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College of Nursing welcomes new faculty and staff

New faculty and staff

Traci Gislason

Traci Gislason

Traci Gislason has become a full-time instructor at the Brookings and Sioux Falls sites after working part time as a clinical instructor since September 2019.

Gislason, a native of Canby, Minnesota, had been full time at Sanford Canby Medical Center since January 2011 and still works there occasionally. In May, she joined the College of Nursing full time and serves as simulation facilitator for semesters 1-5, clinical instructor for semesters 1 and 2 and an instructor for semester 5 nursing.

She served as a clinical instructor at Minnesota West Technical College in Granite Falls from January 2020 to May 2023.

She reports she has received a warm welcome at SDSU. “Everyone has been very willing to provide guidance and answer my questions. I truly feel like a valued member of the team.” 

Her first-year goals at SDSU include taking the exams to become a certified nurse educator and a certified health care simulation educator.

Gislason earned her bachelor’s degree at State in December 2010 and earned her master’s degree from Minnesota State-Moorhead in May 2023.

Gislason and her husband, Joe, have two children, Jacob, 9, and Madelyn, 5. Outside interests include spending time with family, reading, drawing, being outside, watching SDSU sporting events and crocheting, which she learned at a young age.

Michelle Lichtenberg

Michelle Lichtenberg

Michelle Lichtenberg took 14 years of nursing education experience with her when she assumed her new position as an assistant professor at the Rapid City campus.

Lichtenberg, formerly of Elk Point, taught at the University of South Dakota from 2008 to 2023 before beginning in Rapid City May 22. 

She now teaches the evidence-based practice and research courses in the accelerated, traditional and RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs. She also teaches the concept synthesis I and II courses in the accelerated and traditional programs as well as overseeing accelerated and traditional students in population health clinical and their practicum clinical hours. 

In addition to her full teaching schedule, Lichtenberg’s new position also includes a research role.

“The biggest challenge in my new position is acclimating to the role of a scholar and learning how to invest time into my research. My last 14 years as a nurse educator have focused on teaching only. The opportunity to conduct research on topics I am passionate about is most definitely exciting but also cause some growing pains in my professional life. 

“I am thankful for such stellar role models here at the college who are always available to answer questions and guide me in the right direction,” Lichtenberg said.

In her first year at SDSU Rapid City, she hopes to gain a solid research trajectory, have a better understanding of local and regional healthcare systems and gain an understanding of the graduate program offerings at the college.

In addition to her USD experience, Lichtenberg was a peer adviser/nursing education consultant at Elsevier, a publishing company for nursing and related health science disciplines, in 2013-15; was a registered nurse at Siouxland Surgery Center, Dakota Dunes, in 2004-2016; was a registered nurse at Elite Professionals, a traveling nurse company in Lincoln, Nebraska, 2002-2003; and a registered nurse at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, in 1998-2002. 

The Parkston native holds degrees from three different schools.

She began her higher education career at SDSU, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1995. That was followed by a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Mount Marty College in 1998. She earned a master’s degree in nursing education from SDSU in 2012 and received a doctorate in health sciences from USD in 2021.

Outside of work, she likes to be outside.

“My favorite things to do include hiking, kayaking, biking, boating, camping, off-road four-wheeling and motorcycling. I also love live music of any kind. I like to think I’m a green thumb or at least I enjoy plants and gardening. In the winter, you might find me cooking and baking a lot as I believe food is love, so I enjoy sharing food with friends and family.”

Family includes James, 22, a senior civil engineering major at South Dakota School of Mines, and Jacob , 19, a business and accounting major at Arizona State, as well as Gifford, a 6-year-old golden retriever.

Bailey Marler

Bailey Marler

Bailey Marler, a 2019 graduate of the SDSU Rapid City nursing program, is back with the program as an instructor.

Marler started Aug. 14 as a full-time instructor after previously working with Monument Health in Rapid City. Now she is instructing students across all five semesters in clinical and laboratory settings. 

“Because I am new to the role, it has been an adjustment trying to learn the best methodologies for instructing students, but the mentorship program provided at the Rapid City site has been amazing in helping my transition into this program,” said Marler, who is a Rapid City native.

During her first year, Marler hopes to work toward more of a classroom presence “as it is important to me to have a healthy mix of classroom, clinical and lab instruction for students.

“I also want to focus on finding my niche within the program. Because I currently instruct students across all five semesters of the program, I hope to narrow my focus into the areas I’m strongest at leading to provide the best educational experience for students within the program.”

Marler began her nursing career as a floor nurse in the medical/surgical area at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital and also precepted new nurses and nursing students. 

In 2020, she switched to an outpatient setting, working with immunocompromised patients. For the past three years, Marler was in a navigator and case management role with the Monument Health Orthopedic and Specialty Hospital, where she spent time working with the SDSU College of Nursing as a clinical teaching assistant. 

She still holds an on-call position with Monument Health Orthopedic and Specialty Hospital in the surgical services area as a navigator. 

Marler, who earned a master’s degree in nursing education from Capella University in March, has two children—a daughter, Alayna, 3, and a son, Carson, 10 months. Added to the mix are a 4-year-old black lab/border collie and a 10-month-old black lab/blue heeler.

She said the family enjoys going on nature walks and playing outside. Marler also is an avid reader of psychological thriller books and a yoga enthusiast.

Julie Mendelson

Julie Mendelson

Julie Mendelson began July 5 as a program assistant in Brookings, working with the Nursing Student Services staff to help students progress through the program. This includes collaborating in managing events and awards as well as handling student applications, progression reports, graduation applications and nurse licensing applications.

She comes to SDSU from the South Dakota Department of Human Services, where she was the regional operations manager and program manager in the Division of Long Term Services and Supports from 2018 to 2023. In that position, she led and worked with teams to provide funding and services for elderly and disabled individuals and their caregivers across South Dakota. 

Prior to relocating to South Dakota, the Wyoming native worked in senior services (assisted living and hospice, 2011-2018) and judicial services (2004-2011).

“As a newbie to the world of academia, I’ve enjoyed learning about the SDSU colleges, departments and programs as well as the University Strategic Plan,” Mendelson said.

A sociology graduate from Colorado Mesa University in 2004, Mendelson has been a vegan for 12 years. “I enjoy talking with and teaching people how to love eating more color and variety through plants, nuts, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, herbs and spices.” Mendelson also enjoys hiking, golfing, gardening, house projects and attending her kids’ activities.

She and her husband, Mike, have two children, Reggie, 8, and Johana, 6, as well as two dogs. Her parents also recently retired and moved to the Black Hills.

Nicole Selle

Nicole Selle

Nicole Selle, who grew up in Elkton, has returned to her home state after working 20 years at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

She began as a clinical assistant professor at the Sioux Falls campus May 31 and is teaching undergraduate and graduate classes with a focus on the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program. In addition to her teaching, Selle is maintaining her clinical practice in the surgical/trauma intensive care unit at Sanford hospital in Sioux Falls.

Selle began her career working in the surgical/trauma unit at Mayo. After two years she moved to critical care for the next eight years and spent her last 10 years in cardiology.

With her current position at Sanford, Selle said she “feels like I have come full circle.”

However, teaching is a completely new circle for her. “The biggest challenge so far has been the shift from clinical practice to education. I am learning so much regarding the pedagogy of nursing education. My goal for this first year is to focus on curriculum development and to learn a variety of new teaching strategies,” Selle said.

Selle earned her bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State-Mankato in 2003. She followed that up with a Master of Science in Nursing in the acute care nurse practitioner track from Allen College in Waterloo, Iowa, in 2011 and completed the Mayo School of Health Sciences Clinical Residency program in 2011. 

When not crafting the art of teaching, Selle and her husband of 18 years, Drew, can be found on their hobby farm 30 minutes from Sioux Falls with their children Elliana, 12; Henry, 10; Lucas, 7; and Amelia, 3. The family enjoys gardening and hiking at the local state parks.