Lynnette Steyn, pictured here with her family, (l-r) Dawson, Cliffy and Caden, is going to the University of North Dakota to get a degree in Civil Engineering and also working at Foxy Roxy’s Diner. Steyn will receive her degree May 13, 2017.
By Linda Andersen
“May 13th is the day,” says Lynnette Steyn of the time in the near future when she’ll receive her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of North Dakota. The feat will be particularly significant not only because the degree is in an area dominated by males, but also because she’s worked at it for many years while rearing a family and working long hours at Foxy Roxy’s Diner.
Steyn, a 2008 Tri-County high school graduate, started classes on campus at the University of North Dakota in the fall of 2008. “I’m a math person,” she explains, adding “I started my first semester pre-med and I knew that wasn’t for me so I decided to switch.”
“It seemed like an interesting field,” she says of civil engineering, “I like to challenge myself, I guess.”
“I never took a break,” she says as she explains that she spent her first two years on campus. Two days after finals of the second year, her first child was born and that required a change in method of attending college. She has since taken two classes a semester online. She says lectures are recorded on campus which she is able to view on her computer. For tests, she sees a proctor at the Lancaster School.
Like all students, Steyn has her favorite and least favorite classes. “Hydraulics” and “fluid mechanics” make the least favorite list, while “transportation engineering,” “surveying,” and “senior design,” are favorites. For the senior design class she is working online with a group of five students from various states to design a bridge foundation.
“I have worked two summers with the Kittson County Highway Department for my internship,” she explains. “We rebuilt a road. It was pretty interesting seeing it start to finish.”
Married to Cliffy Steyn and the mother of Caden (6) and Dawson (3), she admits that juggling all of her areas of responsibility has been “tough.”
“Family does come first, I do depend on my husband,” she says, adding that she tries to study when Cliffy is home to watch the children.
Though busy, Steyn has made time for fun. “My husband and I like to go to music concerts,” she says. She has also taken sign painting classes from Hayley Coffield and Mary Olson.
“I make it work,” she comments as she explains that she often works “forty to forty-five, sometimes more” hours a week at the diner. “I love being around people,” she says, adding that she enjoys “repeat” customers who become “like family.” Since she owns the restaurant with her mother, Roxy Kulyk, Steyn is sure to keep some ties with the establishment.
She has no plans to leave the area to find an engineering position, though she says she’s willing to drive “one hour away.” She’s happy in the Lancaster area, saying that it’s “cheap to live here” and a “good place to raise a family.”
“My goal is to work with either the county highway department or with the Minnesota Department of Transportation… My em-phasis is road construction and bridge design.”
And, she has another long-term goal – she’d like to be a county engineer, though she admits it’s “Something I’m not going to get right away.”