Volume XXVI  No. 20 • May 17, 2002

Submit items to Campus Currents - Top

The Campus Currents is distributed every Friday. To submit an item send it to Campus Currents, Unit 9512 or by e-mail to Campus Currents. Deadline is Thursday at 8 a.m.

Transfer  - Top

Karen Sorenson from cashier in the Business Office to office supervisor in the Records Office.

BHSU student senate selects outstanding students, staff and faculty - Top

The Black Hills State University student senate recently selected two outstanding students, an outstanding staff member and an outstanding faculty member for recognition during the 2001-2002 academic year.

Honored as the outstanding female student by the BH governing body was Lindsay Whitley, a senior biology major from University Place, Wash.  Allen Godsell, a senior social-science major from Vale, was recognized as the outstanding male student.

Dr. Ahrar Ahmad, associate professor of political science, was picked by the student senate as the outstanding faculty member.

Gerry Pabst, senior secretary with the instructional media department, was chosen as the outstanding staff member.

Graduates with highest grade-point average are honored - Top

Among the honors graduates recognized at a breakfast reception prior to commencement this spring, Anne Baker was acknowledged as the highest-ranking female graduate at BHSU.

The summa cum laude graduate earned a double major in Spanish and accounting with a minor in business administration. She is  the recipient of six scholarships at BHSU and has been active on campus as a volunteer for VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), a member of Phi Beta Lambda, and a tutor for accounting and business classes. 

Originally from Towanda, Kan., Baker and her husband plan to move back to Kansas where she hopes to start a bookkeeping business out of her home so she can take care of her first child which will be arriving this August. Someday, she would like to work in corporate accounting.

Baker was presented with a framed certificate for her academic accomplishments by Dr. Lyle Cook, vice president for academic affairs, during the honors ceremony.

Lennard Hopper was recognized recently as the highest ranking male graduate at a breakfast reception for BHSU honors graduates.

The summa cum laude graduate earned his degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. Originally from Pierre and a graduate of Riggs High School, Hopper was a recipient of a Nelson Research Grant, biology scholarship, Agnes Radcliffe Memorial Scholarship, and the Clarence and Myrtle Kravig Memorial Scholarship at BHSU.

As an undergraduate, Hopper was active in the Scientia (science club) as the organization’s president. He also participated in the Health Sciences Student Organization.

Hopper will be attending the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry this fall.

Dr. Lyle Cook, vice president for academic affairs at BHSU, presented the talented senior with a framed certificate for his academic accomplishments at the awards breakfast prior to commencement.

BH student graduates to Green Bay Packers - Top

BHSU graduate Justin Varland is packing for a job with the Green Bay Packers. The mass communications major landed a public-relations position with the football team.

By Antonia Kucera
media relations intern  

Many people never end up in their dream job, but one Black Hills State University graduate recently landed his – on his first try. Senior mass-communications major Justin Varland ended his academic career at BHSU on Saturday, May 11, to begin a new career as a public relations official with the Green Bay Packers.

“It is a dream job,” said Varland, a Gregory High School graduate. “I have been a Green Bay Packer fan since I started watching football. I always thought that this may become an opportunity for me, but I never thought it would happen straight out of college. This was a job that I looked forward to getting at the age of 30; now that I have it at only 22, I'm really trying to figure out what comes next. Hopefully, I'll be happy in Green Bay for my entire life.”

Although Varland did not expect a position to be available, with a little persistence, an impressive resume and a successful interview, he will now go from BHSU green and gold to… well, Packer’s green and gold.

He started by contacting the Packer’s PR office and getting the name of the personnel director; after three days, he made his move and called Jeff Blumb directly. Surprisingly, he got through without any hassle and spoke with Blumb for 35 minutes – enough to catch his interest and get a foot in the door.

The BH senior quickly followed up with his resume and references. Not so surprisingly, he got an interview. Varland felt the interview was the ultimate determining factor in their decision to hire him.

“When I left the interview, I didn’t know whether or not they liked me or if I got the job,” Varland said, “but I knew that I had done everything that I could do to get the job, and that’s a great feeling. Especially when it works out.”

Of course, many other aspects contributed to his employment. Varland’s resume has a long list of extracurricular activities and accomplishments from his time at BHSU. He has a double emphasis in his major of journalism and computer publishing. A majority of his time was spent as editor for the Today newspaper and president for the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. He has also been involved with the University Programming Team, student senate, general activities fee committee, New Student Days, PREP days, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, to

name a few. He also excels academically and was rewarded as Sigma Tau Gamma man of the year, outstanding student leader, Vice President’s Rising Star, eight-time Roskins scholar, three-time Who's Who, a Great Greek, and he expects to graduate with a grade-point average of at least 3.4.  

After being so highly involved in campus organizations on top of a full class load, Varland will be no stranger to the high demands of the public relations field. He will be working 80-hour weeks, and he will also be on the job most holidays since football does not take those days off. Varland is not worried, though.

“It’s going to be stressful, but I feel as though I’m ready for it,” he said. “I’ve been working about 70 hours a week throughout college, so what’s an extra 10 hours a week?”

Varland’s activities for those hours will be a drastic change. “I will spend the majority of my time setting up interviews between media outlets such as ESPN, FOX, CBS… and players or coaches on the team. During the games I will either be on the sidelines with the media personnel updating them with news and injuries, or in the press box with reporters from newspapers and magazines. I think the toughest thing about the job will be not watching the game and remembering to work.”  

Varland has had his own fan club of family and friends to help him reach his dream job. His wife, Chris, graduated from BH with an elementary education degree in 2001 and teaches seventh grade science at Dakota Middle School in Rapid City; she will join her husband in Wisconsin after the school year is through.

“This has been an excellent experience for me and I’m really looking forward to beginning my career in the NFL,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and friends.”

He also received support from one BH professor in particular: Steve Babbitt, associate professor with the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Steve played a huge role in everything that I've accomplished,” he said. “Aside from my family, he is the single most influential person in my life. I owe him tremendously.”

The student who is living a dream encourages other students to start their path towards success by joining strong student organizations. “Students need to work smarter, not harder,” he said.

Rebecca Baker receives scholarship award - Top

Rebecca Baker, a Black Hills State University junior with the highest grade-point average in the College Business and Technology, was presented a $500 cash scholarship award.

The funds came from money donated by the former Spearfish Branch of AAUW in combination with memorial money from the family of Steve Jones. Jones, a former BH employee, and his family had a long association with the university. He died in the fall of 2000. The Spearfish Branch of AAUW ceased to exist as of November 2001. The AAUW Award has been presented to a non-traditional female student for a number of years.   

Baker is a technology major with a minor in computer-assisted drafting (CAD). She is from Rapid City. 

Steve’s widow Janelle Jones, a teacher at Spearfish High School, presented the award to Baker.

Becky Baker, shown with her daughter Abbigail, accepts a $500 scholarship from Janelle Jones. Funds for the scholarship were gifted by the Spearfish AAUW and memorial funds from Steve Jones’ family.

Spearfish teachers earn masters degrees in cohort group - Top

Sixteen Spearfish teachers earned master’s degrees at Black Hills State University this spring. They were the first formally organized cohort group at BHSU to complete the graduate program as a unit. Similar cohort groups, located in area communities, are also completing requirements for the master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at BHSU. Pictured are teachers and faculty, front row, l to r, Sue Hall-Martin, Penny Lensegrav, Nancy Martin, Marjo Peters, Jessica Zwaschka, Nadene Harr, Sandy Nichols, and Dr. Kristi Pearce, associate professor of education. Back row, l to r, Dr. Tim Molseed, coordinator of graduate studies, Chele Damuth, Sharla Jewett, Darlene Telkamp, Melinda Capp, Janice Koski, and Kathy Christensen. Master’s degree candidates from Spearfish not pictured are LuAnn Schroeder, Kathy Gusso and Robert Speirs.

Class of '52 meets during commencement - Top

Members of the Class of '52 were inducted into the Alumni Association 50-year club during commencement weekend. This group was also recognized during graduation ceremonies. Alumni returning to Spearfish for the event were: front row, left to right,  Al Yanzick, Portland, Ore.; Don Weiland, Rapid City; Beverly Peterson, Longmont, Colo.; Georgiana King, Quail Valley, Calif.; Dorothy Whisler,  Rapid City; Maxine Singletary, Seattle, Wash. Back row, left to right, Art Hill, Casper, Wyo.; James Hansen, Pierre; Robert Justice, Woodburn, Ore.; Leonard Reiman, Altoona, Wisc.; William McRann, Cody, Wyo.; and Jim Armstrong, Townsend, Mont. 

University Bookstore gives away a
scooter - Top

Sean Crooks, a Black Hills State University senior biology major from Spearfish, was the winner of a Zap electric scooter from the university bookstore. Crooks’ name was drawn in a book-buy-back promotion sponsored by the bookstore. Students who sold their used books had an opportunity to submit their names for the drawing. Mike Jastorff, bookstore director, presented the scooter to Crooks at the conclusion of the spring semester.

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Last updated on September 17, 2004