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PRAIRIE PEOPLE: Week ending Oct. 13

Anesthesiologist joins Altru Health System

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – An anesthesiologist and an optometrist have joined the Altru Health System team.

  • Dr. Megan Christensen, an anesthesiologist, earned her medical degree from University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. She completed her anesthesiology residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb.
  • Dr. Erica Wiegandt, an optometrist, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and her doctorate of optometry at Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove, Ore.
  • Essentia Health welcomes nurse practitioner, optometrist

    FARGO, N.D. – A nurse practitioner and an optometrist have joined the Essentia Health team in the Fargo area.

    • Nurse Practitioner Marjie Masten has joined the Occupational Medicine Department at the Essentia Health-West Fargo Clinic in West Fargo, N.D.

      Masten has worked for Essentia Health as both a registered nurse and a clinical educator since 2001. She earned a doctorate degree in nursing from the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., and is a family nurse practitioner by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

    Essentia Health welcomes optometrist in Fargo

    • Dr. Erin Barrett, an optometrist, has joined the Eye Care Department at the Essentia Health 7 Day Clinics in Osgood and North Fargo, N.D.

      Barrett earned a degree in optometry from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.

    Summers Manufacturing announces leadership change

    DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – Summers Manufacturing announced that Deb Anderson will be transitioning to chairman of the board and retiring from her day to day activities as president. Ryan Gruhn, a longtime board member, has accepted the position of CEO and will take on the day-to-day leadership together with the Summers Manufacturing executive leadership team.

    Anderson’s retirement will mark the end of a more than 40-year career at the company her father, Harley Summers, founded in 1965.

    Anderson entered the president’s role at a time when the company became 100-percent employee owned and helped transition the family business to an employee owned business. 

    Gruhn started his career as a design engineer after graduating from Iowa State University. Over the years, he has played leadership roles in with Schafer Systems Inc., Owner Revolution Inc., Paragon International and Des Moines-Winterset Memorials.

    Summers Manufacturing designs and manufactures equipment for farmers to do seed bed preparation, chemical application, tillage and rock removal.

    Fargo South teacher named North Dakota Teacher of the Year

    BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum and state Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Leah Juelke, an English Language instructor at Fargo South High School, as the North Dakota Teacher of the Year for 2018.

    Juelke was chosen from a group of five finalists for the award, which Burgum and Baesler presented during a ceremony at Fargo South attended by Juelke’s students, educator colleagues, state legislators, and other well-wishers.

    Juelke has taught at South since 2013. She teaches students who do not speak English fluently, a group that includes immigrant students who are not native English speakers.

    Three years ago, Juelke began a writing project for her immigrant students, called “Journey to America.” Her goals were to help her students strengthen their ability to write English, and give their teachers and peers a better understanding of their backgrounds.

    The students wrote essays about growing up in refugee camps, hiding under beds while their villages burned, and having family members killed in wars. They wrote about what it was like to see snow and touch a computer for the first time.

    Anthologies of the Fargo students’ stories have been published, and the project led to a new book, published by a Minneapolis nonprofit called Green Card Voices, which produces collections of immigrants’ stories.

    – North Dakota Department of Public Instruction

    Otterson to lead fundraising for South Dakota State’s College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions

    BROOKINGS, S.D. – The South Dakota State University Foundation has named Lisa Otterson its new development director for the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions.

    She succeeds Mike Birgen, who was named the Foundation’s associate vice president for development in June after leading the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions' fundraising efforts for the past three years.

    Otterson has served as development director for university programs at the Foundation since 2014. She made the transition from teaching at South Dakota State University and colleges and universities in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa.

    Otterson earned an M.A. in modern European intellectual and cultural history at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, and a B.A. in history and philosophy at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

    Internist/oncologist joins Altru Cancer Center

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Dr. Ngozi Nwakamma-Okoro has joined the hematology and oncology team at Altru Cancer Center.

    Okoro earned her medical degree from the University of Maiduguri College of Medicine in Maiduguri, Nigeria. She completed her internal medicine residency and oncology fellowship at Howard University in Washington.

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