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SDSU researchers set to host webinar series this fall

Scott Erickson

This fall, Strengthening the Heartland, a collaborative project between South Dakota State University and North Dakota State University, is set to a host a series of free educational webinars. The schedule for the webinar series is below:

Sept. 15 — “Say Yes: A liturgy of not giving up on yourself” with Scott Erickson
Sept. 28 — “How to promote grit and resilience” with Lauren Rocha, Ph.D. 
Nov. 16 — “How to navigate nonsuicidal self-injury with youth” with Amanda Giordano, Ph.D.

Over the last few months, Kristine Ramsay-Seaner, a researcher and associate professor in SDSU’s School of Education, Counseling and Human Development, and Amber Letcher, a researcher and associate professor in the School of Education, Counseling and Human Development, have been working to provide families, teachers and other professionals who work with rural youth free professional development activities.

Kristine Ramsay-Seaner
Kristine Ramsay-Seaner

“With our professional development, we try to do a balance of ‘here’s things you are concerned about as a professional’ while incorporating ways to support youth,” Ramsay-Seaner explained

“Kristine has looked for people across the country who have expertise from other universities and other organizations,” Letcher said.

Scott Erickson, author of the book “Say Yes,” will lead the Sept. 15 webinar with Sarah Rhea Werner working as the moderator. The virtual event begins at 1 p.m. CDT and will be a “multisensory experience that reveals this moment not as an ending but as a sacred doorway into a much deeper invitation to our hopes, vocation and our existence itself.” Participants will also have a chance to win a signed copy of Erickson’s book.

On Sept. 28, Lauren Rocha, an assistant professor in counseling education at Tennessee State University, will lead another free webinar on the promotion of grit and resilience in youth. During the virtual event, which starts at 10 a.m. CDT, attendees will “review resilience and grit research, discuss experiences of resilience, grit and perseverance, and practice hands-on strategies to foster grit and resilience.”

The Nov. 16 webinar will begin at 10 a.m. CDT and will be led by Amanda Giordano, an associate professor from the University of Georgia, who will be discussing how to navigate nonsuicidal self-injury with youth. In this presentation, attendees will learn:

Amber Letcher
Amber Letcher
  • How to describe the prevalence of NSSI among youth, potential motives for self-injury, and associated risk and protective factors
  • How to describe the relationship between NSSI and a suicide attempt and explain NSSI as a symptom of a mental health disorder as well as a behavioral addiction
  • How to explain social contagion and ways in which the internet and social media may exacerbate NSSI among youth
  • Treatment approaches for work with NSSI among youth and clinical considerations

“Our goal is to make it so that when you come (to our webinar) you know that you are getting tools to walk away with,” Ramsay-Seaner said.

Positive Youth Development at Home Series
For the second year in row, Strengthening the Heartland has partnered with the South Dakota Counseling Association to provide the “Positive Youth Development at Home Series.”

The 45 presentations are available on Strengthening the Heartland’s webpage and are aimed at supporting positive rural youth development from presenters across the U.S. 

Letcher and Ramsay-Seaner’s project, “Strengthening the Heartland: Promoting life readiness in rural youth,” is funded through a five-year $1.2 million grant from the Children, Youth and Families at Risk program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The project is currently on its fourth year. 

For more information on the webinar series or Strengthening the Heartland, visit https://www.sdstate.edu/strengthening-heartland