The Spectrum’s 17 of 2017

Timothy A. Alvarez.
Vice President for Student Affairs.
Started at NDSU: June 2014.


“Alverez takes time to individual get to know students and listen to their concerns. He is a big advocate for higher education, especially among lower class and minorities.”

Tim: "I love my job. It is so much fun to do the work we do. I was looking at this way when I talk to staff, when you really think about it, parents are sending us their most prized possessions: they’re sending us you."

Allison Goldenstein.
Willmar, Minnesota.
Second-year student in the Master of Public Health program.

"Allison has demonstrated high leadership qualities and the potential to be an extraordinary public health and medical professional. She has been the graduate assistant for IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence program since she began her masters in public health at NDSU. INBRE is a program to assist tribal colleges in building research capacity through student development projects."

Allison: "The Master of Public Health program is just such an uplifting community to work in. I get to be involved with so many things — research, and programs working with diverse populations — and I feel like it has provided me with a strong basis for my future career in medicine. We have a good dynamic here; it feels like home."

Joel Hanson.
Director of the Student Support Center.
Started at NDSU: February 2008.


"Joel Hanson is a friendly face around the engineering campus, but more than that, he’s a fantastic influence in the lives of young engineering. He never tries to sway a student’s opinion, but rather encourages them to take in as many engineering experiences on campus as possible. He is widely known for connecting new students with upperclassmen and faculty that shared their experience of freshmen uncertainty, so that they have a sounding board and a fresh perspective on their possibilities for success as a student."

Joel: "In my opinion, one’s time in college should be more than just what happens in the classroom. There is a lot of living, learning, and growing that takes place during one’s college years.  Amazing opportunities of all types are available to be explored. My advice to students is to explore new opportunities and interests while keeping a close eye on your academic progress and working towards your ultimate career goals."

Bethany Vincent
Senior OneStop Associate
Started at NDSU in 1999 as a student, started working at NDSU full-time in 2004.


"The most important thing I want to highlight about Bethany is her friendly personality and her pleasant smile. Never have I seen this woman not smiling and it makes me happy whenever I see her. If you have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Bethany Vincent, I insist that you do."

Bethany: "We have the opportunity to watch these students for four or five years and sometimes they come back and say, 'Hey, I did it!' It’s just kind of a proud mom moment!"

Irosha Banagala.
Columbo, Sri Lanka.
Senior in Hospitality and Business Administration.


"Irosha believes in karma. With her degree in hospitality and business administration, she told me she wants to go back to Sri Lanka to bring about change. She said that women are not able to do a lot of things that men can due to oppression, but she wants to open a restaurant back home that then doubles as a food pantry and homeless shelter. She does not care about money, or titles; she just wants to help people."

Irosha: "My favorite part about here? The people in Fargo are my favorite. My friends and NDSU, they’re everything. Everyone has changed my life. Everyone has contributed to the positives in my life. I like to see the snow."

Bruce Bollinger.
Received undergraduate degree from NDSU in 1986. Later completed Master's here, too.
Vice President for Finance and Administration.


"Bruce has been and always will be a major asset to NDSU. His compelling drive to promote what is best for the students and the university alike is uncanny. He is one of the key factors in our university staying afloat in times of financial trouble. Beyond his work, he is a kind and dedicated man that will always be essential to NDSU."

Bruce: "If you work hard and you’re honest and open and treat people respectful, good things will happen. I’ve always been supported (by a) strong network of people and friendships."

Carol Cwiak.
Associate professor of emergency management.
VALOR worker – veteran organization.


"Carol has always had students’ and faculty’s best interest in mind. There is never a time that she doesn’t have time to listen to your concerns or needs and is always trying to better the campus to keep all NDSU students safe."

Carol: "I met the emergency managers in North Dakota, and that was the beginning of my love affair with emergency management."

Jon Pacella.
Senior in Management.
Hometown: Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

"Jon’s drive to help others is immediately evident. Jon is heavily involved in the Upward Bound tutoring program and he volunteers regularly at the Sanford Children’s Hospital, spending time in the playroom and undoubtedly putting smiles on the patients’ faces. Jon, of course, is much more than walking resume, and some of his most impactful contributions are the ones that few people know about."

Jon: "The school is a decent size. But you still have a strong closeness. Within the NDSU community you get to know a lot of people. I have been able to form great relationships with faculty members in the school of business because the class sizes are smaller."

Dena Wyum.
Senior lecturer in human development and family science.
Started at NDSU as an undergrad in 2003, an instructor in 2009.


"Dena Wyum continuously gives her all when working with the students, faculty, staff and more at NDSU. She is involved with student-led organizations and continuously strives to better her students in all aspects, including the classroom and outside of campus. Dena is passionate, motivated, driven, hard-working, honest, respectful and a role model and leader in our community that I and many others regularly look up to for inspiration."

Dena: "Just the energy that I get from the students, that’s my favorite part (of NDSU.) I love being in the classroom with students and learning about their lives and their interests. Those are the things that drive me."

Tyrza Hoines.
Senior in human development and family sciences, women & gender studies.
Hometown: Bismarck, North Dakota.


"Miss Tyrza Hoines is one of a kind. She gives her all, 100 percent of the time, and she is comfortable with being herself. Here at NDSU, Tyrza has not blended into the woodwork; she has stepped up and stood out on campus. Bison Pride is something that is near and dear to this campus and Tyrza Hoines bleeds green and yellow more than anyone I know."

Tyrza: "At the end of the day, you make all these people happy, but then you come back to your room and you’re like, ‘I’m so sad.’ …. For this year, my goal isn’t just to make everyone around me happy, but then coming home and being happy with myself, too."

Kelly Sassi.
Associate professor of English education.
Started at NDSU in 2008.


"I think I can speak on behalf of all who are in the English education program in stating that we have all learned so much from her. She is driven and incredibly intellectual. Dr. Sassi challenges her students to grow and become the best they can. She has been beyond pivotal in my life as a student, and I recommend her to anyone who is looking to grow exponentially as an educator."

Kelly: "Teaching is the hardest job you’ll ever love, and I think that teachers have a lot of endurance. That endurance comes from a deep place of strength, and that strength comes out of a belief in democracy, a genuine caring for students and for the development of human beings. When those kinds of ideals and principles are at the heart, you can endure a lot more — endure long hours, endure changes in the political climate, changes in educational expectations."

Julian Thrash III.
Senior studying electrical engineering, going into biomedical.
Hometown: Fredericksburg, Virginia.


"Julian Thrash III is a force to be reckoned with. He is from the eastern U.S. and came to NDSU to study electrical engineering. He has done exceptionally well academically, but is also very humble about his prowess. Dr. Azer Akhmedov of NDSU mathematics, graduate of Yale University, has called him 'a phenomenon.' JT truly is humble, and is always working hard, no matter how calm his demeanor."

Julian: "I was kind of a military brat growing up, so I’ve lived in pretty much every region of the US. NDSU fits the best for me — I like the school and the community here. Adjusting to the weather wasn’t fun, but the people make up for it. Here, as opposed to other schools I looked at, the professors really care about you, and you can actually get to know them."

Julie Garden-Robinson.
Professor, food and nutrition specialist.
Bachelor’s degree from NDSU in 1986.
Master’s degree from NDSU in 1989.
Doctoral degree from NDSU in 1994.

"Julie has created numerous programs and has received many grants here at NDSU. She is a highly respected person with high standards of education. She always puts the kids in this state first and the training for her FCS agents in each of our counties. Her leadership in extension shows and she always goes above and beyond the job she has been given."

Julie: "I lead programs that deal with food safety and health. I am not sure that I have done the most important thing I have done. Anyone can access our resources, and I know they are used in other places, so that’s kind of cool. I hope I have made an impact, sometimes you don’t know what you have done, because you don’t know who is reading it. I like that people (at NDSU) are so committed to the university and the state. It is a small enough place, both the university and the state to make a difference."

MacKenzie Keidel.
Senior in Exercise Science.
Hometown: Bismarck, North Dakota.


"Enthusiastic, energetic, knowledgeable and passionate leader are words that describe MacKenzie, the student personal training coordinator at the Wellness Center. It is hard to miss her contagious smile and positive attitude. Keidel could be having a difficult morning, but she would never let you know since her role is to make you feel better. She has a strong desire to help others achieve their fitness goals through well-designed personal training programs, support and encouragement. She is a true professional in every sense."

MacKenzie: "I fell in love with fitness and wellness. Hard work is always important. There is always something to be learned here. My favorite part about NDSU is that everyone is really active in supporting activities. I love to see that everyone loves being involved."

Kevin Brooks.
English Professor.
Started at NDSU in 1997.


"Kevin Brooks is one of the few professors that allow personal creativity and expression in his syllabus. He supports students’ ideals while balancing a healthy challenge. I have never had so much fun writing before. He simultaneously motivates his students to be critical thinkers, passionate writers and, most importantly, better people."

Kevin: "And the thing we don’t think about when talking about writing, though, is that it takes a lot of courage and guts. To be willing to share your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions … the mistakes that you’ve made — those are big things to share. But I think just being audacious enough to say, ‘I’ve got something that I think the world should pay attention to,’ that takes a lot of courage. To say, ‘Here it is, and I’m going to stand by it.’"

Casondra Rutschke.
Senior in Business administration.
Hometown: Zeeland, North Dakota.


"Casondra Rutschke is the pinnacle of a successful student and is well deserving of this recognition. She has been recognized by numerous honor societies for her academic achievements while making the Dean’s List every semester of her college career. I have no doubt that she will continue to excel at everything she does and has great potential to contribute to NDSU well beyond her graduation."

Casondra helped founded Phi Beta Lambda because she saw a need for a business-focused group on campus and had previously been heavily involved in the Future Business Leaders of America.

“It was great to be bringing that chapter back here at NDSU," she said.

Through Phi Beta Lambda she hopes to strengthen students communication, teamwork and leadership skills.

Judy Erikson.
Campus visit coordinator.
At NDSU for 10 years.


"Judy Erikson is one of our campus visit coordinators in the Office of Admission. She is, for most people, the very first encounter new students have with NDSU. Day in and day out, she does all that she can to make sure all potential students have a positive and lasting impression of NDSU. Her work and love for NDSU often go unnoticed."

Judy: (What sets NDSU apart from other schools?) "People. We do have some of the friendliest and most helpful people all over campus. It is not just the admissions office, it takes the whole campus… Our campus is absolutely beautiful. We just have the best people."


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