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Bowen receives Merrigan Award

February 25, 2020

Nicole Bowen, student wellness counselor lead at DSU, has received the Patrick Merrigan Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession of Student Affairs at the South Dakota Higher Education Association (SDHEA) Conference.

She admits she was definitely surprised when the announcement was made on February 13, but it was no surprise to those who nominated her.

Jordan Schuh, disability services coordinator at DSU, wrote in a nomination letter that during recent restructuring in the Counseling Center, "Nicole took on leadership of the Counseling Center, was an instrumental part in preparing the office budget, and has acted as supervisor for the office."

Former colleague Carla Anderson, academic success team coordinator at SDSU, said Bowen “took an over-load of counseling clients and worked long hours to make sure the students received the services they needed to continue their treatment and success.”

Anderson wrote in her nomination letter that Bowen "is a no-nonsense counselor that we need in higher education, both for colleagues and students."

Helping students is what inspires and motivates Bowen, looking for what she can do for the students to make it better and easier to navigate the higher education system.

I may not have all the answers, but I hope I can at least find a connection with someone who has the answer needed. - Nicole Bowen

A native of Scotland, S.D., Bowen has also been active with the SDHEA organization for many years, serving in leadership roles, on committees, and as moderator and presenter.

Bowen is also part of a strong team at DSU. In the past four years, five from DSU have won either the Merrigan Award, the Marcus Boesen Award to recognize new professionals in the field, or the Courtney Award. Winners include:

  • Jordan Schuh, disability services coordinator, Boesen Award winner in 2019
  • Cassandra Morgan, DSU student ambassador and lead tutor, Courtney Award in 2018
  • Amanda Parpart, director of student activities and new student orientation coordinator, Merrigan Award winner in 2018
  • Bryce Nussbaum, residence director for special projects, Boesen Award winner in 2017

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