal.”
  11. The WaltonsCoolest thing in the world: Traveling, radio, TV, great doctors, teachers, writers, people who make the world a better place and leave a legacy to encourage others.
  12. Scariest thing in the world: Not achieving goals and dreams; people who don’t value others; not knowing your loved ones are safe.
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, otherwise family shows The Waltons, The Andy Griffith Show, I love Lucy…
  14. Favorite all-time movie: Blindsided, a true story in which good wins, inspires success and hope. I love the Hallmark Channel as well, Fireproof.
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Attain a college degree and work in a field that I am passionate about, be gainfully employed and give back to those who have helped; travel abroad, become a motivational speaker, see my friends and children attain their goals and dreams in education and employment; health, happiness, seeing families, friends and peace
  16. Most precious material possession: Health and pictures of loved ones
  17. Myrtle BeachFirst thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: A home in Myrtle Beach or the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a new car, arrange for a family vacation that my loved ones could all attend, give to churches, radio stations, and organizations that have touched my heart, inspired and valued families
  18. Dream occupation: Talk show host—I love to talk, connect with people and share awareness, and learn and grow.
  19. Person you would most like to meet: Dr. Phil McGraw
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Being a genuine, authentic writer who values and inspires others, and thrives, not just survives, to give purpose to life.
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: World peace as well as providing enough food, housing and employment for everyone so all feel they have purpose
To learn more about Individualized Studies at DCTC, contact:

Scott Gunderson
Business Faculty

Susan Farmer
Developmental Reading Faculty

Marki Struensee
Enrollment Advisor & Financial Aid Specialist

To learn more about Student Life at DCTC, contact:

Nicole Meulemans
Director of Student Life and Activities

Anna Voight
Associate Director of Student Life