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Faculty and students from Black Hills State University’s Integrative Genomics program recently presented their research at the 10th annual Ecological Genomics symposium in Kansas City, Mo. Jake Alsdurf, graduate student, and Tayler Ripley,junior biology major, presented their work on drought-induced transgenerational effects in plants.

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Helen Merriman,director of the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) at Black Hills State University, was among 29 community members and business leaders recently selected to serve as honorary commanders for the 28thBomb Wing at the Ellsworth Air Force Base.

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Elise Foltz has always liked working with numbers, but it wasn’t until she took her first accounting class at Black Hills State University did she realize where her true career path lay.

Now, thanks to a $6,800 scholarship from the South Dakota Certified Public Accountant Society(SD CPA) Foltz is in her final year and will graduate from the professional accountancy program in May.


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Black Hills State University faculty and staff are transforming lives and making headlines with their achievements.

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Katie Anderson, South Dakota Teacher of the Year, had surprise guests in her East Middle School 8th grade science class yesterday. “Sting” the Black Hills State University mascot and Tom Wheaton, director of Alumni Relations, showed up to present Anderson, a BHSU alumna, with a congratulations gift for her achievement.

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Amy Varland‘s resume is a colorful one. She’s been a tour guide at Walt Disney World, a travel agent, a television production assistant, a golf course manager; she’s a licensed bail bond agent and certified to officiate wedding ceremonies. In May, the Black Hills State University student found her true calling.

Varland, a Mass Communication major with a Spanish minor, took the advice of her college professor, Dr. Mary Caton-Rosser, and applied for a summer internship with South Dakota Public Broadcasting.  Now, several months later, Varland is still with SDPB working part time from a little makeshift recording studio from the living room of her Lead home.


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The garden located at the southwest corner of Black Hills State University’s Life Sciences Laboratory is different from others in the area.  BHSU professors Dr. Ben VanEe and Dr. Dan Asunskis hope that will change. The two science professors worked throughout the summer developing a native plant ethnobotanical garden on campus. Native plant landscaping, including Buffalo grass, is a part of the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) for the University’s new Life Sciences Laboratory which opened in February. The David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union is also a LEED certified building. Both buildings are part of BHSU’s commitment to sustainability.

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For Black Hills State University photography student Rianna Hotz, her print “Domiciliary Stairwell” holds special meaning and now has received international recognition. Taken at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Hot Springs,it depicts a stairwell hidden away from the busyness of the medical center’s daily routine.

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When Newley Kartak first got the message from an editor at Cosmopolitan that he was a finalist for the fashion magazine’s 2012 Bachelor of the Year, he thought it was a prank.
Only after realizing it was a New York number did the reality set in, he said. Cosmo recently released its Bachelor of the Year 2012 finalists, one from each state, with Kartak, a BHSU admissions counselor, voted as South Dakota’s bachelor of the year.

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Black Hills State University will host its sixth annual Art Fair Wednesday, Oct. 10 and Thursday, Oct. 11 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the David B. Miller...

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Dr. Symeon Waseen, Black Hills State University music professor, will perform one of his personal compositions with American pianist Stephen Swedish during a recital Saturday in the Clare and Josef Meier Recital Hall. The program, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will include Schubert’s “Trout Quintet” with string players from the Black Hills region, along with selections including Debussy’s L’isle joyeuse and Dialogues written by Waseen.

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BHSU student photographer in the Black HillsPhotographers from all over the country will soon converge on the Black Hills State University campus to hone their skills and showcase the beauty of the Black Hills as their subject. The third annual Black Hills Photo Shootout will be held from Sept. 28-30 at BHSU and throughout the region. The event showcases the natural beauty of South Dakota along with the photography expertise of highly respected professional photographers.

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Black Hills State University will host the sixth annual American Indian College Scholarship Gala Saturday, Oct. 13 in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Jacket Legacy Room. The event kicks off with a reception at 6 p.m. and a dinner at 7 p.m.

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Black Hills State University will welcome American pianist Stephen Swedish to campus Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.. Swedish, along with Symeon Waseen, BHSU assistant professor of music, and area string players, will present a recital in the Clare and Josef Meier Recital Hall.

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The Music Program at Black Hills State University will present a brass recital by Christopher Hahn, BHSU instructor of music, Sunday, Sept. 30 at 2:30 p.m. in the Clare and Josef Meier Recital Hall. Hahn will be joined by Dr. Jonathan Nero, assistant professor of music, and the Black Hills Brass.

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Black Hills State University faculty, staff, and students are transforming lives and making headlines with their achievements. See what BHSU is in the news for lately. Email CampusCurrents@bhsu.edu or call 605.642.6215 to share your news item.