BHSU is now home to the South Dakota GEAR UP Program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. (GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program.) The fact that this grant was awarded to BH is a credit to the university as a whole and particularly to the work of Dr. Urla Marcus, Director of the Center for American Indian Studies, and Dr. June Apaza, Director of CAMSE and Education and Outreach for SURF. Together they are overseeing this work.
Read more about the GEAR UP Program.
BHSU is honored to have the new GEAR UP staff members working with us. Their office is Jonas 103.
Project Manager, Dr. Peg Diekhoff, brings 28 years of public education experience to the position. She has served as a teacher, coach and administrator for the Todd County School District on the Rosebud Reservation in south central South Dakota. As an administrator, Peg worked with middle school, high school and alternative students and their families.
Murray Lee, a graduate of Black Hills State University, brings a variety of experiences to the SD GEAR UP Program from his prior positions in both business and education. Recently, Murray worked with National Relief Charities specializing in supporting Native American youth in their quest to seek and maintain college scholarships. Murray is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe.
Damon Leader Charge, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, serves as GEAR UP’s Statewide Coordinator for the Academic School Year. Damon earned a double major at USD and received several academic honors during his collegiate career. His education, along with his experiences as an outreach/cultural consultant and experience with the GEAR UP Program make Damon a strong asset to the program.
Mike Erz, a graduate of Truman State University, will serve as the Regional Coordinator for BHSU. Mike’s past experience with overseeing the academic portion and coordinating the summer portions of Upward Bound Programs, coupled with his experiences working with students and families, bring strength to the SD GEAR UP.