The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted Marissa Ouverson’s time at college, nevertheless it additionally gave her the chance to develop into the primary girl to develop 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 girl 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 all the pieces Ouverson has carried out since then, was the end result of months on the street made doable by distance studying and has helped many individuals address the psychological well being challenges confronted in the course of the pandemic.
Ouverson, who majored in psychology, stated she got here to varsity figuring out she wished to go to counseling particularly about suicide — she’s had buddies in her life who struggled with psychological well being, and he or she desires to serve youth and maybe veterans.
Individuals ask him what he will do after school they usually inform them, “It is one thing that’s completely wanted as we speak, particularly after COVID.”
“This has at all times been wanted and there aren’t sufficient folks on this area. All of us make a distinction, however I really feel like if there have been a lot extra, it might be an enormous distinction,” he stated.
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‘With the ability to prepare dinner allowed me to have an outlet.’
Ouverson had not been grilling competitively earlier than the pandemic, however his father and brother had carried out it on the barbecue and he favored to be concerned in it.
When the epidemic got here, he hit the street along 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 street had its advantages and challenges. Ouverson stated taking exams is a wrestle, particularly given the generally 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 aspect of the street to complete him off.
Regardless of that, “I at all times did so much. Typically we might be within the automobile for six, eight, 10, 12 hours. I had numerous time to try this and so it wasn’t actually arduous. It was simply getting in your head that you simply needed to sit within the automobile and do homework on a regular basis.”
Again in lessons that appeared pre-pandemic, she stated it was simpler to sit down within the room and focus on her work.
“With the ability to prepare dinner allowed me to have an outlet. I did not have to remain in a single place,” Ouverson stated. When it was secure 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 prepare 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 hen 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 stated that there have been many individuals who stated they have 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 glad and blessed to have the ability to do this and be the one who helped them,” she stated.
Ouverson stated he additionally desires to speculate the prize cash in beginning a corporation to encourage youngsters to prepare dinner.
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Being a world-champion griller comes with sure expectations from folks – being the one who cooks at events and tailgates.
“I giggle on a regular basis. It makes me chortle,” she stated in regards to the duty she’s taking up—and generally she’s simply ending cooking. She and her boyfriend not too long ago 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 residence 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 desires girls, and particularly younger girls, to know that they will do what she does.
She stated she obtained right into a sport with males of all ages, however not so 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 most important and most shocking factor for me to suppose that I’m the primary girl to do that. Many women, girls and even males are conscious of this and are very pleased with me,” she stated.
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Phillip Sitter covers schooling for the Ames Tribune, together with Iowa State College and PreK-12 faculties in Ames and Story County. Phillip might be reached through e-mail at email@example.com. @pslifeisabeauty on Twitter.