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DWU to host South Central South Dakota Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University will host the 22nd annual South Central South Dakota Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Tuesday, March 25, in the Christen Family Athletic Center.

The competition includes students in grades six through 12, from 30 schools in 18 South Dakota counties.  Projects will be on display for viewing by the public from 2 to 5 p.m.

Students participating in this regional event will bring projects that have already won in science fairs at local schools.  This year’s fair includes 180 projects produced by 299 students from the following areas: Andes Central, Armour, Avon, Corsica, Dakota Christian, Lakeview (Neb.), Littleburg, Marty Indian School, Mitchell, Mount Vernon, Plankinton, Spring Creek, Stickney, Wagner, Wessington Springs and White Lake.

At last year’s International Science and Engineering fair held in Phoenix, Ariz., Justin Krell, from Plankinton, presented his “Motor Vehicle Concussion Force Impact Detection System.”  Chesney Nagel and Ariana Oorlog, both from Avon, showed a way to extract maximal liquid from a variety of hand-pumped bottles.  A group project from Brant Blaha and Jacob Reeves, also from Avon, came with a geothermal unit that could be used in conjunction with a common clothes dryer.

“While these efforts were ingenious, we believe that the projects at this year’s fair will be even more so,” said Dr. Michael Farney, math professor at DWU and the regional science fair director. “Look for a new type of automobile fuel called hydroxyl, a floating magnet at -320 degrees Fahrenheit, a project that sends high voltages through clouds, growing antlers, a promising start in cloning cancer cells, and a method to keep track of cattle by telemetry. While we are currently encouraging interesting projects, we also want projects that collect lots and lots of data so that there can be little doubt as to the worth of the findings. If our fair runs true to form, you’ll see well-written science fair boards that are well-organized and have enthusiastic researchers standing before them. Come and see the best science that our young South Dakotans have to offer.”

More than 77 judges will select the winners, including three projects that will advance to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair May 11-16 in Los Angeles. One project will advance to I-SWEEP April 30-May 5 in Houston, Texas, and another project will compete June 15-20 in Oswego, N.Y., at the GENIUS Olympiad.

Awards to be given to participating students include cash, certificates, plaques, medals, trophies, major industry recognition, and recognition by a variety of military branches. There will also be DWU scholarships awarded, including $10,000 to the senior grand award winners.

In addition to DWU, sponsors include The Daily Republic, Your Touchtone Energy Cooperatives, Sixth District Medical Society, Twin City Fan Companies, LTD., Corey and Lisa Thelen, Davison County Implement, and Logan Luxury Theatres.


Developing DWU’s Distinctive M.B.A. Program

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University's Dr. Marty BohrerWhen Dakota Wesleyan University set out to establish an M.B.A. degree program, we wanted to create a distinctive program driven by the wants and needs of students. We wanted to adapt to them, not the other way around.

In creating our M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership, we did just that—and the program development continues. Since launching our M.B.A. program six months ago, we have continued to listen to our students and to make changes to our program accordingly.

We continually ask our students for input—and then we listen. After each eight-week session, faculty survey students. They then tweak class formats, coursework and curriculum based on that feedback. We also alert upcoming instructors of a particular cohort’s needs or patterns.

By working together, DWU faculty, administrators and students have created a nimble and relevant M.B.A. The program especially focuses on:

  • Future preparation—We develop strategic thinkers and problem solvers who can lead, whether they are running their own business or are at the helm of a small- to mid-sized company right here in the Midwest or across the country
  • The real world—Our professors do not just preach business theory—they have lived it and bring that experience to the classroom
  • Connections—Our faculty are well connected and they use those connections—here in South Dakota and beyond—to help our students gain real-world experiences that can lead to rewarding careers
  • Entrepreneurship—We give our students the tools, skills and knowledge they need to be entrepreneurial thinkers who are capable, confident and creative enough to develop, launch and grow their own businesses
  • Faith—We bring the Bible into discussions about today’s business world, especially when it comes to talking about ethical decision-making

If you are looking for a distinctive M.B.A. program to prepare you for your business future, I invite you to directly email Dr. Monty Bohrer, the director of our business graduate program. Or fill out a short form to request more information.

Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning 
at Dakota Wesleyan University

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

DWU students lead Care Drive for Mitchell Area Safehouse

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Students in the Leadership and Public Service course at Dakota Wesleyan University are leading a Care Drive for the Mitchell Area Safehouse.

Personal care items are being collected March 1-31 and will be donated to the safehouse. Items in need include: toilet paper, toothbrushes, combs, shampoo, soup, etc. Drop-off boxes are located at Walgreens, K-mart and in the McGovern Library on DWU’s campus.

The students are also leading a 50/50 raffle for the safehouse. Tickets are $1 per ticket, or six for $5 and a winner will be drawn on March 31. Tickets may be purchased through the Mitchell Area Safehouse or through student Lori Goldammer, Mitchell, 605-630-8931 or  lori.goldammer.11@dwu.edu.

The following students are also members of the Mitchell Area Safehouse Care Drive: Paige TeGantvoort, Brandt; Cheyenne Durant, Platte; and Jess Muller, Platte.


Presidential Scholarship Day award recipients announced

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University invited high school seniors to campus Feb. 21 for its annual Presidential Scholarship Day.


Twenty-two students with outstanding academic records, leadership potential and a commitment to service were invited to campus Feb. 21 to meet with faculty, staff and students, learn about the Learn Strong initiative and further investigate the opportunities DWU has to offer them academically and cocurricularly. The students were all recognized as Presidential Scholars during a luncheon in their honor.


To apply, students must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, 21 ACT or 980 SAT. Scholarships ranged in the amount of $10,750 to $13,000 per year.


The following students received scholarships beginning in fall 2014:



Little Rock – Madeline DeBeer, Presidential Scholarship



Glencoe – Cole Petersen, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship



Crofton – Hali Strom, Bishop Leadership Award

Juniata – Jeremiah Panec, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship


South Dakota

Aberdeen – Cameron Huff, Tiger Academic/Athletic Award

Beresford – Devin Erlandson, Presidential Scholarship

Burke – Shailhyn Schweigert, Presidential Scholarship

Carthage – Marlee Hattervig, Presidential Scholarship

Ethan – Anna Mueller, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship

Faith – Shanna Selby, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship

Geddes – Rachael Kriz, Presidential Scholarship

Huron – Kelsey Henson, Presidential Award; Nancy Lund-Harmdierks, Presidential Scholarship

Lake Andes – DiMera Dvorak, Presidential Scholarship

Mitchell – Tyson Allen, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship; Ryker Kreutzfeldt, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship; Timothy Parks, Presidential Scholarship

Rapid City – Paige Hendricks, Presidential Scholarship

Sioux Falls – John Dosch, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship

Tyndall – Scott Van Winkle, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship

Wessington Springs – Samantha Moody, Presidential Award



Cedar Park – Nick Stevenson, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship


Challenges of Online Learning: A Student’s Perspective

Monday, March 3, 2014

They say life is what happens when you are busy making plans.

In Fredel Thomas’ case, life is precisely what happened because she was happy with her current plan.

“I was perfectly happy where I was in my career,” says Thomas, executive director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU).

She did not seek out promotions at CHR Solutions -- the telecommunications company where she worked for a decade first as an intern, then programmer, sales and quality assurance and finally as the director of project management -- but they were presented anyway.

“It was not something I ever looked to leave,” says Thomas, who applied for an adjunct position at DWU, but ended up joining the university’s entrepreneurial center as a resource for the community and full-time faculty member.

As the Executive Director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) Fredel Thomas is back in the classroom. She's also a full time student in the university's online M.B.A. program.“I didn’t even know a job like that existed,” she says. “When they started to talk to me about the job, everything kind of changed. I just thought ‘Oh my goodness, I can be passionate about my faith here,’ I get to go into the classroom. I get to tell them what it means to me.”

Just more than a year after joining the faculty at DWU, Fredel is back in the classroom in another way, too. This time it is a virtual one. She is a full-time student in DWU’s online strategic leadership M.B.A. program.

Getting her M.B.A. wasn’t part of the plan either.

Throughout her career she had watched co-workers and friends struggle to pursue their master’s degrees while juggling families and full-time jobs.

“I thought, I am so glad that I’m never going to do that,” she says.

"Two factors changed Thomas’ mind: DWU’s fully online courses and the option to complete the program in one year.

Fredel Thomas was drawn to Dakota Wesleyan University's online M.B.A. program because it incorporated into her already busy professional and family life.Because the courses are 100 percent online, she can complete assignments at night and on the weekends, with her kids coloring next to her at the kitchen table. There is no commute to classes or set time to log on and listen to live lectures.

“It is a huge benefit to be able to sit down and do my studies when it works best for my entire family,” she says.

And because she opted to go back to school full time, taking two classes each session, she’ll be done in one year.

Thomas says she debated going part-time, taking just one class each session. Knowing that she could scale back at any point helped her decide to jump in feet first.

“I was not sure when I started the program. I’m glad I went full time,” she says. “I can do this. The second eight weeks, I thought, ‘Oh dear, can I really do this?’ But I made it through. The one year really does keep me motivated.”

That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. The first few weeks of each eight-week session have been rough.

“It is a lot of work and it is hard work,” she says. “I know the first two weeks of each course are going to be stressful while I’m trying to figure out the flow of the class and balance the workload. I sleep a little less. I read a lot.”

There have been other challenges, too, like relearning how to write for class assignments.

“I’ve done a lot of writing in my professional career. Academic and professional writing are different styles,” says Thomas.

Being part of a new program has its benefits as professors try new approaches to see what works the best.

Thomas, for example, has a professor this session who provides videos of recorded lectures. That approach has opened more of a dialog with students and allowed them to see their professor’s facial expressions and to hear him crack jokes.

“Dialog is a different thing,” she says. “There’s something that it adds.”

The relationships she’s developed with classmates have enhanced her experience as well. Not only are they learning together, they are learning from each other. With 13 years in business behind her, Thomas has more experience than recent graduates enrolled in the M.B.A., but that’s a good thing, she says.

Hearing from students in different industries and with different experience levels allows for a richer experience. 

“One woman is an entrepreneur three times over; another student sells fruit. Some work for slightly larger businesses,” she says. “It opens your eyes to other issues. I can learn from their industries and experiences.”

Fredel Thomas was drawn to Dakota Wesleyan University's online M.B.A. program because its courses focus on faith.She also appreciates that courses are designed for business professionals in small-to-medium companies with a focus on faith. 

“That was very important to me,” she says. “It would be hard for me to separate that. I have a huge appreciation that they bring that into the classroom.”  

Now, halfway to graduation, she’s glad she made the commitment to herself, her career and future.  

“Everyone is benefiting,” she says. “It comes into play every day of my life. We talk about a topic and all of a sudden in my board meeting, I can speak on that topic with more educated responses than the week before.” 

Sounds like a plan.

Want to learn more about Fredel Thomas' experience? Email her at frthomas@dwu.edu

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

5 K Glow Run set for Children’s Miracle Network

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University students are getting painted up and running through the quad, and lawns and the streets.


A 5K Glow Run is set for April 12, starting at the DWU campus, and organized by students in support of the Children’s Miracle Network, which will receive all proceeds. The run begins at 7 p.m. at the Christen Family Athletic Center on campus with registration beginning at 6 p.m. Cost to participate is $25 per person in advance or $35 if registering on the day. Each participant will receive a packet with a T-shirt, glow sticks, access to glow paint, map of the route, and a wrist band to attend the Finish Fest. To register online, visit www.dwu.edu/ReadySetGlow.


Finish Fest, which will be on the Dayton lawn at campus, is an after-race celebration with games, contests and fun; and in a tented area there will be a foam dance beginning right after the race. For glow-run participants, the Finish Fest and foam dance are free. The Finish Fest is free to non-racers 17 and younger, and costs $10 for non-racers 18 and older who must present a DWU I.D. or driver’s license in order to enter the foam dance. For more information contact Jeff Holstein, student activities coordinator, at jeholste@dwu.edu.


DWU’s Loken awarded NATA Athletic Training Service Award

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lana Loken, associate athletic training professor and clinical education coordinator at Dakota Wesleyan University, has been selected as one of the 2014 National Athletic Trainers Association’s Athletic Training Service Award recipients.


“The Athletic Trainer Service award recognizes NATA members for their contributions to the athletic training profession as a volunteer at the local and state levels,” according to its website. To be eligible for the award, members must be in good standing, have 15 years of membership in NATA and be BOC certified for 15 years.


Loken has been employed at DWU since 2001.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings.  In 1999, she earned her Master of Science degree from St. Cloud State  University in St. Cloud, Minn., and in 2005, received her Ed.D. from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.


The athletic training major at DWU is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.


Bishop Leadership Awards given for Dakota Wesleyan University

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University has announced four winners of the Bishop Leadership Award to the university.


Samuel Britt, Katarina Godfrey, Lillian Jones and Hali Strom were all awarded the Bishop Leadership Award, a prestigious scholarship at DWU for students affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The Bishop Leadership Award is a $14,000 per year award available to a United Methodist student who demonstrates strong commitment to youth leadership in his or her local church and pledges to be active in student ministry at DWU. The award is renewable for four years.


Britt, of Rapid City, is the son of John and Kristen Britt, and a senior at Stevens High School, Rapid City. Britt is a member of the Rapid City First United Methodist Church.


Godfrey, of Norfolk, Neb., is the daughter of Rodney and Jill Godfrey, and a senior at Norfolk High School. She is a member of Norfolk First United Methodist Church.


Jones, of Omaha, Neb., is the daughter of Matt and Brenda Jones, and a senior at North High School, Omaha. She is a member of Olive Crest United Methodist Church.


Strom, of Crofton, Neb., is the daughter of Todd and Jill Strom, and a senior at Crofton High School. Strom is a member of Yankton First United Methodist Church.


DWU is affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church and offers majors and minors in more than 40 liberal arts and professional fields. 


For more information about DWU, contact the enrollment services office at (605) 995-2650, 1-800-333-8506 or click here.


Dakota Wesleyan to present ‘Les Misérables’

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The people will sing, they will dream, they will build castles in the sky – and they are hoping for a large crowd.

Dakota Wesleyan University presents “Les Misérables” in late March on campus with a cast of 70 students, staff, faculty, community members and children. It’s a 150-year-old story of love and redemption with war as its backdrop, and now it will come to Mitchell through the DWU music and theatre departments, sponsored by Ron and Sheilah Gates and Wayne and Mary Puetz, all of Mitchell.

“Les Misérables” will be performed at the Sherman Center, on the Dakota Wesleyan campus, at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, March 21-22, and March 28-29, with matinee performances at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 23, and March 30. Tickets are $10 and are on sale now at County Fair Food Store, as well as online here.

“Les Misérables,” the novel written by Victor Hugo in 1862, was transformed into the world’s longest-running musical in 1985 and an award-winning musical film adaptation in 2012.

“I am excited for this production for many reasons,” said Dan Miller, theatre director at DWU. “The first reason is that this musical is such a beautiful piece of art that it absolutely gets my creative juices going. Secondly, we are so lucky to have Clint Desmond in the lead of Jean Valjean, a character who needs to be played by someone as talented as Clint. Third, this is a huge production. Bigger than anything we have done at DWU in many, many years and I want to share all of these with our audiences.”

The leading characters include: Dr. Clinton Desmond, DWU choral director, as Jean Valjean; Jason Zehr, of Mitchell, as Javert, Valjean’s counterpoint and antagonist; Lacey Reimnitz, DWU senior of Corsica, as Fantine, the part made famous by Anne Hathaway’s Oscar-winning performance in the film adaptation; Kira Stammer, a junior from Mitchell, as Cosette, Fantine’s grown child; Madi Miller, DWU sophomore of Mitchell, as Eponine; Mark Puetz, of Mitchell, as Marius; James Van Oort, of Mitchell, as Thenardier, with Lisa Stanley, a DWU freshman from Loveland, Colo., as his wife, Madame Thenardier; Ryan Antaya, of Plankinton, as Enjolras; Chris Foster, of Mitchell, as the Bishop; Cameron Gueger, of Mitchell, as Gavroche; and area children Kiauna Hargens and Reese Reichert as young Cosette and young Eponine.

Madi Miller, 19, who has been in smaller roles in DWU musicals “Xanadu” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” will play the part of the tragic Eponine, who goes from being the spoiled child of the miserable Thenardiers to living half on the streets with them thieving their way through life. She eventually falls in love with Marius, who never truly “sees” her, leading to one of many heartbreaking scores, “On My Own.”

I want to bring a certain amount of lovability to Eponine,” Miller said. “In a lot of the productions of ‘Les Mis’ I have seen, the actress playing Eponine gives her a sassy edge and makes her hard to get attached to. I want the audience to be heartbroken about Eponine’s situation; feel the emotion she is feeling along with her.”

Cosette is the character most identifiable with the musical because the child’s face is used for almost all promotional materials. The young version of Cosette sing’s “Castle on a Cloud,” and later grows into the young woman who steals Marius’s heart and fuels Valjean’s desire to be a better man.

Kira Stammer, 20, has only performed in one other DWU musical, last year’s “Xanadu,” where she played the evil sidekick Calliope and stole a lot of laughs from the audience. This part will be far more serious for her.

“My mom has been a fan of this musical for 25 years, and when she heard they were making it into a film she begged me to go with,” Stammer said. “To me, Cosette is the beacon of hope in the show, and I want to make sure the audience understands that. I hope to play the part in a way that does justice to the character.”

“It will truly be an extraordinary show,” Miller added. “I think audiences can expect an emotional roller coaster. They will definitely laugh and cry while attending this production. It'll be nothing like DWU has seen before.”

Senior Lacey Reimnitz, 21, of Corsica, is a criminal justice, human services and music triple major. This is the first musical she has participated in for DWU and won the coveted part of Fantine, a part made famous by Anne Hathaway’s 2012 film performance.

“I was expecting an ‘extra’ role, but was lucky enough to get a call back for a couple of lead characters,” Reimnitz said. “After they offered me the role of Fantine, I couldn’t turn it down. As a rather inexperienced actress, I have struggled to give the character true emotion and meaning; however, I am brushing up on my skill set and hope to portray her in a way that reaches out and touches the audience.

“I think the expectations for this show will be extremely high. Many people are familiar with it and will be excited to join us in the experience. The stage crew and cast are working extremely hard to make sure that this is the best performance that it can be. I believe that we can create something that the Mitchell community will never forget.”

DWU is affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church and offers majors and minors in more than 40 liberal arts and professional fields. 

For more information about the music and theatre departments at DWU, contact the enrollment services office at (605) 995-2650, or 1-800-333-8506


DWU’s Dr. Seuss Carnival Returns with High Attendance Expected

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Dakota Wesleyan University Future Teachers’ Organization will host its 16th annual Dr. Seuss Carnival from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 22, in the L.B. Williams Commons Area.


Children ages preschool through sixth grade are all invited to participate in the event, which is free. Children can participate in reading and games in order to earn tickets to redeem for various prizes. Each child who joins in the festivities will receive a free book just for attending. Adults must accompany children at the carnival.


“The Dr. Seuss Carnival is a way for the future teachers in our education department to help the community celebrate the work of Theodor Seuss Geisel and the astonishing impact he has had on generations of young children,” said Justin Zajic, assistant professor of education at DWU. “The works of Dr. Seuss inspire young children to read and grow their imagination through stories, rhymes, and wacky illustrations.”


“Our volunteers are busy ordering books, prizes, and creating games for our guests. Last year we had over 400 children at the carnival and we hope to get at least that many this year,” Zajic said.


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Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
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