May 4, 2023
Next Issue: June 2, 2023
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Minot State to celebrate 108th Commencement Exercises

Minot State University is proud to continue its long-standing tradition dating back to its first graduating class in 1914 by celebrating its 108th Commencement Exercise on Friday, May 12.

“Commencement is a wonderful day at MSU when we acknowledge our graduates while joining with their family, friends, and supporters from near and far to recognize this great occasion,” said MSU President Dr. Steven Shirley. “The MSU Class of 2023 is an outstanding group of students, and we look forward to celebrating their many achievements!”

The University will begin the day with a traditional Hooding Ceremony for completion of a master’s degree at 8 a.m. in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall. MSU will hold the Spring Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Minot State Dome.

For individuals unable to make the two live events, both the Hooding Ceremony and the Commencement will be broadcast via the Minot State YouTube channel. Access the Hooding Ceremony HERE and the Commencement Ceremony HERE.

Guest speakers at Commencement include Randy Hedberg ’77, current associate head football coach and passing game coordinator for North Dakota State University; Nadya Keenan ’21, current student in the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program; and Paolo Panales, current undergraduate student majoring in biology.

Hedberg, who will give the keynote address, graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a minor in mathematics. He earned his master’s of education in health, physical education and recreation from the University of North Dakota in 1987. He was an accomplished student-athlete at MSU and was an eighth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1977.

He has been coaching at NDSU since 2014 and was named the FCS national Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association in 2020-21. Earlier in his career, Hedberg served as head coach of the Minot State football team from 1982-89.

“The Commencement speakers are always an important highlight of each ceremony, and this year is certainly no different,” Shirley said. “We look forward to hearing from two terrific students as representatives of our undergraduate and graduate students, Paolo and Nadya, along with the alumni message from 1977 MSU graduate Mr. Randy Hedberg — a legendary coaching figure in the football profession.”

Minot State will host a special graduation homepage with additional information on the ceremony, events, gift ideas, social media posts, videos, senior spotlights, and a wall of graduates beginning Friday, May 5. Use hashtag #MSUclassof23 in all social media posts.

Giving Day 23 eclipses $360,000 mark in 24 hours

The Minot State University Development Foundation’s sixth annual Giving Day raised over $360,000 in 24 hours making it the second largest event in school history.

Donor gifts and matching funds secured $361,282 from 1,691 donors on April 12 — just shy of 2022’s record of $390,811 — going over the $300,000 raised mark for the second-straight year.

“Minot State’s Giving Day was again an overwhelming success,” said Rick Hedberg, vice president for advancement and executive director of the MSU Development Foundation. “On behalf of the Minot State Development Foundation and the MSU Advancement team, I thank our generous donors and friends for coming together to empower our students. It has been remarkable to see our Giving Days grow over the years and we owe that success to each of you. The impact of Giving Day is significant, and it is felt across our campus.”

The MSU Foundation’s 2023 Giving Day had donations from 41 states and four countries, assisting 65 total projects including multiple scholarship endowments.

Giving Day 2023 had various challenges during the 24 hours of giving. On the academic side, communication sciences and disorders finished with the most total donors (82) supporting an interactive learning gym, while nursing finished second (60) in support of simulation expansion. The athletic challenge saw women’s soccer finish with 148 donors for InStat software and men’s wrestling was second (85) supporting a new wrestling room expansion.

Roots: Art students to showcase artwork in Senior Capstone Exhibition

Three Minot State University art students are exhibiting in the annual senior art exhibition: Bernadine Stevens, Cassidy Holmes, and Jyris Jiles. Entitled Roots, the exhibition features each artist’s works tying back to their own definition of the word. Roots will open with a reception at the Northwest Arts Center on Friday, May 5, at 6:30 p.m. and be on display until June 10.

Capstone is the culminating experience for art majors, allowing them to apply what they have learned in their time at Minot State University. This exhibition commemorates their years of art experience at the university level and showcases their skills.

Bernadine Stevens, an artist from New Town focuses on ceramics and drawing in her show titled Nostalgia. Her artwork is closely tied to her relationship with her family and heritage, connecting to a feeling of nostalgia.

Cassidy Holmes is an artist from Spartanburg, South Carolina with a primary focus on mixed media sculpture for her show titled +Phototaxis. Her work ties to a personal connection with the life cycle and childhood interests in insects.

Jyris Jiles is an artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who focuses on photography in his show titled Ghetto History. Jiles uses photography to introduce viewers to the perspective of living in Milwaukee, displaying the cycles perpetuated by those involved in gang violence and the lives lost from it.

Minot State offers new program in data science

Minot State University’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is offering a new data science degree beginning Fall 2023.

“If there was one minor I would suggest for any student to consider — regardless of their field of interest — it would be data science,” said Daren Erisman, computer science assistant professor. “It is fundamental to being equipped for today’s data-driven world.”

Data science takes partial information and seeks to make reliable conclusions. From forecasting how much it will rain or when the next big earthquake might come, to predicting trends in the stock market, to enabling an autonomous car to make decisions on the road, to discovering biological connections between genetics and diseases, the industry is only continuing to grow.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of data scientists is projected to grow 36% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. In 2021, data scientists earned a median pay of $100,910 per year.

“It is estimated that the volume of data generated between 2010 and 2020 increased over 5,000% over the previous decade,” said Darren Seifert, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science chair. “Data scientists help discover connections and evaluate patterns within these vast collections of data.”

Students will now be able to choose from earning their Bachelor of Science, minor, or program certificate in data science or a program certificate in data analytics from the University.

All core data science courses are available online or in person on Minot State’s campus, and the program draws from three key areas that define data science today: math, computer science, and business.

Minot State students sweep singing contest

Minot State University students took to the stage at the North Dakota National Association of Teachers of Singing in Dickinson over the weekend and walked away with several awards.

Minot State student results:

  • Megan Kramer, first place, First Year Treble Voice
  • Evan Putt, first place, First Year Classical TBB Voice
  • Caleb Blaze, second place, Second Year Classical TBB Voice
  • Christina Larsen, second place, Second Year Classical Treble Voice
  • Kylee Cook, third place, Third Year Classical Treble Voice
  • Megan Klebe, third place, Fourth/Fifth Year Treble Voice

The singers were accompanied at the piano by Minot State students Kevin Vandal and Jacob Kirsch, Minot State alumna Lori Zavalney, and Minot State Division of Performing Arts and Minot High School students Claire Keeley and Taj Baang.

The Division of Performing Arts Voice Studios of Ken and DeVera Bowles and Emerson Eads took the regional honors competing against students from the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, University of Jamestown, and Dickinson State, among other universities.

Minot State students find success at FBLA Collegiate conference

Minot State University’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Collegiate students competed at the 2023 ND State Leadership Conference March 26-27 in Bismarck/Mandan and walked away with a score of awards.

The chapter earned — for the second consecutive year — the coveted Dorothy L. Travis Adviser’s Award, a sweepstakes award named after the founder of ND FBLA. Points are given for each state officer candidate, current state officer, as well as each participant and placements in competitive events.

Minot State was represented by 11 members who qualified in the following areas:

  • Brendan Barnes: Foundations of Finance, first place; Emerging Business Issues, second place
  • Jada Clarke: Help Desk, second place; Public Speaking, first place
  • Nicole Ferebee: Computer Concepts, third place; Cyber Security, second place
  • Hailey Graner: Job Interview, third place; Business Law, first place; Chapter Who's Who
  • Chloe Gunderson: Management Analysis and Decision Making, first place; Future Business Executive, first place; Retail Management, first place; Chapter Who's Who
  • Mason Lemer: Information Management, second place; Business Ethics, first place; Chapter Who's Who; Elected 2023-24 State President
  • Melanie Segura: Accounting Case Competition, first place; Retail Management, second place
  • Stephen Tao: Macroeconomics, second place; Microeconomics, third place
  • Tanner Thompson: Accounting Case Competition, first place; Hospitality Management Case Competition, first place; Impromptu Speaking, first place
  • Alec Wolf: Business Ethics, first place
  • Sarah Yeater: Job Interview, first place; Business Communication, first place

All award winners earned the right to compete in the National Leadership Conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia June 22–25.

KMSU wins Eric Sevareid awards

"The Minot Sports Podcast" placed first in social media (Student Market Television) while KMSU TV and radio received an award of merit in social media (Student Market Television). Cole Clementich claimed an award of merit in Broadcast Writing (Student Market Television) for the package story he did on the Minot Hot Tots name reveal ceremony, which can be found HERE. The Oct. 27 episode of the campus TV show, "MSU Inside Out," won an award of merit in Cable Newscast for Student Market Television, found HERE. Neil Roberts, associate professor of professional communication, won two awards for his radio series in small market radio.

Minot State robotics team takes first

The team of Ross Hardy and Keegan Summers, along with their robot named Ro(ss)bot, finished in first place in the Sumo Bot competition at the 2023 Midwest Instructional Computing Symposium (MICS) held on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. The team was a part of a group of Minot State professors and students who attended the 55th annual symposium with schools from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The Sumo Bot competition, sponsored by Digi-Key, features two robots in a 4-foot ring. Two autonomously-controlled robots try to push the other outside of the ring. For more information on the Symposium, see the MICS WEBSITE. See attached photos: COMPETITION 1, COMPETITION 2, and PODIUM or view a video of the championship BOUT.

Employee retirement and recognition May 10

The annual Employee Retirement and Recognition event is set for May 10 in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall with a social at 2:30 p.m. before the program begins at 3 p.m. If you have or will be earning a degree or certificate since last year’s recognition event, please forward that information to me so we can include it in our program. The event invite is HERE.

ASTEP graduation celebration May 11

ASTEP will be hosting a graduation celebration for our ASTEP graduates on May 11 at 10 a.m. on the third floor of Swain Hall. Join us as we celebrate.

Minot State presents: An Evening with Eliot Fisk May 12

The Division of Performing Arts at Minot State University is thrilled to announce that classical guitar legend Eliot Fisk will be appearing for one night only in Minot on Friday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in the Northwest Arts Center. Fisk is known worldwide as a charismatic performer famed for his adventurous and virtuosic repertoire. After nearly 50 years before the public, he remains at the absolute forefront of his craft. Limited tickets are available for this program of solo guitar music and duo transcriptions by Fisk, collaborating with cellist Erik Anderson, chair of the MSU Division of Performing Arts. Doors open at 6 p.m. to explore the art gallery and beverage service is provided. The Northwest Arts Center is located in the lower level of the Gordon B. Olson Library on the Minot State campus. For more information, contact Anderson by EMAIL. Tickets are available ONLINE.


Northwest Arts Center
The gallery is located on the lower level of the Gordon B. Olson Library, with its own entrance on the south side of the library. The arts center is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 1-5 p.m., and by special arrangement. It is closed holidays.

  • Minot State Juried Student Art Show: The Northwest Arts Center presents the annual Minot State Juried Student Art Show. Open to all Minot State University students, the Juried Student Show has been a campus tradition since the early 1980s. The exhibition is on display April 13 through May 5. The competition invites area and regional artists, educators, and other art professionals to serve as jurors each year. Visiting Minot State as juror for 2023 is artist and printmaker Anna Jacobson, exhibitions and education coordinator at the Jamestown Art Center.

Flat Tail Press
Flat Tail Press is an educational printmaking studio at Minot State University. The gallery is located in the landing space on second and third floor of the Minot State Student Center, west entrance. It is open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-12 a.m.


Evan Borisinkoff, associate professor in the Department of Special Education, recently received an outbound award from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Borisinkoff will be traveled to Kampala Uganda on April 4 as part of the Professional Fellows Program on Civic Engagement implemented by the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston and Humanity and Inclusion. He assisted professional fellow Priscilla Kisakye Mugume, a lobbying and advocacy officer at the Uganda Society for Disabled Children, with implementing her project on increasing parent involvement in the participatory budgeting process to improve inclusive education efforts for children with disabilities. Borisinkoff was also invited to provide a guest lecture on inclusive education from a U.S. perspective to the faculty of Special Needs and Inclusive Education at Kyambogo University. He will present a similar lecture to the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group as well as the Ministry of Education.

Robert Kibler, professor and chair of the Division of World Languages and Cultural Studies, was featured on Jefferson Education Society’s Facebook Live event on April 19. “The June Fourth Incident – Looking back at the Tiananmen Square Uprising in China” featured Kibler and discussed the culture as he experienced it as a young professor teaching in Beijing in the immediate aftermath of the revolution in 1989. The Jefferson Educational Society (JES) is a nonprofit think tank in Erie, Pennsylvania founded in 2008 to promote civic enlightenment and drive community progress in the Erie Region through the study, research, and discussion of ideas and events that have influenced the human condition.

Stephanie Little, social work assistant professor and 2014 alumna, received the 2023 Bismarck State College's Rising Star Award for alumni. She serves as a professor on the BSC campus and is completing her doctorate in health sciences and Master of Public Health degree at the University of South Dakota. She is a board member of the National Association of Social Workers and contributes to their Advocacy Committee, Education Committee, and annual Conference Committee. Learn more HERE.

Lesley Magnus, professor of communication sciences and disorders, is retiring at the end of spring semester. Please join us to honor her 18 years of service at a retirement reception Friday, May 5, 1–2:30 p.m. in the Swain Hall third floor atrium. A short program will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Minot State Division of Performing Arts faculty David Rolandson, associate professor of music, and Dianna Anderson, assistant professor of music, presented research at the National Association for Music Education Eastern Region Conference in Rochester, New York, on April 13. As co-researchers, they presented the results from their recent study “Little Tuba on the Prairie: An Investigation into the Influences Impacting Rural Band Students’ Instrument Selection and Attitudes Towards the Tuba.” Separately, Rolandson also presented the results from a second recent study, “Supporting Apprentice Music Educators’ Development through Teaching Opportunities in a Beginning Community Concert Band Program.”

Deb Haman, Student Health Clinic and Counseling Services director, was named the Minot State Staff Senate High-Five Award winner for March. She is pictured HERE with MSU President Steven Shirley,  Staff Senate President Katy Allers, and Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin Harmon. Haman, Haman has been with the University for three years. She and her husband, Allan, have three children, a granddaughter, a cat, and an "everlasting" dog. Outside of work, she enjoys driving around and spending time with family and friends.

Brynelle Barrs was selected as the ASC Student of the Month for March. She has contributed to the Academic Support Center’s programs as an access services graduate assistant.

Jake Heggie, finance major, and Alejandra Paredes Villasante, biology major, presented their honors program capstone portfolios on April 26.

Cassidy Matthews, a graduate student in the communication sciences and disorders department, gave a presentation based on her master’s thesis entitled "The Perspectives and Experiences of Adult Siblings of Autistic Individuals" at the North Dakota Autism Spectrum Disorders Conference in Bismarck on April 19.

Individualized studies, which is a new design-your-own-major program on campus, had two students make capstone presentations. Alayzia McLeod presented "Four Years at Minot State University: An Unconventional Approach to Education for an Unconventional Approach to Medicine" on April 25. Sage Garrett presented "The Evolving Relationship Between Music and Business" on April 28.

The team of Minot State College of Business students, Kevin McGlaughlin, Tanner Thompson, Gerald Marcano Bravo, and Samuel Kreins took home first place honors and won a total of $2,500 at the recent Credit Analysis Competition in Fargo which was sponsored by the North Central Chapter of The Risk Management Association (RMA).

Each year, Minot State University selects students to receive the Student Leadership & Engagement Award based on their academic achievement, service to Minot State University and to the greater Minot community, and participation and leadership in academic and extracurricular activities.  The honorees for 2023 are:

  • Luke Anderson
  • Kelby Armstrong
  • Téa Boeckel
  • Grayson Bonilla
  • Alina Gonzalez
  • Alexander Gorthy
  • Megan Klebe
  • Fadzai Madavo
  • Brayden Pawluk
  • Hannah Peterson
  • Sophia Rinehart
  • Breianna Smestad
  • Emedion Udokop
  • Sarah Upton
  • Sophie Wedar

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Minot State University mission
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.