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Black Hills State University

Valeriah Big Eagle, student success advisor at Black Hills State University-Rapid City, was selected by Prairie Business Magazine as one of the top business professionals under the age of 40 in the Northern Plains.

The 40 Under 40 list includes inspiring and dedicated professionals from a wide range of industries who have made significant impacts on their chosen professions, industries, and communities.

At Black Hills State University-Rapid City, Big Eagle works directly with traditional-aged college students and students returning to college to pursue a new career, ensuring they have the support they need to graduate into successful careers.

Charles Knauer, student support specialist at Black Hills State University-Rapid City, says “Valeriah has helped students working through past academic problems, spending individual time developing academic success plans to help students learn more effective skills. Valeriah is also intent on collaborating with the community, helping students take advantage of such programs as Uplifting Parents and the Active Relationships program by Youth and Family Services.”

Big Eagle, Ihanktonwan Yankton Sioux, has built her career around creating opportunities for all people, with special emphasis on the American Indian population. Her past work includes youth development at the Boys and Girls Club of Moody County in Flandreau, child protective services coordinator with the Flandreu Santee Sioux Tribe, and family self-sufficiency coordinator/occupancy specialist at the Brookings Housing and Redevelopment Commission.

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Currently, Big Eagle is also a Prosperity Initiative Coach (a John T. Vucurevich Foundation initiative) striving to move families in Rapid City from poverty to prosperity. She also serves nationally as a Cohort 9 Native Nation Rebuilder. The program is a two-year, cohort-based leadership experience that empowers participants to develop the knowledge, skills, and connections they need to effectively lead nation-building efforts in their own communities.

Big Eagle and her husband, Eric, a Black Hills State University-Rapid City student, are Black Hills Habitat for Humanity volunteers and an exemplary Partner Family.

"Not only are these high achievers standouts in their work, but also they show exceptional devotion to their families and communities. The work-life balance they've achieved is impressive — and in my view, that makes their individual success stories all the more inspiring," says Tom Dennis, editor of Prairie Business Magazine.

Big Eagle and the selected 40 professionals are featured in the December issue of Prairie Business, which is available here. The feature begins on Page 24.

About Black Hills State University-Rapid City

Black Hills State University offers a master’s degree in business administration and applied management (MBA) and several bachelor’s degrees that can be completed at Black Hills State University-Rapid City. The bachelor’s degrees include business administration, corporate communications, elementary education, general studies, history, history education, human services, political science, psychology, social science teaching, and sociology. In addition, Black Hills State University-Rapid City offers several associate degrees and certificates that can be completed without leaving Rapid City.

Black Hills State University-Rapid City is located at 4300 Cheyenne Blvd. on the east side of Rapid City with easy access from I-90. The University is committed to serving veterans, has a large network of alumni living in the region, and has a business program in the top five percent of business schools worldwide.

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