Students are at the center of hands-on learning at NDSU. These are just a few examples from current students’ experiences.



Isaac Sawchuk didn’t dream of moving away from home, graduating college and starting a career. 他忙着为自己的生命而战.

Despite the odds stacked against him due to a lifelong, 危及生命的心脏病, Sawchuk recently walked across the stage of Sanford Health Athletic Complex, shook NDSU President David Cook’s hand and took possession of his bachelor’s degree in management information systems. It was the culmination of years of hospital stays, 治疗, 努力工作, commitment and dedication to a goal some thought might be impossible. 就连Sawchuk也有疑虑.

“I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to do it,” said Sawchuk, who is from Fargo.  

At the age of 12, a virus attacked Sawchuk’s heart. 他在医院里住了两年. Doctors didn’t think he would make it to high school.  

就在他15岁生日的前一天, Sawchuk had open heart surgery to remove the lining that surrounds his heart. 手术后六个月, the Make-A-Wish Foundation sent Sawchuk and his family to Los Angeles, 去加州见漫威漫画创始人斯坦·李, 《乐虎电子》女演员凯莉·费雪, 托德·麦克法兰, best known as the artist on “The Amazing Spider-Man,和吉姆·李, 总统, DC漫画的出版商和首席创意官, 和其他著名的漫画家一起.  

“What was so wonderful is that it started to get me to dream and to think of things that there was something I wanted to get healthy for,Sawchuk说. “It also gave me really nice memories to look back on because that whole time period was mainly filled with not-so-nice memories.”

Sawchuk说他一直都很喜欢超级英雄, 尤其是《乐虎电子》, for their physical anomalies and how they overcome any challenges that come their way.


因为病毒的影响, Sawchuk was diagnosed with severe Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, an abnormal response by the autonomic nervous system that causes symptoms like fainting, 心脏跳动, 恶心和持续疼痛.

上大学是Sawchuk的一个希望, who said he received helpful tools from the Mayo Clinic in order to graduate high school.

“Once I was about halfway through high school I figured, 你知道, 我能做到, 我可能还能上大学,他说.  

Sawchuk chose NDSU because he was a Bison sports fan and he had cousins and a brother who attended the university.

“It’s a great school and I also liked the idea of being close to home,他说.

NDSU’s Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources helped advocate for Sawchuk to be able to take his classes online due to the physical affects POTS has on him.

“The biggest challenges were the physical challenges. A big reason I couldn’t be there in class was I have blood pooling that anytime I’m sitting, 站立或行走, the blood’s pooling and that escalates all other symptoms, 的痛苦, 恶心想吐。, 脑雾. 所以起床去上课, I ended up spending more time just trying to make it through the class than actually learning anything,他说.

There were times when Sawchuk thought about quitting.

“Probably some of the best advice I ever received was from my sister, and she said ‘college is a constant battle not to drop out.“这真的很难,”Sawchuk说. “I just really felt like this is the thing I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to finish it and this is the path in front of me. 我真的觉得我需要完成它.”

通过他在NDSU的时间, Sawchuk is thankful for the staff and professors who have helped him along the way, 包括克劳迪娅·西蒙, a former disability specialist with the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources. 另外, Sawchuk的父母说, 嘉娜和泰德, and God helped him push forward to get his degree.

Being able to walk across the stage at the commencement ceremony was special for Sawchuk and his family.

“We never thought he’d get there so it’s such a big deal,” Jana Sawchuk said. “Everyone was in the stadium cheering their graduate on, and when Isaac went across the stage we cheered and thought, 'no one knows what that guy went through to graduate.’ And at one time the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources told us that no one with severe POTS like he has, they said we don’t know of anyone that’s graduated with it because they said they all quit. 我们知道这是件大事. 这很情绪化.”

Sawchuk said he can feel the pride from his family who got to watch him graduate with a 4.0的绩点.

“我们真的为他感到骄傲. He persevered and he stuck to it and he got it done,” said Ted Sawchuk.

现在他已经毕业了, Sawchuk is starting an IT job with Maas Energy Works, 雷丁的一家可再生能源公司, 加州. 他很兴奋能开启人生的新篇章.

And he’s convinced he can now accomplish anything.

“It was a miracle that I made it to high school and I graduated high school,他说. “I knew every time I finished a semester in college, I was breaking ground and doing things that probably no one else had done before. I was the first in my high school to graduate with POTS and I don’t know how many POTS graduates there are at NDSU, 但它可能很小.”








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