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Not just a number: Standout DSU grad Stefanie Bohrer prepares for master’s program

Press Photo by Nadya Faulx Stefanie Bohrer stops by the Dickinson State University campus Thursday ahead of today’s graduation ceremony. The natural resource management student will only take a week off before starting a master’s program at North Dakota State University.

Stefanie Bohrer could have taken a lot of paths in her four years at Dickinson State University.

The 5-foot-11 Stanton native came to DSU to play basketball after a standout career at Hazen High School, but was injured before her freshman year.

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Animal science was another option, building on her “passion for pigs” and years showing livestock at 4-H, FFA and North Dakota Junior Point Show Association competitions.

However, Bohrer knew early on that she wanted to pursue a career in natural resource management, joining her father, mother and sister in the energy industry.

“I’ve been energy-influenced my whole life,” Bohrer said.

The Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Honors Program scholar completed a major in natural resource management with minors in business and leadership. She’ll graduate from the program today.

“I grew up on a ranch, and that’s always been a passion of mine: the landscape, vegetation cover, the water,” Bohrer said. “That’s kind of why I went into natural resource management.”

She’s wasting no time in getting a jump on her career. Just a week after Bohrer graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in agriculture studies, she will start her first research project as a master’s candidate at North Dakota State University, where she will study surface mining and reclamation.

“It’ll be worth it, I hope,” she said. “I do see myself working, or hopefully working, at a coal mine in reclamation, or the environmental department within a coal mine here in North Dakota. That’s the goal.”

The fast pace isn’t anything new for Bohrer, who took 17 credits her final semester and 23 the semester prior, in addition to playing golf for a year and a half, volunteering through the Theodore Roosevelt leadership program and attending Range Club, Ag Club and Collegiate Farm Bureau meetings at the agriculture department.

“I was very busy in my last semester, and my classes were tough like they should be,” she said. “It was a full semester for me.”

She recently wrapped up her senior capstone project, an extensive study she designed herself on the potential benefits of feeding pigs barley as an alternative to costly corn. A semester of research culminated into a 25-page paper and a 40-by-60-inch poster that she presented at last Saturday’s Celebration of Scholars conference on campus. She was honored for both her oral and visual presentation.

Bohrer’s research was “well designed, well put-together, certainly not easy to implement,” said Chip Poland, chair of the agriculture and technical studies department, who knew Bohrer throughout her four years at DSU.

Poland is confident Bohrer is an “an excellent candidate” for graduate school. He said her experience collecting, analyzing and summarizing data was good preparation.

“She’s a very focused and driven student,” he said. “She knows what she wants to do. She sets goals and she gets it done.”

Bohrer made an impression on more than one of her teachers in the agriculture department.

Jennifer Obrigewitch, who taught one of Bohrer’s favorite plant identification classes, said that Bohrer stood out.

“She was in the top two or three kids,” Obrigewitch said. “She definitely takes a lot of pride in her schoolwork.”

Obrigewitch got to know Bohrer two years ago as the advisor of the Range Club. They traveled to Oklahoma and Florida together for conferences, giving them a chance to get to know each other outside of the classroom.

Bohrer’s teachers recommended her as the department’s nomination for DSU’s Outstanding Student of the Year.

“She was more than worthy of that nomination,” Poland said.

Bohrer said that though she will miss the “phenomenal” agriculture department and her four years at DSU, she’s ready to take the next step this fall when she moves to Fargo.

“I am ready for change,” she said. “Dickinson was great, but I’m ready to kind of move on a bit with my life. See different things, meet new people, have new experiences.”

Bohrer said she’ll miss the agriculture department, particularly the close relationships she formed with faculty.

“Here at Dickinson, I’m Stef,” she said. “I’m not a number.”