MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Minot State University is announcing 11 new projects that were funded by the MSU Development Foundation’s EMPOWER Grant Program.

According to a news release, the EMPOWER Grant Program started in January as part of a comprehensive capital campaign.

EMPOWER was announced in October and is the most ambitious campaign in school history. The goal: To raise $50 million by the end of 2024.

“This project is a direct result of our generous donors realized through the capital campaign,” said Vice President for Advancement and MSU Development Foundation Executive Director, Rick Hedberg. “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.”

$100,000 was used to promote the grant. Faculty and staff members at Minot State were able to request up to $20,000 to help increase enrolment, advance academics, or enhance the academic experience.

The projects that received funding were:

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