SDSU student, alumni rank as state’s best

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

Those associated with SDSU always knew the state’s largest university was an incubator for future leaders. A recent Argus Leader piece has further proved that idea.

A SDSU student and two alumni were named to the Argus Leader’s “15 Under 30” list. Sunday’s edition of the Argus Leader featured a four-page piece showcasing 15 young South Dakotans who have already made names for themselves.

“I read the article with a great deal of pride,” said President Peggy Miller. “It is quite unusual for those kinds of lists to include people who are still in school or even those who have very recently graduated.”

Aviation education senior Aaron Werner was one of four students to make the list, and the only student attending a South Dakota school. Werner, a staff sergeant in the South Dakota Air National Guard, is an avionics technician who dreams of flying fighters for the Air Force.

“I was grateful that I was chosen as one of 15 people,” said the 22-year-old from Sioux Falls. “It was a good indication that all my hard work has been noticed and that it is paying off.”

“The article will make me work even harder to achieve my goals since now many more people will be following up on me.”

Also representing SDSU on this list were Erica Beck and Carrie Mees. Beck, 28, Sioux Falls, graduated from SDSU in 2001 and currently works with the city of Sioux Falls as an urban planner.

Mees is a 27-year-old prosecutor who specializes in abused and and neglected cases. The Harrisburg resident received her undergraduate degree from SDSU before going to law school.

The Argus Leader composed the list with names nominated by the public and staff. Others nominated were designated honorable mentions. The list of 24 honorable mentions included four SDSU students: Ryan Brunner, Jeremy Fugleberg, Dustin Renville and Denise Watt.

“Being mentioned in the article with so many high-caliber individuals is very humbling and I was so proud to see SDSU so well represented,” said Brunner, an agriculture engineering senior.

Also listed as honorable mention were SDSU grads Abby Bischoff, Larissa Hansen, Andrea Kieckhefer and Jill Smith.

The number of SDSU students and graduates named to both lists is a reflection of the quality of students at SDSU, Brunner said.

“Our students are involved in a variety of areas and I have no doubt our students will be future leaders of our state,” he said.