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Honors Convocation Award Recipients

Aristotle once said, “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” During a year with unprecedented challenges, those that we honored at Convocation demonstrated courage and honor in their pursuits. On behalf of the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College, we want to thank you for your resilience and effort during such a dramatically different and difficult year.  We will be releasing a video of the Convocation celebration later this month so that the celebration can continue! 

This year we recognized a robust list of students that have completed their independent studies: Moriah Flanagan, Thane Henschel, Katherine Lucas, Abdullah Maruf, Haley Mendel, Timothy Paris, Cheyenne Trautman, and Kaylan Untiedt. In addition, we recognized First-Year Students that completed First-Year Fellowship programming. This is quite an accomplishment given the structure of the program in a hybrid format. Students recognized were Nichole Schilling and June Cho.  

Faculty, staff, and campus and community partners enable students to achieve success. None of the phenomenal student successes would be possible without those that educate and support them along the way.  Honors Teacher of the year nominees were:  

Val Albert 

Val’s nominator noted: Val has been a consistent resource for Honors students while at SDSU. She uses innovative teaching methods to engage students in her classes and ensure that they truly understand the material. Her passion and dedication for students are evident through the way she interacts with and communicates with students.  

Dr. Donna Flint 

Dr. Flint's nominator praise: During In a time where a majority of course content is presented virtually, Dr. Flint made it a priority to have a physically engaging classroom while respecting the current protocols. Attending class encouraged discussions comprised of critical thinking, application to real-life scenarios, and acceptance of others.  

Dr. Christine Stewart Nunez 

Dr. Stewart- Nunez’ nominator explained: Dr. Stewart- Nunez used her passion and experience to instill enthusiasm and desire for growth in her students.  The writings we created in Dr. Stewart’s class can be attributed to her guidance and passion, each quality my classmates and I will use as we make our way into an innovative future. 

Dr. Teresa Seefeldt 

Dr. Seefeldt’s nominator said: She is immensely encouraging to students who are willing to provide their thoughts and ideas to the entire class. Even if someone answers something wrong, she never makes them feel bad for their response because she doesn’t expect us to be perfect ...she wants to foster a positive environment where people can share without fear. 

Congratulations to all of our finalists and to the HONORS TEACHER OF THE YEAR Dr. Teresa Seefeldt.  

Other FACULTY, STAFF, and COMMUNITY MEMBER CONVOCATION AWARD RECIPIENTS were:  

EXCELLENCE IN HONORS ENGAGEMENT AWARD

Dr. Paula Carson, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Nursing 

COMMUNITY BUILDER AWARD

Dr. Nicole Grove, Senior Lecturer, Chemistry and Biochemistry  

HONORS ADVOCATE AWARD

Dr. Evren Celik Wiltse, Associate Professor, School of American and Global Studies 

OUTSTANDING HONORS ALUMNUS AWARD

Emily VanDerWerff 

OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY PARTNER AWARD

USDA Meat Animal Research Center 

HONORS PARTNER AWARD

Karla Howard, Assistant to the Provost, Academic Affairs 

Kay Trooien, Senior Secretary, Records and Registration-Registrar 

Jamison Lamp, University Event Coordinator, President 

Dr. Jody Owen, Academic Advisor Coordinator/Director-First Year Advising Center, Academic Student Success Center 

FISHBACK HONORS COLLEGE STUDENT AWARDS 

EXCELLENCE IN ACADEMICS AWARD 

Annika Skogg, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brookings, SD 

Loren Visser, German, Brookings, SD 

EXCELLENCE IN LEADERSHIP AWARD 

Maddie Dulas, Sociology, Brookings, SD 

Thane Henschel Human Biology, Britton, SD 

EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE AWARD 

Lindsey Kimmel, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Lakeville, MN 

Hattie Seten, Political Science, Brookings, SD 

EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH AND SCHOLARLY ACTIVITY AWARD 

Noah Mincheff, History, Brookings, SD 

EXCELLENCE IN STUDENT ATHLETICS AWARD 

Tiffany Nguyen, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brookings, SD 

EXCELLENCE IN PERFORMING ARTS AWARD 

Cadence Helleson, Music, Brookings, SD 

CAMPUS CHAMPION AWARD 

Alexia Stumpf, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brookings, SD 

Caitlin Thilges, Leadership and Management Nonprofit Organizations, Algona, IA 

EXCELLENCE IN PROFESSIONAL PREPARATION AWARD 

Alexa Vanden Hull, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sheldon, IA 

Emily Toms, Political Science, Brookings, SD 

HONORS ETHIC AWARD 

Zebadiah Johnson, Political Science, Brookings, SD 

HONORS COMMUNITY BUILDER AWARD 

Keri Pappas, Human Biology, Brookings, SD 

Lindsey Rowbotham, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brookings, SD 

HONORS LAND GRANT MISSION AWARD 

Kaylan Untiedt, Biology, Okabena, MN 

HONORS COLLEGE STUDENT ORGANIZATION AWARD OF EXCELLENCE 

Colette Gannon, Public Relations, Brookings, SD 

RISING STAR AWARD 

Ben Connor, Political Science, Brookings, SD 

At the end of the Convocation Award ceremony, we turned our attention to the recipients of our coveted OWL AWARDS. Without the recipients, the Honors College would simply not be the same.  

The FRIEND(s) OF THE HONORS COLLEGE award was given to Dave and Laurie Schaefer.  

Dave and Laurie Schaefer are both proud alumni of South Dakota State University. Dave participated in Honors courses while at SDSU which provided him with some of the foundational knowledge and experience he utilized during his outstanding career as an executive with the 3M corporation.  Dave serves on the SDSU Foundation Board of Governors and is a member of the Development Committee. The Schaefer’s have been long-time advocates for excellence at South Dakota State and understand the importance of preparing our students to be global citizens. In recognition of their generous financial investments in our mission and their tireless passion for Honors education, Dave and Laurie Schaefer have been named the 2021 Friends of the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College.  

The Honors College DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD recognized Kas Williams.  

Kas Williams is our Chief Diversity Officer at SDSU. Kas has the vision to ensure that every individual on our campus feels unconditionally part of our community. Her respect for others and welcoming everyone wherever they are in their journey on inclusion and access paired with her catching sense of humor has endeared our community to embrace Kas’ mission as our mission. In the past year, Kas has participated in an Honors professional development initiative where our staff met weekly to explore literature and other mediums of diversity to explore how to make Honors more inclusive and accessible to folks from all identities and backgrounds. Kas contributed to a small team of researchers who investigated the impact of COVID on Living and Learning among our students. This work has been published in an international journal and has been presented (upon invitation) at a recent APLU committee meeting.   

We are extraordinarily grateful for all members of our Honors and SDSU community. Congratulations to all award recipients.