02

Aaroon “Leo” Joseph, Black Hills State University business major with an emphasis in administration, has become an active community builder at BHSU-RC and the surrounding area. BHSU-Rapid City continues to provide a variety of degree options to students and has a business program in the top five percent of business schools worldwide.

Aaroon “Leo” Joseph, Black Hills State University business major with an emphasis in administration, left a turbulent country and traveled across oceans to arrive in the Black Hills, where he has become an active community builder at BHSU-Rapid City and the surrounding area.

Aaroon is originally from Pakistan. Due to religious persecution, Aaroon’s family evacuated Pakistan in a state of emergency, living as refugees in Sri Lanka for over four years. Aaroon and his family relocated to the Black Hills two years ago, at the invitation of Sen. John Thune.

“In Sri Lanka, I began researching universities in South Dakota,” said Aaroon. “I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in Business, and because of its AACSB accreditation, BHSU is the school for business, so I said, ‘That’s where I’m going to be!’”

Aaroon said the convenient location and flexible scheduling at BHSU-RC allows him to work full-time at a call center just minutes from campus and remain actively involved at Harvest Church, which was recently founded in Rapid City.

“I’m in church every day, leading worship four times a week, and preaching as well,” says Aaroon. “The schedule at BHSU-RC gives me enough time to be connected with God while, at the same time, maintaining my studies.”

Aaroon recently founded the InterVarsity club on the BHSU-RC campus. InterVarsity is an inter-denominational Christian campus ministry.

“I wanted to start something that provided a sense of community to students,” Aaroon said. “Through InterVarsity, people of different faiths can come and share their experiences with God together. Whoever is present can help students grow, not just mentally, but spiritually.”

Aaroon said the club started small, but he was not discouraged.

“When we started, we had two people,” Aaroon says. “But I knew that whenever there is a humble beginning, the prize is bigger. So I believe that the club will be a very big help for students on campus.”

Aaroon is also a member of the newly-formed Student Advisory Board at BHSU-RC. This board hopes to encourage the commuter students to become more actively involved on campus.  

Aaroon credits much of his success to the support and encouragement of BHSU-RC faculty and staff, including Rebecca Cornell, student success advisor and Aaroon’s InterVarsity Club advisor at BHSU-RC, and Jacob Hamik, admissions coordinator at BHSU-RC.

Because Aaroon’s family had to leave their home country in a state of emergency, there was no time to retrieve the transcripts necessary to enroll in a university. With the help of Hamik, Aaroon was able to attain his GED in less than one month and enroll in classes at BHSU-RC in the 2016 spring semester.

Aaroon said he was also especially encouraged by Rachelle Greer, speech communication instructor at BHSU-RC.

“She was very motivating, during my second semester, whenever I needed something, like any kind of suggestion about my next classes or what I should do with school, she gave me sound advice.”

Aaroon plans to continue his academic career and would like to earn his doctorate in business administration. Aaroon says, “I believe in dreaming big. So, one day, I want to have a business building my own hotels, and also create a 2,000 member worship team for God.” 

BHSU-RC is located at 4300 Cheyenne Blvd. on the east-side of Rapid City with easy access from I-90. The University is committed to serving veterans, has a large network of alumni living in the City, and has a business program in the top five percent of business schools worldwide. In spring 2018, BHSU-RC will debut a new block schedule providing students a new and unique way to take classes.

BHSU-RC continues to collaborate with South Dakota Board of Regents institutions to provide a variety of degree options to students. The public is also invited to observe classes through a $100 Visitor Pass program where community members can learn from BHSU-Rapid City instructors.

For more information on BHSU-RC, contact Jake Hamik, Jacob.Hamik@BHSU.edu or 605-718-4194.

Posted in: Students, Community