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PAST Foundation recognized by President Clinton for outstanding work in STEM education

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

PAST Brings Innovative Education to Teachers and Students at Rural and Native American Reservation Schools

The PAST Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to redesigning education in America and also a partner with Dakota Wesleyan University to offer a Masters in STEM Education, was recognized by President Bill Clinton during his opening remarks at the CGI America 2014 (Clinton Global Initiative America) for its innovative and successful approach to providing STEM professional development for teachers.

“In 2012 the PAST Foundation and its partners committed to improve STEM education in rural and Native American reservation schools in South Dakota by equipping 450 teachers with the necessary training to implement an innovative, culturally relevant approach to teaching.  It’s now known as the South Dakota Innovation Lab, a statewide STEM professional development program that so far has provided 8,300 students with access to quality education that meets them where they are and prepares them for the modern economy,” President Clinton said.

PAST Foundation and PAST Innovation Lab provide professional development in STEM-focused transdisciplinary problem-based learning to educators. This includes an online Masters in STEM Education program for teachers through Dakota Wesleyan University, online/in-person professional development courses and workshops for educators and programs for students. DWU also hosted a week-long Art and STEM camp for children in June, focusing on robotics, art, and Minecraft mathematics.

Dr. Annalies Corbin is the founder and CEO of PAST.  As a member of CGI America’s STEM working group, Corbin was in the audience for Clinton’s remarks, unaware that PAST would be recognized for its commitment and service.

“I have been extremely fortunate over the years to have had many opportunities to be proud of the work and the people who make up the PAST Foundation.  Today was one of those days.  To my utter surprise and true joy I had the opportunity to listen to President Bill Clinton tell the world about our partnership and work in South Dakota with the South Dakota Innovation Lab.  I will fully admit that I sat in the crowd of colleagues and strangers with tears flowing as I heard our story told by a former U.S. president,” Corbin said.  

The South Dakota Innovation Lab (SDIL) is made possible through the dedication and partnership with the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative and Sanford Research.


Community Plunge seeking vendors

Monday, July 7, 2014

The annual Community Plunge invites Mitchell area businesses and organizations to register for this year’s event.


Community Plunge began at Dakota Wesleyan University six years ago as an opportunity for businesses and organizations to look for employees and volunteers and for DWU students to get to know their new community better. In years past, churches, service clubs and businesses have all participated, as well as student organizations. Last year, more than 50 booths were set up and more than 150 students participated.


The sixth annual Community Plunge will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 4, in the Sherman Center at DWU.


To register, contact the DWU Center for Talent Development by email at talent@dwu.edu. All registrations must be received by Aug. 15.


DWU holiday hours for the Fourth of July

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University campus will be closed on Friday, July 4, for the Independence Day holiday weekend.


This includes the McGovern Library and Java City, as well as offices. The library will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, July 3, and Java City will be closed Thursday.


Regular office hours and library hours will resume Monday, July 7.


Stearns awarded Accounting Program Completion Scholarship

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Jared Stearns, of Canton, was recently awarded the Accounting Program Completion Scholarship from the South Dakota CPA Society.


Stearns, a junior at Dakota Wesleyan University, was the only student awarded this scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year, amounting to $7,500. He is an accounting major who also tutors, is a member of the DWU cross country team, a member of Enactus (business club), and is employed by the accounting department at Trail King in Mitchell. He is the son of Craig and Lee Stearns of Canton.


Johnson awarded Accounting Excellence Scholarship

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Katherine Johnson, of Mead, Neb., was recently awarded the Accounting Excellence Scholarship from the South Dakota CPA Society.


Johnson, a junior at Dakota Wesleyan University, was one of five students awarded this scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year, amounting to $7,750. She is an accounting major and member of the DWU women’s basketball team and Enactus (business club), as well as elected Student Senate treasurer for 2014-15. She is the daughter of Tim and Annette Johnson, Mead.


DWU named ‘College of Distinction’ for fifth year

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University is once again featured on CollegesofDistinction.com, an online college guide that takes a fresh look at colleges and universities appealing to students’ unique and varied interests.

Dakota Wesleyan is the only South Dakota college listed on the site and this is its fifth year.

High school college counselors and educators nominate colleges and universities for recognition by Colleges of Distinction, which then evaluates each school based on qualitative and quantitative research. The colleges and universities are not ranked and instead are members of a consortium of other equally impressive schools.

Colleges of Distinction looks beyond rankings and test scores to find colleges that are the ideal places to learn, grow and succeed, according to its press release. The selection process reviews factors including the school’s first-year experience, general education program, experiential components of the curriculum, the strategic plan and alumni success and satisfaction.

“We focus on colleges that are deeply dedicated to students' learning,” said Tyson Schritter, executive editor of Colleges of Distinction. “Schools designated as ‘Colleges of Distinction’ offer innovative learning experiences that educate, nurture and transform students."


DWU students named to spring dean’s list

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The spring semester dean’s list at Dakota Wesleyan University includes 211 students.

To qualify for the dean’s list, a student must have a semester grade point average of at least 3.5 on a four-point scale. They also have to complete at least 12 hours of academic work during the semester. The following students have been named to the dean’s list.

Aberdeen – Ariana Arampatzis, Austin Hieb

Armour – Lydia Ymker

Artesian – Jo Anne Oberg

Ashton – Shayna Frost

Baltic – Glenn Scotting

Belle Fourche – Tyler Burr

Big Stone City – Kayla Mielitz

Blunt – Macey Chambers

Box Elder – Lisa Stanley

Britton – Jade Hoisington, Kyle Hoisington

Brookings – Lauren Fitts, Bailey Gummer, Katelynn Runge

Bruce – Jace Goodfellow

Burke – Skyler Heyden

Canistota – Alex Robertson

Canton – Abby Carpenter, Abigail Fossum, Jessica Fossum, Jared Stearns, Jasmin Vant

Castlewood – Kelsey Little

Chamberlain – Makenna Hancock, Kelli Swenson

Clear Lake – Eric Lundberg

Colome – Michael Rohde

Corsica – Breanna Blom, Angela Cleveland, Linnaea Johnson, Kris Menning, Lacey Reimnitz, Megan Reimnitz, Kayla Vanden Hoek

Crooks – Trae Bergh

Dell Rapids – Lindsay Merry, Tanner Munk

Edgemont – Elizabeth Humiston

Estelline – Daniel Mitchell

Ethan – Chase McBrayer, Kira Stammer

Fedora – Cal Wiese

Geddes – Shelby Steele

Harrisburg – Heather Willett, Heidi Willett

Hartford – Caleb Heiberger

Hill City – Pamela Getman

Howard – Jolee Drown, Andrew Schwader, Kelli Smith

Hurley – Celeste Beck, Stephen Lee

Huron – Sara Hines, Kristin Pratt

Iroquois – Leah Wienbar

Kennebec – Danielle Anderson

Kimball – Natalie Munger, Jesse Taylor

Lake Andes – Kelsey Kniffen, Krista Winckler

Letcher – Lindsey Miller, Lacey VanLaecken

Madison – Jessica Neises, Cody Warns, Kelsey Warns

Marion – Kolleen Matthies

Mellette – Landon Fischbach

Miller – Shaney Davis

Mitchell – Tatyana Brown, Zachary Ciavarella, Cherokee Durant, Kayla Geraets-Majercik, Miranda Goldammer, Tiffany Hogen, Krista Huber, Brittney Kaufmann, Serina Lesnar, Zachary Lippert, Cynthia Loeske, Mareisha Marvin, Dillon Miles, Morgan Millar, Andreau-Joseph Miller, Jenna Miller, Madison-Ainsley Miller, Emily Mizrahi, Chelsea Moody, Joseph Nagel, Christopher Nemec, Rachel Reichel, Jordan Reiner, Joshua Schmitz, Marissa Tubbs, Briana Weiss

Mount Vernon - Jordan Adam, Amanda Dixon, Megan Hart, Emma Otterpohl, Delayna Paulson

Parkston – Erica Herrold, Samantha Mogck, Ann Thury

Pierre – Matthew Bader, Michael Hardwick, Alexander McGuigan, Travis Moodie, Tyson Moodie, Dustin Paulsen, Tyler Sarringar

Plankinton – Chase Kristensen, Elizabeth Morrison

Platte – Cheyenne Durant, Emily Olsen, Matthew Randall, Kayla Summerville

Presho – Jaylen Uthe

Rapid City – Matthew Britt, Amanda Burton, Nicole Gleich, Megan Johnson, Alisha Lascelles, Lauren Tadlock

Renner – Shelby Vosburg

Scotland – Aisha Abbink, Jaymie Barrett, Haley Brunke, Chelsea Raker

Sioux Falls – Andrew DeVaney, Chance Huber, Tiffany Johnston, Kylie Keiser, Zachary Schneider, Sarah Teeslink

South Shore – Jordan Buchholz

Spearfish – Blaine Bacon

Stickney – Adam Bormann, Kyle Gerlach

Sturgis – Alexandra Kuehler

Tea – Andrew Becker

Tripp – Samantha Sandau

Tyndall – Kodi Larson, Travis McDonald, Tara Ronke, Jared Van Winkle

Vermillion – Hannah Ford

Volga – Tyson DeGroot

Wagner – Tristen Scherr

Wall – Madeline Bauer

Warner – Briana Jung

Watertown – Emily Pengilly, Nicholas Tschakert

Waubay – Jonathan Wieger

Wessington – Paige Mehling

Wessington Springs – Sarah Mentzer

White – Autumn Schmidt

White Lake – Beau Byrd

Winner – Austin Calhoon, Anthony Husher

Woonsocket – Kayla Collins, Amber Hiles, Emily Olson, Stacy Treib, Eric Warkenthien

Yale – Lexy Timm

Yankton – Tiffany Fiechuk, Brook Woehl



Out of State


Gilbert – Analisa Morel

Glendale – Daniel Maman



Bakersfield – Colleen Hannum

Chula Vista – Alexandra Davis

Moss Beach – Cody Silveria

North Hollywood – Anthony Cervantes

Pearblossom – Trever Devestern

Temecula – Lindy Snook



Arvada – Jerry Stravia

Brighton – Tiffany Sharp

Grand Junction – Heather Banister

Loveland – Breanna Clark, Dyrani Clark



Windermere – Michael Claar



Burlington – Jonathon Knight



Tetonia – Braiden Jorgensen



Lindsborg – Ian Lackey



Balaton – Lori Lima

Dawson – Sarah Zaiser

Fairmont – Joseph Fitzgerald

Marshall – Brooke Louwagie

Rochester – Bryce Berletic

Saint Paul – Logan Massop

Worthington – Cassandra Landgaard



Corvallis – Jake Capko

Huson – Alecia VanTassel

Roundup – Marisa Soderberg



Blair – Adam Jahnel

Gordon – Macy Piper

Mead – Katherine Johnson

Naper – Jonathan Alford

Norfolk – Payton Baker

Orchard – Sarah Twibell

Polk – Mackenzie Stevens


North Dakota 

Jamestown – Sterling Hubbard

Surrey – Taylor Kuhn



Denton – Thara Ali Said

Lakeview – April Barnett



Casper – John Fabrizius

Gillette – Alexis Wilde

Jackson – Christian Doyle

Sheridan – Erin Deibele



Other countries



Winnipeg– Hailey Unger




DWU hosts youth science camps in June

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Space is still available for youth interested in participating in three June science camps at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Camps will take place June 9-13.  “Minecraft Mathematics” is a camp for fourth- and fifth-graders; “Art & STEM” and “Robotics” are camps for sixth- through eighth-grade students.  All camps will be on campus and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day.  The cost of each camp is $75.

The camps will take place in partnership with the South Dakota Innovation Lab and the PAST Foundation as a way to introduce students to transdisciplinary, problem-based learning.

To register, either click here or go to https://pastinnovationlab.org/students/bridge-programs/


DWU campus ministry welcomes new pastor

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University welcomes a new campus pastor this summer, the Rev. Eric Van Meter.

Van Meter comes to DWU from Arkansas State University, Paragould, Ark., where he served as campus pastor since 2007 – a calling inspired through self-discovery.

“My time as a student in campus ministry was the transformative experience of my adult life,” he said about his own college experiences. “Through both the way I was loved and the way I was expected to show love to others, I discovered a way of living that was more beautiful than anything I’d imagined before. When I found out I could serve God, love others, and even get paid to do it, I realized that ministry was the vocation for me.”

Van Meter is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and Asbury Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity.

He will begin at DWU on July 1, succeeding former campus pastor Brandon Vetter who will assume fulltime duties for Fusion on July 1, as well. Fusion, a weekly worship service held on campus, was originally a collaboration between DWU and the First United Methodist Church, but its growth led to it becoming a church of its own and Vetter was called to lead it.

“Brandon and the students have made such a great situation here, and Denise and I felt so at home when we visited,” Van Meter said.

At Arkansas State University, Van Meter served as campus pastor and helped grow and stabilize its campus ministry to a group that regularly trains and guides 50 to 70 young adults each year.  Prior to ASU, he served as the executive pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock, where he assisted to supervise a staff of more than 30 full-time employees, conducting weekly worship to a congregation averaging 1,000.

The decision to come to Dakota Wesleyan was not made lightly, as Van Meter said he and his wife prayed over the decision to return to the Dakotas, having served United Methodist Campus Ministry in Rapid City from 2002-2004. With all his experience in campus ministry being at state schools, people close to him began suggesting his gifts would fit perfectly in a Christian university setting.

“As I started to look around and I came across DWU, it was everything I was looking for: a strong ministry connected with campus life, a great place for my family, and an opportunity to teach in a classroom setting,” he said.

He and his wife, Denise, and children, Zachary, 10, and Jonathan, 8, will make their home across the street from campus.

“Everything worthwhile that I’ve done in my life has frightened me at least a little; the same can be said for moving to DWU — I’m very excited, but also a little nervous,” he said. “I’m coming into this with a lot of ideas and hopes. I’m confident we’re going to continue to do beautiful ministry at DWU, and I’m excited to help create that in the years ahead.” 


DWU to host Global Leadership Summit with Northridge Baptist Church

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University will partner with Northridge Baptist Church as a host site for the Global Leadership Summit Aug. 14-15.

Click here for registration information.

DWU’s Sherman Center will be the location for the two-day Summit, telecast live from the Willow Creek Association (WCA) campus near Chicago to more than 300 locations in North America. More than 170,000 church, business and organization leaders participate each year.

Founded in 1992, WCA is the organization behind the Global Leadership Summit.  According to its website, “the Summit is a world-class experience for leaders who want to get better.  Everybody has influence and the responsibility to lead well. When cultivated in a culture of Christ-centered leadership, your influence can change lives and the organizations in which you lead. Leaders worldwide leverage the Summit to sharpen their skills and to unleash the full potential of their teams.”

The Rev. Ben Payne of Northridge Baptist Church is enthusiastic about this opportunity.

“The Global Leadership Summit has been growing and is now being simulcast around the world in more than 90 different countries,” Payne said.  “We feel that hosting this premier leadership training event will raise the level of leadership in all sectors of our region.  Good leadership is vital to all organizations and our hope is that anyone who is in a position of influence in our area will prioritize this event for themselves and their team.  If they do, their entire organization will benefit.”

Speakers at this year’s Summit include:

  • Tyler Perry – Filmmaker, actor and philanthropist
  • Jeffrey Immelt – President and CEO of General Electric
  • Susan Cain – best-selling author of “The Power of Introverts”
  • Wilfredo De Jesus – senior pastor, New Life Covenant Church; Time’s 100 Most Influential People 2013
  • Patrick Lencioni – best-selling author, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and one of Fortune Magazine’s Gurus You Should Know
  • Carly Fiorina – former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Woman in Business for six consecutive years
  • Joseph Grenny – social scientist for business performance

For a full list of speakers, go to www.willowcreek.com/summit.

The local event chairwoman is Fredel Thomas, director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at DWU.  Thomas has attended the Summit at the Sioux Falls site in the past and is pleased to bring the opportunity to Mitchell.  

“We all get into ruts in our day-to-day life,” Thomas said.  “When I went to the leadership conference, I found myself reenergized with the hope and enthusiasm I need to be a leader in my work, in my volunteer commitments and in my family. Those two brief days will provide the opportunity to hear from incredible leaders whose experiences and wisdom can provide the clarity of purpose from which we all can benefit.”

For more information or to register, visit www.willowcreek.com, or contact Deb Weitala at office@northridgemitchell.org.


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Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
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Mitchell, SD 57301
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