FEATURED ALUMNI

Kayla Goss

  Kayla Goss

   Graduating Class:

   Major: Human Services-Justice Studies 

   Hometown: Sheridan, WY 

   Current Town: Newcastle, WY 

   Profession: Caseworker, Wyoming DOC


What is your current professional role?

I am working as a Caseworker for the Wyoming Department of Corrections at the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp. I work with minimum security male inmates and on a daily basis I meet with them to ensure they are following their set case plan. Their case plans are made up of measurable goals specific to each individual inmate. On a daily basis I also conduct classification reviews, help with security aspects such as scheduled counts, I update and maintain our substance abuse treatment list, and help the inmates with any issues/challenges they may be facing. On any given day I can have anywhere of 15-20 inmates in my office throughout the day. As a caseworker I am responsible for teaching programming to the inmates. This programming ranges from parenting to cognitive behavior to substance abuse. I am also responsible for preparing and presenting in front of the Wyoming Parole Board and then once inmates are granted parole, helping them with their reentry plans. This can be anywhere from getting them placed at a halfway house to helping them locate a rental and/or a family member to which they would like to live with. Included in reentry planning is finding employment for them as well as meeting their treatment needs.

How did the BHSU Human Services program help to prepare you for your career?

HMS helped me prepare for my position by opening my mind up to the fact that just because people screw up and end up in prison, doesn’t mean they are the scum of the Earth. It helped me understand the different pathways that lead people to crime and that there are so many different reasons people act out. HMS also helped me know that through programming I can help be the difference the inmates need to make life changes.

What is one piece of advice you would give current undergraduates?

My biggest piece of advice is don’t just float by. Dig into the reading material assigned. Open up your mind to all the information, even if it seems like too much to handle. And time management. Figure out what works for you and do it. The time management I learned throughout my college years has helped me excel in my position and I get praised from my supervisors for the time management skills I brought with me to this position.

When prospective students are considering their college plans, what do you think makes BHSU stand out among other possible options?

The best thing about BHSU is its location. There is nothing better than finishing your assignments and getting to go out and enjoy the beautiful black hills. And not to mention the staff, without the awesome BHSU staff, I would have never made it to see my diploma, and then be able to score such an amazing professional position.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Make sure to have fun while you achieve your goals!

Dan Cross

 

  Dan Cross

   Graduating Class:

   Major: Human Services & Sociology 

   Hometown: Rapid City, SD and Hemet, CA 

   Current Town: Spearfish, SD 

   Profession: Executive Director of Community Support Providers of South Dakota CSP of SD

 

What is your current professional role?

My current position is Executive Director of Community Support Providers of South Dakota (CSP of SD). The organization is a business association of 20 developmental disability providers across South Dakota. Each member provider is a private non-profit organization and provide an array of services to people with developmental disabilities. Services include residential (group home, supervised apartment, and independent living), vocational supports and services, day habilitation services, and nursing services.
 
Major responsibilities include:

  • Assisting the association executive board in implementing, evaluating, and developing short term and long term plans.
  • Providing technical assistance to association members.
  • Maintaining effective relationships with governmental departments related to our services.
  • Maintaining effective relationships with other advocacy organizations and professional associations on the national, state, and local level.
  • Monitoring legislative and governmental issues and activities that affect association members and providing assistance to legislators and governmental departments in support of association goals.
  • Lobbying on behalf of association members during the state’s legislative session.
  • Providing public relations, fundraising, and grant writing in support of the association’s goals and interests.
  • Coordinating and conducting regular association business

How did the BHSU Human Services program help to prepare you for your career?

What helped the most was the program’s emphasis on human service practice. Courses such as Crisis Interviewing and Intervention, Program Planning and Evaluation, and Research Methods were extremely useful in my career path. This is not to say that courses with a more theoretical focus are not important, but the practical nature of these courses really set the stage for career success. Overall, the program had the right fit of theory and practicum focused on helping students get the knowledge they need for a human services career. The experience was excellent!

What is one piece of advice you would give current undergraduates?

Human services is all about working with people regardless of what emphasis area one is pursuing. The best advice I have for a student seeking a career in human services is to get involved with local organizations. Whether this is by volunteering, participating in events, or working at a human service organization – it’s importance cannot be understated. Getting this experience now, along with course studies, not only prepares you for the work you will do but also significantly increases the likelihood of career advancement.

When prospective students are considering their college plans, what do you think makes BHSU stand out among other possible options?

There are many things that make BHSU stand out. However, the things that stand out the most to me were the quality of professors that I had during my tenure, class sizes that encouraged discussion and exploration, and the quality of courses.

Anything else you’d like to add?

The demand for human service workers of all kinds is growing exponentially. In the developmental disabilities field alone, the demand for workers is expected to increase 48% over the next decade. As with any career field there are challenges, but the potential for students to achieve long lasting good careers is excellent. With this in mind, I encourage all human service students to stay the course and become a part of the solution in helping our communities across the nation.

Bailey Ellis

  Bailey Ellis

   Graduating Class: 2018

   Major: Double major in Human Services and Sociology, with a Psychology minor 

   Hometown: Rapid City, SD 

   Current Town: Rapid City, SD 

   Profession: Donor Services Specialists, Regional Health Foundation


What is your current professional role?

I work in the Regional Health Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organization, as the Donor Services Specialist. I am responsible for prospect identification, prospect research/evaluation, record management, and the preparation, submission, and management of grant proposals. I manage and control aspects of the donor research program to improve the solicitation process, through methods such as effective database utilization, interpretation of biographical and financial information, and processes to research other aspects of potential prospects. I also collaborate with development officers to create and implement successful corporate, and foundation development projects. We fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network, the Cancer Care Institute, Hospice, patient care items, and many other great programs at Regional Health.

How did the BHSU Human Services program help to prepare you for your career?

The HMS program helped prepare me for my career. I initially never thought I would be in health care, and the program prepared me to be confident in a variety of industries, because it can be applied in so many different ways. Program Planning and Evaluation is one of the courses that I utilize the most, the processes I learned in that class while working on prospect research, and grant proposals have been very beneficial to me, and I still even use the books from time to time when I need to polish up my skills!

What is one piece of advice you would give current undergraduates?

I found that getting practice on job interviewing skills was very beneficial to me. I utilized a professor who used to work for the city and had experience in the hiring process. This helped sharpen my skills, and prepared me for the interview process. Another piece of advice for interviewing is to make sure you are well prepared with knowledge about the company. I noticed a big difference in the responses I received after fixing my resume, and improving my interview skills.

When prospective students are considering their college plans, what do you think makes BHSU stand out among other possible options?

I attended classes at the campus in Rapid City. I loved that classes were offered at night allowing me to work full time during the day. The variety in how Black Hills State University offers their classes was a big factor in why I chose BHSU. The variety allows people to choose what will work the best in their busy lives making education more accessible to students. I can’t forget to add that small class sizes and amazing professors definitely sealed the deal for me.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Don’t forget to get out and enjoy the beauty of the Black Hills, and get involved in the community!