The Best Friends Mentoring Program announced that two students have been selected to receive the eighth annual scholarship awarded to volunteers in the program. Alyssa Slinn and Damon Fichter were selected as this year's recipients.
Slinn, a senior at Dickinson State University, is majoring in history education. Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, she signed up for the Best Friends Mentoring Program in fall of 2009 and was matched with her first Junior Friend in January 2010. She has been a mentor to two girls in the Best Friends Program while competing in barrel racing at DSU, majoring in history education and completing a 240-hour internship.
Fichter, a Dickinson High School graduate, now attends DSU. As a high school student, he shared some of his free time mentoring an elementary school boy once a week during his lunch hour while participating in band, chorus, speech and drama.
He has won state level awards in several of those activities and has excelled academically. He plans to pursue a career in music education, working with music students of all ages to see where he can make the best use of his talents.
Dr. Brenda Werner of Bismarck High School has been named one of four finalists for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year award.
She has taught for
23 years, 11 of those at BHS. Werner teaches Advanced Placement (AP) English 12, English 12 and Literary Magazine. She has also been instrumental in the formation and successful growth of the Writer's Club at BHS.
Dickinson State hires
Dickinson State University hired the following 13 new full-time faculty members for the 2011-12 academic year:
Department of Business and Management: Lisa Corbin was hired as an assistant professor of accounting. She received her master's degree in business administration and her bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Mary in 1995 and 2002, respectively.
Department of Fine and Performing Arts: Jarvis Jahner was hired as an assistant professor of theater and communications. In 2011, he received his master of fine arts degree in scenic design from the University of Oregon. Jahner received his bachelor's degree in theater in 2004 from Dickinson State University.
Department of Health and Physical Education:
Ryan Gatch was hired as an assistant football coach and as an instructor of health and physical education. In 2003, he received his master's degree in education from Chadron State College. Gatch received his bachelor's degrees in university studies and education from Dickinson State University in 1999 and 2001, respectively.
Jason Watson was hired as head baseball coach and as an instructor of health and physical education. In 2010, he received his master's degree in adult education and his bachelor's degree in health promotion from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
Cory Fehringer was hired as the head men's and women's golf coach and as an instructor of health and physical education. He received his master's degree in physical education and his bachelor's degree in sociology from Hastings College in 2008 and 2011, respectively.
Department of Language and Literature: Dr. Peter Grimes was hired as an assistant professor of English. In 2011, he received his doctorate in English and comparative literature from the University of Cincinnati. Grimes received his master's degree in creative writing from the University of Florida-Gainesville in 2003. In addition, he received both his bachelor's degrees in philosophy and psychology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1999.
Department of Music: Joel Walters was hired as a lecturer of music and piano. He is currently working on his master's degree from North Dakota State University in piano performance. Walters received his bachelor's degrees from Dickinson State University in music performance and communications in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
Department of Natural Sciences: Dr. Craig Whippo was hired as an assistant professor of biology. In 2005, he received his doctorate in plant sciences from Indiana University. Whippo received his bachelor's degree in agriculture from Purdue University in 1999.
Department of Nursing: Jacinta Skretteberg was hired as an assistant professor of nursing. She currently is working on her master's degree in nursing from the University of Mary. In 1995, Skretteberg received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Dickinson State University.
JoAnn Lindemann was hired as an assistant professor of nursing. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in education from the University of Phoenix.
In 1994, Lindemann received her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Mary.
Department of Teacher Education: Renae Ekstrand was hired as an assistant professor of education. She currently is working on her doctorate from Bethel University in educational leadership and administration. Ekstrand received her master's degree in education and her bachelor's degree in early childhood education and reading from Winona State University in 1987 and 2000, respectively.
In addition, Ekstrand has an associate's degree from North Central Technical College in sign language interpreting which she obtained in 1980.
Dr. Wendy Wilson was hired as an assistant professor of psychology.
She received her doctorate in psychology, her master's degree in psychology and her bachelor's degrees in zoology and psychology from Washington State University in 1998, 2004 and 2007, respectively.
Department of Social Sciences: Dr. Karen Hale was hired as an assistant professor of sociology.
In 2010, she received her doctorate in sociology from Texas Woman's University. Hale received her master's degree in sociology and her bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Texas A&M International University in 1994 and 1997, respectively.
Over the past 16 years, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have been given to 483 middle and high school students across North Dakota for helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment, and serving their communities through many other volunteer activities.
The search begins to identify more young North Dakotans who have made meaningful contributions to their communities over the past 12 months, as the prestigious awards program kicks off its 17th year.
The awards, presented nationwide by Prudential Financial, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, honor outstanding community service by young people in grades
5 through 12.
Young volunteers can apply online at http://spirit.prudential.com or at www.nassp.org/spirit. Applications must be completed by Nov. 1 and then submitted to a middle or high school principal, Girl Scout council, county 4-H agent, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA, or affiliate of the HandsOn Network. Those without Internet access can get a paper version of the application form by calling 877-525-8491 toll-free.
Grandparents' Day was even more special for many grandmothers and grandfathers. They were the subjects of essays written by their grandchildren for AARP North Dakota's "Why I Love My Grandparents" essay contest.
Mitch Baesler, 18, Mandan, submitted the winning entry in the 15-18 age group and third overall. He is the son of Kirsten and Lowell Baesler and a senior at Mandan High School.
He received a cash prize of $100.