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Students meet with potential employers in Hot Springs

Author: BHSU Communications/Wednesday, November 27, 2019/Categories: Events, Students, Students in the News, Academic Affairs, Campus Currents, College of Business and Natural Sciences, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Community, Events, Outdoor Education, Staff, 2019

Black Hills State University students recently took a day to tour organizations in Hot Springs identifying potential employment and internships opportunities.

The goals of the BHSU-organized preview day/road trip program were to connect students with businesses and help them begin building professional relationships around the Black Hills. Students visited three organizations in Hot Springs that were heavily focused on clinical degrees (pre-nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.) Participants included the Michael J. Fitzmaurice South Dakota Veterans Home, VA Black Hills Health Care System, and Fall River Health Services.

“Even though they were health care facilities, they are searching for a diverse field of employees. Superintendent Brad Richardson shared how the State Veterans Home is searching for marketing interns, outdoor education interns, local artists, possibly historians, and more,” Erin Adkins, human services major from Deadwood said.

As a non-traditional student, Adkins says this experience helped her to create connections.

Hans Nelson, director of corporate and career development at BHSU, says, “Students were able to engage with employers, get personal tours, and have a chance to experience what an internship looks like or even a job or career after college. They now have a memory, an experience they can be inspired by.”

Helping students and businesses in the Black Hills connect and build relationships is one of the key goals of this program. Molly Graesser, exercise major from Gregory, noted that resumes and transcripts only get you so far, connections and networking is a key part of getting where you want to go.

This opportunity provided a way for students to go beyond the Northern Hills to view opportunities outside of our local area, and shows what life in South Dakota has to offer Nelson said.

“I didn’t know Western South Dakota had such high quality health care facilities, it was an eye-opener. I really enjoyed seeing how patient-oriented the facilities were and finding out a place like that is looking to hire someone like me,” Graesser says, “I have stayed in contact with Brad Richardson, superintendent at the Veterans Home, trying to see what options are available, and what they’re looking for.”

Seeing the superintendent or director of each program really know their clients was a huge highlight of the day. “You know that you’re going to be working with an elite team who really cares about what they’re doing. We got a sense of that small town South Dakota feel,” Adkins adds.

The employers received the idea with open arms, welcoming students into their facilities and were happy to share opportunities. “Employers were grateful for the exposure and opportunity to meet with students,” says Nelson.

After receiving great feedback, Nelson has a goal to have these programs available roughly twice a semester. These visits are open to all students across campus, any degree or year.

BHSU students will have the chance to meet with these employers, and many more employers, at the 2020 BHSU Career Fair, Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Students that participated in the Hot Springs trip were
  • Kaylei Wilcox, biology major, Gretna, Neb.
  • Erin Adkins, human services major, Deadwood
  • Mikayla Koistinen, exercise science major, Spearfish
  • Molly Graesser, exercise science major, Gregory
About BHSU Career Development
BHSU provides counseling and assistance for students’ career and vocational decisions and provides professional development programs including career fairs, site visits and employee engagement activities. The Director of Corporate and Career Development at BHSU collaborates with faculty, staff, and students to promote career exploration and planning; and works with employers and faculty to develop internship and job opportunities. For more information visit or contact Nelson at or 605-642-6413

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