BHSU students present research in Africa

Left, Garrett Kohler, psychology major from Lead, was one of three Black Hills State University students to present research at an international conference in Botswana, Africa. Kohler is pictured with his faculty mentor, Dr. Emilia Flint, associate professor of psychology, at BHSU.

Three Black Hills State University students presented their research at an international conference in Africa.

Garrett Kohler, psychology major from Lead, D'Aryn Lends His Horse, chemistry major from Eagle Butte, and Katelyn Woten, professional accountancy major from Potter, Neb., attended the Botho University International Conference (BUIC): Multidisciplinary Research, Innovation and Transformation Towards a Knowledge Based Society in Botswana, Africa.

According to Dr. Emilia Flint, associate professor of psychology, one of three BHSU faculty mentors who accompanied the students to the conference, the BHSU students were the only undergraduates who attended and presented at the conference. All other presenters were graduate students or had doctorate degrees.

"These students have a lot to be proud of in terms of the way they represented themselves, their programs, and BHSU at this conference," said Flint.

Flint mentored Garrett Kohler on a study of the effectiveness of a masculinity development program for at-risk youth. Kohler worked with the Lead-Deadwood Boys and Girls Club to analyze a program called "Passport to Manhood" covering topics such as masculinity, sex, teen pregnancy, drugs and alcohol, and stereotypes about masculinity.

Kohler found that boys who completed the program valued education more, learned better ways to handle their anger, understood how to take personal responsibility for their actions, and are more aware of their values.

"My research is important to me because it is fueled by my career interests. My dream is to be a child and adolescent counselor. The experience in Africa and this research helped to solidify my goals," said Kohler.

At the conference in Africa, D'Aryn Lends His Horse presented research completed with Dr. Urla Marcus, director of the Center for American Indian Studies, on how engagement in a student organization supports academic achievement for American Indian students.

Marcus said the conference allowed her and D'Aryn to continue their personal and professional development while learning from a new perspective.

"Our practice helps our students academically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. If what we do can help others, we need to be able to share information," said Marcus. "The networking, travel, and the academic enrichment of attending an international conference was an experience of a lifetime."

Katelyn Wooten also attended the international conference with her faculty mentor, Dr. David Crawford, professor of accounting.

Wooten is a member of the Enactus group at BHSU that invested in bee hives in Zambia, Africa to promote sustainable honey production. At the conference, Woten shared results of the investment and says she wants to spread the word about the possibilities of impact investing.

"I believe in the power of people, both individuals and groups, to make an impact on the world," said Wooten. "Now that I have this event as a part of my undergraduate experience, I see no limits on what I may do for my field of study in my lifetime."

Botho University is one of more than 15 universities throughout the world considered a BHSU Partner University. Located in Gaborone, Botswana, Botho University is one of the largest private tertiary education providers in Botswana. The University provides international, quality programs in information technology (IT), accounting, and business.

Following their attendance at the international conference, the three student researchers participated in an international service learning experience with 14 other BHSU students. The students facilitated people skills and leadership education sessions with 250 teenagers at a local school in Botswana.