Nicole DeJong
 Candace Patmore
Nicole DeJong, science education major from Avon, and Candace Patmore, math education major from Colome, will be honored as the highest ranking students during the Black Hills State University Spring 2013 commencement ceremony Saturday, May 4 at 10 a.m. in the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center.

They are among the more than 400 candidates for graduation who will be recognized for completion of their University degrees.

Both DeJong and Patmore were actively involved in mentoring, campus activities, organizations, research and internships while maintaining their high academic achievement at BHSU.

While earning her  degree, DeJong was selected for the  Davis-Bahcall Scholarship for Underground Science study program where she visited the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, and Princeton University in New Jersey.  She received several additional scholarships including the National Science Foundation’s STEM scholarship and the Dakota Corp Scholarship.

DeJong also volunteered as a TRIO peer assistant and a chemistry learning assistant. After graduation, DeJong will spend her summer teaching English in South Korea to refuges form neighboring countries. “I chose to teach overseas to care for the students in the refugee school, help them adjust to their new lives, and to show them where they can find hope,” she said.

In the fall, DeJong will begin teaching high school science in Bridgewater-Emery.  DeJong said she enjoyed her time at BHSU and chose the University because of the friendly and personable students and the welcoming community.

While at BHSU, Patmore participated in Campus Ventures and the BHSU Math Club and has been honored with numerous scholarships including:  John T. Vucurevich Science & Mathematics Scholarship, John T. Vucurevich Presidential Scholarship, S.D. Opportunities Scholarship, and American Business Women's Association Scholarship. She also participated in a research project through a National Science Foundation grant studying the influence of student attributes on performance in pre-college algebra classes.

Patmore appreciated the high quality professors at BHSU especially her first math professor Dr. Parthasarathi Nag, associate professor of mathematics who had lasting impact on her and her career. “He pushed me farther than I thought I could go,” she said. “He always had time to chat with me whether I was currently enrolled in one of his classes or not, and he is always encouraging. “

She advises future BHSU students to get involved at college and find a balance between all aspects of their lives so they can do well in each area and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from that success.

After graduation, Patmore will move to Newcastle, Wyo., where she plans to tutor middle and high and school students and take some time to enjoy life with her husband and 16-month-old son.