Mother, Wife, and BHSU Student Juggles Move to Wyoming While Continuing Studies

Victoria (Walton) Hovdenes, double major in history education and English education at Black Hills State University, recently relocated to Green River, Wyo. with her husband and infant son. During the transition, Hovdenes’ academic advisors and the university have been helping to accommodate her needs.

Hovdenes started her education at BHSU and discovered her passion for teaching.

“I decided to come to BHSU for a mixture of reasons. It was close to home, affordable, and BHSU offers customization of classes and the opportunity to work as a Student Technology Fellow,” Hovdenes says.

Over the summer, the Hovdenes family shared both good and bad news. They welcomed their first son in June, but the mine that Hovdenes’ husband worked at closed its doors. The closure of his job forced the family to relocate to Green River, about eight hours away from their life in Spearfish and the BHSU.

Moving away from the university has created unique challenges for the family. With the goal of continuing to pursue her career and education goals, Hovdenes has been working to transition all of her classes to online.

“Janette Hettick, a retention and recruitment specialist at BHSU, has been helping work with my professors during the switch so that I can take classes more online and complete work from home,” Hovdenes shares.

The faculty have been very accommodating and do their best to work around the travel barrier. Dr. Jason Daniels, academic advisor and assistant professor of history, says it was simply moving a lot of the content online and checking in, communicating, via email to help Hovdenes continue her course work.

“Victoria is committed to her work, despite the challenges associated with relocation during the semester,” Daniels says, “She is self-motivated and dedicated. I am impressed by her commitment and look forward to her upcoming participation in our 4th Annual Undergraduate History Conference on campus December 11.”

Hovdenes completed three weeks this semester of face-to-face classes before switching to online. “It can be intimidating to ask for help, but I recognize when it’s needed.”

Hard work and perseverance pays off. Even though the change has been troubling at times, everyone involved has been patient through the experience and hope to continue working on the next steps to get Hovdenes one step closer to her degrees and goal of becoming a teacher.

Tori, as Isaac and I know her, happens to be a big part of my life! 😊 She will be by my side as I walk down the aisle next fall to say, "I do," and she and her family have been great role models for me as well. On top of that, Tori has been one of my greatest and first friends in South Dakota. She also walked through and guided me along my journey to finding the Catholic Church.

This last May, she stood up at St. Joseph's with me sponsoring my confirmation into the faith and continues to show her strength and love for Christ. These photos are just some of the steps along their way as a family together. From pregnancy to the first week of baby Harrison. I look forward to sharing many memories with the family in the future!


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