BHSU is now home to the South Dakota GEAR UP Program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. (GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program.) The fact that this grant was awarded to BH is a credit to the university as a whole and particularly to the work of Dr. Urla Marcus, Director of the Center for American Indian Studies, and Dr. June Apaza, Director of CAMSE and Education and Outreach for SURF. Together they are overseeing this work.

Read more about the GEAR UP Program.

BHSU is honored to have the new GEAR UP staff members working with us. Their office is Jonas 103.

Dr. Peg DiekhoffProject Manager, Dr. Peg Diekhoff, brings 29 years of public education experience to the position. She has served as a teacher, coach and administrator for the Todd County School District on the Rosebud Reservation in south central South Dakota. As an administrator, Peg worked with middle school, high school and alternative students and their families.


Murray LeeMurray Lee, a graduate of Black Hills State University, brings a variety of experiences to the SD GEAR UP Program from his prior positions in both business and education. Recently, Murray worked with National Relief Charities specializing in supporting Native American youth in their quest to seek and maintain college scholarships. Murray is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe.


Trudy Draskovic

Trudy Draskovic graduated from Black Hills State University with a bachelor of science degree in Native American Studies with a minor in Sociology. As a non-traditional student Trudy sees the value of higher education. She is a life-long learner who loves to teach and help others to ignite their own dreams and live their lives to their highest potential. She is proud to return and serve the youth.

Sabrina Egeland-Meeder

Sabrina V. Egeland-Meeder is a South Dakota certified K-12 Art teacher, Teach for America alumna, and advocate for using the arts to empower students with skills for success. She holds a BS in Psychology from St. Lawrence University. Sabrina taught and mentored work-study students, at her alma mater, for 7 years before moving to the Rosebud Reservation (SD) where she taught Art at the Todd County Middle School for 8 years.

Laura Van Oudenaren.

Laura Van Oudenaren earned her undergraduate degree from Davidson College and is currently pursuing a Master's in Education from the University of South Dakota and a Master's in Business Administration from Washington State University. She has experience working as a middle school math teacher, instructional coach and School Improvement Specialist. In her spare time, she races half marathons and travels.