MSU BILLINGS NEWS—Annika Bennion is a dual enrollment student from Sidney, Montana who is completing a health administration degree at Montana State University Billings through the University Connections program.
Bennion has been taking online classes as a high school student, alongside current university students, through the University Connections program at MSUB. She is considered a junior at MSUB with 66 completed credits towards a bachelor’s degree, while at the same time finishing her senior year of high school. She is on the MSUB honor roll.
Bennion has always been intrigued by health and wellness as the observation of her father’s occupation, surgeon, sparked her interest in the field. When she was 14, she was already taking advanced courses online through John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and Keystone Online High School.
It was suggested that she enroll for dual-credit courses through a university to begin pursuing a college degree. MSUB offers a fully online Health Administration degree, which was necessary as Bennion lives in rural Montana.
“I am grateful for having the opportunity to be an MSUB connection student,” Bennion said.
While taking online college and high school courses, Bennion is simultaneously involved in several other activities and is an outstanding member of her community. Most recently, Bennion created “Nicoteen America” which is an anti-vape campaign designed to help educate and discourage teenage nicotine use. She has given anti-vaping presentations to over 600 students and plans to continue once health guidelines allow. This summer, she was crowned Miss Montana’s Outstanding Teen 2021; a well-deserved title that gives nod to her perseverance, natural talent, and gifted ability to communicate the issues that are important to her.
An avid violinist, she has attended both the Berklee School of Music and Curtis School of Music summer programs. In 2019, she was a page for Montana Legislature where she played two fiddle pieces for the Senate. She is currently the reigning Montana State fiddle champion. In addition, Bennion is a youth advocate and was a cultural delegate to the 2019 United Nations Youth Assembly. The year prior, she created a Boys and Girls Club reading program.
After high school graduation, Bennion plans to continue her education through MSUB to finish her bachelor’s degree and to pursue an online master’s degree in Health Administration.
Bennion believes that this program (university connections) is discouraging the exportation of Montana students and is opening the path for a strong economic future. She is a shining example of how high school students can leverage their learning and enter college credits-ahead.
Dual-enrollment and University Connections are two options available to current Montana high school students. To find out more visit https://msubillings.edu/connections/