MSU Development Foundation funds EMPOWER grants

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University is pleased to announce 11 projects have been funded by the MSU Development Foundation’s EMPOWER Grant Program.

The EMPOWER Grant Program began in January as part of the University’s comprehensive capital campaign. The historic campaign, EMPOWER, was announced in October 2023 and is the most ambitious campaign in school history with a goal of $50 million raised by the end of 2024.

“This project is a direct result of our generous donors realized through the capital campaign,” said Rick Hedberg, vice president for advancement / MSU Development Foundation executive director. “These various grant-funded projects from multiple programs on campus are a fantastic way to showcase the impact of the capital campaign now and in the immediate future. We are excited to be able to fund these projects to enhance the educational experience for students at Minot State.”

A total of $100,000 was utilized to promote the EMPOWER grant. Minot State faculty and staff members could request funding up to $20,000 to increase student enrollment, advance academics, or to enhance the academic experience for students.

Receiving funding for the first-ever EMPOWER grant were:

  • “Rekindling Connections and Building New Relationships: A Campaign to Increase Student Enrollment at MSU,” Evan Borisinkoff and Ruth Soderstrom, special education: This program will increase the enrollment and retention of students in the human services intellectual and developmental disabilities (HSIDD) program. The goal for the campaign is to recruit at least 25 undergraduate students in HSIDD or allied professions and provide funding for 10 credit-by-exams to retain current students.
  • “R(2)AISE: Recruiting & Retaining American Indian Special Educators,” Holly Pedersen and Winjing Zheng, special education: This project will enhance and expand the existing para-to-teacher special education program by addressing the issue of Native American special education teacher shortages. The R(2)AISE plan is designed to address the barriers for Native American teacher candidates with peer mentoring, support groups, financial aid, and local connections as part of the core components.
  • “Recruit Back Program,” James Sturm, Looyenga Leadership Center: The University’s Retain and Graduate Committee will work with students from the past five years with at least 90 credits who did not graduate to help those students complete their degrees. Scholarship dollars will be available for students enrolling in at least six credits.
  • “Exercise Science & Rehabilitation Lab Equipment and Supplies,” Beth Marschner, teacher education and kinesiology: The project will enhance the program’s equipment needed to allow more students to use labs at one time and, because the program is new, purchase equipment.
  • “High School Data Challenge Competition,” Aaron Wade, math and computer science: The essence of the project is to welcome surrounding area high school students for a statistical science and data analytics competition. The competition will test fundamental data science skills in 2-4 person teams.
  • “Welcome to the Next Level Nursing Student Experience: Immerse Yourself to Prepare to Care,” Carrie Lewis and Kimberly Tiedman, nursing: The project will utilize virtual reality directly impacting a nursing student’s educational experience and better prepare them to provide superior care.
  • “Empowering Students for Data Science at Minot State University: Program Marketing and Increasing Enrollment from Area High Schools,” Daren Erisman, Warren Gamas, and Jennifer Sherman; math and computer science / teacher education and kinesiology: This project will work with a new program at MSU, data science, to develop curriculum for high school classrooms including hands-on demonstrations, videos, and materials to highlight the program and Minot State.
  • “Prior Learning Assessments across Campus,” Charlotte Sophia Rammell, interdisciplinary studies program: This program will expand on an already successful program in the College of Business engaging more departments to identify individuals eligible for Prior Learning Assessment credit, adding new PLA course options, and increase awareness of this option.
  • “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes To The Hills: An MSU Concert Choir Recruitment Trip,” Emerson Eads, performing arts: The Minot State Concert Choir will make a three-day performance and recruitment trip to Stanley, Watford City, Dickinson, and the Richardton Monastery, bringing attention to students and alumni while showing off our diversity and commitment to the choral repertoire as an institution.
  • “Biogeography of Sapelo Island, Georgia,” Chad Williamson, biology: Students enrolled in biogeography in Spring 2023 had a unique opportunity to participate in a classroom- and field-based hybrid course. In March, the class traveled to Sapelo Island, Georgia for an education, experience, and networking event.
  • “Empowering Cybersecurity Major through the National Cyber League,” Muhammad Abusaqer and Darren Seifert, math and computer science: This project will have students participate in two segments of the National Cyber League competition, host three keynote speakers, hold biweekly meetings for students to exchange ideas and experience, and visit other similar clubs for insights into their activities, facilities, and resources.

About Minot State University
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.

Published: 03/23/23   

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