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PRAIRIE PEOPLE: Week ending Aug. 25

Five join Aldevron

FARGO — Five new employees have joined Aldevron, a contract manufacturing firm for the biopharmaceutical industry headquartered in Fargo. They include Said Attiya, Asha Palanisamy, Kassandra Dotzler, Kim Ngo and Holly Jorud.

Attiya joins Aldevron as a quality control scientist. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, and was previously employed at BioArray Genetics in Farmington, Conn.

Palanisamy is a validation engineer in the Quality Assurance department. She is a 2016 graduate of the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, where she earned a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering.

Dotzler is a quality control analyst. She studied chemistry at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and comes to Aldevron from Sungold Foods in Horace, N.D.

Ngo joins the company as a laboratory technician in the GMP-Source area. A 2016 graduate of North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, she has a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, and previously worked at NDSU.

Jorud joins the company’s finance department as corporate accountant. A 2002 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), she has a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting, and was previously employed at NovaDigm Therapeutics in Grand Forks, N.D.

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Obstetrician and gynecologist joins Essentia Health in Fargo

FARGO – Dr. Caitlin Pandolfo, an obstetrician and gynecologist, has joined the Essentia Health-32nd Avenue Clinic in Fargo, N.D.

Pandolfo is originally from Bowbells, N.D. She earned a medical degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D. She completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, Mass.

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Pediatrician joins Altru Health System

GRAND FORKS – Dr. Ahmad Qawasmi has joined the pediatric team at Altru Health System. Qawasmi earned his medical degree from Al-Quds University, Al-Quds Faculty of Medicine in Jerusalem. He completed his residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, Mich., then went on to join the pediatric hematology and oncology program at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Outside of work, he enjoys photography, gardening and birdwatching.

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Nicole Griensewic Mickelson elected GMNP President

ST. PAUL—Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of Region Nine Development Commission, was elected to serve as president of the Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP) at the organization’s annual meeting in Fergus Falls, Minn.

As president, she will help direct efforts to inform state legislators on issues that are important to economic development in Greater Minnesota, such as workforce housing, job skills training, broadband expansion, infrastructure needs and environmental regulations.

The GMNP is a nonprofit corporation devoted to advocating for state economic development policies and resources that benefit Greater Minnesota. It has more than 90 members consisting of businesses, chambers of commerce, economic development authorities, colleges and universities, cities and nonprofits from throughout Greater Minnesota.

Griensewic Mickelson has served as executive director of Region Nine, which serves nine counties in south central Minnesota, since 2012. In addition to her work with Region Nine, she is an executive committee member of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota, an executive committee member of the Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership, and the secretary for the governing Board of Directors for Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota.

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General surgeon joins Altru Health System

GRAND FORKS – Dr. Daniel Persinger joins the general surgery team at Altru Health System.

Persinger earned his medical degree from Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. He completed his general surgery residency at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

In his free time, he enjoys running, riding bike, working in the yard and tinkering in the garage. He attends Freedom Church in downtown Grand Forks and participates in a curling league during the winter.

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Mark Steele returns to Houston Engineering

Mark Steele has returned to full-time status in Houston Engineering, Inc.’s Bismarck office as a CAD Designer. 

Steele worked full time at HEI from 2004-2010 as a CAD Supervisor, then took on a role teaching full time at Bismarck State College as a professor of engineering technology and GIS. While teaching at BSC, he interned at HEI for the past several years.

Steele is a Bismarck native and has a AAS in architectural drafting and estimating technology from North Dakota State College of Science, a certificate in GIS from Bismarck State College, and a BS in technical education from Valley City State University. He is a certified instructor of higher education.

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Anesthesiologist joins Altru Health System

GRAND FORKS – Dr. Bethany Gourneau has joined the anesthesia team at Altru Health System.

Gourneau earned her medical degree from University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She also earned a Master of Public Health degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

She completed her anesthesiology residency at the University of Kansas in Kansas City, Kansas.

Outside of work, Gourneau enjoys spending time at the lake, reading, travel and exploring the outdoors with her family.

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Seven join Essentia Health

Five physicians and two nurse practitioners have joined Essentia Health facilities that are located in or near the Red River Valley.

They are:

▇ Dr. Caitlin Pandolfo, an obstetrician and gynecologist, has joined the Essentia Health-32nd Avenue Clinic in Fargo, N.D..

Pandolfo is originally from Bowbells, N.D. She Pandolfo earned a medical degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D. She completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, Mass.

▇ Dr. Travis Swartz, a general surgeon, has joined the Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes Clinic in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Swartz earned a medical degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pa. He completed a residency in general surgery at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D.

▇ Dr. Philip Wanzek, a urologist, has joined the Essentia Health-32nd Avenue Clinic in Fargo, N.D.

Wanzek grew up in Valley City, N.D. He earned a medical degree from A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Mo.

He completed a residency in urology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

He’s been an active member of the Army National Guard for 23 years and served in Afghanistan with the 1-188th ADA based in Grand Forks, N.D.

▇ Dr. Samuel Ajayi, a neonatologist, has joined Essentia Health-Fargo in Fargo, N.D.

Ajayi earned a medical degree from the University of Ibadan College of Medicine in Nigeria. He completed a residency in pediatrics at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pa., and a fellowship in neonatology at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, also in Philadelphia.

He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in pediatrics.

▇ Nurse Practitioner Jackie Berglund has joined the Pain Medicine Department at the Essentia Health-32nd Avenue Clinic in Fargo, N.D.

Berglund will care for patients with a wide variety of concerns, from headaches and foot pain to severe back pain.

Berglund earned a master’s degree in nursing from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. She is certified as a family nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

▇ Dr. Christina Harmon, a hospitalist, has joined Essentia Health-Fargo in Fargo, N.D.

As part of the hospitalist team, Harmon will care for patients who are hospitalized due to illness or injury.

Harmon earned a medical degree from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Services in Grand Forks, N.D. She completed a residency in internal medicine at Sanford Health-MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, N.D.

▇ Nurse Practitioner Tamara Rakke has joined the Elder Care Department at the Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes Clinic in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Rakke earned a master’s degree in nursing from Walden University in Minneapolis. She is certified as an adult/gerontology nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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Ruit appointed associate dean at UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences

GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Kenneth G. Ruit, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, has been named associate dean for education and faculty affairs at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Ruit previously served as associate dean for educational administration and faculty affairs.

Among other responsibilities in his new role, Ruit will provide leadership, support and oversight in alignment with the school’s strategic plan; oversee academic personnel processes for all faculty, manage a school-wide effort to optimize faculty professional development opportunities; and act as a liaison between the school and other UND colleges, departments, programs and administrative units.

Ruit received his Ph.D. in cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy from Loyola University of Chicago in 1989. A faculty member at the SMHS since 1991, he teaches human anatomy and neuroscience.

First serving as assistant dean for academic and faculty affairs in 2008, Dr. Ruit assumed the role of associate dean for educational administration and faculty affairs in 2014.

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