March, 2016

Daily News: Where to go after graduation?

March 24, 2016

By Frank Stanko

College students differ on importance of returning to their hometowns after graduation

David Hall is a third-year student of North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton. He is originally from Minneapolis and will graduate in May. According to David, he plans to return home and further his education in business management.

Currently, he is an employee of NDSCS’ Student Success Center, where he often assists students with their registration, explains how the campus works or directs them to the resources they need. He is also employed outside of campus.

“I have been in the work field quite a bit,” he said. “(I’m returning to Minnesota) because family is there and that’s where my home base is. I know the area around there better than here.”

Family, having a network of support and working in comfortable surroundings is a priority for him. Other students feel the same way.

“My dream scenario is working as director or administrator of a smaller, specialized clinic, in a field like pediatrics,” Trevor Schommer said. “I like to figure out efficient ways of doing things and getting people working together. That’s my background. I’m from a smaller town, Munich, North Dakota, and I feel more comfortable in a smaller situation.”

Schommer is a student coordinator at Altru Health System in Grand Forks, North Dakota. While an undergraduate at the University of North Dakota, Schommer interned for Altru. Along with his full-time employment, he’s pursuing a master of business administration (MBA) degree at the university.

Although the MBA program offers a lot of avenues, Schommer said, having a specialized field of study takes a lot of stress off. As student coordinator, he works with Altru’s job shadowing program, which helps high school students better decide their career fields.

“Knowing what you want to do before you make that financial commitment releases a lot of that burden,” he said.

Officials like Jane Vangsness Frisch, vice president of NDSCS Student Affairs Office, agree. She knows that most of its graduates remain in North Dakota and largely in the local area. To promote this, NDSCS not only works closely with employers, but has conversations with students at the start of their education.

“What we do is, we work closely with those employers and ask, ‘Do you think you’re going to have a job opening, especially in the trade or technical areas? And if so, have you considered establishing that relationship with a student as they’re coming into the institution?’ which are often called sponsorships,” she said.

Sponsorship, Vangsness Frisch continued, includes both monetary support and allowing students connections with the fields they’re hoping to enter. Students are informed of the benefits of staying in North Dakota, both through events like annual career fairs and the school’s online job posting system.

“We have over 1,500 jobs that are posted every year on that online job posting website,” she said. “Students are able to access that not only when they are a student, but also when they are an alumni. You could have graduated five years ago and said, ‘You know, I want to go to California and have that experience, but I want to come back to North Dakota.’”

An increased value toward the family unit and feelings of comfort is something she’s noticed among Millennial students, or those born between 1977-97, Vangsness Frisch said.

“They’re OK going back to live with mom and dad, and mom and dad are encouraging that as well. Not only for financial reasons, but for stability reasons. And so, helping them understand at the front end (of their education) how we will facilitate that (is a priority for NDSCS),” she continued.

Marcia Foss has spent 38 years as the director of career services for Valley City State University of Valley City, North Dakota. In her time, she’s seen many of the estimated 200 students Valley City graduates each year stay in North Dakota.

“Years ago, it was primarily students from North Dakota who wanted to stay in North Dakota. Maybe if you came from out of state, you stayed because you wanted to be with your circle of friends … Parents still play a big role in what their children do. Parental influence is still there and it’s very strong, whether you go where the opportunities are or you go back home,” she said.

Justin Lupkes, Wheaton, Minnesota, is a second year at NDSCS. Mason Rademacher, Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, is a first-year. Returning to their hometowns after graduation is of varying degrees of importance to them.

“I’m going to go into the workforce,” Lupkes said, who studies business. “I’ve applied for a couple jobs here at the school and back home. I worked here during the summer as well as part of a work study right now. I really enjoyed the people here on campus. A lot of the staff, they’ve become my second family. I really like the atmosphere here.”

Rademacher, who said that from day one, NDSCS has let him know how in demand he and fellow students are to the workforce, added that the campus provides many different perspectives on what students can do after they graduate.

“It also challenges you and through that challenge, (both) academically and being involved, it really pushes you to excel, so you’re prepared to move on and go into the workforce,” he added.

A liberal arts student with a pre-law emphasis, Rademacher said he’s looking at several transfer schools. He’s not entirely sure what he’s going to major in after graduating from NDSCS, just that he’ll continue his education.

“For me, it’s all about the experience and I feel I’ve lived at home for 19 years and for me the best thing to do is to probably go someplace different. I’m looking at a college in Nebraska, also some colleges here in North Dakota, with North Dakota State University and UND, but (I’ll) probably stay away from going back home … Trying to find that happy medium between a big city and a small town is what I look for,” he said.

Full article from the Wahpeton Daily News

NDSCS awards over 60 Scholarships to area Students

March 22, 2016

The North Dakota State College of Science recently awarded academic scholarships to 63 incoming 2016 NDSCS freshmen from two states.

The scholarships recognize and reward students for academic achievement, test scores and participation in extracurricular and other volunteer activities. The scholarships – awarded for $1,000 or $500 – are applicable during the 2016-2017 academic year. The honorees include:

Battle Lake: Caleb Bellig, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Baudette: Elizabeth Fraser, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Belgrade: Zachary Walz, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Breckenridge: Hannah Feigum, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Benjamin Ihland, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Franziska Maurer, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Caledonia: Sophia Augedahl, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Campbell: Faith Goettle, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Cass Lake: Elizabeth Pemberton, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
East Grand Forks: Rodney Smidt, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Elbow Lake: Cally Haraldson, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Fergus Falls: Jacob Olson, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Athyna Torgerson, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Foley: Haley Kelvington, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Graceville: Dalton Nilson, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Hawley: Katelyn Bjorndahl, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Little Falls: Hannah Witucki, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Moorhead: Joseph Huovinen, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Perham: Haley Hunter, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Prior Lake: Nathan Wangsnes, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Puposky: Isaac Gustafson, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Rothsay: Alex Hendrickson, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Savage: Alexander Dahl, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Sleepy Eye: Jonathan Lax, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Thief River Falls: Mattlyn Erickson, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Villard: Rebecca Weir, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Wheaton: Mitchel Johannsen, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00

Barton: Blackhawk Jones, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Bismarck: Matthew Fettig, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Kaitlyn Grossman, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Bethany Materi, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Lane Ternes, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Bowman: Clay Caron, John & Alyce Travers Scholarship - $1,000.00; Tyler Hansey, John & Alyce Travers Scholarship - $1,000.00; Jayden Hofland, John & Alyce Travers Scholarship - $1,000.00; Paige Lindstrom, John & Alyce Travers Scholarship - $1,000.00; Luke Paulson, John & Alyce Travers Scholarship - $1,000.00
Buffalo: Riggs Nudell, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Cavalier: Nicole DeMars, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Cogswell: Bridget Hayen, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Dickinson: Caleb Krebs, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Fairmount: Abreena Knudsen, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Fargo: Jasmine Bruer, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Forman: Tiffany Beaver, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Gwinner: Spencer Brockman, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Istvan Dudas, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Hazelton: Luke Johnson, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Jamestown: Austin Hagerott, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Andrew Triebenbach, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Lisbon: Benjamin Gemar, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Manning: Ryan Karey, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
McVille: Mercedes Dion, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Milnor: Ryder Goolsbey, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Mooreton: Kendra Klosterman, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Neche: Madison Symington, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Pekin: Taylor Donohue, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Rhame: Hank Brooks, John & Alyce Travers Scholarship - $1,000.00
Scranton: Thomas Maychrzak, John & Alyce Travers Scholarship - $1,000.00
Towner: Katie Goodman, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00
Wahpeton: Sydney Amble, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Joseph Dahlgren, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00; Isaac Summers, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $1,000.00
Walhalla: Aric Berg, NDSCS Foundation Scholarship - $500.00

Daily News: Wahpeton graduates share a scholarly nomination

March 21, 2016

By Frank Stanko

Jessica Mastel and Sarah Holcomb have more than their close friendship to share. They’re Wahpeton High School graduates. Both have been active students at North Dakota State College of Science. Mastel was recently named the 2016 New Century Scholar for the state of North Dakota. Holcomb was North Dakota’s Scholar in 2015.

The New Century Scholars program awards one student per state $2,000, considering, grades, leadership, activities and most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa and the American Association of Community Colleges.

“The New Century Scholar application is administered through the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society,” Mastel said. “I’m president of our chapter of Phi Theta Kappa here at NDSCS, so I work closely with our advisors on that process. But really, the application looks at academic achievement and involvement on campus.”

Mastel, by her own admission, is active on campus. Along with being president of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter, she’s also president of the Student Senate, an administrative assistant of the NDSCS Ambassadors and is heavily involved with the school’s music programs, such as the Wildcat singers.

“Being involved here on campus and being academically successful, I was very honored to be nominated by NDSCS to be one of our nominees for the Academic All-State Team in North Dakota. From there, you move on to be nominated for a New Century Scholar. I was informed recently that I will be going to Chicago (in April) to receive that award.”

The formal breakfast ceremony will be attended by not only Mastel but NDSCS President Dr. John Richman and his wife, she said.

Holcomb’s mother, Carla Thiele, recalled the experience of Sara becoming a New Century Scholar.

“She was a business management student, in DECA (which prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs), on the campus activities board, involved in student government,” she said. “We weren’t exactly sure what the New Century Scholars were, but Sara was nominated and she got asked if her family wanted to go the banquet, which was held in Bismarck. And the night before the banquet, she received this e-mail from her advisor and Dr. Richman saying she won the $2,000. And we went, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Both of us were just floored.”

According to Thiele, Sara wasn’t initially aware she had won for the entire state of North Dakota. The honor has benefitted Sara’s life, she said.

“It’s something else great that she can put on her resume,” Thiele added.

Holcomb, currently working as a legal assistant for the Rosenquist & Arnason firm in Grand Forks, North Dakota while she continues her education at Mayville State University in Mayville, North Dakota, said she thinks it’s great that somebody from Wahpeton was nominated and able to go to nationals.

“My involvement in the campus and community really helped out and they’ve made a positive impact, especially as I continue for my bachelor’s degree,” she remembered. “They announced my win the night of the banquet. No other schools knew anything about it. There were eight two-year institutions there, so being chosen the one out of all of those was pretty exciting.”

Holcomb added that she hopes students interested in the New Century Scholars program don’t underestimate the opportunities to be gained from it.

“Don’t take it for granted,” she said.

Mastel, who will further her education and career in the fields of social or political science and pre-law, said she and Holcomb continue to know the importance of getting involved on campus.

“We’re still in an organization called the North Dakota Student Association,” Mastel said. “It’s a group of students representing all 11 (higher-learning) institutions and it meets once a month, so Sara and I can have continuous conversations.”

The best advice she can give, Mastel said, is to be involved.

“Not even for someone in Wahpeton who wants to apply (for the scholarship), but for anyone just going to college, going to NDSCS or another institution. Just get involved with something, get involved with what you’re passionate about. If you can get involved with what you’re passionate about and you can show you’re passionate about that, people are going to recognize that in you.”

One more endorsement for Mastel came from Ned Clooten, principal of Wahpeton High School. He called her intrinsically motivated and someone who always filled her schedule with the hardest classes she could find.

“Jessica went above and beyond what was asked of her in the classroom and was someone who did not take their education for granted,” Clooten said.

Mastel and Holcomb join the 2012 New Century Scholar, Tyler Loll, as recent winners from the state of North Dakota who were graduates of Wahpeton High School and NDSCS. Loll was unable to be reached for comment.

Full article from the Wahpeton Daily News

NDSCS promotes Vangsness Frisch to lead new Student Affairs Area

March 15, 2016

North Dakota State College of Science recently promoted Jane Vangsness Frisch to Vice President for the newly created Student Affairs division. This new division will support students during their entire college experience – from recruitment and enrollment to career guidance and graduation – by enhancing student learning and personal development through a variety of student services.

Vangsness Frisch, originally from Okabena, Minn., graduated from North Dakota State University (NDSU) with a bachelor’s degree in both mass communication with an emphasis in public relations and health education. She also earned a master’s degree in mass communication and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in education with an emphasis in institutional analysis, both from NDSU.

Vangsness Frisch joined NDSCS in 2013 as Director of Student Success and Career Services. In 2014 she was named Associate Vice President for Student Success. Prior to her time at the College, Vangsness Frisch worked for the North Dakota University System. 

Vangsness Frisch and her husband, Tom, reside in Dumont, Minn.

NDSCS-Fargo to hold Program Preview Day for prospective Students

March 10, 2016

Enjoy a hands-on preview of the Welding Technology or Paramedic (EMT) Technology program

The North Dakota State College of Science will be holding a Program Preview Day on Monday, March 21 from 6-8:30 p.m. at NDSCS-Fargo, located at 1305 19th Avenue North, for students interested in taking classes at the Fargo location.

Spend time with faculty and current and/or former students to get a hands-on preview of the Welding Technology or Paramedic (EMT) Technology program.

This session is free to attend, but pre-registration is required. Enrollment Services staff will also be available to answer questions about the admission process, tuition costs, paying for college and additional questions.

For more information or to register, please contact Nicole Ashe at or 701-231-6935 or visit

Daily News: Nelson named executive director of Alumni/Foundation

March 07, 2016

By Frank Stanko

Kim Nelson, who has been with the North Dakota State College of Science since 2002 in positions ranging from alumni coordinator to major gifts officer, has reached her pinnacle. She was recently promoted to Executive Director of the school’s Alumni/Foundation.

According to Nelson, her responsibilities will include leading the foundation at the college and carrying out its mission, “which is to be the arm for fundraising for the college.”

“One of the biggest things with fundraising is getting to know your donors,” she said. “Many of our donors started out as (giving) an annual gift of $25 or $50 or $100, and now they are maybe (giving) gifts of $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 annually. The most rewarding part of this is getting to know those donors and then leading them to understand our mission at the college and leading them to be a part of helping the foundation be that arm of the college and raise the funds.”

Although not a NDSCS alumni herself, Nelson, who grew up in Wyndmere, North Dakota, said she knew the school all her life and went on to send a daughter and son there. According to NDSCS, Nelson graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston with a bachelor’s degree in family service and from Minnesota State University Moorhead with an elementary education degree.

“I was one of those rebel children who decided I wanted to move away from home … (in) hindsight, I wished I had gone here, but now I know,” she said, laughing.

According to Nelson, her biggest challenge is finding and reconnecting with alumni.

“We have a database of over 35,000 active alumni, and in that 35,000, they’re spread out all across the country. I’d say 70 percent are in the tri-state area. When people graduate from here, they don’t always say, ‘Well, I graduated from NDSCS, come and seek me out.’ That’s one of my missions, one of my goals going forward is to be better at communicating with our alumni and getting them more engaged,” she said.

Nelson invites all alumni to come back and see “what the foundation does and how we have helped the college over the years.”

“I think if they came back, if they’re in the community and took a tour of the college and understood what our programs do, and what our scholarships and endowments do for our students, I think that would be very encouraging for them to come and get reconnected,” she said.

She also said reconnection “at any level” is welcome, whether as an alumni or a friend of NDSCS.

“Our friends of the college are just as strong and ‘bleed the red and black’ just as much as I do,” she said. “We have strong ties with business and industry. Many of our (local) business and industry have alumni … they talk about the strength of their education here and how they’re in the position they are because of where they started.”

A ideal workweek for Nelson is split between in-person visits with donors and correspondence through e-mail and phone calls. No matter the amount they gave, a donor to NDSCS is still someone the school wants to stay involved with.

“Everyday, there’s somebody that I call,” Nelson said.

Event-planning is also a top priority for Nelson. She’s currently gearing up for overseeing the upcoming 21st Annual DREAMS Auction, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 8 at the Blikre Activities Center in Wahpeton. Money raised from the auction helps goes toward continued communication with alumni and donors.

“It’s the Alumni/Foundation’s largest fundraiser,” she said. “It’s a community, faculty, staff event, and we raise somewhere over $250,000 annually. No tickets are sold at the door, so you can go to the website, you can call the Alumni/Foundation office … we sell tables, we sell individual tickets.”

Along with pride in the Wahpeton-Breckenridge community for providing auction gifts with a total value she estimated at $80,000, Nelson said she also feels excitement for the increasing amount of attendees from places such as Fargo, Jamestown, North Dakota and Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

“The Red River Valley is really well represented now, and that’s alumni coming back and giving back,” she said.

Nelson has a big goal for the future of NDSCS.

“I want to raise our scholarship endowments from a little over $11,000,000 to $19,000,000 in five years,” she said. “We want to bring students to this campus, and if we don’t have a scholarship base that we can recruit from, it’s going to be harder to do that. We can retain students, but we want to be able to recruit them, and scholarship money does recruit. I think that’s going to be a challenge, but I look at it as an attainable challenge.”

For more information, visit and the Facebook page, NDSCS Alumni Foundation.

Full article from the Wahpeton Daily News

Kim Nelson to lead NDSCS Alumni/Foundation

March 03, 2016

North Dakota State College of Science recently promoted Kim Nelson to Executive Director of the Alumni/Foundation.

Nelson, originally from Wyndmere, N.D., graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston with a bachelor’s degree in family services and from Minnesota State University Moorhead with an elementary education degree.

An NDSCS employee since 2002, Nelson previously served as the Interim Executive Director of the Alumni/Foundation, Major Gifts Officer, Donor Development Manager and Alumni Coordinator. Prior to her time at the College, she worked for Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota and before that served as a Regional Manager for Midwest Vision Center.

Nelson and her husband, Brian, reside in Fergus Falls, Minn., and together have five children.

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