March 12, 2024

NSU Johnson Fine Arts Center

Women in science poster by Mikayla Browning

The 21st annual Women in Science conference will be held on the campus of Northern State University on March 12, 2024.  Women in Science brings over 300 junior and senior high school girls from the area together to explore their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics related careers.  Students from Frederick, Selby, Warner, Northwestern, Holgate, Britton, Simmons, Central, Huron, and Roncalli will spend the day with prominent women in science in various formats, including small group presentations, hands on activities, and a keynote speaker in the afternoon.


About WIS

Aberdeen’s Women in Science conference is a cooperative effort supported by state and local agencies, schools, and businesses. Since the event was implemented by the National Weather Service in 2002, Women in Science has provided a forum for young women to learn about the endless opportunities available in science-related career fields and to create personal connections with professional women scientists. 

Support Women in Science

Donations to Women in Science may be sent to the Northern State University Foundation, 620 15th Ave SE, Aberdeen S.D. 57401. Contributions to the NSU Foundation are deductible under federal and state law.


Contact WIS

For additional information, please contact Christina Heiberger at Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center at 605-626-1187 or Lisa Johnsen at the National Weather Service Office in Aberdeen at 605-225-0519.

Keynote Speaker


Amanda Cheeseman


SDSU assistant professor in wildlife/habitats/conservation management

More about Amanda Cheeseman



2024 Speakers


Dr. Susan Citrak - Assistant professor of chemistry and student research coordinator (NSU)

Jaclyn Iverson - Doctor of physical therapy (Sanford)

Annie Jacobson - Dietitian and manager of dietary services (Sanford)

Allie Hohn - Seed and technology specialist (Agtegra)

Brooke Edgar - Professional engineer (Helms & Associates)

Shauna Kjos-Miotke - Funeral director/owner/embalmer (Fiksdal Funeral Home)

McKenzie Hengel - Architect (Populous)


2024 Schedule

  • 8:30-9:00  Registration
  • 9:00-9:30  Welcome videos featuring state congressional delegation and Gov. Kristi Noem and introduction of guest speakers 
  • 9:30-9:35  Report to first session 
  • 9:35-11:45  Small groups -- four 25-minute sessions with 10-minute breaks between sessions
  • 11:45-12:50  Lunch break
  • 1:00-2:15  Keynote speaker 
  • 2:15-2:30  Post survey/awards  

Past Speakers


  • Audrey Sherman (keynote), division scientist, 3M
  • Kiera Ledy, attorney, Siegel, Barnett & Schutz LLP
  • Jeannie Hadler, manufacturing technology engineer, 3M
  • Ellen Walstad, manufacturing engineer, 3M 
  • Lauren Pearson, cardiac sonographer, Sanford Health
  • Jessica Dowler, wildlife biologist, Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Carly Wheeting, commodity marketing representative, Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC
  • Jamie Marie Harris, clinical medical physicist, CentraCare Health System
  • Breanne Mueller, MD, physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Sanford Health   



  • The 2022 conference was cancelled



  • The 2021 conference was cancelled



  • Emily Graslie (keynote), chief curiosity correspondent at The Field Museum in Chicago
  • April Schultz, PharmD, pharmacogenetics manager, Sanford Sioux Falls Imagenetics
  • Rachel Cantrell, CSW-PIP, integrative health therapist, Sanford Health
  • Dr. Erin Brownlee, assistant professor/ instructor of Math, Northern State University
  • Barb Hauge, operations manager, 3M
  • Whitney Vogel, central inspector, ND Meat and Poultry Inspection Program, ND Dept. of Ag
  • Stephanie Sanford, senior electrical engineer, Medtronic
  • Chelsie Bickel, quality manager, POET



  • Dr. Amy Hiuser (keynote) - "Stop the Bleed Training" Sanford surgeon
  • Ms. Madison Smith - Dental hygienist, Aberdeen Dental Associates
  • Ms. Holly Marshall-Heber - Agriculture owner/operator, M&H Land & Cattle
  • Ms. Jenn Gustafson - Occupational therapist
  • Ms. Sonia Lamont - Labor and delivery nurse, Sanford
  • Ms. Angela Williams - PA-C, Sanford
  • Ms. Laura Hubers - Wildlife biologist, US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Dr. Courtney Waid- Associate professor, sociology and criminal justice, NSU



  • ​The 2018 conference was cancelled



  • Keynote:  Stephanie Arne,  Host of Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom
  • Melissa Brown M.D., Sanford Aberdeen
  • Dr. Aleaha Fettig, DDS, Aberdeen Smiles
  • Tessa Howard and Martina Kittleson-Caviness, pilot/airplane mechanic
  • Britt Locken, respiratory therapist, Sanford Aberdeen
  • Marne Neiger, electrical engineer, Horsch LLC
  • Rebecca Rich, AuD, audiology
  • Ryanne Waage, PA, dermatology



  • Keynote: Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, Assistant Professor of IA and Forensics MS Information Assurance and Computer Security Program Coordinator Dakota State University, Madison, SD
  • Janne Jockheck Holt, NSU Lab Instructor/Manager, Room 201
  • Mandy/Tiffany Hofer, Funeral Directors, Luce, Luze & Rock Funeral Homes, Room 204
  • Jordan Voss-Severson Registered Nurse, Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center, Room 239
  • Nadine Gropp, 3M Plant Manager, 3M Aberdeen, SD, Room 241
  • Briana Mount, Sanford Lab, Underground Campus, Research Assistant Physics, BHSU, Room 244
  • Sue Lancaster, VP Corporate Development & Strategy, SD Innovation Partners Sioux Falls, SD, Room 245
  • Megan Piatz, Nuclear Medicine/Radiologic Technologist, Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center, Room 246



  • Keynote, Mikala Simon, DPT​, Physical Therapist, Sanford Clinic, Aberdeen
  • Anne Erdmann, Science Teacher, Eureka School District
  • Brooke Edga, Civil Engineer, Helms and Associates, Aberdeen
  • Dr. Angela Hase, OD, Optometrist, Aberdeen
  • Darcie Mennenga, CRNA, Nurse Anesthetist, Sanford Hospital, Aberdeen
  • Dr. Sarah Preszler, DVM, Veterinarian, Northern Plains Animal Health, Aberdeen
  • Megan Stever, Civil Engineer, SD Dept. of Transportation, Sioux Falls
  • Dr. Brittany Sutton, DC, Chiropractor, Aberdeen Chiropractic, Aberdeen



  • Nicole Walter, health and wellness/fitness, KSFY, Room 101
  • Megan Steever, road design engineer, South Dakota Department of Transportation, Room 102
  • Dr. Bongi Rudder, hematology/oncology, Sanford, Room 103A
  • Dawn Birkla-Mauk, lead flight nurse, Avera St. Luke€™'s Hospital, Room 103B€
  • Laura Carlson, quality seed manager, SGS North American, Room 105
  • Dr. Jessica Dickes, physician/women'€™s health, Avera St. Luke'€™s, Room 107
  • Candace Briscoe, chemist/skin care, Profiling Beauty, Room 134



  • Lisa Kopecky, Nutritionist, Sanford Health, Aberdeen
  • Christina Kopetsky, Speech Pathologist, Sanford Health, Aberdeen
  • Kimberly McGraw Clark, Program Advisor, Spink County Extension Office
  • Chelsea Pollreisz, Forensic Scientist, State Forensic Lab, Pierre
  • Heather Spect, Forensic Scientist, State Forensic Lab, Pierre
  • Darcy Swanson, Pharmacist, Sanford Health, Aberdeen
  • Carolyn Trautman, Geological Engineering, Aberdeen



  • Keynote speaker was Jill Gilardi, storm chaser/meteorologist from Omaha, Neb.
  • Terry Piatz, hematology/medical lab science, NSU;
  • Dana Althoff, horticulturist, Park View Nursery, Aberdeen;
  • Dr. Adela Casas-Melley, chief pediatric surgeon, Sanford Children's Specialty Clinic, Sioux Falls;
  • Laura Edwards, climate field specialist, SDSU Extension, Aberdeen;
  • Tammy Gottman, child life specialist, Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center;
  • Carrie Kindopp, child life specialist, Sanford Children's Hospital, Sioux Falls;
  • Dr. Carrie Orn, dentist, Orn & McDaniel Family Dentistry, Ellendale, N.D.;
  • Dawn Ottman, wind energy, CanDew Scientific, Lemmon.  



  • Keynote: Jill Gilardi, Meteorologist/Storm Chaser - Omaha, Nebraska
  • Carrie Orn, Dentist, Orn & McDaniel
  • Dawn Ottman,Inventor/Wind Energy, CanDew Scientific
  • Terry Piatz, Medical Lab Scientist, Northern State University
  • Dana Althoff,Horticulturist, Parkview Nursery
  • Laura Edwards,Climate Field Specialist, SDSU
  • Adela Casas-Melley, Pediatric Surgeon, Sanford Health
  • Carrie Kindopp and Tammy Gottman, Child Life Specialists,Sanford Health



  • Keynote: Jaimie Stricker - Zoo Educator, Bramble Park Zoo, Watertown SD
  • Kelly Erdmann - Dental Hygienist, Aberdeen Dental Associates
  • Shirley Gengerke Guthmiller - Pharmacist/Pharmaceutical Rep., Bayer Corp
  • Dr. Alyssa Kiesow - Assistant Professor of Biology, Northern State University
  • Buffy King - Architect, HKG Architects
  • Pam Liechti - Clinical Instructor, Radiology Technology Program at Presentation College
  • Peggy Norris - Nuclear Engineer, Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake / Black Hills State Univ.
  • Deirdra Peck - Computer Electronics Engineer, Shalom Christian School, previously at McDonnell Aircraft



  • Jaime Stricker, Zoo Educator, Bramble Park Zoo, Watertown, SD (Keynote Speaker)
  • Deb Davies, RN, MS, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Presentation College, Aberdeen
  • Erin Fouberg, Associate Professor of Geography, Northern State University, Aberdeen
  • Jan Palmer, Teacher, Central High School. Aberdeen
  • Jesse Ritka, Meteorologist, KDLT-TV, Sioux Falls
  • Dr. Shawna Schmidt, MD, Anesthesiologist, Aberdeen
  • Dr. Kristen Teigen, DDS, Aberdeen Dental Associates
  • Alecia Wood, Engineer, 3M Aberdeen