Nearly 200 students at Black Hills State University are enrolled in the 15 health-care related pre-professional programs offered by the university.

As the need for health care providers grows in the state and nation, BHSU continues to increase the number of students pursuing a health care professional degree. Health-care related programs at BHSU including pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, pre-dentistry, pre-optometry, pre-chiropractic, pre-physical therapy, pre-physicians assistant, pre-occupational therapy, pre-nursing, pre-medical tech, pre-respiratory therapy, pre-dental hygiene, pre-osteopathic, and pre-podiatric medicine.

“As the only comprehensive university in the West River region, BHSU has a history of transforming the lives of our students by successfully graduating  students who go on to be accepted into and excelling in prestigious medical, dental, optometry, and other programs,” BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp says.

Schallenkamp noted that pre-professional programs are one of the most popular choices for BHSU students just behind business, education, and biology.

According to Dr. Holly Downing, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at BHSU, the pre-professional programs vary greatly. Many pre-professional students earn their bachelor’s degree at BHSU and then attend professional programs at universities across the region. In some cases, students complete the entrance requirements in one to three years at BHSU and then transfer to a professional program.

Downing notes that getting accepted into a professional degree program requires academic rigor and quality instruction. BHSU prepares students with innovative research-based educational experiences and close faculty mentoring. Every pre-professional student at BHSU has a faculty advisor who is knowledgeable about the specific profession and assists the student with planning an appropriate program of study at BHSU.

For more information about the pre-professional programs at BHSU contact Dr. Charles Lamb at 642-6026.

Recent pre-professional program graduates from BHSU have been very successful in their respective fields.

  • Dr. Brett Theeler, a 2001 biology graduate, is currently doing a neurology internship at Madigan Army Medical Center. Theeler attended BHSU on a full-ride Nelson scholarship and was a standout basketball player. He then attended medical school at the Uniformed Services University for Health Sciences at Bethesda, Md., and is currently stationed at Ft. Lewis, Wash.
  • Tricia Beringer, a 2006 graduate, just finished her coursework at Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a physician’s assistant program. She is now in clinical rotations in Miami.
  • Dr. Jesse Dana earned a biology degree in 1996, completed his dental degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and went on to receive orthodontic certification from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He is currently in orthodontic private practice in Spearfish and Rapid City. Jesse is one of several Dana family members including several siblings and his father who have chosen to attend BHSU for their pre-professional degree.
  • Holly (Boehnke) Freudenberg, a physical therapist at Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls, Mont., graduated from BHSU in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She was formerly a physical therapist at Katterbach Health Clinic in Germany. She attended professional school at the University of North Dakota.

For more information see www.BHSU.edu/Preprofessional.