From the campus in Spearfish to the rural reaches of Africa, Black Hills State University student Kate Woten is known for making significant contributions to her community. Woten received the prestigious “Spirit of BH” award at the Student Volunteer Awards Celebration held recently.
Each year, one Black Hills State University student is recognized with the Spirit of BH, an award honoring a member of the student body who continually goes beyond the required and finds time in their busy schedule to give unselfishly of themselves.
Woten, a public accountancy major from Potter, Neb., graduated in May. She is currently working with Xanterra at Crater Lake National Park as a cash auditor for the hospitality company.
While at BHSU, Woten maintained a 3.8 GPA and graduated as an International University Scholar. Woten completed the rigorous University Honors Program along with a significant international learning experience to earn this distinction.
She says BHSU offered her many inspiring learning opportunities. But when asked to pick her most meaningful experience in college, Woten points to her final project for the Honors Program – a financial literacy project for Zambian farmers.
“I was able to marry my education with a project close to my heart in creating a financial literacy curriculum for BeeSweet honey farmers,” said Woten.
BeeSweet is a premiere producer and supplier of 100 percent pure honey in Zambia, Africa. The organization partners with over 12,000 families in Zambia who maintain the hives – creating economic opportunities while taking care of the environment by instituting processes that save trees and bees.
For the past two years, Woten has served as President of Enactus, a student group that inspires entrepreneurial action to benefit the global world. Woten was the BeeSweet project manager.
She was selected to present her research at the Botho University International Conference (BUIC) last November in Botswana, Africa. Following the conference she stayed for a 10-day service learning program at a local high school, working with secondary students on social issues affecting them such as bullying and peer pressure.
“At BHSU, ‘anything is possible’ because through the programs available, I had the opportunity to travel to many fascinating places for academic reasons. During my four years in college, I saw most of 12 different states in the U.S. and travelled abroad for the first time,” said Woten.
Closer to home, Woten also assisted Refuse Solutions Inc., a recycling business in Belle Fourche, to help expand their customer base through Enactus.
Woten wears many hats for the University Honors Program, serving as a social and academic mentor for incoming students, a tutor in many subject areas, and a recruiter.
As President of the Honors Club she helped create a student organization that hosts blood drives, produces a masquerade fundraiser each fall for the West River Spay/Neuter Coalition, offers “Shelter Saturdays” every other weekend at the no-kill animal shelter, and runs the BH Student Pantry for students and students’ families in need.
Working with a variety of departments on campus including The Writing Center and Athletics taught Woten many valuable lessons.
“I had the chance to work with so many amazing people at BHSU,” said Woten. “The impact these students, professors, and community members had on my life was tremendous and I will be forever grateful to them for the education and values I gained.”
The Spirit of BH Award is sponsored by the BHSU Alumni Association.