Success After USF

At the University of Sioux Falls, we consider our alumni's success to be one of our most prominent distinctions. Discover how USF-prepared missionaries, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, pastors, CPAs and CEOs – just to name a few – are living their call to serve Christ.

Ethan Batschelet '12

World Gospel Mission, Honduras

In 2010, Ethan Batschelet went to Israel with a group led by Rev. Dennis Thum, Dean of Chapel and Religious Studies Instructor.

"That trip changed my life," Batschelet says, "and to this day I see the Bible in a more complete way when I read and study. Before graduating, and to this day, Dennis Thum is an encouragement to me."

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Christian Begeman '96

Special Projects Coordinator at Midcontinent Communications; Freelance Photographer; E-columnist for South Dakota Magazine

"I keep in touch with a variety of folks from college days, and a handful of them I consider as true, lifelong friends," Christian Begeman says.

"In 2013, I visited an old college buddy and his family who are teachers in the Middle East. I would have never have had that kind of experience without my USF connections," Begeman says.

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David Campbell '08

Pastor of Student Ministries, Oak Hills Baptist Church

"Residence hall janitorial staffs, admissions employees and cafeteria workers have all been used by God in these places in a powerful way," David Campbell says. "In some ways, they are the ones who teach us how to serve."

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Zak Fick '14 (M.B.A)

Entrepreneur, Help U

Zak Fick says that at USF he learned that everything revolves around the quality of communication between individuals.

"I learned that collaboration has a knack for producing more than the sum of its parts," he explains. "I also learned about relationships, and that developing and maintaining them can make or break your future success in all walks of life."

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Tom Henderson '98

Entrepreneur, Restoration Generation; Author

Tom Henderson says he values the fact that no matter how much the world changes, USF still remains committed to the same thing – preparing students for excellence in the workplace while living for Christ.

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Richard Hutchinson '01

Assistant Principal, George McGovern Middle School

Richard Hutchinson says USF was a place where he was able to explore who he was and who he wanted to be.

"God is bigger than your box!" he says. "Take a risk, and leave the crowd. Stumble, fall, make a fool of yourself, fail, be misunderstood, because Grace isn't for playing it safe."

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Neil Ihde '94

Entrepreneur, Life IQ

"When I look back, it is staggering how much performance experience I gained while I was at USF. It was like I earned a secondary degree in performance arts," Neil Ihde says. "All of it helped instill in me a confidence to perform and present in front of an audience."

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Dr. Sean Johnson '05

Professor at the University of Southern California

Dr. Sean Johnson lists some of the most vital life lessons learned at USF: Pursue your passion. Money is nothing more than a tool. Winners never quit. Always keep Christ in the center of your life.

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Nick Kortan '03

CFO and Vice President of Corporate Operations, SDN Communications

Nick Kortan credits USF Associate Professor of Accounting Jill Whitley with giving him direction, plus instilling him with courage and confidence.

"Accounting is something I would have never anticipated pursuing," he says. "Now I wouldn't trade this path for anything."

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Sarah DeVries Kurtenbach '09

Entrepreneur, The Kurtenbach Group

Capitalizing on January interim helped Sarah DeVries Kurtenbach grow as a student and businesswoman.

"I used interim as a chance to travel, take unique classes and attend different colleges," she says. "Interim helped me to fully confirm that I wanted to move to a different state after college, which catapulted my career."

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Misten Langenfeld '00

Entrepreneur, Ripple Marketing and Creative Co-op

"During my time at USF, there were constant reminders around me to stay true to my faith," Misten Langenfeld says. "Whether it was from my RA, my friends, my coaches and, of course, the wonderful campus pastor, Dennis Thum, who was always there with a listening ear and a kind heart."

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Scott LeBrun '09

Senior Tax Accountant, POET; Technical Sergeant, SD Air National Guard

Scott LeBrun says it's amazing to learn about other USF graduates, recognize how far and wide the collective reach of USF grads is and marvel at where they are now.

"There are teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, accountants, missionaries and entrepreneurs—and that is just a small sliver of the people who have been through USF."

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Dr. Stephanie Austin Myers '03

Physical Therapist, Avera Health

"Today, I have the opportunity to supervise college interns from USF, and it is always a blessing to have these students in the clinic, as they have something unique about them," Dr. Myers says.

She believes the education that they are receiving from USF is preparing them to become the leaders of tomorrow.

"I am always so proud to let pre-physical therapy students or other observers know the exceptional education that is obtained at USF."

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Hannah Olsen '13

News Producer, KELOLAND This Morning

"My favorite thing about USF is the community. You definitely feel like you are part of a big family," Hannah Olsen says. "From the activities to the small class sizes, the atmosphere is very welcoming. Just like a real family unit, USF looks to encourage and build you up as an individual; not just academically but personally and spiritually."

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Andy Patterson '99, '10 (M.B.A.)

President and CEO, Sioux Falls Community Foundation

"Faculty mentorship that occurs beyond the classroom is one of the most important things that happens at USF," Andy Patterson says.

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Kurtiss Riggs '97

Entrepreneur, Riggs Premier Football; Head Coach, Sioux Falls Storm; Adjunct Professor, USF

Kurtiss Riggs describes USF in one word, "Spirit." "It shows in the connections between people and the community, and it defines the culture of the University," Riggs says.

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Shane Sandersfeld '96

Sales and Marketing Specialist

"The USF community and your experience there aren't confined to your college years," Shane Sandersfeld says. "The importance of faith, the friendships you build and the way you lead your life extend well beyond your graduation date and will always be part of who you are."

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Alan Sazama '10

Medical Doctor, Residency in Emergency Medicine at Regions Hospital

Dr. Alan Sazama was an Resident Assistant in Burgess Hall for three years, and he says that experience, including “the sights, sounds, smells and people,” shaped the kind of person he has become.

"Some lifelong friends were made during this time, and I learned how to relate to a wide variety of personalities, something I now have to do this on a nightly basis in the ER," Dr. Sazama says.

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Todd Schlekeway '01, '07 (M.Ed.)

Executive Director for the National Association of Tower Erectors

"A USF education is a great investment that produces enormous dividends when it comes to growing stronger in your faith, receiving a top-notch liberal arts education and great post-graduate career opportunities," Todd Schlekeway says.

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Adam Sieff '08

Youth Pastor; Entrepreneur, SieffStyle Entertainment; Musical Artist for Flame on Gospel

Adam Sieff says that as a college student at the University of Sioux Falls he found what drove him, who he is, who he is becoming and how he can foster his own growth, not only as a professional but as a person.

"USF has a team of people who want to pour into your life,” says Sieff. “It has a way of drawing in people who want to be alive, who seek aliveness and want to live life to the fullest measure, the one Jesus talked about."

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Dominic Studzinski '10

Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)

Dominic Studzinski says that as someone who put much time and effort into the USF football program, he is very proud to see what's been happening with the team.

"I know the fellow Cougars I played with are quite proud. We hope the current players continue to uphold tradition and remember to always play for those who came before you,"Studzinski says.

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