January, 2014

“Give Kids a Smile” event returns to NDSCS

January 24, 2014

The NDSCS Allied Dental Education Clinic will be participating in the annual American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile® Day on February 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mayme Green Allied Health Center at NDSCS in Wahpeton, N.D.

All patients must have appointments in advance. A parent or legal guardian must accompany patients younger than 18 years. To schedule an appointment, please contact the NDSCS Allied Dental Education Clinic at 1-800-342-4325 ext. 3-2333 or 701-671-2333.

Free dental care is available for children during this nationwide event that assists those families who may have difficulty accessing dental care or may have limited financial resources. The clinic will be providing dental care to individuals ranging in age from three to 20.

Services provided may include basic restorative procedures, simple extractions and patient exams. NDSCS Allied Dental students will perform cleanings, radiographs, sealants, fluoride applications and oral health education. More than $11,000 worth of donated services was provided to local children in 2013 with the help of volunteers, local and regional dentists, hygienists, assistants and the NDSCS Allied Dental Education Department staff and students.

“We are looking forward to helping children again this year and our goal is very simple – to provide quality dental services to those in need. We really are looking to give children - and their families - a reason to smile,” said NDSCS Give Kids a Smile Program Coordinator Lucinda Hanekom. “We are fortunate to receive support and/or contributions from the North Dakota Dental Foundation, the American Dental Association with products donated from Henry Schein & Colgate, and local and regional dental community volunteers.”

Give Kids A Smile is a registered service mark of the American Dental Association.

Wahpeton Daily News: Beginner, advanced computer classes

January 24, 2014

By Matthew Liedke, Wahpeton Daily News

Computer classes will be offered February and March at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, covering multiple programs used both at home and the office.

The courses will take place Feb. 10, Feb. 20, March 5 and March 12 and are made possible due to a partnership between NDSCS College Outreach and TrainND Southeast. The first class will cover personal computers using Windows 7. The second will focus on Microsoft Excel 2010, the third on Microsoft Powerpoint 2010 and the fourth on Microsoft Word 2010.

Joe Schreiner, TrainND manager, said the first class covering Windows 7 is for beginners.

“This class is for a user that isn’t comfortable with computers,” he said. “The class will help them learn the basics and teach handling files and folders.”

The next three, Schreiner explained, are classified as “level two” courses and are a little more advanced.

“Those are for people who are using these programs in a sort of day-to-day basis. It’s given to people who just want to fine tune their skills,” Schreiner said. “The biggest reason people take the level two classes is to improve their job skill level since a lot of these are often used in a work place setting.”

Schreiner described how the classes have included bankers and retail workers enrolled in the classes to help improve their work.

The first course on Feb. 10 runs from 1-5 p.m. while the other three start at 8:30 a.m. and go until 4 p.m. Lunch is served during the courses for participants and coffee, water and refreshments are also available.

Also available during the course are workbooks, which attendees can keep and reference after the class is completed.

Registration for the courses is required three business days prior to each class and Schreiner said that a person can take just one or all four classes. The registration can be done over the phone at 701-231-6915 or at Those with questions can also contact Schreiner at his NDSCS office at 701-671-2721.

Costs for the courses vary between the introduction level and level two. The introduction to personal computers class is $79 and the three level two courses are $159. All of the courses will take place at the NDSCS Tech Center. Schreiner said that a minimum of four class participants are needed for each course to take place.

Computer courses aren’t the only types of teaching TrainND, Schreiner added, as the service tries to accommodate whatever the public needs.

“We try to offer multiple open enrollment classes, they aren’t only centered on computer skills. We do training in multiple areas where people can learn about job skills, leadership, management, customer service and technical training like welding and electric,” Schreiner said.

Feedback is usually strong for the courses given, too, as Schreiner said that mandatory class evaluations come back with a 99 percent satisfaction rate.

Click here to view the full article online.

INFORUM: One of ND’s first female lawyers reflects on career

January 23, 2014

By Merrie Sue Holtan, INFORUM

Mildred Johnson’s life began in the small prairie town of Tolna, N.D.

“Well actually, it was Mayville,” the 95-year-old says.

In January of 1918, with no roads open, her mother, Louise Burns, took the train 14 miles to Mayville to wait 10 days until Mildred’s birth.

Mildred’s life has been quite a ride ever since. She became one of the first women to practice law in North Dakota. She served as a “downtown lawyer” for 48 years with the Wahpeton law firm of Johnson, Johnson, Stokes, Sandberg & Kragness.

Graduating from the University of North Dakota Law School in 1939, she was the only woman in her class. From 1952 to 1966, Mildred served as the first woman on the North Dakota Board of Higher Education, where she exchanged ideas and often butted heads with the Legislature, college presidents, newspaper editors and governors. Twice she served as president of the board and was appointed to the National Association of Governing Boards for Higher Education.

Before and after her terms with the higher education board, Mildred taught business law part time at the North Dakota State College of Science. The school christened the Mildred Johnson Library in 1971, and she received the college’s first honorary associate’s degree in 2002.

Chosen “Woman of the Year” in education by the North Dakota Education Association in 1964, Mildred was named the 1973 “Woman of the Year” in law. UND awarded her with the highest alumni award, The Sioux Award, in 1988.

Former law partners describe Mildred as fearless, intelligent and well-read with exceptionally good judgment.


In Tolna, Mildred’s parents ran a drug store, and when Mildred was 9, the family moved to Grand Forks, where they owned a neighborhood grocery store. Mildred lived close to the library, heaven for a girl who was “never without a book in her hands.”

At age 16, Mildred graduated from Central High School because Tolna teachers had advanced her a couple of times. As a result, Mildred entered a two-year pre-law program at UND and completed her law degree by age 21. Mildred took all the speech, debate and argumentation classes she could and debated on the UND varsity debate team, traveling the Midwest to compete and win.

“I did not have antagonism from the men,” Mildred says. “It was too early. The guys weren’t worried about me and treated me as an equal.”


As a woman, Mildred never expected to practice law but thought she would get a bank job in a trust department. A month before school finished, however, a downtown Grand Forks lawyer gave her a chance to try a case. She won.

“He asked me to work for him,” Mildred says. “I don’t want to give myself too much credit because we all knew a war was ahead, and there would be fewer men to work in law practices.”

While working on a case in Red Lake Falls, Minn., Mildred met a Wahpeton, N.D., lawyer, Vernon Johnson, also a UND law school graduate, and soon they started to “go together.”

“We’d take the bus to Detroit Lakes, dance at the pavilion and have smoked ribs afterwards,” Mildred says. “Then we’d go to his house in Wahpeton. Of course his sister and aunt were there to chaperone.”

In September of 1940, Vern and Mildred were married. Vern was elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives, and Mildred joined Vern’s firm, Johnson and Malloy. The couple enjoyed the outdoors, hunting after work and nearly every weekend until their three children were born. They also purchased a cottage on Otter Tail Lake, which is still in the family 60 years later.

Then the phone rang.

It was then North Dakota Gov. Clarence Brunsdale, calling Mildred about an appointment to the North Dakota Higher Education Board.

“I considered and accepted,” Mildred says. “Then I found out I was pregnant with our third child, Russ. What to do? It was a difficult decision. Then I figured what the heck, the guys on the board wouldn’t know the difference for about five months. Pregnancy isn’t affecting my brain. I fussed and fussed about it, but in the end, the guys didn’t even care.”

Mildred hauled Russ and a babysitter with her to monthly daylong board meetings, all held in Bismarck. She says she “tore out from meetings” at noon and 5 to breast feed Russ.

Mildred solved problems for the board, particularly in finding financing for buildings, and she helped acquire two large pieces of property next to NDSCS that allowed the college to expand. She advocated that state colleges and universities receive a fair share of operating funds from the state Legislature and insisted that colleges retain good teaching faculty. She also urged colleges and universities to adopt long-range planning, with campus beautification of prime importance.

“We finally decided to meet at the different campuses,” Mildred says. “That way we could see what going on. I walked around campus at night and realized just how dark and unsafe they were. We got that changed with better lighting across the state.”

Mildred remembers some nasty fights in which she stood as the lone vote against a decision. The board wanted her as president because she had the courage to speak.

“I always tried to promote discussion, but I wasn’t always popular,” she says. “One editorial in The Forum spoke against my appointment for a second term. I was called a communist. Can you believe it? I’m a good North Dakota Lutheran Republican. But I got lots of good support and the appointment.”

Mildred feels the top three accomplishments made during her terms were getting a top-notch air school at UND, starting the best rural nursing school in the country at UND and establishing a dental hygiene program at NDSCS.

As a general law practitioner, Mildred also took on pro bono cases, especially those involving domestic abuse and children. As a result, women came to her home for consultation. They wanted to know their rights, she says, and they had no money to help themselves.

“I represented a lot of juveniles whose parents had given up on them,” she says. “These weren’t serious crimes. One kid had a drug problem and no money.”

Mildred became an activist in Wahpeton and says she did “everything under the sun,” including teaching Sunday school, leading Brownies, volunteering for the swim team, and establishing the first kindergarten.

The Johnson’s oldest daughter, Gail, now retired, went to Harvard University and Harvard Business School and ran her own software business in New York. Laurel Hillier attended Wellesley College and Harvard Business School and lives in New York City, and Russell, who also attended Harvard and Harvard Business School, owns a business in China. She has four grandchildren.

Mildred divides her time between Otter Tail Lake and Perham, Minn., where she lives in Prairie View Assisted Living. She still devours books – on subjects ranging from railroads and Mozart to small villages and Henry VII –but because of diminished eyesight, she now listens to them on tape.

Her friend Pat Holper of Perham, often visits Mildred.

“Throughout all of her challenges, she has kept a terrific sense of humor,” Pat says. “Having a good laugh with Mildred makes my day.”

Click here to view the full article online.

Wahpeton Daily News: Veterans Educational Training opportunity at NDSCS

January 21, 2014

By Carrie McDermott, Wahpeton Daily News

A state-funded program to assist military veterans prepare for and successfully complete a post-secondary education is now accessible at North Dakota State College of Science, through a partnership with North Dakota State University.

The Veterans Educational Training (VET) program is free to North Dakota veterans and VA education benefits, including the GI Bill, Post 9/11 and Vocational Rehabilitation may be applicable.

Jeri Vaudrin, project coordinator for the VET program at NDSU, said it is designed to help out vets who want to go back to school to get a certificate or degree.

“Years ago we had a program called Veterans Upward Bound, which was funded with a grant from the Department of Education,” she said. “It was here on campus at NDSU for 40 years, with classrooms here and at the University of North Dakota.”

She said the program was not funded last year, and organizers faced having to end it or find an alternative funding source.

“We believed it was too important to let go, so we secured funding from the North Dakota legislature for the biennium,” she said. “The funding the state gave us wasn’t as much as we had hoped, it was about a 40 percent cut.”

She said the goal is to cover the entire state, and the group is now partnering with several other campuses to act as remote sites, using computer labs or classroom spaces for veterans to connect with the classes through the web.

“We put together online classrooms for those who can’t be in the Fargo campus classes, because of distance or work constraints,” she said.

NDSCS began offering space in a computer lab just this month as part of the program.

Vince Plummer, manager of student health and counseling services at NDSCS, said the campus is offering computer lab space and assistance from staff that will help veterans who “may not be comfortable around some of the technology.”

He said there are no class-size limits, and once Vaudrin sets them up in the system with logins and passwords, they can use the computer lab any time of the day that the campus is open.

“I’ll walk them through the campus and show them the lab, make sure they have a functional understanding of things,” he said. “I make sure they know I’m the primary point of contact. They can visit with me and get answers.”

He said it’s a nice option for veterans in the southern valley who can’t get up to Fargo or don’t have a computer.

“It’s just an option if vets don’t have the technology in their own home,” he said. “When Jeri asked if we’d like to partner with them, we were really excited. It’s a fantastic way to support veterans.”

Vaudrin explained that many military personnel suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injuries, and may have issues with being in a crowded classroom. The intent of the VET program is to provide not just the educational training, but a setting where veterans can feel comfortable learning and support one another.

“We want to stress collaborations, so those who aren’t sure can get a taste for it,” she said. “They can find out what it’s like to be on a regimented schedule, and focus on what they want to do. If they have issues, there are people on site who can help.”

Vaudrin said there is no age limit for veterans eligible to participate in the program.

“For example, maybe they were in the military for just 180 days, or went to basic training and got injured and now have a service-related injury. Or they could be a Vietnam veteran or even from the Korean War. We don’t have that restriction, it’s wide open.”

She said the VET program can also be accessed from home, if a veteran is comfortable working computers on their own. Veterans are tested to determine their academic level and if there are any learning disabilities. The program can connect veterans with additional services if needed.

“We work with a number of homeless people in shelters, too,” Vaudrin said. “Even if it’s just so they can get into a certificate program. We work with math, English, sciences and history, if needed. We teach them study skills, how to prepare for tests, time management and basic computer skills.”

The biggest problem she sees with service members who go back to school is that when they run into problems and don’t know how to solve them, they quit.

“We want them to finish,” she said. “It’s important for them to know they’re not stuck. While they have chosen to give their time and put their lives on the line (in the military), we understand and appreciate them and want to provide for them, so they can continue their dream and build their lives.”

Vaudrin said the program also works with ND Job Services to help veterans get an idea of available positions, which may steer them into a particular course of study.

There is no required time limit as to how much or how little each student needs. It’s all dependent on their individual academic level and skills. Some are in the program just a few months while others may be in it for a year or two.

To be eligible for the program, students must be North Dakota veterans who are intending to attend a North Dakota college or university and who has a DD 214 stating anything other than a “dishonorable” discharge, regardless of age or residence.

For more information on the program, visit or call Vaudrin at 800-570-5719 or Plummer at 701-671-2319.

Click here to view the full article online.

NDSCS Campus Incident Communication

January 18, 2014

On Saturday, January 18, a report of a serious incident at the Blikre Activities Center in Wahpeton came into the Wahpeton Communications Center. NDSCS Campus Police, Wahpeton Police, the Richland County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Highway Patrol responded to the report and upon investigation have determined this was a false report with no evidence of a crime. There is no threat or danger to the campus or community at large.

Any person with knowledge of the false report is asked to contact NDSCS Campus police at 701-671-2233.

Forum editorial: Strength through partners

January 03, 2014

Editorial by The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead

The average starting salary for graduates of the North Dakota State College of Science at Wahpeton is $35,364 a year. The highest reported beginning salary is $50,832 for 2012-13. That’s not bad for graduates of a two-year program. What’s more, the college has a placement rate of 98 percent. Many students have a job waiting for them when they enroll.

The demand for NDSCS graduates is especially acute in allied health occupations, such as nursing, as well as in diesel mechanics studies. Diesel mechanics are so sought after that heavy equipment dealers pay for qualified students’ tools and tuition, and also pay them a salary, with step increases for their on-the-job training. A permanent job awaits them upon graduation, with more than 60 percent staying in North Dakota.

Given numbers like those, it’s not surprising that enrollment at NDSCS last fall, with 3,168 students, was the highest in 30 years. The achievements of President John Richman, his faculty and staff have gained recognition, including being identified last year by the Aspen Institute as ranking among the top 10 percent of community colleges in the nation. Last year, Washington Monthly ranked NDSCS third among the nation’s two-year colleges.

A hallmark of the school’s approach is to form partnerships with industry. Corporate partners contribute equipment; students learn on up-to-date technology. Industries provide guidance so the school’s graduates have skills to match what’s needed in the field. In fact, if industry support is lacking, the college might discontinue a program, since it would be counterproductive to produce graduates who were trained on out-of-date equipment.

NDSCS administrators continue working on a plan, which will be unveiled early in the new year, to accommodate growth at its north Fargo campus, which opened 17 years ago. Whether through new educational tools – NDSCS offers more than 170 courses and 12 academic options online – or added space, Richman promises the growth plan will be driven by program needs that are responsive to market demands.

All of this is welcome news for a state that finds itself challenged as never before to train and place workers to sustain an economy humming from the oil boom and robust growth in other sectors, as shown by the 25,000 openings listed by Job Service. Some estimates place the number more than double that, since not all employers participate in the online registry. North Dakota must attract and train more qualified workers to keep the locomotive on track. NDSCS is playing a crucial role in that effort.

View the full article online at

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