2017 North Dakota


Cheryl Viola

Cheryl was a participant in our Student Support Services (SSS) program January 2010 – May 2013. Cheryl was an older than average student wanting to obtain her 4-year degree to better life for herself and children. At the time, Cheryl was struggling with multiple personal matters. She was able to persevere, dedicating time to her children and studies so she could obtain her Bachelor of University Studies Degree. While attending Dickinson State University (DSU), Cheryl participated in various clubs and organizations, and was inducted into the Omnicron-Psi Honor Society. Always having an eye for business, Cheryl went on to obtain her MBA from NorthCentral University. After working as the Event & Marketing Coordinator at the Dickinson, ND Area Chamber of Commerce, Cheryl became Executive Director of the Chamber in February 2016.

While working with TRiO, Cheryl was faithful about her ISPs, utilized early registration, tutoring, and academic planning. For Cheryl, knowing that she had someone in her corner who could relate to her struggles was encouraging and uplifting. Cheryl had a driving force within her for educational success, making the Dean’s and President’s lists multiple times. This internal force aided Cheryl in ups and downs, assisting in the achievement of her educational goals. That same internal force now guides her in a position to improve, unite and grow the city of Dickinson. Cheryl is a staple at community functions, representing both the City of Dickinson and DSU. She is constantly promoting DSU and TRiO SSS at events, sharing the positive impact we have in student lives.

Although this is a succinct description of Cheryl and her involvement with TRiO, she is a great ambassador for the TRiO program. Honoring Cheryl with this recognition would provide a positive light in this time of change for North Dakota, education and global politics.

The TRIO program was there to assist me as an older than average student. The program not only helped guide me through the right classes to take so I could accomplish my educational goals, they also acted as a mentor and answered any and all questions I ever had. During my meetings with staff I often had my toddler with me and they were wonderful with him as well.  One of the most valuable aspects of TRIO for me was the tutoring, especially during algebra class. Overall, the TRIO program added tremendous value to my DSU experience.