Leah Bothamley
Two decades ago, Leah Bothamley hung up her surfboard and moved from sunny California to Laramie, Wyo. – a big change for someone who spent hours catching the ocean waves.

Bothamley soon found a new love, snowboarding, and when the Black Hills State University student graduates on Saturday she’s looking forward to a career that combines her love of snowboarding with her passion for the business world.

Bothamley, a business administration – management and economics and finance major, will join more than 400 other candidates during BHSU’s 165th Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center.

A nontraditional student, Bothamley attended two other higher education institutions before changing majors and enrolling at BHSU.

“I’ve loved Black Hills State University since day one,” she said. “It was the best decision I ever made.”

 Black Hills State University President Kay Schallenkamp (left) and Dr. Annette Ryerson (right), former professor of marketing at BHSU, presented The Outstanding Student Leader Award to Leah Bothamley, during the 19th Annual Student Volunteer Awards Celebration.
 Leah Bothamley, left, and her brother Isaiah at Loveland Pass Colorado - one of Bothamley's favorite places to snowboard.
Originally a chemical engineering major, Bothamley visited the Black Hills several times while doing field work during a historical and physical geology class.

“I just fell in love with the area,” she said.

After enrolling at BHSU, Bothamley, who comes from a long line of successful business-minded relatives, changed her major to business administration and became  involved in a number of experiential learning opportunities Bothamley has participated in and served in leadership roles for several different activities and organizations including: founder and president of BHSU Buzz Marketing; president and managing partner of Jacket Investment Club; Students in Free Enterprise; College of Business, Dean’s Student Advisory Board; and first student board member of the local American Advertising Federation. She was also an assistant producer for a television spot for a local credit union and served as an intern for Microsoft.

In between classes and activities, Bothamley worked as a snowboard instructor at Terry Peak and continued to work on her professional snowboarding certifications. She is currently a certified American Association of Snowboard Instructors Level I and in the process of earning her Level II certification. She hopes to eventually earn the top Level III which enables her to instruct and train professional athletes.

In the meantime, she’s pursuing a job with Burton Snowboards headquartered in Vermont.  “I have a foot in the door,” she said. With her business savvy, leadership skills and experience in snowboarding, Bothamley is positioned to make a difference in the snowboarding industry.

Bothamley has designed an adaptable snowboard that she hopes to have built this summer. Bothamley believes she has figured out why other companies have failed and is hoping to have the first prototype this summer.

With her diploma in hand, she is now planning her next challenge on the snow. This winter, she is also planning on taking her first heli-ride at an expert only resort in Silverton, Colo.
“I’ve never bailed out of a helicopter.”

Wherever her path takes her, Bothamley will never be far from the adventure of the outdoors.