HSE doctoral graduate spotlight

Graduation is a joyous time that often brings reflection on all that’s been learned, all that’s been experienced, everyone met along the way and how it all impacts what’s to come next and into the future.

The faculty and staff at the College of Human Science and Education are so incredibly proud of the hard work and determination of each student to better themselves and the communities we live in. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of all NDSU students graduating this spring while we spotlight a few of our doctoral students earning the highest degree.

Colin Bond

Degrees: doctorate in exercise science and nutrition, Master of Business Administration

Hometown: York, Maine

Title of dissertation: “Appraising Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Risk: Single-Legged Jump-Landing Dynamic Postural Stability”

Most memorable experience: I had the opportunity to teach several undergraduate courses in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science that culminated in the Graduate Student Teaching Award in 2020. That series of classes and the influence they had on me as a leader and teacher was my most memorable experience.

Plans after graduation: I have worked at Sanford Health in Fargo for more than six years as a biomechanical engineer on the orthopedics and sports medicine research team and will continue that work after graduation.

Emma Johnson

Degree: doctorate in developmental science

Hometown: Rogers, Minnesota

Title of dissertation: “Tracking Body Dissatisfaction and Body Ideals of Ethnically Diverse College Women”

Most memorable experience: My most memorable experience was my first time teaching a course, Adolescent Development, on my own. I remember ending that semester knowing that teaching was something I was very passionate about, and that I wanted a career that incorporated it.

Plans after graduation: In the fall of 2022, I will begin my position as an assistant professor of human development in the Division of Counseling and Psychology in Education at the University of South Dakota.  

Roman Waldera

Degree: doctorate inexercise science and nutrition

Hometown: Minot, North Dakota

Title of dissertation: “A Biomechanical and Electromyographic Analysis of Elite Shot Putters at a Division 1 University”

Most memorable experience: My most memorable experience at NDSU was when I completed the data collection for my dissertation with the help of my doctoral student colleagues and academic advisor.

Plans after graduation: I have accepted an instructor position at South Dakota State University for next fall.

Jodi Ost

Degree: doctorate in education

Hometown: Parkers Prairie, Minnesota

Title of dissertation: “Does Mattering Really Matter to Graduate Students?”

Most memorable experience: My most memorable experience was truly feeling like a scholar after my successful dissertation defense.

Plans after graduation: I plan to continue working as the grants director at NDSCS while exploring options in upper-level administration and/or faculty positions.

Alicia Quiroz

Degree: doctorate in exercise science and nutrition

Hometown: Laredo, Texas

Title of dissertation: “A Path Analysis Model Examining Parental Perception, Dieting and Food Behaviors on Weight in Predominately Hispanic Families”

Most memorable experience: My first-ever visit to North Dakota was for a campus visit/meet and greet with HNES faculty in April 2019. The weather at the beginning of the day was beautiful, clear and somewhat sunny. I had lunch with Dr. Hilliard and an HNES graduate student. Shortly after that, there was a blizzard that lasted two days. All flights were cancelled and I was stranded. Faculty, staff and the student checked in with me throughout those two days to see how I was doing. This was such a warm and welcoming gesture. I knew from that moment that NDSU was the place for me.

Plans after graduation: I will be pursuing a faculty university position at an MSI institution and a USDA scientist position.

Nathaniel Johnson

Degree: doctorate in health, nutrition and exercise science

Hometown: St. Anthony, Minnesota

Title of dissertation: “The Effects of Greater Dietary Protein Spread and Quality on Muscle Health in Adults”

Most memorable experience: Most memorably, Dr. Sherri Stastny, my adviser, Dr. Christopher Kotarsky, another graduate student at the time, and I traveled to Toulouse, France, in March, 2020. The first few days were normal for an academic conference, but Toulouse was fantastic, littered with history and friendly people. As fears of the COVID pandemic set-in, the town emptied out, and we were just a few of the international people left there. Eventually our flight arrived, and we went home early according to our itinerary. But, for a couple days we had the whole town to ourselves in a way, and we enjoyed lots of local culture. The journey home was not as peaceful as the airports were chaotic and confusing, but at least I had two friends with me.

Plans after graduation: My mantra for these past few years has been, “one foot in front of another,” as I have struggled with health issues in addition to the other obstacles facing students. I have had six surgeries, spent over $20,000 in direct medical costs, and had to isolate from others due to the use of immunosuppressive medications used to treat my illness. So, unfortunately, I have been so focused on graduating and trying to get healthy that I have spent little time looking for what’s next. Here is what I do know: I want to keep learning, performing research and teaching – hopefully right here in the region.

Emily Berg

Degree: doctorate in education

Hometown: Watertown, South Dakota

Title of dissertation: “Employee Perspectives Regarding Toxic Leadership in the Modern Workplace: A Q Methodological Study”

Most memorable experience: My most memorable moment in the EDP was working with my first advisor, Dr. Claudette Peterson. In the first year of my Ph.D. program, Claudette and had writing retreats at Panera. I remember we would get to Panera early in the morning to get the "good booth" that was in the back corner. We would use the Pomodoro Technique by setting the timer for 25 minutes to focus on our writing. After 25 minutes, we would take a five-minute break. Our breaks would consist of lunch and refilling our coffee cups. These all-day writing retreats showed me that working in small chunks leads to results! My other favorite experience was working with my second advisor, Dr. Brent Hill. My favorite meeting with Brent over Zoom was when Brent's daughter asked my husband and me if we wanted to hear her sing. Obviously, we told her we wanted to hear her, and so she sang us a very long song. It was the best!

Plans after graduation: I'll continue working as a senior development manager at the American Cancer Society for the Dakotas and Western Minnesota. I love working at ACS because I get to save and celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer. I'm most looking forward to spending time with my family and my two puppies, Teddy and LuLu, at our home on Lake Kampeska in Watertown, South Dakota.

Jenna Hershberger

Degree: doctorate in counselor education

Hometown: Carrington, North Dakota

Title of dissertation: “An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) of the Lived Experiences of Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth (CSEY) in a Residential Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) Program”

Most memorable experience: As a doctoral student, working with the girls and staff at Home On The Range.

Plans after graduation: Spend more time with my husband, snuggle my new baby, work for The Village and continue to develop a specialty in trauma work.

Robert Lester

Degree: doctorate in counselor education and supervision

Hometown: Chico, California

Title of dissertation: “Epistemic Conditions for Moral Agency: A Positioning Analysis of Narrative Therapy Transcripts”

Most memorable experience: I will miss talking shop around the water cooler with professors and fellow doctoral students. Those spontaneous conversations that were equal parts insightful, vulnerable and irreverent really were worth the price of admission.

Plans after graduation: Work! Read! Take dance lessons!

Jimena Schroeder

Degree: doctorate in counselor education and supervision

Hometown: Arequipa, Peru

Title of dissertation: “Decolonizing Teaching Practices on Counselor Education: A Thematic Analysis”

Most memorable experience: Online classes. I definitely didn’t like them, but did enjoy that my dogs were able to be in class with me! I’m sure they learned a lot.

Plans after graduation: Travel!

Name: Stephanie Hamersky

Degree:  Ph.D., Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science

Hometown: Omaha, NE 

Title of dissertation:  Systematic Intervention Component Analysis: Dose-Response for Therapeutic Ultrasound

Most memorable experience: I would say the most memorable experience is all of the amazing people I was able to work with in academics, administration, and athletics. 

Plans after graduation: I plan to continue to work as an assisted professor and the clinical coordinator in the Masters of Athletic Training program at Midland University. 

Dr. Jim Deal, Interim Dean

Email:  Jim.Deal@ndsu.edu

Dr. Jill Nelson, Interim Dean

Email:  Jill.R.Nelson@ndsu.edu

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