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Program News

CHRD Completed CACREP Self Study

CHRD recently completed their CACREP site visit for accreditation. CACREP is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Three of our Masters of Science programs were accredited for another 8 years.

Fundraising Campaign for New Facilities

The CHD program has started a fundraising campaign to raise money for newly renovated facilities on the campus in Brookings. The new facility is needed to continue meeting national accreditation standards, accommodate individuals with disabilities, provide an appropriate learning environment and have the complete department housed in one location.

CHD has the largest M.S. program at SDSU, averaging 55 graduates a year over a 4 year period.

M.S. in Marriage and Family Counseling

In 2016 we received permission to start a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. Graduates from this specialization are eligible for certification as a Marriage and Family Therapist after completion of certification requirements as outlined by the South Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners.

Faculty News

Dr. Andrea Bjornestad recently published a qualitative study examining the impact of a service learning project implemented in her group counseling course in the Journal for Specialists in Group Work. She presented her research at the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Regional Conference where she also received the Outstanding Professional Teaching Award. In her extension role, she is leading a regional team on exploring mental health in farmers and ranchers. She continues to serve as the education chair for the South Dakota Counseling Association.

Dr. Staci Born is an Associate Professor in the CHRD program. This summer, she is excited to offer coursework towards Play Therapy registration. Additionally, she has two manuscripts under review and presented at the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision conference last fall. Dr. Born had successful internal grant funding on three projects: increasing women’s self-efficacy during infertility; a pilot study of family programming to enhance relationships; and an investigation of the correlation between omega-3 fatty acids and depression in college students. She has enjoyed becoming acclimated to South Dakota and attended SDCA Day on the Hill in January 2017.

Dr. Chris Briddick has a book chapter coming out with Dr. Hande Briddick entitled Paradigm and Promise: Life-Design, Psychology of Working, and Decent Work for the upcoming publication The Psychology of Career Adaptability, Employability and Resilience. Dr. Briddick has upcoming presentations at the SDCA conference and the National Career Development Association’s annual conference, both related to Career Construction Theory. Dr. Briddick will also serve as part of the facilitation team for a pre-conference professional development institute on Career Construction at the NCDA conference as well as at the Career Construction Institute in late July.

Dr. Hande Briddick continues to coordinates the School Counseling Specialty in the Counseling Department. She considers her biggest accomplishment as the successful CACREP visit with eight-year accreditation of the School Counseling Specialty! Dr. Sensoy-Briddick has collaborated with Dr. W. C. Briddick in publishing a book chapter on Life Design. Hande has made three presentations in different International and State Conferences last year. She is serving as an co-investigator in an NSF ADVANCE grant that focuses on women faculty in STEM related fields. Currently she is involved in three collaborative research projects that focus on Compassion Fatigue of School Counselors, Wellbeing of children and families, and the impact of a widely used program on children and classroom climate. She is on the Editorial Board of Career Development Quarterly and Journal of Employment Counseling. She is serving as the Supervisor Liaison for state School Counseling Association.

Dr. Alan Davis assisted in obtaining accreditation for the Rehabilitation and Mental Health specialty through the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) for a term of 8 years. He gained “continuance” of funding for the U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Training Grant that funds tuition for Rehabilitation counseling students for 5 years. He serves as book review Editor for Journal of Rehabilitation. Dr. Davis provides analysis of consumer satisfaction data for South Dakota Blind and Low Vision Services. He is presently studying with the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis.

Dr. Kristine Ramsay-Seaner is an Associate Professor in the CHRD program. She presented at the Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling national conference about transequality. She also presented at the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision annual conference as well as represented SDSU on a panel. She continues to research topics related to diversity including racial microaggressions and overt racism. She currently has a manuscript under review for the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development and is the CHRD representative on the SBIRT Council of Directors.

Dr. Katelyn Romsa is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Administration of Student Affairs and College Counseling tracks in the Department of Counseling and Human Development at South Dakota State University (SDSU). Dr. Romsa has had administration and college counseling experience working as a faculty member, recruitment and retention coordinator, sophomore initiatives coordinator and college counseling professional. Dr. Romsa teaches courses in counseling pre-practicum and practicum, college student development theory, college student personnel services and current issues in academic advising. Dr. Romsa publishes and presents on the following topics: student-faculty interactions as predictors of college student retention and satisfaction, factors affecting the college choice of NCAA student athletes and supervision models to maximize graduate student success. Dr. Romsa recently co-authored two book chapters in Learning Everywhere on Campus: Teaching Strategies for Student Affairs Professionals and in Strategies for Facilitating Inclusive Campuses in Higher Education- International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion. Her most recent publications have been featured in the following journals: The College Student Affairs Journal, The Journal of Leadership Education, The International Journal of Sport and Physical Education and The New York Journal of Student Affairs. Dr. Romsa has received regional, state and national recognition for her mentorship, service and research. Dr. Romsa was recipient of Outstanding Faculty for Advising and Mentoring from the College of Education and Human Sciences at SDSU. Dr. Romsa was recipient of the Marcus Boesen Memorial Award at the 2018 South Dakota Higher Education Association (SDHEA), an award that recognizes new professionals who have shown outstanding contributions to the overall development of students, their educational institution and the field of student affairs. Dr. Romsa received national attention for her most recent manuscript by winning Best Research Paper of the Year at the 2019 Sport Entertainment & Venues Tomorrow (SEVT) conference in Columbia, South Carolina.

Dr. Jay Trenhaile led the CHRD program through reaccreditation of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling and Student Affairs/College Counseling specializations. In January, the university received notification that the each program received the maximum 8 year accreditation. In addition, Dr. Trenhaile was a featured speaker at the SD Higher Education Association Pre-Conference in February. He presented with Dean Jill Thorngren on Motivational Interviewing and Applications in Student Affairs Programs.

Dr. Ann Michelle Daniels has a contract with Great River Learning Publishing Company to complete a Lifespan Development textbook, projected completion is August 2016. Dr. Daniels is a consultant to the Military Family Readiness Program. She was an invited author of two interactive video curriculum for the Texas AM, titled “Strategies for Caring Children with Sensory Integration Issues: Addressing the Needs of Preschool and School Age Children” and “Strategies for Helping Pre-School and School-Age Children Develop Self-Help Skills in the Inclusive Child Care Setting.” Dr. Daniels was an invited facilitator and speaker for the National Children, Youth and Families at Risk Program Professional Development.

Dr. Amber Letcher presented her work nationally at the biennial conference of the Society for Research on Adolescents in Baltimore, MD. She also co-authored a publication with Dr. Kristin Bruns in the Journal of College Counseling. Dr. Letcher is part of a collaborative team including Dr. Ann Michelle Daniels, administrators from Sisseton Wahpeton College and researchers from Penn State University that will implement an evidence-based, social-emotional learning curriculum with tribal youth in Head Start programs in South Dakota. Funding for this project was secured through the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Dr. Letcher was recognized as the Teacher of the Year and the Outstanding Researcher of the Year for the College of Education and Human Sciences. For the second year, she was named a Top 50 Reviewer for Family Relations, a publication of the National Council on Family Relations.

Dr. Christin Carotta has co-authored a publication in the 2017 Archives of Sexual Behavior, has an article in press with the Journal of Interpersonal Violence and has a manuscript under review at The Qualitative Report. Dr. Carotta will be sharing some of her research at the Mindful Families, Schools, & Communities conference in Seattle, Washington. She is serving as co-advisor with Dr. Staci Born to the Jackrabbit Youth Mentoring Club (JYMC) at SDSU. Dr. Carotta is also collaborating on the THRIVE initiative.

Ms. Val Albert is a faculty member as an instructor in Human Development and Family Studies. She graduated from the Counseling program in May 2016. Since graduation, she has presented at an International Honors Conference in Utrecht, Netherlands and the National Collegiate Honors Conference in Seattle, Washington. She presented her mental health workshops she conducted during her internship experience.

Student News

NCE Pass Rate Remains Strong

Over the last year, 100% of CHRD students successfully passed the National Counselor Exam (NCE) on their first attempt.

Graduate Placement Rates within 4 months:

2018– 95%
2016– 92%


The Human Development and Family Studies Club is an undergraduate student organization committed to service and professional development. Currently in its third year, the student-led group is open to all majors on campus, but promotes activities and issues of interest to human services professions.

This year, students prepared and served a meal for the Harvest Table, assisted with local schools’ Family Fun Nights, participated in a recruitment fair to promote the HDFS major and held a bake sale to raise funds for future projects. The Club also sponsored a guest speaker who discussed his experiences growing up in a refugee camp.