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Meet Our Nursing Student Ambassadors

Nursing Student Ambassadors play a key role in representing the College of Nursing to prospective students and their families. Ambassadors are selected based on their campus involvement, knowledge of the school and leadership abilities. Nursing Student Ambassadors are passionate about sharing the College of Nursing experience with our visitors. In addition to hosting tours of our labs and simulation rooms, ambassadors represent the College of Nursing at Admissions events such as Jackrabbit Preview, Junior Day, Senior Day and Jackrabbit Receptions. They also assist with College of Nursing events such as the Pinning and Hooding Ceremony, Scholarship Reception and White Coat Ceremony.

To learn more, contact our advisers!


Rapid City

Brookings Ambassadors

Anthony Andera
Maddie Roepke, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Maddie Roepke and I am originally from Hutchinson, MN. I chose SDSU because of the welcoming atmosphere and the top-ranked nursing program.

I was a CNA in high school and fell in love with working with patients. That experience is what made me know that nursing is the career field that I wanted to pursue. I also love that with nursing there are so many different types of jobs and different ways to further your education.

I am also majoring in Spanish and am Vice-President of Nurses Christian Fellowship here on campus. I attend Oasis at Gracepoint Wesleyan Church in town and try to stay involved in small group Bible studies. This campus has so much to offer and I recommend to all incoming students to try new things!

This nursing program is truly amazing, and yes it can be difficult at times, but we really do have top-notch staff that wants to see us succeed.

Fun Fact: I love being outdoors and spend a lot of time running, hunting and fishing

brielle cords
Brielle Cords, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Brielle Cords and I am from Janesville, Minnesota. I chose to be a nurse because when my grandma was diagnosed with cancer, I got to see first-hand what nurses do and how amazing they are. I fell in love with it and knew that's what I wanted to do when I was older! I chose SDSU because of the small-town atmosphere that felt like home but also still having those big city, D1 school opportunities.

I currently serve on the executive board for Student Nurses Association and love to attend sporting events as well as participating in intramural sports! I also love to attend Oasis, a young adult church service on Sunday nights and hang out and study with friends at all the cute coffee shops downtown!

My advice to new students would be to step out of your comfort zones and don't be afraid to try new things! I have met some of my best friends by doing that!

Fun Fact: I have been to 44 out of 50 states!

anna hall
Anna Hall, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Anna Hall. I grew up in Underwood, Iowa, which is a small town about 30 minutes outside of Omaha. I will be graduating in May of 2022 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

I chose SDSU because I knew of their great nursing program, loved the feel of campus, and was surrounded by hospitality and passion from the faculty and students during my visits.

Throughout high school I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field. I thought about being a doctor or physical therapist before ultimately choosing the field of nursing. My mom and grandmother are both nurses, so I knew of all the opportunities that nursing brought to both of them. Seeing how passionate both of them were about their jobs influenced me to choose the same career path, and I know I will be just as passionate about nursing!

Aside from being a nursing ambassador, I serve on the executive board in the sorority Alpha Xi Delta. I love everything that Greek life has brought me! I am also a student in the Fishback Honors College, where I enjoy being a peer mentor for freshman students. I am involved in Student Nurses Association, which has given me many resources and tools for nursing school. I have been a member of State-A-Thon for the past two years as well. I love worshipping at Oasis on Sunday nights and working out and competing in intramural sports at the Wellness Center.

When I’m not doing homework or busy with student organizations, I love my job as a CNA at a nursing home here in Brookings!

My advice for new students would be to get as involved as you can! You will meet some of the best people in college and getting involved in student organizations will help you do that. You never know what kind of connections you might make! Stay organized and disciplined and utilize all the resources provided to you to be successful in college!

Fun Fact: My favorite entertainment is listening to true crime podcasts and documentaries.

morgan argo
Morgan Argo, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Morgan Argo. I am originally from Omaha, NE. I will be graduating in May 2022 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU for the nursing school and for the small town experience. South Dakota State University and the community make students feel at home and supported.

I chose to pursue a career in nursing because of the endless opportunities that nursing provides. My grandpa is a retired doctor, and my sister recently graduated from nursing school so I was inspired to explore a major in the health care field. Nursing was the best choice for me because of the hands on patient care. I hope to continue my education to become a nurse practitioner.

I am involved with multiple clubs throughout campus. I am currently in the Honors College, Student Nursing Association, Order of Omega, and I am the Chapter Life Vice President of Alpha Xi Delta. I also work at Scooters Coffee shop here in Brookings.

My advice to new students is to keep going. Classes, being away from home, and stress can make you want to give up but just keep going. The path is hard but it is worth it.

Fun Fact:  My goal is to go backpacking across Europe after I graduate before I start working in the real world!

carolyn blaha
Carolyn Blaha, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Carolyn Blaha, and I am from Dante, South Dakota. I am a second semester nursing major in my junior year here at SDSU, and plan on graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in May of 2022. I chose SDSU because it provided me with big time opportunities on a campus filled with friendly, small town people. When I toured campus, it just felt like a place I could call home. After 3 years, that feeling has proven to be true! SDSU is definitely my home.

I chose nursing because, although it was not my first major here at SDSU, I knew that I wanted to help people. I originally planned on being an optometrist but decided on nursing because of SDSU’s great nursing program! The opportunities through SDSU Nursing are truly endless!

I am involved in Admissions Ambassadors, intramurals, the Newman Center, and Adopt-A-Grandparent here on campus. I really enjoy going to sporting events, especially football games! The energy is unbeatable, especially when I’m surrounded by my favorite people!

To new students, be open to new things in college! You never know where you may meet some of your best friends.

Fun Fact: My hometown has a population of less than 100 people! So SDSU was a big change!

madison witte
Madison Witte, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Madison Witte and I am originally from Huron, SD. I decided to transfer to SDSU because of the welcoming atmosphere and the vast number of opportunities that awaited me. South Dakota State University gives me a small-town atmosphere while still having big-town opportunities. The way that the community supports the students and gets behind our activities is truly amazing.

I have always known that I wanted to work in the medical field. I have a passion to help others and the challenges and excitement that the nursing profession entails. It wasn’t until I attended appointments with family members and saw the pureness of interaction between the nurses and them that really generated my love for nursing. Within nursing alone there are so many different jobs and ways of allowing you to further your education.

Aside from being a Nursing Student Ambassador, I love to attend sporting events, especially football games! I am also involved in State-A-Thon and Student Nurses Association, both of which are great to get involved with. I also work at Interim Home Health here in Brookings.

To new students, be sure to make time for yourself. You will quickly have a full schedule with everything the college has to offer you but making sure to take time for yourself is just as important!

Fun Fact: I love to go on road trips with my friends and go sightseeing!


Keeley Fischbach
Keeley Fischbach, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Keeley Fischbach, and I am from Warner, SD. I chose SDSU because of the well-known nursing program and the welcoming community of Brookings! Coming from a small town, I wanted something that felt like home but with more opportunities, and SDSU is exactly that! I will be graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in December of 2022.

I worked as a CNA and a med tech all throughout high school as well as college, and that is how I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in nursing. Ever since I started my job, I fell in love with helping others and the teamwork aspect that comes along with it.

Along with being a Nursing Ambassador, I am involved in Student Nurse’s Association, intramurals, and I am also a nursing mentor! One thing I love to do on campus is attend sporting events! I love all the different opportunities to get involved on campus – they are endless!

To new students, always look for opportunities to meet new people and try new things! The years really do fly by, and you do meet some of your lifelong best friends in college!

Fun Fact: My twin sister is in my same nursing semester, and she’s also one of my roommates! We do absolutely everything together, and I wouldn’t change it for anything!

Diana Johnson, ambassador

Hello future Jackrabbits! My name is Diana Johnson, and I am from Mitchell, South Dakota. I am currently in my second semester of the nursing major and in my junior year here at SDSU. I plan on graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in May of 2023. I chose South Dakota State University for the great campus community, facilities, and faculty. When I toured SDSU my senior year of high school, everyone I met made me feel at home. Even now, I still get the same feeling walking to study at the Briggs Library or to cheer on the Jacks at a football game.

While I initially applied at SDSU as a communication major, I quickly realized my passion was to help those who could not help themselves, specifically through nursing. Throughout my time at SDSU, I have been able to see my passion come to life through my clinicals and daily studies.

While studying is my top priority, I also love to stay involved on campus through my involvement on the State A Thon Executive Board, my sorority Alpha Xi Delta, and by singing in the SDSU Women’s Choir. I also love going to all things Jacks, and to support my fellow classmates in their various activities!

My advice to new students is to not be afraid to put yourself out there! Focus on the person that you want to become, and you will achieve so much at SDSU!

Fun Fact: My hometown is home to the World’s Only Corn Palace!

Ashley Conradt, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Ashley Conradt, and I'm from Rose Creek, MN, a small town in SE Minnesota near Rochester.  I was always interested in the medical field. I watched several grandparents be hospitalized and found the nurses to be so inspirational with all the knowledge they had and how they interacted with my family. I knew SDSU had a wonderful nursing program, when I stepped foot on campus my senior year of high school, it instantly felt like home.

On campus, I am involved as a College of Nursing Ambassador, I am the Vice President of the Emergency Medical Services Club on, and I am a clarinet player in The Pride of the Dakotas Marching band.

My advice to new students it to not hesitate to join clubs, even if they are out of your comfort zone. You meet so many wonderful people and have the opportunity to be involved in many community/campus activities, plus it looks great on a resume! Also, enjoy every moment, it goes fast!

Fun Fact: I've played piano for 17 years!

Rapid City Ambassadors

Abby Noltner, ambassador
Abby Noltner, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Abby Noltner. I am from Ipswich, South Dakota. I will be graduating December of 2023 with my Bachelors of Science in Nursing.

I chose SDSU because it had everything I wanted in a college. I wanted to get an excellent education with being able to do all the things that I love to do. I originally started with a Pre-Vet major, but then I decided to change career paths to Nursing. SDSU was able to offer it to be with one of the best Nursing programs.

I chose the nursing career path because I enjoy helping people. I hope to become a traveling nurse and travel the United States and work in Labor and Delivery. I love being able to see the mother-baby connection and bonding during the first days of birth.

My advice to new students is to take every opportunity that is given to you. Whether it is an opportunity to be part of the nursing program, do something during clinical, go to tutoring sessions, or talk with instructors. There are so many opportunities that you can help you succeed. There is also so much support from instructors, clinical nurses, and from fellow classmates.

Debbie Theisinger, ambassador
Debbie Theisinger, ambassador

Hello there! I’m Debbie Theisinger and I’m originally from Chicago, IL. I’ve traveled quite extensively and have waited as a non-traditional student to continue with my education to achieve a career in nursing. My husband and I have sought work opportunities and lived in Illinois, Tennessee, New York and now South Dakota. South Dakota State University (SDSU) is now my third nursing program, and I cannot stress enough how grateful I am.

Everyone’s situation is unique, dynamic, full of advantages and disadvantages, but no matter who you are, SDSU is going to stop at nothing to see that you succeed in your path to nursing success. Without SDSU there’s no way that I could achieve nursing success in rural, geriatric nursing practice because the education and experience that I gain through the program tailors my studies to meet milestones to obtain my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Clinicals are conducted locally with a high volume critical care hospital within the vicinity. With their state of the art electronic medical records management and rotations with all different types of disciplines will see overwhelming, but know that this is the time to enhance your clinical experiences. I want to innovate through informatics, I want to make a difference in the care of our elders, and I want our communities to know they matter, and that healthcare is a right.

Graduation is fall of 2023 and with support and guidance of our instructors, lecturers, advisors and various administrative bodies, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The education here is genuine, forward thinking, non-prejudice and above all, professional.

The honest approach to nursing school is to be honest with yourself. Understand this will be difficult, sacrifices will have to be made, but be aware that you still need to take care of you. When you are prioritizing and setting goals for yourself you will thrive and act as a role model for the rest of your cohort. You’re not alone in your nursing journey. Be a team player, help out where you can and do not forget to be flexible and have a laugh at yourself once in a while. You’re going to be a nurse and the concept of caring and collaboration will carve the path to where you want to be.

Lifelong learning and continued education is a noble and progressive side to healthcare, and be sure to know that SDSU will be here for you as you make a difference and live your day to day. I’ll see you on the floor!

Fun Fact: I’ve got four dogs, 5 chickens and was simultaneously a cake decorator and tattoo artist for over 7 years.

bailey leonard
Bailey Leonard, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Bailey Leonard. I am from Rapid City, SD. I started my SDSU career at the Brookings campus and have now ventured home to finish my degree back home in Rapid City. I will be graduating in May of 2022 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because it felt like a second home. For quite some time I have known I wanted to be a nurse and SDSU has one of the top nursing programs, so this was a perfect fit.

I have always had a passion for helping and interacting with others. The field of nursing is very interactive and requires you to help others. I want my patients to know they can count on me to do everything in my power to help them overcome their illness, injury, or disease.

As of now, I would love to work with the pediatric population. I come from a huge family; being the oldest of 6 sisters and 16 grandkids total I have always been surrounded by kids. Children sickness can be a lot to handle and hard for some, but I believe that it is a challenge I am willing to take.

My advice for new students is to remember to take time for yourself. Nursing school is very overwhelming and can be a lot to handle. Sometimes it may feel like there is no time for anything else. It is so important to find time to do something you enjoy and take a short break from school and homework.

Fun Fact: I think I might have a shopping addiction.

Hope Paris
Hope Paris, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Hope Paris. I chose SDSU because in my junior year of high school I did a scrubs camp here at the rapid city nursing site and I thought it was so cool and amazing. I then went and toured the Brookings site, where I did my pre-requisites, and absolutely loved it. I loved the people there and how friendly everyone was as well as the campus itself.

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved taking care of people. Truthfully, what headed me down the path of thinking about nursing was watching Grey's Anatomy, I had always loved the idea of the medical field, but I absolutely did not want to spend 8 years in school to become a doctor, so I decided to look into Nursing, which is where I fell in love.

My big dream is to one day end up as a NICU nurse. I have always had a passion for working with children, but NICU is where my heart belongs. I feel like there is nothing more rewarding than to watch this little baby get stronger every day and watch their parents eventually get to take them home.

my advice to new students is that it's always better to get ahead! The second you get behind it's hard to catch up. I recommend getting a planner so you can always have your schedule with you and can always keep up with the due dates! Nursing school can be hard but always think back to why you started! The end game is going to be so rewarding.

Fun Fact: I love to eat my apple pie with cheese. YUM.

Hi there! My name is Jadyn Woodward. I chose SDSU because of the extraordinary learning environment. The moment I was in contact with SDSU, I felt like I was surrounded by positivity. I was impressed by the NCLEX passing rate from all sites within SDSU. I love to be challenged; I felt like SDSU was going to push me to be my best and to continue learning throughout my four years of college. I also had a feeling that the people at SDSU are there to help achieve success. They want what is best for you, and they are there to help you through your struggles. SDSU helped me develop into the student I am today.

I want to be nurse because everyday is challenging to me. Each day I am learning new things. I am passionate about providing for my patients. I love that there is wide range of specialties that you can choose from within the nursing profession. This allows you to keep options available, and there is always the option to make a change if needed. I want to be a nurse because I believe it brings the best out of myself. 

My big dream is to be a traveling nurse. I want to specialize in Labor and Delivery. I want to do this for a while. Later on, I want to get Master's degree and be a midwife.

My advice for new students is to push yourself to the maximum. College is a time to find out who you are and what your true passions are. It is essential to discover what you love; this is what will have a huge impact on your success while in college. Do not be afraid to try new things. Talk to your advisors, professors, and deans. They are all there to help you learn and progress towards success. Do not be discouraged to ask for help from these people. They all have been in your shoes a time or two; they understand and want to see your prosper. Lastly, take your classes seriously. Although they might seem pointless, they are what is going to help you to achieve great things. With the being said, take time for yourself, too.

Fun Fact: Even with all of the studying, clinical, my job, and everything else, I always find time to sit down and read a good book (not related to nursing).

Kara Whalen, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Kara Whalen, and I am from Spearfish, South Dakota. I chose South Dakota State University because of its long-standing reputation for outstanding academia, excellent NCLEX pass rate, and the encouraging support of the instructors and staff.

I come from a family of medical professionals, and among the nurses, I found they have a zeal for information, a passion for connecting with people, and a drive to care. I found these qualities within myself and knew that the multifaceted profession of nursing would be an ideal match!

I will graduate in the fall of 2023 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and would like to pursue a specialization in emergency medicine or cardiac critical care. I look forward to attending SDSU again through their graduate program at some point in my career.

My advice for new students is to take advantage of your study and learning style. Identifying how you learn and study best will support you through the challenges of nursing school. Above all, we can do this!!

Fun Fact: I was born underwater!


Lillian Schneider
Lillian Schneider, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Lillian Schneider. I chose South Dakota State University because it gave me the home feeling that I was looking for in a college. I started out in Brookings, SD then went to Rapid City, SD for more adventures and traveling. I love being able to travel and SDSU gave me that option to attend school close or far away from home. I had heard endless good things about their school, campus life and nursing program which made my decision to attend SDSU that much easier!

Nursing wasn’t in my future until I did some job shadowing at my local hospital, where I fell in love with the profession. It give you the opportunity to give back to others, care for them when they need it most, and it’s such a rewarding career. The family I nannied for in the summer, their mom was a nurse. She made a huge impact on my decision to choose this career, by answering questions daily, telling me stories, and seeing how much she loved her job gave me the additional insight I needed to know that nursing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

Currently my first goal is to get enough experience to become a traveling RN and see different aspects of nursing across the United States. My big dream is to end up working in Labor and Delivery (where my love for nursing started) as a Nurse Midwife or Nurse Practitioner. I want to be able to keep educating myself every day while also having the flexibility for my family.

DO. NOT. GIVE. UP. It is going to be challenging but also so rewarding at the same time. There have been many times where I didn’t want to pursue it anymore, but you have to always keep why you started in mind. Classes are hard, tying all the knowledge together is hard, but those patients that you’re able to help in clinicals are beyond grateful (usually)! There are a ton of people willing to support you and help you through everything, find those resources and use them! They will be an asset. I am always available too, just reach out!

Fun Fact: I currently drag race a 1975 Chrysler Roadrunner! My family is into ¼ mile drag racing in Brainerd, MN. We have a huge team of people who go up 3 different weekends out of the year and build some lifelong friendships and memories! It’s a fun hobby and quite an adrenaline rush. Fourth of July weekend I got 1st in my class and made it to the final four of ICE (Index class eliminator) category, which usually have over 300 cars racing.

savanna sewell
Savanna Sewell, ambassador

Hello! My name is Savanna Sewell. I am from Spearfish, South Dakota. I will be graduating in May of 2023 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

When it came to deciding what nursing program to apply for, I chose the SDSU Nursing Program because of their NCLEX pass rate, welcoming staff, class sizes, and all the wonderful things I heard from current and past students who attended the program. The program has lived up to and exceeded all my expectations!

My journey of becoming a registered nurse started with a 17-year-old high school girl with the compassion to serve others in her community and the love for health sciences. My last two semesters in high school I had the opportunity to job shadow at the Spearfish Hospital in a few of their departments. During this experience the two departments I enjoyed the most were Labor and Delivery and the Emergency Department. After just my first day shadowing, I knew I wanted to become a nurse. I talked to my parents, teachers, and school counselors about the steps I would need to take to reach my goals. After graduating from Spearfish High school in May of 2019, I pursued my Associates degree in Health Sciences at Black Hills State which simultaneously checked off my pre-nursing requirements. Just a short year and half later in December of 2020, I graduated from Black Hills State and was accepted into the SDSU Nursing Program at the Rapid City Campus.

I am currently going into my fourth semester in the program and looking forward to my senior year! After I graduate, I hope to stay in the area and work to gain experience and build on my skills. I eventually want to go into travel nursing and maybe even go back to school later in life.

Fun Fact about me: I recently went deep sea fishing in Alaska and caught a halibut that was almost bigger than me!

Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson, ambassador

Hello! My name is Emily Johnson, and I am from Granite Falls, Minnesota. I choose South Dakota State University because of its overall support and encouragement. My experience here at SDSU has been nothing but amazing. The staff here want you to succeed and are there to help you through every step of your journey. I originally started in Brookings, South Dakota and transferred to Rapid City, South Dakota. Rapid City SDSU has granted me so much opportunity.

I come from a family that has been submerged in healthcare. My mom, a nurse, inspired my passion for healthcare. Seeing her hard work and dedication has made me want to pursue a career in nursing. I have such a passion for giving back, caring for others, and gaining new knowledge. Nursing provided all these attributes I was looking for and more.

I will graduate in December of 2023 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and would like to pursue a specialization in emergency medicine or pediatrics. My hope is to get some exposure and then eventually return to SDSU’s graduate program.

My advice for new students is to keep persevering. Things get tough and they get through quick. I remember my first semester was very difficult, long nights of studying, endless assignments, and tons of class. I am a fourth semester student now, and just one semester away from graduating. I never thought I would be here today, and because of my passion and dedication I am. So put in the extra time, study harder, but also make time for yourself. Soon you will be in my shoes looking back and wondering where all the time went.