PSEO Student Spotlight: Maddie Maas

Maddie Maas
Maddie Maas

Northfield native discovers a love for science at DCTC

Madeline “Maddie” Maas, 18, used her time as a Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student at Dakota County Technical College to complete a number of general education courses as well as courses she needed to earn her high school diploma. Maddie graduated from Northfield High School in Northfield, Minnesota, in 2019.

Maddie enjoyed the independence she felt as a college student; she also welcomed the increased responsibility that goes along with finding success in higher education. Her PSEO experience gave her invaluable insights into college life and helped prepare her for the academic rigor at a four-year college or university.

What‌ ‌advice‌ ‌would‌ ‌you‌ ‌give‌ ‌students‌ ‌thinking‌ ‌about‌ ‌PSEO?‌

Go‌ ‌for‌ ‌it.‌ ‌As‌ ‌long‌ ‌as‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌manage‌ ‌your‌ ‌time‌ ‌and‌ ‌stay‌ ‌organized‌ ‌and‌ ‌motivated‌ ‌it‌ ‌can‌ ‌only‌ ‌help‌ ‌you.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌free‌ ‌college!‌ ‌I‌ highly‌ ‌recommend‌ ‌getting‌ ‌a‌ ‌planner‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌you‌ ‌stay‌ ‌on‌ ‌top‌ ‌of‌ ‌deadlines‌ ‌and‌ ‌even‌ ‌if‌ ‌it‌ ‌seems‌ ‌lame,‌ ‌take‌ ‌notes‌ ‌in‌ ‌class.‌ ‌They‌ ‌definitely‌ ‌saved‌ ‌my‌ ‌life‌ ‌on‌ ‌almost‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌assignments‌ ‌and‌ ‌tests.‌

— Maddie Maas, former PSEO student at DCTC, future university graduate

In June 2019, Maddie moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, to live with her older sister, Liz. “I‌’m thinking about moving back to Minnesota to earn a Phlebotomy certificate at South Central College,” Maddie said. “From there, I would like to go to the University‌ ‌of‌ ‌Missouri‌–Kansas‌ ‌City‌ or the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, to study pathology.‌”

Natalie Shrestha is an academic and financial aid advisor at DCTC. She worked with Maddie, helping her get acclimated to college life as a PSEO student.

“Affordability was a great concern for Maddie as well as trying to decide if she was going to be a college student,” Natalie said. “PSEO helped her cut down on her college costs and gave her the confidence she needed to explore a STEM-related career. We spent a lot of time researching transfer colleges and creating a transfer plan. Maddie is a great example of how DCTC and PSEO can help high school students prepare for a four-year college or university with plans to go on and earn a degree.” ‌

‌More about Maddie…

Maddie was a high school freshman when she lost her mom, Ann, in 2015. She went through a very difficult time and had trouble focusing on her schoolwork. As a PSEO student attending college classes at DCTC, she was able to renew her interest in her studies.

One of the highlights of her PSEO experience was discovering how much she liked her physics class. She credits her DCTC instructor with making the curriculum exciting and easier to comprehend. That shift in perspective led Maddie to decide on pursuing her education in a scientific field (she was originally interested in aerospace engineering), including going on to earn her doctorate.

Maddie’s dad, Ray, is a mechanic and welder. Maddie has two brothers, Matt, 33, a delivery person for Pizza Hut, and Al, 26, an employee with Malt-O-Meal; both their workplaces are in Northfield. Maddie sister’s, Liz, 28, is engaged to be married. Her fiancé, Justin, is a U.S. Army veteran working as a private military contractor in Afghanistan. Liz and Justin have two children, Lydia, 12, and Frankie, 2; Lydia and Frankie were born on the  same day 10 years apart.

Maddie also has a rescue cat, a female named Teddy, black with a white star on her chest.

“My family was living in Idaho when we heard kittens crying under our house,” Maddie said. “Their mother had left them behind. We found Teddy inside a pipe and scooped her out with a coat hanger.”

In her free time, Maddie enjoys going to the beach—she lives only three miles from the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach; two of her favorite beaches are Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach. She likes listening to music, mostly classic rock and old school hip hop; she avoids classical and heavy metal. She also likes spending time with‌ ‌friends‌ ‌and‌ family.

More about PSEO at DCTC…

Dakota County Technical College offers programs that allow you to earn college credits for free while you are still in high school. As a qualifying high school student, you can earn credit for college-level courses taken at DCTC through Post-Secondary Enrollment Options, or PSEO. The credits you earn at DCTC will apply to both high school graduation requirements and a college transcript. You will be able to seamlessly transfer the credits you earn to nearly any college or university in Minnesota, as well as many others nationwide.

The PSEO program was established by Minnesota State Statutes 124D.09 to “promote rigorous educational pursuits and provide a wider variety of options for students.” Through PSEO, 10th, 11th and 12th grade high school students may earn both secondary and postsecondary credit for college or university courses completed on a college or university campus, at a high school, or at another location. DCTC gladly participates in the PSEO program and offers the following information to further explain this wonderful opportunity.


Maddie Maas gallery

Maddie Maas Q‌ ‌&‌ ‌A‌

Maddie Maas with sister, Liz

Why‌ ‌did‌ ‌you‌ ‌choose‌ ‌DCTC?‌
My‌ ‌high‌ ‌school‌ ‌counselor‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌decided‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌would‌ ‌be‌ ‌a‌ ‌good‌ ‌fit‌ for‌ ‌me‌ ‌because‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌location‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌classes‌ ‌offered.‌‌

What‌ ‌did‌ ‌you‌ ‌like‌ ‌best‌ ‌about‌ ‌PSEO?‌
Being‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌freedom‌ ‌that‌ ‌high‌ ‌school‌ ‌didn’t‌ provide; having‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌accountable‌ ‌for‌ ‌making‌ ‌sure‌ ‌I‌ ‌attended‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌classes‌ ‌and‌ ‌got‌ ‌assignments‌ ‌done‌ ‌on‌ ‌time.‌ ‌Knowing‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌things‌ ‌I‌ ‌did‌ ‌during‌ ‌this‌ ‌time‌ ‌would‌ ‌count‌ ‌toward‌ ‌my‌ ‌future‌ ‌college‌ ‌endeavors‌ ‌and‌ ‌being‌ ‌responsible‌ ‌enough‌ ‌to‌ ‌maintain‌ ‌good‌ ‌grades.‌ ‌The‌ ‌classes‌ ‌were‌ ‌different‌—in‌ ‌a‌ ‌good‌ ‌way,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌liked‌ ‌how‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌options‌ ‌there‌ ‌were.‌ ‌

How‌ ‌did‌ ‌PSEO‌ ‌help‌ ‌you‌ ‌succeed‌ ‌in‌ ‌college?‌
I‌ ‌got‌ ‌enough‌ ‌credits‌ ‌to‌ ‌graduate‌ ‌high‌ ‌school‌ ‌on‌ time‌ ‌after‌ ‌having‌ ‌a‌ ‌really‌ ‌rough‌ ‌couple‌ ‌of‌ ‌years‌ ‌after‌ ‌my‌ ‌mom‌ ‌died‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌beginning‌ ‌of‌ ‌freshman‌ ‌year.‌ ‌I‌ ‌had‌ ‌a‌ ‌really‌ ‌hard‌ ‌time‌ ‌making‌ ‌it‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌high‌ ‌school‌ ‌attendance‌-wise,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ didn’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌that‌ ‌problem‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌DCTC.‌ ‌I‌ ‌also‌ ‌know‌ ‌what‌ ‌to‌ ‌expect‌ ‌while‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌college‌, ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌won’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌big‌ ‌transition‌ ‌from‌ ‌high‌ ‌school‌ ‌to‌ ‌college.‌ ‌It’ll‌ ‌be‌ ‌easier‌ ‌mentally,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌will‌ probably‌ ‌get‌ ‌better‌ ‌grades‌ ‌as‌ ‌well.‌ ‌ ‌

How‌ ‌did‌ ‌PSEO‌ ‌help‌ ‌you‌ ‌choose‌ ‌your‌ ‌career‌ ‌path?‌
I‌ ‌took‌ ‌a‌ ‌physics‌ ‌class‌ ‌and‌ ‌my‌ ‌teacher‌ ‌taught‌ ‌it‌ ‌so‌ ‌well‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌realized‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌easier‌ ‌than‌ ‌I‌ ‌originally‌ ‌thought,‌ ‌which‌ ‌got‌ ‌me‌ ‌to‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌go‌ ‌into‌ ‌aerospace‌ ‌engineering.‌ ‌I‌ ‌also‌ ‌thought‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌might‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌a‌ ‌doctorate‌ ‌in‌ physics.‌ ‌My‌ ‌only‌ ‌concern‌ ‌with‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌might‌ ‌not‌ ‌get‌ ‌teachers‌ ‌that‌ ‌can‌ ‌teach‌ ‌it‌ ‌so‌ ‌well‌ ‌and‌ ‌in‌ ‌such‌ ‌a‌ ‌way‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌can‌ ‌understand‌ ‌it‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌won’t‌ ‌do‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌in‌ ‌future‌ ‌classes.‌

Three‌ ‌words‌ ‌that‌ ‌describe‌ ‌you‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌college‌ ‌student:‌

What‌ ‌advice‌ ‌would‌ ‌you‌ ‌give‌ ‌students‌ ‌thinking‌ ‌about‌ ‌PSEO?‌
Go‌ ‌for‌ ‌it.‌ ‌As‌ ‌long‌ ‌as‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌manage‌ ‌your‌ ‌time‌ ‌and‌ ‌stay‌ ‌organized‌ ‌and‌ ‌motivated‌ ‌it‌ ‌can‌ ‌only‌ ‌help‌ ‌you.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌free‌ ‌college!‌ ‌I‌ highly‌ ‌recommend‌ ‌getting‌ ‌a‌ ‌planner‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌you‌ ‌stay‌ ‌on‌ ‌top‌ ‌of‌ ‌deadlines‌ ‌and‌ ‌even‌ ‌if‌ ‌it‌ ‌seems‌ ‌lame,‌ ‌take‌ ‌notes‌ ‌in‌ ‌class.‌ ‌They‌ ‌definitely‌ ‌saved‌ ‌my‌ ‌life‌ ‌on‌ ‌almost‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌assignments‌ ‌and‌ ‌tests.‌

Take‌ ‌classes‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌wouldn’t‌ ‌normally‌ ‌take.‌ ‌Expand‌ ‌your‌ ‌horizons,‌ ‌you‌ ‌might‌ ‌find‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌enjoy‌ ‌a‌ ‌subject‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌wouldn’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌ever‌ ‌thought‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌would‌ ‌be‌ ‌interested‌ ‌in.‌ ‌Make‌ ‌lots‌ ‌of‌ ‌friends,‌ ‌PSEO‌ ‌students‌ ‌and‌ ‌regular‌ ‌college‌ ‌students.‌ ‌The‌ ‌people‌ ‌that‌ ‌are‌ ‌there‌ ‌and‌ ‌in‌ ‌college‌ ‌will‌ ‌not‌ ‌think‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌crazy‌ ‌or‌ ‌different‌ ‌because‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌still‌ ‌in‌ ‌high‌ ‌school‌ ‌and‌ ‌doing‌ ‌PSEO—they‌ ‌treat‌ ‌you‌ ‌like‌ ‌any‌ ‌of‌ ‌their‌ ‌other‌ ‌classmates.‌ ‌Some‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌best‌ ‌friends‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌college‌ ‌students‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌met‌ ‌while‌ ‌doing‌ ‌PSEO.‌ ‌‌

What‌ ‌person‌ ‌has‌ ‌influenced‌ ‌you‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌in‌ ‌life?‌ ‌My‌ ‌mom‌ ‌and‌ ‌now‌ ‌the‌ ‌memory‌ ‌of‌ ‌her.‌ ‌Everything‌ ‌I‌ ‌do,‌ ‌I‌ ‌think‌ ‌about‌ ‌what‌ ‌she‌ ‌would‌ ‌say.‌ ‌Every‌ ‌decision‌ ‌I‌ ‌make‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌try‌ ‌to‌ ‌make‌ ‌her‌ proud.‌ ‌Even‌ ‌though‌ ‌she’s‌ ‌gone‌ ‌I‌ ‌know‌ ‌that‌ ‌she‌ ‌would‌ ‌be‌ ‌the‌ ‌one‌ ‌pushing‌ ‌me‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌better‌ ‌and‌ ‌do‌ ‌things‌ ‌that‌ ‌are‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌comfort‌ ‌zone‌ ‌and‌ ‌that‌ ‌will‌ ‌make‌ ‌me‌ ‌better‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌person.‌

Maddie and her mom

Maddie and her mom

‌‌Where‌ ‌do‌ ‌you‌ ‌see‌ ‌yourself‌ ‌in‌ ‌20‌ ‌years?‌
I’ll‌ ‌finally‌ ‌be‌ ‌done‌ ‌with‌ ‌school‌ ‌and‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌great‌ ‌career‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌love,‌ ‌not‌ ‌just‌ ‌a‌ ‌job‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌by.‌ ‌I’ll‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌house‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌city‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌love‌ ‌and‌ ‌have‌ ‌great‌ ‌friends‌ ‌that‌ ‌support‌ ‌me.‌‌

One‌ ‌word‌ ‌that‌ ‌describes‌ ‌your‌ ‌experience‌ ‌at‌ ‌DCTC:‌



‌Maddie Maas 12‌ ‌Answers‌


  1. Favorite‌ ‌sport‌ ‌or‌ ‌physical‌ ‌activity:‌ ‌To‌ ‌watch‌: football; ‌to‌ ‌do‌: volleyball‌ ‌
  2. Place‌ ‌you‌ ‌would‌ ‌most‌ ‌like‌ ‌to‌ ‌visit:‌ ‌All‌ ‌of‌ ‌Europe‌
  3. The‌ ‌most‌ ‌exciting‌ ‌thing‌ ‌you’ve‌ ‌ever‌ ‌done:‌ ‌Move‌ ‌to‌ ‌Florida‌
  4. Three‌ ‌things‌ ‌you‌ ‌would‌ ‌do‌ ‌if‌ ‌you‌ ‌won‌ ‌a‌ ‌$1‌ ‌billion‌ ‌lottery:‌ ‌1) Go‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌great‌ ‌school‌ ‌and‌ ‌get‌ multiple‌ ‌degrees‌ ‌and‌ ‌not‌ ‌be‌ ‌in‌ ‌debt‌ ‌for‌ ‌it 2) Buy‌ ‌myself‌ ‌and‌ ‌my‌ ‌dad‌ ‌houses 3) Invest‌ ‌the‌ rest
  5. Favorite‌ ‌TV‌ ‌show‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌watching‌ ‌now:‌ ‌One‌ ‌Tree‌ ‌Hill‌ ‌
  6. Best‌ ‌movie‌ ‌you’ve‌ ‌seen‌ ‌lately:‌ ‌The‌ ‌Matrix‌ ‌
  7. One‌ ‌thing‌ ‌you‌ ‌most‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌accomplish‌ ‌in‌ ‌life:‌ ‌Get‌ ‌a‌ ‌doctorate‌ ‌degree‌ ‌
  8. Your‌ ‌national‌ ‌bird‌ ‌if‌ ‌you‌ ‌were‌ ‌your‌ ‌own‌ ‌country:‌ ‌Still‌ ‌the‌ ‌bald‌ ‌eagle—I‌ ‌love‌ ‌it‌.
  9. Dream‌ ‌occupation:‌ ‌Astronaut‌ ‌
  10. Person‌ ‌you‌ ‌would‌ ‌most‌ ‌like‌ ‌to‌ ‌meet:‌ ‌Keanu‌ ‌Reeves‌ ‌
  11. Skill‌ ‌you‌ ‌would‌ ‌most‌ ‌like‌ ‌to‌ ‌learn‌ ‌and‌ ‌master:‌ ‌Ninja
  12. Most‌ ‌important‌ ‌issue‌ ‌or‌ ‌problem‌ ‌facing‌ ‌humankind:‌ ‌Everyone‌ ‌always‌ ‌finds‌ ‌reasons‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌mad‌ ‌at‌ ‌each‌ ‌other‌ ‌or‌ ‌bring‌ ‌each‌ ‌other‌ ‌down; everyone‌ ‌needs‌ ‌to‌ ‌chill‌ ‌out‌ ‌and‌ ‌focus‌ ‌on‌ ‌better‌ ‌things‌ ‌like‌ ‌being‌ ‌successful‌ ‌and‌ ‌being‌ ‌nice‌ ‌and‌ ‌having‌ ‌friends‌ ‌and‌ ‌learning‌ ‌as‌ much‌ ‌as‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌to‌ ‌better‌ ‌ourselves‌ ‌and‌ ‌our‌ ‌world.‌
Learn more about PSEO at DCTC by contacting:

Natalie Shrestha
Academic and Financial Aid Advisor