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Stephanie Bebensee Receives 2020 Walt McCarty Advising Award

Headshot of Steph Bebensee
Stephanie Bebensee was recently recognized as an outstanding undergraduate student advisor in the South Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

Stephanie Bebensee was recently recognized as an outstanding undergraduate student advisor in the South Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences by receiving the 2020 Walt McCarty Award for Academic Advising.

As part of her program coordinator role in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Bebensee has been a supportive mentor while serving as an academic advisor to more than 150 students majoring in  agricultural and biosystems engineering, agricultural systems technology, and precision agriculture.

“Steph adds so much value to the student experience by helping support students as they work toward both, academic and personal goals. She has played a critical role in connecting students with industry professionals and has helped make her department and the University a warm and welcoming place for students,” said Vikram Mistry, CAFES Interim Associate Dean for Academic Programs.

Bebensee’s colleagues as well as SDSU leaders praised her for her passion for students and particularly noted that she has been a strong and caring advocate for students throughout their experience at SDSU from recruitment to graduation.

“The college experience is a time of great change, personal growth and challenges in young peoples’ lives,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “Advisors play such a crucial role during this important time in lives of students.  Advising is so crucial in helping students navigate their path to a future yet to be discovered.”

SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences alumnus, David Anderson, established the Walt McCarty Advising Award as a tribute to his former academic advisor, J. Walters McCarty who was a professor of Animal and Range Sciences at SDSU from 1948 to 1986.

Anderson greatly values his SDSU education and expressed appreciation for the guidance he received from his advisor, “Walt” McCarty.  Anderson reflected, “Dr. McCarty was a good listener and always had a positive attitude. He made it easy to help you believe in yourself. Congratulations to Steph for continuing this tradition of outstanding advising.”

Bebensee expressed her appreciation for the award and said, “I feel honored to receive an award based on such a fantastic legacy. Advising is a passion and I feel lucky to have interacted with so many great students over the years. We have amazing students at SDSU who are going to make a tremendous impact on agriculture.”

Bebensee recently transitioned to a new role as an academic advisor in the SDSU College of Nursing.

Anderson established the Walt McCarty Award to recognize and promote excellence in academic advising. The McCarty endowment also supports professional development workshops for the enhancement of academic advising at SDSU.