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Dakota Dreams


Decision notifications were sent via email on April 15th, 2024. 

DATES: 2024 Dakota Dreams Camps 

Camp #1:  (10AM) - (NOON) 5 days/4 nights

Camp #2:  (10AM) - (NOON) 5 days/4 nights

Informational Get to Know the Counselors Zoom Sessions: 

  • Tuesday, June 11th at 6:00 PM (Mountain Time Zone)
  • Tuesday, June 18th at 3:00 PM (Mountain Time Zone)


BHSU Campus (Spearfish, SD) and Black Hills Region (SD Mines, WDTC, & Business/Industry Visits)


Bordeaux Hall, 1200 University St, Spearfish, SD 57799 map


Incoming 7th or 8th grade; must be a resident of South Dakota or attend a public school within South Dakota.


FREEThis opportunity is being funded with federal dollars available to the South Dakota Department of Education through the American Rescue Plan.

APPLICATION NOW CLOSED! Decision notifications were sent via email on April 15th, 2024.

Our Dakota Dreams 

100 campers will be accepted for each camp session and notified by April 12th. Seats are limited, preference will be given to students with need. Questions regarding the application can be directed to BHDakotaDreams@BHSU.edu Any questions specifically about this BHSU camp can be directed to Jin Kim, Director of Career Development (BHSU) and BHSU Dakota Dreams Summer Career Exploration Camps Coordinator at BHDakotaDreams@BHSU.edu


The South Dakota Board of Regents is offering week-long career exploration camps on campuses for incoming 7th and 8th grade students in Summer 2024. This is a FREE camp thanks to a grant by the South Dakota Department of Education, the South Dakota Board of Regents and the South Dakota Board of Technical Education!


Campers will be immersed in a week of "college life" designed to explore career paths through engaging activities and tours of area business and industry. By the end of this five-day residential camp, students will have a better understanding of themselves, their personal career interests, and how education connects to these professions.

Campers will experience:


  • Cameras on main entrances and hallways of sleeping wings in Bordeaux Hall. (Not in individual rooms or restrooms)
  • Bordeaux hall windows open and have a screen, but they do not open enough for anyone to exit through the windows.  
  • Public safety's number is posted on every floor in Bordeaux Hall. 
  • Public safety is available for 24/7 support. 
  • Counselors are available for 24/7 support. 
  • Jin Kim is available for 24/7 support and his phone number is posted on every floor in Bordeaux Hall. 
  • Windows and emergency exits are NOT to be used unless there is a fire alarm. Pulling the fire alarm will result in a large fine. 
  • Bordeaux Hall's rooms lock with a physical key. 
  • Each room has a peephole only viewable from inside the room for safety purposes. 
  • In any real emergency, please call 911. 

Day 1 (Sunday)

11:00 AM - NOON Check In/Drop Off at Bordeaux Hall BHSU

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Student and Parent Luncheon at the Hive Dining Center

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Student and Parent Orientation at Location TBA

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM Career Pathway Session(s), BHSU

  • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Education
    • Special Education (CIP 13.1001) & General Education (CIP 1313) T.B.D. 
  • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
    • Behavioral Sciences (CIP 45.1101) with T.B.D.

5:30 PM Dinner at the Hive Dining Center

7:00 PM HYPE! by Noah Sonie!, BHSU

9:00 PM Room Checks

Day 2 (Monday)

7:00 - 8:00 AM Breakfast at the Hive Dining Center

8:00 AM Transportation to Western Dakota Technical College (Rapid City, SD)

9:30-9:50 AM Rotating Sessions Group 1: Electrical Trades (CIP 46.0302)

9:55-10:15 AM Rotating Sessions Group 2: Autonomous Equipment Technician (CIP 15.0406)

10:20-10:40 AM Rotating Sessions Group 3: Computer Science (CIP 11.0101)

10:45-11:05 AM Rotating Sessions Group 4: Surgical Technology (CIP 51.0909)

11:10-11:30 AM Rotating Sessions Group 5: Dental Assisting (CIP 51.0601)

11:35-11:55 AM Rotating Sessions Group 6: Nursing - Practical & Registered Nursing (CIP 51.8801)

12:00 PM-1:00 PM WDTC Recap & Lunch (Lunch provided by WDTC Dining Services)

1:30 PM - 4:00 PM Industry Tour at Ellsworth Air Force Base 

5:00 PM Dinner at the Hive Dining Center

7:00 PM Private Pool Party at Night! at Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center

9:00 PM Room Checks

Day 3 (Tuesday)

7:00 - 8:00 AM Breakfast at the Hive Dining Center

8:00 AM Transportation to South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (Rapid City, SD)

9:00 AM - 9:45 (Rotating Session #1) Chemistry, Biology, and Health Sciences (CIP 40.0501) (CIP 26.0101) (CIP 51.0000) with Dr. Zhu (CB 204E)

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM (Rotating Session #2) Biomedical Engineering (CIP 140501) with Dr. Johnica Winter and Dr. Tugba Ozdemir (CB 204W)

11:00 AM - 11:45 AM (Rotating Session #3) Campus Tour (CB 206W)

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Lunch at Hardrocker Cafe at SD Mines

1:30 PM - 3:30 Reptile Gardens (Rapid City, SD)

4:30 PM - 5:15 CTSO Presentation at BHSU

5:15 PM Dinner at the Hive Dining Center

6:15 PM Movie Night at Northern Hills Cinema, Spearfish, SD

9:00 PM Room Checks

Day 4 (Wednesday)

7:00 - 8:00 AM Breakfast at the Hive Dining Center

8:00AM-NOON Career Pathway Rotating Sessions, BHSU

NOON - 12:45 PM Lunch (The Hive Dining Center, BHSU)

12:45 PM - 2:15 PM High Plains Western Heritage Center 

2:30 PM - 4:00 PM Neiman Industries (Spearfish, SD)

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM Free Time!

5:30 PM Dinner at the Hive Dining Center

7:00 PM Painting with Alexandra Hansen, BHSU

9:00 PM Room Checks

Day 5 (Thursday)

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM Breakfast at the Hive Dining Center, BHSU

8:00 AM - NOON Career Pathways Sessions, BHSU

NOON Campers Depart at  Bordeaux Hall BHSU

CAREER PATHWAYS Career Pathways - SDBOR Booklet


  • Medication: Prescription medication administered by staff must be individually bagged or contained per administration (separate bag of medication for morning and evening for each day).
  • Actual prescription bottle/container/box must be provided during check-in.
  • Personal Care Items (vitamins, glasses/contacts, personal assistance items, etc.)
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, loofah/bath scrubbers, toothbrush, and toothpaste, etc.)
  • Extra blankets and pillows if you wish to have more.
  • You may decide to bring your own towel/washcloth, however, please do not mix yours with the ones provided!
  • Extra money for gift shops and personal items!

Clothing (For 5 days)

  • Light jackets/Sweaters
  • Long pants REQUIRED (minimal holes)
  • Closed-toed shoes are REQUIRED (due to safety in employer site visits)
  • Undergarments and Socks
  • Athletic wear including shoes for recreational activities.
  • Swimwear and Towel
  • Nightwear

Linen Package

  • 2 - Flat Sheets, 1 - Light Blanket, 1 - Pillow, 1 - Pillowcase, 1 - Towel, & 1 - Washcloth for each Camper

All meals

  • 4 - Breakfasts, 4 - Lunches, 4 - Dinners + Snacks & Refreshments

Camper Welcome Package 

  • 1 - South Dakota School of Mines and Technology T-Shirt 
  • 1 - Western Dakota Technical College T-Shirt 
  • 4 - Black Hills State University T-Shirts
  • 1 - Black Hills State University Hoodie 
  • 1 - Black Hills State University Backpack 
  • 1 - Black Hills State University Water Bottle
  • 1 - Black Hills State University Notebook and Pen 
  • 1 - Black Hills State University Lanyard and Cardholder 
  • 1 - Black Hills State University Blanket 



Transportation & admission costs to all employer, recreational, and social activities


Jin Kim 


Hi everyone! My name is Jin and I am the Director of Career Development at BHSU. This is my third year working at the Dakota Dreams Summer Career Exploration Camps! I am most excited about the movie theater popcorn!

Myndi Weidenbach


Hi! My name is Myndi and I am the Peer and Internship Coordinator at Black Hills State University! I recently graduated from BHSU in May 2023 with a BSED in History. I also began working on my MA in Public Policy. In my free time, I love to hike, hammock, read, embroider, and hang out with my cat Fin. I am most excited to meet all the students who will be attending the camp and working with them to discover new interests!

Sydnee Kjellsen


Hello! My name is Sydnee, and I am a junior at Black Hills State University! I am majoring in Elementary Education while also receiving a minor in Pre-K – 12th grade reading. I love spending time outside, running, hiking, and exploring! I am so excited to meet all the campers and see their excitement when they arrive on campus! I also cannot wait to see the kids explore different careers for their future and potentially find a path they want to take!

Lexie Bendigo 


Hello! My name is Lexie, and I am a junior at Black Hills State University! I am double majoring in Psychology and Human Services with a minor in Sociology. In my spare time, I love to do crafts, do yoga, spend time outside, and try out all the local coffee shops! The thing I am most excited about is visiting different employers and businesses throughout the Black Hills, and spending the week connecting with the kids attending!

Kerry Skinner 


Hello Everyone! My name is Kerry Skinner. I am a middle school teacher in Sturgis. This fall will be my 33rd year teaching reading and social studies. I had the opportunity to be a camp counselor last year and enjoyed the experience so much that I wanted to come back! It was so wonderful to see students get excited about future careers and educational opportunities. I can't wait to meet this summer's campers!

Whitney Muller 


My name is Whitney Muller. I am currently in my 10th year of teaching on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. I have taught Middle School Science for 8 years at my current school, McLaughlin School District. I live in Timber Lake, SD where I am a single mom of 2 wonderful children, Conrad age: 11, and Cecilia age: 9. This will be my second year helping with the Dakota Dreams Camps and I am so excited to meet all of the children and to explore all the opportunities these camps have to offer.

Heather Maier 


My name is Heather Maier and I am the High School Counselor at Rapid City Alternative Academy. I have a Master of Science in Counseling and I am currently working on my Doctorate in Educational Administration and Leadership. I truly enjoy working with students of any age and look forward to working with all of you. In my free time, I enjoy spending time at home with all of my animals, reading a good book, or rewatching my favorite tv shows.

Garrett Kohler 


Hello! My name is Garrett Kohler and I am a mental health therapist here at Black Hills State University. I received my bachelor's in psychology here at BH, and I earned my master's in counseling from Regis University in Denver, Co. I am a proud father of a sassy 6-year-old daughter and a fearless 17-month-old boy. I am a huge nerd, so when I can I love to play video games, otherwise I try to spend the rest of my time with my family. This will be my second year being a part of this camp; last year I had a tremendous amount of fun watching the kids learn and plan for their futures, and I am excited to do it again this year.

Jenn Lucero


Hi everyone! I'm Jenn, I've been at Black Hills State University (BHSU) since August 2012, wearing multiple hats. Since June 2015, I have served as the Coordinator for Student Disability Services and Coordinator of the Spearfish Testing Center. My background includes a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which fuels my drive to provide students with the individualized support they need to thrive.

Abigail Baldwin


Hello! My name is Abigail Baldwin. I am a double major in Biology and Chemistry. This is my third year at BHSU. In my free time, I enjoy reading, hot yoga, and spending time with my family and friends. I am looking forward to all of the different activities we have planned for the camp, as well as meeting all the campers!

Alaina Steveson


Hi! I'm Alaina, currently a junior at Black Hills State University. I am majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. I plan to prolong my education in the medical field to pursue my longtime passion for Dermatology. During my free time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors, embarking on my fitness journey, and hanging out at local coffee shops. What excites me most is the opportunity to engage with various employers and businesses across the Black Hills region, as well as engage with the attending kids throughout the week!

Brooklyn Anderson 


Hi Everyone! My name is Brooklyn Andersen, and I am a sophomore at Black Hills State University! I am majoring in Elementary Education, with two minors in Early Childhood Education and Reading. When I am not at work, you can find me reading books, watching movies, exploring nature, thrifting, hammocking, following my faith, and spending time with family and friends. I am most excited about having the opportunity to work with the kids; learning with them, building relationships, and seeing their curiosity grow as we travel to different locations and learn about all different career fields!

Brooks Bradner


Hello everyone! My name is Brooks, and I am going to be starting my college journey at the South Dakota School of Mines in the fall! I'm looking to go into some kind of engineering degree. But, when I'm not at school or work I like to weightlift, swim, and hang out with my friends! The thing I am most excited about is meeting and getting to know the kids during the week and having a blast exploring the possible careers for them!

Connor Hutcheson 


Hi, my name is Connor, and I am a Sophomore studying Exercise Science at Black Hills State University. My favorite things to do in my spare time include snowboarding, hiking, and lake days. I am so excited to be a camp counselor this summer because I can't wait to learn about all of the different programs the institutions in the area have to offer.

Dawson Lindeen 


My name is Dawson Lindeen, and I am a sophomore at Black Hills State University. I am getting a degree in Applied Health Sciences and plan to major in Physical Education, with a minor in coaching. Additionally, I compete on the BH track and field team and enjoy activities such as hiking, watching movies, and playing card games. I am most looking forward to meeting campers and helping them with their exciting journey of career exploration.

Derek Riederer 


Hello! I'm Derek, and I will be a Senior at Black Hills State University, where I'm studying Graphic Design. Fun fact: I'm also part of the football team! I'm looking forward to meeting you all at this year's summer camp. Can't wait to make some great memories together!

Elly Storm 


Hello! My name is Elly, and I am a junior at Black Hills State University. I am majoring in Psychology with a minor in Health. In my free time, I love to play volleyball, hike in the hills, and go thrifting! I am excited to spend time getting to know the campers and exploring career opportunities!

Evelyn Boyd 


Hi! My name is Evie, I am a sophomore at Black Hills State University! I'm from Boulder, Colorado and I am majoring in Elementary Ed with a minor in Spanish. I also am a student-athlete on the cross-country and track team. In my spare time, I love art, coffee, painting, running (A LOT), hiking, and enjoying all of what the Black Hills has to offer. I'm excited to meet everybody and go on adventures this summer!

Gaige Tarver


Hello! My name is Gaige, and I am currently a sophomore here at Black Hills State University. I am majoring in Exercise Science with the ambition of becoming a physical therapist. In my free time I love to fish and hike, lucky for me the Black Hills is right in my backyard! I'm incredibly excited to get to spend some time with the kids and make their time here memorable and fun!

Jaden Haafs 


Hi! My name is Jaden, and I am a sophomore at Black Hills State University! I am majoring in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Administration. I love to mountain bike, fly fish, play basketball, and play pickleball! I am most excited to hang out with the kids who will be attending while exploring different career options throughout the Black Hills!

Jadynn Outland


Hey all! My name is Jadynn, and I am a junior at Black Hills State University and I am majoring in Exercise Science with a minor in Health. In my spare time, I love to explore the hills, work out, try local coffee shops and restaurants, and of course attend all the local events that Spearfish puts on! I am so excited to connect with the kids and help them explore all the different businesses we are attending. It will be such a fun week!

Leyton Schnell 


Hello, my name is Leyton. I am currently a sophomore at BHSU. I am majoring in Biology and plan to attend dental school after completing my undergrad. I enjoy being involved on campus, hanging out with family and friends, traveling, and trying new things. I am most excited to meet the campers and explore businesses throughout the Black Hills.  

Mason Hiemstra


Hello, my name is Mason, I am a junior at Black Hills State University. I am a Physical Education major and am hoping to be a PE teacher and High School sports coach after I graduate. I love playing and watching sports in my free time, mainly football, basketball, baseball, and track! I am mainly excited to get to know the different employers as well as to connect with the kids who attend the camp!

Rylan Bruns 


Hello! My name is Rylan Bruns, I am a South Dakota native born and raised in Mitchell, SD. I have recently graduated from Black Hills State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography. I am a creative that has been working in the field of photography for 5 years now. Strongly driven by capturing the originality and storytelling of my subject is what inspired me to continue down this field. This is my third year of photographing the Dakota Dreams Camp and am excited to see what memories and stories this upcoming week has to offer!

Matt Burditt


Hi I'm Matt! I am a Black Hills State University graduate with a Bachelors of Fine Art in Photography. I currently have been working professionally in photography for over 5 years, with many more years to come. I love the Black Hills and South Dakota, have been a resident for most of my life. I love the outdoors and outdoor rec sports. This is my second year at the Dakota Dreams Camp. I am excited to get to photograph the camp once again, and to meet all the new campers for this year.




Dr. Cynthia Anderson, Dean of the College of Business and Natural Sciences, Director of WestCore, Associate Director of the Center of the Conservation of Biological Resources, Program Coordinator for the South Dakota Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network, Professor of Biology - Genetics, BHSU

Dr. Amy Asunskis, Lecturer of Chemistry, BHSU-RC

Dr. Abigail Domagall, Associate Professor of Geology, BHSU

Dr. Katrina J Donovan, Lecturer of Materials and Metallurgical Engineer, SD Mines

Dr. Oxana Gorbatenko, Serves in WestCore and the Center for the Conservation of Biological Resources, Researcher II of Genetics and Genomics, BHSU

Dr. Michael Hollingsworth, Assistant Professor of Human Services, BHSU

Dr. Katrina Jensen, Honors Program Director, Associate Professor of Chemistry, BHSU

Dr. Lesleigh Owen, Lecturer of Sociology, BHSU-RC

Dr. Tugba Ozdemir, Assistant Professor of Nanoscience and Biomedical Engineering, SD Mines

Dr. Matthew Pawlus, Assistant Professor of Biology - Molecular Biology, Stem Cells/Regenerative Medicine, BHSU

Leatha Potter, Instructor Elementary Education (Literacy Emphasis), BHSU

Dr. Justin Ramsey, Associate Professor of Plant Biology, BHSU

Dr. Tara Ramsey, Research Associate and Instructor of Plant Biology, BHSU

Jill Schilling, Lecturer of Geology, BHSU

Dr. Wendy Stewman, Assistant Professor of Special Education, BHSU

Dr. Johnica Winter, Nano-BME Program Coordinator, SD Mines

Dr. Yun-Seok Choi, Master of Science in Integrative Genomics Coordinator, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Integrative Genomics - Protein Engineering, BHSU

Dr. Zhengtao Zhu, Professor of Chemistry, Biology, and Health Sciences, SD Mines



BHSU Marketing

Dr. John Allred, VP of Enrollment Management, BHSU

Tanya Antijunti, Community Relations Specialist, WDTC

Scott Bass, Agent, Bass Schuler Entertainment

Andrew Buks, Instructor of Management, BHSU

Taylor Caiati, Fitness & Aquatics Coordinator

Chanho Cho, Assistant Professor, Finance, BHSU

Don Coble, Director of Budget, BHSU

Alexandra Hansen, Artist

John B. Herweh, Chief People Officer, Neiman Industries

Julie Hinker, Guest Lecturer for Entrepreneurship, BHSU

Cassie Maser, HR Coordinator, BHSU

Molly Moore, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, SD Mines

Diana Newman, Director of Admissions, WDTC

Bailey Sadowsky, Program Coordinator, School of Business, College of Business and Natural Sciences, SD CEO West Women's Business Center, BHSU

Karla Scovell, Executive Director of Western Heritage Center

Nancy Shuck, Senior Secretary of Residence Life, BHSU

Noah Sonie, Illusionist and Mentalist

Allyson Stromer, Instructor at Rapid City College of Nursing, SDSU

Nicole Valentine, Northern Hills Cinema

Brittani Webb, Assistant Director of Admissions, SD Mines

Myndi Weidenbach, Peer and Internship Coordinator in Career Development, BHSU

Rachel Wolfson, Office Manager, Bass Schuler Entertainment



Future Our Dakota Dreams Summer Career Exploration Camps are determinant upon funding. At this time, there are no plans for 2025 or future camps, however please stay connected via this site for updates!
CONTACT US Have questions, comments, or concerns? Contact Career Development by emailing BHDakotaDreams@BHSU.edu or by calling (605)642-6608.

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