The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted Marissa Ouverson’s time at college, nevertheless it additionally gave her the chance to change into the primary lady to change into a world champion in steak grilling, whereas additionally underscoring the significance of her chosen profession path in psychological well being.
Ouverson, who graduated from Kansas Metropolis and Iowa State College this weekend, grew to become the 2020 Steak Cookoff Affiliation world champion, the primary lady and the youngest particular person to take action.
The 2020 competitors was held in March 2021 when he acquired his $10,000 prize.
That victory, and every part Ouverson has finished since then, was the fruits of months on the highway made doable by distance studying and has helped many individuals deal with the psychological well being challenges confronted through the pandemic.
Ouverson, who majored in psychology, mentioned she got here to school understanding she needed to go to counseling particularly about suicide — she’s had buddies in her life who struggled with psychological well being, and he or she needs to serve youth and maybe veterans.
Individuals ask him what he’ll do after faculty, and so they inform them, “It is one thing that’s completely wanted at present, particularly after COVID.”
“This has all the time been wanted and there aren’t sufficient individuals on this area. All of us make a distinction, however I really feel like if there have been a lot extra, it could possibly be an enormous distinction,” he mentioned.
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‘Having the ability to cook dinner allowed me to have an outlet.’
Ouverson had not been grilling competitively earlier than the pandemic, however his father and brother had finished it on the barbecue and he loved being concerned in it.
When the epidemic got here, he hit the highway together with his household. Distance studying and her mom’s being a flight attendant (she took months off from work) allowed Ouverson to proceed her research on-line whereas competing in grid competitions when she restarted — 54 competitions throughout 12 states in a single yr, in accordance with a video made by the college about her story.
Studying on the highway had its advantages and challenges. Ouverson mentioned taking exams is a wrestle, particularly given the typically restricted web entry. He as soon as misplaced all contact whereas taking an examination in Arkansas. His mom was driving, and as quickly because the shuttle arrived, they pulled over to the facet of the highway to complete him off.
Regardless of that, “I all the time did quite a bit. Generally we would be within the automotive for six, eight, 10, 12 hours. I had plenty of time to do this and so it wasn’t actually exhausting. It was simply getting in your head that you just needed to sit within the automotive and do homework on a regular basis.”
Again in courses that appeared pre-pandemic, she mentioned it was simpler to take a seat within the room and focus on her work.
“Having the ability to cook dinner allowed me to have an outlet. I did not have to remain in a single place,” Ouverson mentioned. When it was protected to take action, she nonetheless wanted to exit and do one thing that relieved her stress.
“I really feel like I’d have struggled much more after the pandemic if it weren’t for with the ability to cook dinner, be exterior and be with buddies.”
He invested a few of his prize cash into a web based cooking class with how-to recommendation for ribeye steaks and rooster avenue tacos.
He’s happy with the quantity of people that share their expertise with the category that has made them extra snug cooking. He mentioned that there have been many individuals who mentioned they had been cooking for the primary time and who acquired awards with the assistance of his class.
“The truth that they’re so grateful, grateful to me, makes me really feel so blissful and blessed to have the ability to do this and be the particular person to assist them,” she mentioned.
Ouverson mentioned he additionally needs to take a position the prize cash in beginning a corporation to encourage children to cook dinner.
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Being a world-champion griller comes with sure expectations from individuals – being the one who cooks at events and tailgates.
“I am laughing on a regular basis. It makes me chuckle,” she mentioned concerning the duty she’s taking up – and he or she typically finishes cooking. She and her boyfriend lately went to her uncle’s home for a household dinner, and “and we lastly cooked all of the meat, as a result of he additionally competes in steak competitions.”
Ouverson likes his steaks at house medium uncommon, undoubtedly with extra pink than the competitors requires. It is also for spices and seasonings. “For competitors steak, I am buttering it up.”
Above all, she needs girls, and particularly younger girls, to know that they’ll do what she does.
She mentioned she obtained right into a sport with males of all ages, however not that many ladies or women – possibly solely 4 or 5, together with herself, when she began, however that is already beginning to change.
“It is the largest and most shocking factor for me to assume that I’m the primary lady to do that. Many women, girls and even males are conscious of this and are very pleased with me,” she mentioned.
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Phillip Sitter covers training for the Ames Tribune, together with Iowa State College and PreK-12 faculties in Ames and Story County. Phillip might be reached by way of e-mail at email@example.com. @pslifeisabeauty on Twitter.