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Hotline // March 27, 2024

Mar 27, 2024

A newspaper backdrop with a white chevron and the words Hotline, The weekly newsletter of Valley City State University

This week’s Hotline includes the following articles:

Nearly 100% of 2022-2023 VCSU Graduates Report Being Employed or Pursuing Further Education

70% of Employed Graduates are Employed in North Dakota

VCSU announced today that 98% of all reporting graduates earning their degree in the 2022-2023 school year are either employed or continuing their education.

Infographic containing statistics from VCSU's First Destination ReportOf all reporting graduates earning an education degree, 62% are employed in North Dakota. The remainder are working or pursuing additional degrees in 19 different states from South Dakota to Florida to Alaska.  The data was released as a part of the annual VCSU First Destination Report.

View a printable version of the infographic here.

“Our graduates’ success in their desired career fields shows the continued value of a VCSU degree,” President Alan LaFave said. “The experiences students have at VCSU help prepare them for a fulfilling and productive career. Many go on to be important members in our North Dakota communities, and we are happy to support our state by offering affordable educational opportunities that lead to the success of communities and individuals.”

“As I have worked through my first year of teaching, I can confidently say that VCSU helped prepare me to be a successful, well-prepared, and effective teacher in so many ways,” Spring 2023 Elementary Education graduate Mariah Topp said. “One of the strongest pieces of the VCSU Education Program is the amount of hands-on teaching experiences. Teaching is a profession that improves with practice, and I was provided with a large amount of exposure through hands-on experiences and mentorship from seasoned educators I observed.”

Alumni earning undergraduate degrees in other areas (non-education) reported 98% employment or continuing education status. Of all reporting non-education graduates, 70% employed indicated they are employed in North Dakota, and 52% of graduates continuing their education are enrolled in a North Dakota school. During that same timeframe, 32 students completed internships with a variety of businesses and organizations.

“Double majoring in psychology and human services provided me with the background knowledge I needed to pursue a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling,” Kasen Anderson, Human Services and Psychology Graduate, said. “After interning with the Abused Persons Outreach Center and the Community Green Dot program, I felt even more prepared for my future. I will forever be thankful for my time at VCSU, the people I met, and the opportunities I had and continue to have because of my time there.”

One hundred percent of reporting graduates that earned a Master’s degree indicated they were gainfully employed, 74% of them in North Dakota.

“Our graduate programs help individuals expand their horizons through education,” said Dr. James Boe, Dean of Graduate Studies. “With graduate programs for those in education and a Master of Science in Business Information Systems, the programs we offer have helped many people achieve their career goals.”

“When I decided to make the change from being a stay-at-home mother of three children to pursue a career in teaching, I was excited but also overwhelmed. I felt well equipped in my subject area but ill equipped in my knowledge of structuring a classroom environment. Each of my classes in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at Valley City State University added pieces to the puzzle that I was missing,” recent graduate Cherise Pfaff said. “My professors were engaging and actively involved in my success. I began teaching as I was completing my degree, which allowed me to implement the strategies I was learning in real time. By the end of the program, I had all the information I needed to be an effective teacher. Through this program and my experiences in my own classroom, I have fallen in love with teaching and plan to continue for years to come.”

The First Destination Report is published by the VCSU Career Services Department. It is developed following the standards of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

To schedule an interview about the data or for more information please contact Tammy Jo Taft by emailing or calling (701) 845-7227.

National AIDS memorial quilt coming to VCSU April 1


Two panels from the National AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed in the Center for the Arts Gallery from April 1-18. This powerful display was made possible through collaboration between VCSU Departments of Art and Music and VCSU Diversity & Inclusion along with generous support provided by a grant through the Bridges Arts Council.

Considered the largest community arts project in history, the AIDS Memorial Quilt honors the unique lives and stories of those lost to HIV/AIDS while continuing to promote HIV prevention and community health. Roughly 50,000 panels are dedicated to more than 110,000 individuals who have passed away from HIV/AIDS. When fully assembled, the quilt weighs over 54-tons.

The public is invited to attend the event, Homage: Reflections on the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the story of HIV/AIDS, and the parallels to other important issues impacting our nation, on April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Performance Hall. VCSU vocalists will perform songs from the AIDS Memorial Quilt Songbook and a variety of guests will speak.

One of the panels on display has a special tie to VCSU. This panel is in memory of professor emeritus, Gary Ketterling’s sister and brother-in-law, who both passed away from AIDS in the early 1990s. Ketterling will share his sister’s story about her fight with AIDS and his family’s grief and healing journey.

Angela Mircsov, art department chair and gallery director, will speak on the parallels between the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gordana Cokrlic, Ryan White Program Coordinator for North Dakota Health & Human Services, will be speaking about current HIV/AIDS prevention and ND statistics from the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 90s and today.

Dr. Kelly LaFramboise, director for diversity and inclusion, will discuss how art and music speak to the emotional and cultural connections we share as a nation and community through memorials, such as the AIDS Quilt.

The gallery hours are limited and will be available as follows during the duration of the display:
Monday (April 1, 8, 15): 1 – 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday (April 2, 9, 16): 9 – 11 a.m., 2 – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2: 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
7:30 p.m. Homage: Reflections on the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the story of HIV/AIDS, and the parallels to other important issues impacting our nation
Wednesday (April 3, 10, 17): 1 – 5 p.m.
Thursday (April 4, 11, 18): 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Friday (April 5, 12): 1 – 2 p.m.

Read more about the AIDS Quilt Songbook at

41 students attend VCSU Tech Wars event

Students presenting at Tech WarsThe VCSU Computer Systems and Software Engineering Department (CSSE) hosted the annual Tech Wars event on Wednesday, March 20.

A total of 41 students from Pingree-Buchanan, Dickinson, Carrington, Montpelier, Napoleon, and Griggs County Central competed in the Tech Wars Challenge by coding a ‘VCSU’ golf game using Scratch software by MIT. In addition to the challenge, the participants attended a planetarium show about the Zodiac constellations.

The winning team of 3 students, from Griggs County Central, each won a $500 CSSE Scholarship and wireless gaming headphone set. Second place went to a team from Montpelier High School who went home with mini gaming fridges. Third place was awarded to a second team from Montpelier who won wireless gaming mice.

Thank you to Doosan Digital Innovation America, our generous sponsor of this event.

Scholar Symposium set for April 30

Students show their server project to software engineering facultyThe 2024 Valley City State University Scholar Symposium will be held in the main lobby of the Center For the Arts on Tuesday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The annual event provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to showcase their research, writing, and other creative projects developed over the past academic year. Last year’s event featured 60+ student-designed projects representing seven departments across campus, revealing the wide-range of scholarship VCSU’s students produced individually and collaboratively in more than 20 unique courses. Student recipients of the SOAR (Student Opportunities for Academic Research) Award presented their faculty-mentored advanced research projects, and faculty members from four different departments shared their discipline-specific research and creative scholarship from the past academic year.

Please encourage your 2023-2024 students to participate in the Scholar Symposium this year, as this event is designed to showcase and celebrate the individual and collaborative vibrant academic work of VCSU students and faculty across campus. Contact event coordinator, associate professor Emily D. Wicktor at for more information on the submission process. Submission forms are due by April 18.

Fenster receives NCTA honor award

Emily Fenster receiving award Emily Fenster, Ph.D., associate professor for sociology, recently received the Sheyenne River Valley Chapter NCTA Chapter Honor Award for 2023. Becky Heise, chapter president and Deb Koepplin, secretary/treasurer presented the award to Fenster at their annual meeting on Saturday, February 24.

VCSU Diversity and Inclusion hosting national best-selling author and North Dakota native, Taylor Brorby

taylor brorby
Taylor Brorby

Taylor Brorby, national best-selling author, will speak on campus Thursday, April 11. Brorby is the author of Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured LandCrude: PoemsComing Alive: Action and Civil Disobedience, and co-editor of Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America. Students are encouraged to meet with the author in the Skoal Room from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to discuss his book, the writing and publishing process and his experience growing up gay in Center, N.D. Those interested can come and go during that time and are encouraged to bring their lunch to the Skoal Room.

Later that evening, Brorby will give a public talk at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Performance Hall where he will speak on his book, his life growing up in Center, N.D., his environmental advocacy, and current events related to literacy access and diversity inclusion.

Brorby’s work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Book Critics Circle, the MacDowell Colony, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Mesa Refuge, Blue Mountain Center, and the North Dakota Humanities Council. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Huffington PostOrion MagazineLitHubSouthern Humanities ReviewNorth Dakota Quarterly, and has appeared in numerous anthologies. He is a contributing editor at North American Review and serves on the editorial boards of and Hub City Press.

Taylor regularly speaks around the country on issues related to extractive economies, queerness, disability, and climate change. He teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Alabama.

He will be available for book-signing after his talk. Books are available for pre-order through the VCSU Bookstore and at most online stores where books are sold. Generous support for Taylor’s visit has been provided by Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Epworth United Methodist Church, VCSU Social Justice Council, Professor Angela Mircsov, Jamie and Kelly LaFramboise, and Professor Katie Woehl.

VCSU offers free tax preparation

Student speaking with community memberValley City State University (VCSU) students will offer free tax return preparation clinics for low-to-moderate income taxpayers from Monday, Feb. 5 to Monday, April 15. This is a basic tax service for qualified taxpayers with income less than $64,000 per year. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is offered by VCSU’s Department of Business.

The clinics begin on Monday, Feb. 5, and will be located on VCSU’s campus in McFarland 122. Walk-ins and appointments are accepted. Appointments can be made online at

The clinics include face-to-face meetings between students and the tax filer to complete their return. The returns are then reviewed by a faculty member. Filers should bring a government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license to the appointment. A married couple filing jointly will need photo identification for both the husband and the wife.

“These clinics offer a service for our community and provide students and faculty the chance to work together as a team,” said Brenda Tyre, chair of the VCSU Department of Business. “We are happy to coordinate these clinics to give students the opportunity to develop strong leadership, tax law knowledge, and communication skills. Every student volunteer working in the clinic has passed a tax preparation and code of standards exam to ensure returns are prepared accurately, maintain privacy, and ensure all personal information is secure.”

Dates available on Monday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. include:

Monday, April 8
Monday, April 15


Dates available on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. include:

Tuesday, April 2
Tuesday, April 9

There will be no clinic hours on the following holidays:

  • Monday, April 1

To schedule an appointment, visit or contact the Department of Business at (701) 845-7508.

Viking sports update

The VCSU Baseball team won a four-game series against Viterbo last week, taking three out of the four games. The Vikings are now 11-18 overall and 3-5 in conference play. VCSU has a week off before resuming play April 3 at Dakota Wesleyan.

Viking Softball will play a four-game “home” series indoors this week in Jamestown. VCSU’s games against Viterbo have been moved to the Nelson Family Bubble on the campus of the University of Jamestown. Game times are at 6 and 8 p.m. on Thursday, and then 4/6 p.m. on Friday.

Track & Field
VCSU Track & Field is scheduled to begin the outdoor season this weekend at the Al Bortke Open, hosted by the University of Mary in Bismarck. Events starts at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Upcoming Events
March 28: Softball vs. Viterbo, 6/8 p.m. (Jamestown, N.D.)
March 29: Softball vs. Viterbo, 4/6 p.m. (Jamestown, N.D.)
March 30: Track & Field at Al Bortke Open, 11 a.m. (Bismarck, N.D.)
April 3: Baseball at Dakota Wesleyan, 3/5 p.m. (Mitchell, S.D.)

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