NSU TRIO SSS Peer Mentors present on virtual conference panel

Headshots of four students

ABERDEEN, S.D. – This week, four Northern State University students participated in a regional conference for TRIO professionals.

Mckenzie Hassebroek of Westport, S.D.; Emma Pulfrey of Alcester, S.D.; Garret Thompson of Logan, Iowa; and Taren Tschetter of Hitchcock, S.D., took part in the virtual Aspire Conference. The conference offered professional development for TRIO representatives from North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

The four NSU students, all TRIO Student Support Services peer mentors, presented on the panel, The Value of Peer Mentoring, along with NSU TRIO SSS Director Laci Hettick. Hettick said the residential peer mentor program is of the most impactful services that TRIO SSS provides.

“The mentors are role models to their students and have provided consistent contact, support and friendship to NSU’s TRIO Scholars, which has been especially valuable during the pandemic,” Hettick said. “When we learned that the ASPIRE conference was going to be hosted virtually this year, TRIO staff saw this as an opportunity for the TRIO SSS peer mentors to share their firsthand experiences as both freshman mentees and now as upperclassman mentors with our colleagues from across the region.”

During the panel, Hettick said, the peer mentors answered questions from TRIO professionals about the impact the mentoring program made during their freshman year, how they establish rapport and build a sense of community with their mentees, and how they have adapted their outreach during the pandemic.

“Emma, Taren, Mckenzie, and Garret are some of NSU’s finest students and represented our campus well during the panel,” Hettick said. “The Northern State community should be very proud of them, just as the TRIO SSS staff is proud of them every day.”

A federal TRIO program, Northern’s TRIO SSS assists 165 first-generation and low-income students, as well as students with disabilities. Services also include academic advising, tutoring, academic and financial counseling, career exploration, leadership development, social and cultural programming, and financial assistance. Learn more at TRIO Student Support Services.

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a student-centered institution that provides an outstanding educational experience, preparing students through the liberal arts and professional education for their future endeavors. A regional university, Northern offers rigorous academics; diverse civic, social and cultural opportunities; and a commitment to building an inclusive environment for all points of view. Northern also offers a broad-based athletics program, sponsoring 15 NCAA Division II intercollegiate varsity sports that compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC). The university strives to enrich the community through partnerships such as its Educational Impact Campaign, which opened a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; new athletic and recreation fields; and, soon, an on-campus regional sports complex. With the $55 million campaign, NSU has been the recipient of more than $120 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions

Pictured from left: Mckenzie Hassebroek of Westport, S.D.; Emma Pulfrey of Alcester, S.D.; Garret Thompson of Logan, Iowa; and Taren Tschetter of Hitchcock, S.D.