Meet your R&Rs!

R&R stands for Retention and Recruitment Specialist. Each College at Black Hills State University has a R&R, and they are your go-to for questions about classes to take and tips on how to succeed in college. The R&Rs are here to help you. Contact them to check if you’re on track to graduate, have questions about careers or majors, or need help with class registration.

Check out this Q&A with each of our R&Rs at BHSU

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Dana Weber
R&R for the College of Business and Natural Sciences

Email: Dana.Weber@BHSU.edu
Phone: (605) 642-6277
Office: Meier Hall 329


Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I love living in the Black Hills.  My family and I spend as much time as possible hiking, canoeing, and hanging our hammocks in Spearfish Canyon.  My son, Rylund, is active in Taekwondo so we travel a fair amount for his tournaments.  When home, I enjoy baking, doing craft projects, working in the yard and garden, meditating, and watching reality TV shows.  

Q: What is your academic background?
A: I was born and raised in Pierre, S.D., graduating from TF Riggs High.  I attended SDSU my first year as a business major, then transferred to BHSU my sophomore year.  In 2002, I graduated with a double major in Sociology and Human Services.  I spent 12 years working in the Human Service field, providing service coordination for adults with developmental disabilities.  While I absolutely loved the work, I decided it was time for something new and transitioned to BHSU.  Working in higher education has been a wonderful change, and my role as an R&R allows me to still have the "helping hand" piece I so loved from service coordination. 

Q: What is your favorite memory from college?
A: I transferred from SDSU following my freshman year.  The University was quite a bit bigger than BHSU, therefore class sizes were a lot larger.  Within the first two weeks of class at BH, my professors were calling me by name.   It made me feel like it really mattered if I was there, that I was noticed, and that I was valued.  Moving away from most of my high school friends, to a University where I had only one other friend, was the greatest move I could have ever made in terms of personal growth. 

Q: Tell me about your family?
A: My husband, Alex, and I have been married for 13 years.  Our only son, Rylund, is 10 years old.  We share our home with our lab, Drake, and two cats, Oliver and Finn.  I'm the oldest of 3 girls.  My two younger sisters, Toni and Chelsey, live in Tea, SD.  I have two nieces and a nephew there as well, and love any opportunity I have to spend time with them.  My parents were very young when their family began, and neither attended college.  I was a first generation college student, and that experience gives me added insight when working with students at BHSU.

Q: What is one habit you’ve seen college students use to be successful?
A: Communication with faculty is key.  Students are hesitant in the beginning to share struggles with their professors, but an open line of communication with them raises a student's odds of succeeding exponentially!  In my experience, faculty are understanding, caring & rooting for the student to succeed.  Also, something as simple as checking their email.  It seems like an obvious habit, but many do not.  A student is missing A LOT of important dialogue when they're not checking their email. 

Q: How do you define your role as an R&R?
A: I would define my role as an R&R as a mentor, an advocate, a listening ear, an academic liaison, an inspirational leader, and much more.  We work with students on a number of academic issues (registration, career development, probationary terms, skill building, etc.), but even more importantly, I find my role encompassing guidance through life obstacles while trying to maintain balance in school. 

Q: What is a little known fact or gem about the College of Business and Natural Sciences?
A: I find the work environment to be supportive and collaborative, which one will learn through years of work experience, does not exist everywhere you work.  A neat fact - Dr. Dan Durben, our physics professor, is an Olympian rifle shooter!  In addition, the School of Natural Science has some amazing opportunities available at the Sanford Underground Mine, where they compete globally in dark matter and neutrino research. 

Janette Hettick
R&R for the College of Liberal Arts

Email: Janette.Hettick@BHSU.edu
Phone: (605) 642-6934
Office: Jonas Hall 108C


Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I love being outside and have taken some sweet backpacking trips in the Grand Canyon and Wind Rivers. I also enjoy reading, dogs, taking photos, being present with friends, singing in the car, and listening to NPR and all types of music. I strongly believe that serving others through community involvement and connection is a vital and beautiful part of a purposeful life, so I have been involved with the Spearfish Optimists and spent 14 years on the Spearfish Volunteer Fire Department.

Q: Tell me about an experience that changed your life.
A: In 2009 I had the opportunity to spend a month volunteering in a medical clinic in Tanzania, Africa. Besides the very interesting nature of the work, learning about and having to navigate within a culture and language completely different from my own was a beautiful and humbling experience. One day at the clinic, the power went out during the middle of a surgery. I was quickly recruited from observer to assistant, pumping a manual suction device with a foot pump and emptying it when full. I fell in love with the laid-back culture and wonderful people I met and came away with a keen sense of gratitude for many things. When is the last time you thought about how amazing our sewers are?

Q: What is your academic background?
A: I received my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with emphases in public relations, photography, and telecommunications and a minor in speech from Black Hills State in 2006. Immediately after graduation, I worked for AmeriCorps*VISTA for a year, an experience I recommend! I then worked in higher education and nonprofits for a number of years before starting this position. I went back to school in 2016 to pursue a master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis in student affairs administration; I will graduate in April!

Q: Tell me about your family.
A: I grew up in a tiny town east river called Roscoe and that is where my parents, a contractor/lumberyard owner and a nurse, still reside. I have three younger brothers who were obnoxious growing up but turned out okay, and the world’s greatest nephew, who is six. I still have three living grandparents, which is amazing. I recently lost my amazing adventure buddy, Zoe, who I was lucky to have in my life for twelve and a half years; she was the first BHSU residence hall dog ever!

Q: What is one habit you’ve seen college students use to be successful?
A: The successful students I see identify all resources available to them and use those resources well. These students take ownership in their studies, but when they have a question or get in a bind they call or talk to an appropriate person. You do not have to do this alone. Additionally, learning to strike a balance between all the “stuff” in life – academics, job, orgs and activities, family, friends and social life, etc. – is vital not only here but in life after college. And having a positive attitude is always helpful.

Q: How do you define your role as an R&R?
A: I am here to serve students and to help faculty serve students. Helping with academics is part of the role but it’s also about assisting with a lot of “life stuff.” I aim to help students know and express their true selves and to find and work toward their sense of purpose. I also see myself as an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. I really love empowering students and watching them grow.

Q: What is a little known fact or gem about the College of Liberal Arts?
A: We are lucky to have such a diverse and interesting group of faculty and staff working for the College of Liberal Arts. I think the best view on campus is from one of the art classrooms on the third floor of Woodburn Hall.

Clarissa Thompson
R&R for Academic Affairs

Email: Clarissa.Thompson@BHSU.edu
Phone: (605) 642-6270
Office: Jonas, Office 121


Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I am a Certified Yoga Teacher and have been teaching for 6+ years. I love to teach and lead international Yoga Retreats too! I also enjoy hiking, my husband and my pup and I love to get outside as much as possible.

Q: Tell me about an experience that changed your life personally
A: I traveled alone to India to study at a Yoga institute for a whole month back in 2015 and that entire experience changed the course of my life. The experience was challenging but helped me really make a decision about who I want to be in my life.

Q: What is your academic background?
A: I’m from Sioux Falls, born and raised and attended Augustana University for my bachelor’s degree graduating in 2009. I majored in Government and minored in History and English. I went on to Eastern Illinois University where I obtained a master’s degree in Historical Administration in 2013. I have also been through 2 Yoga Teacher Trainings and am a certified 500 Hour teacher.

Q: What is your favorite memory from college?
A: I spent my January term traveling in London and Ireland with a class from college learning about the troubles and seeing first-hand the effects of the violence. The experience itself was amazing, but it was my first international trip without my family and really kick-started my love for travel.

Q: Tell me about your family.
A: I have been married for 3 years to my best friend Wade, we met in grad school and we have a pup, Inkling we adopted just under a year ago. She is 1 year and 3 months and a bundle of energy! She is a mix of a Blue Heeler, Boston Terrier and Border Collie and keeps us on our toes!

Q: How do you define your role as an R&R?
A: I am the Starfish Administrator, Dual Credit Advisor and Career Development Specialist.

Q: What is one habit you’ve seen college students use to be successful?
A: Mindfulness is a great resource for anyone but especially college students and is a such a great way to release stress, anxiety and tension. Coupled with a physical yoga or other activity these are great tools to use to be successful.

Melissa Woodall
R&R for the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Email: Melissa.Woodall@BHSU.edu
Phone: (605) 642-6132
Office: Jonas Skywalk 202


Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Spending time with my family, watching Fantasy Fiction (The 100, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park), decorating Jonas Skywalk for the BHSU students.

Q: Tell me about an experience that changed your life?
A: Moving to South Dakota from Georgia changed my personal and professional life. I finally feel like I belong. Thank you Tony and Betsy Silva, associate professor of education, for helping me start my journey.

Q: What is your academic background?
A: I graduated from Black Hills State University, Class of 2010, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Economics/Finance and Management.

Q: What is your favorite memory from college?
A: My favorite memory from college is the MANY group study sessions in the library for Intermediate Economic.

Q: Tell me about your family.
A: I’ve been married for 30 years with 2 beautiful daughters, 1 handsome son and a gorgeous granddaughter.

Q: What is one habit you’ve seen college students use to be successful?
A: Attend class, sit in the front, participate, and get to know your professors.

Q: How do you define your role as an R&R?
A: My role as an R&R is to make all students, faculty and staff feel welcome and have as smooth and enjoyable experience as possible.

Q: What is a little known fact or gem about the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences?
A: The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is a home with a fabulous family.