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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.

Brookings Ambassadors

nthony andera
Anthony Andera, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Anthony Andera. I am originally from Aberdeen, SD. I will be graduating in December 2020 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU for the people. They made me feel like a family on my visit, and they have made SDSU feel like a family ever since.

I always knew that I wanted to go into some sort of medical field and help people. After researching nursing, I knew that it was something that I would enjoy. My big dream right now is to become a teacher of nursing, helping students with the challenging aspects of nursing.

I am on the track and field team. I enjoy going to all the sporting events on campus, and just hanging out with friends. It doesn't matter where, as long as I am with the people who I enjoy.

To new students, it may be scary at first, but if you stay focused on your goal, you will accomplish it.

Fun Fact:  I wasn't originally planning on becoming a nurse when I first started college, but I was smart enough to figure out this was the best opportunity for me.

mackenzie buse
MacKenzie Buse, ambassador

Hi there! My name is MacKenzie Buse. I am originally from Tyler, MN. I will be graduating in December 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because it had a hometown feel with big town opportunities. I love to be challenged, I love to be able to have many options and I love to be able to continually learn. I am a giver, I find joy when I can make someone feel better. That is why I chose nursing. I'd like to work as a pediatric and labor and delivery nurse for a few years and then go back to school to get a degree as a neonatal nurse practitioner.

I am involved with Gracepoint Church, and I like going to the Jackrabbit football games on-campus! Go Jacks! I also like to go to the movie theater in Brookings. It has the most snacks and the chairs are really comfy!

My advice to new students is to stay committed and work hard so you can accomplish your dreams. My dream was to get into nursing school, and now I am two semesters from graduating!

Fun Fact: I love music, and I find listening to choir music extremely energizing. I love the feeling of when harmonies and chords are locked!

ellyn julius
Ellyn Julius, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Ellyn Julius. I am originally from Rapid City, SD. I will be graduating in December 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because when I toured campus during my senior year of high school, I feel in love with the school and Brookings. It felt so homey and welcoming. I want to be a nurse because I have always loved science, and I have a passion for helping others. Being a nurse is the perfect combination of the two. Right now, I am very excited to graduate and become a Registered Nurse. I look forward to my experiences I will have wherever I end up, and I am thankful that having my BSN gives me the opportunity to continue to grad school someday.

I am a CHEM 108 tutor on campus. My favorite on-campus event is the Nursing Career Fair. It sounds lame, but you get a ton of free stuff, and to talk to future employers, I love it. In Brookings, I love half-price sushi Mondays, going on walks at Dakota Nature Park and doing homework and studying at the coffee shops.

My advice to new students is to get involved in things that push you out of your comfort zone. You will meet so many people, have so many valuable experiences and learn new skills if you push yourself. Also make sure to take time for yourself. It is okay to take a break and let yourself relax. School is important, but so is your mental health. It's really important to find a balance.

Fun Fact I am a published author.

hannah kilker
Hannah Kilker, ambassador

 HI there! My name is Hannah Kilker. I am originally from Britton, SD. I will be graduate in May 2020. I chose SDSU not only because of the remarkable nursing program, but also due to how personable and welcoming everyone was when I came to campus for visits. SDSU instantly felt like home to me, and it still does today.

Registered nurses have such a large scope of practice; as a nurse you get to provide for your patients in so many ways. You are the one at their bedside, keeping a watchful eye, performing multiple skills and creating that special bond of trust and compassion. That is what I love about nursing. Someday, I would love to be a flight nurse, caring for patients up in a helicopter during their most crucial times.

I am involved with Nurses Christian Fellowship, the Honors College and Oasis College Ministry. My favorite on campus event are the SDSU wrestling duals in Frost Arena. Around Brookings, I like to workout at the CrossFit gym, attend church at GracePoint Wesleyan Church or go to the many coffee shops to study with friends.

I would suggest to new students to not be afraid to reach out or speak up. Some of your greatest friendships and connections in college can come from unexpected opportunities.

Fun fact: I live on a farm and enjoy driving semi and restoring my 1955 Chevy apache pickup.

catrina miller
Catrina Miller, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Catrina Miller. I am originally from Estelline, SD. I will be graduating in 2020 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because it is close to my family, affordable and I love the campus size as well as the student-to-faculty ratio. I also really enjoy the Brookings community.

I have always known that I wanted a job where I could help people and change lives. I became interested in biology and medicine in high school after taking an AP biology course. At that time, I decided to study to be a doctor. As I continued with pre-med courses, I realized that nursing would be a better fit for me and my family. I remembered the wonderful nurses who cared for my brother when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. They made emotional connections with him and my family and truly changed our lives. This is what I want t do every day. I want a job that I care abut and enjoy. I want to work with children, new mothers and emergency departments. I also want to continue my education and become a teacher for other nurses.

My big dream is to simply life a good life with my family and make a difference in the world. There are so many negative influences everywhere, and I want to be a force for good and inspire others to do the same. I want to work in the hospital and school settings and be respected by my coworkers. I want my patients to trust me. I also hope to provide opportunities for my children that I did not have and provide a stable life for them. My husband and I hope to be financially stable enough to have a large family. I want all our children to know that they can be what they want to be and that what they do matters.

I like to spend as much time as possible at home with my babies, but I also hope to attend more Spanish Round Table meetings this semester to keep up with my Spanish since I will not be enrolled in any Spanish courses this semester. I also love to bring my babies to the Hobo Day parade every year! We also often visit the Old Market Restaurant and take our kiddos to the Children's Museum. I love to shop at the boutiques and visit the Kool Beans coffee shop downtown.

To new students, don't be afraid to ask for help or seek out resources early one!

Fun Fact: I am also studying Spanish and took a short trop to Mexico over the last holiday break to visit a friend who I once tutored in English. I also love chatting, so I would gladly share all the details!

Dom Weber
Dominick Weber, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Dominick Weber. I am originally from Canistota, SD. I will be graduating in December 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because many of my family members attended SDSU, and the campus has a very welcoming feel. I want to be a nurse in order to have a positive effect on all patients and to build a trusting relationship between them and myself. My big dream is to go back to school for my Doctor of Nursing practice degree and eventually open my own practice.

I am involved with Students' Association, Honors Recruitment Team, Honors Dean's Student Advisory Council and Honors Peer Mentoring. My favorite events to attend on campus are the Jackrabbit football games. I also enjoy playing tennis.

My advice to new students is to work hard, but understand that it's important to give yourself some time to relax and maintain relationships with your family and friends.

Fun Fact: I have run 2 half marathons.

Rapid City Ambassadors

ashley briggs
Ashley Briggs, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Ashley Briggs. I am originally from Madison, SD. I will be graduating in 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because of their reputable nursing program and close location to my hometown. I want to be a nurse because I enjoy helping people and have enjoyed working in health care as a certified nursing assistant and medication aide. After starting nursing school, I was able to better understand the impact nurses have on their patients during my clinical experiences and that has only solidified my decision to become a nurse.

I am involved with the Student Nurses Association, in addition to the nursing student ambassador program, and a mentoring program for Native American students. There are also so many things to do in Rapid City. Some of my favorite things to do are going hiking and enjoy all the beautiful views of the Black Hills.

My advice to new students is to be involved in as many activities and organizations as you can. I would also advise students to meet as many people as you can, you never know when they may be able to open up more opportunities to further you education and/or career!

Fun Fact:  I really enjoy coffee shops but dislike coffee, so I have become quite the hot chocolate fanatic.

lacey farley
Lacey Farley, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Lacey Farley. I am originally from Rapid City, SD. I will be graduating in 2020 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because it has an established reputation of being the best nursing program in the state and top in the country. Nursing gives me the possibility of helping others both mentally and physically. I'll be able to do more for others than I ever thought I could.

My big dream is to work many years in nursing and be part of as many experiences as I can. Through work, I hope to innovate and make changes for patients and nurses for the better.

To new students, I'll say it is hard, and it is busy, but try to stay ahead of the game as much as possible (planner helps with this o much). Make sure to take time for yourself too!

Fun Fact:  I have a miniature Australian Shepherd named Taz that I love to go hiking with in the Black Hills.

Sandra Gruenig, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Sandra Gruenig. I am originally from Dagupan City, Pangasinan, Philippines. I will be graduating in May 2020 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because it is an established school. The pass rate for the NCLEX is amazing which I think will contribute to my success after graduation. In the hospital, where I work as a PCT, I observed how students give their full effort during clinicals which is also very appealing to me. I want to be a nurse because I want to be that person who will be with you during the times of your life when you think you don't have anyone. I want to be that person who will hold your hand until the end.

I am the Student Nurses Association secretary. My favorite on-campus event is the blood drive, I love how students come together with the mission to help people they don't even know.

My advise to new students is to do kind to yourself. It is very had to fail a quiz, a test or validation. You will cry, especially if you know you work so hard for it, but always remember that you did your best.

Fun FactWhen I am stressed, I clean my house and cook, and it goes away.

zoe kunz
Zoe Kunz, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Zoe Kunz. I am originally from Hanover, MN. I will be graduating in December 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU to gain the full college experience, and to be part of a great nursing program. I want to be a nurse because I have a desire to help others and make a difference where I can.

My big dream is to specialize in a particular field of nursing, still undecided, and travel as much as I can with my career.

My advice for incoming students would be to take it day by day and to enjoy the experience. I thin it is important to remember everyone is on their own time clock and you will succeed and reach your goals at your own pace.

Fun Fact:  I love spending time outdoors. I love fishing, hiking and traveling to new places.

michael lewis
Michael Lewis, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Michael Lewis. I am originally from Fennville, MI. I will be graduating in 2020 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because my wife graduated from SDSU. She was a student ambassador and my biggest influence.

I was a medic in the Army and nursing seems like the best fit to continue my ability to help people in need as a career. I would like to continue my education eventually and become a nurse practitioner or get my Doctor of Nursing Practice.

My advice to new students is to make sure to use a planner. All the different assignments, classes and clinicals are overwhelming. Having everything in your planner will ensure that you stay on track.

Fun Fact:  I hiked over 700 miles of the AT last summer with my wife.

lori sweetman
Lorri Sweetman, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Lorri Sweetman. I am originally from Slayton, MN. I will be graduating in May 2020 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I chose SDSU because I loved the campus and faculty when I visited, and it was close to home. I started at main campus and moved to RC after I finished my first degree. I have always wanted to go into medicine. Nursing was a perfect combination of medicine and taking care of other people, which is another huge part of the career I want.

My big dream is to eventually become a certified nurse anesthetist. I also plan to move back to Minnesota to raise my family.

I have a four year old son and a one year old puppy at home who take up most of my (very limited) free time. I love taking my son to Reptile Gardens in Rapid City. Also, coffee and bagels at Einstein's is a great way to decompress with friends.

My advice to new students is to surround yourself with friends who have the same dreams as you and who can make you laugh when all you want to do is cry. Also, self-care is the best care. If you need a break, take one. You can't pour from an empty cup. Take care of you and everything else will fall into place.

Fun Fact: I bake when I am stressed. My friends love test weeks because I always have snacks.

drew stephens
Drew Stephens, ambassador

Hi there! My name is Drew Stephens. I am originally from Rapid City, SD. I will be graduating in May 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Being a Jackrabbit runs in my family! I of course had to carry  on the tradition. SDSU provides the best opportunity for my future profession, nursing. Nursing has growth opportunities that have no ceiling to them. I can continue my life-long learning of health care that promote the advancement of career in my future.

My big dream is to live int he mountains in a log cabin with a warm fireplace and work as a nurse practitioner where I will travel into town a few days a week.

I am involved with Rapid City recreational sports, I am the pool manager of Parkview Pool, a school board campaign manager and a server at the Olive Garden. My favorite thing to do is the take advantage of the beautiful Black Hills! Hiking, fishing, hunting camping or just enjoying the view. I love where I live.

My advice to new students is to work hard for the dreams that you seek to achieve. Along the way, doing something that makes you happy every single day.

Fun Fact:  I joined theater my senior year of high school where I sang a solo in front of more than 3,000 people.