Eye on KELOLAND: Ready for the next chapter


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s graduation season, and traditions are starting to come back after more than a year of the pandemic.

University of Sioux Falls students will get their diplomas this weekend.

Meagan Rasmussen knew as a young girl she belonged in the health care field.

“I started when I was, honestly, three. My grandpa was a doctor and I knew I wanted to care for patients the way that he did,” USF Senior Meagan Rasmussen said.

The Omaha native followed her calling.

This weekend, she’ll graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Sioux Falls.

The last year of college has been challenging to say the least.

“Lots of Zoom. I think I’m way more proficient on Zoom than anyone ever needs to be,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen credits professors with checking in on students.

The nursing major and her classmates also ramped up group texting.

“‘How are you doing? How are you feeling with things?'” Rasmussen said.

Despite Rasmussen’s passion for nursing, the pandemic caused her some uncertainty about her career plans last year.

“I really had to call on my mentors and my friends. I even talked to my director of the nursing program,” Rasmussen said.

USF senior Kiara Mattern is headed down a different path.

The Colorado Springs native will graduate with a double major in Accounting and Business Administration.

“Being able to serve people through their finances and helping them figure that out has really been a passion of mine,” USF Senior Kiara Mattern said.

Mattern also felt the impacts of going to school during the pandemic.

“I think like most students it’s been difficult trying to leverage the online learning environment, less interaction with people, and if they have a job or internship, remote. It’s been different, but I think we’ve all learned that in the midst of change, just different factors outside, that we still need to focus on what truly matters and still find that success,” Mattern said.

USF didn’t have in-person commencement ceremonies last spring because of the pandemic, but they’re back on this year.

“I’m thankful that we get that opportunity this year, so we can celebrate with family and friends,” Mattern said.

Both women already have jobs lined up after college.

Mattern will work as an auditor, and Rasmussen a pediatric nurse.

“I think now, especially as we’re graduating, I know last year the seniors didn’t get their graduation, it’s just another light at the end of the tunnel, being able to be with my cohort, it’s emotional. I didn’t know whether or not I would be able to celebrate this with my family or the amount family that I would get to have there, but it’s almost lit a fire,” Rasmussen said.

450 students are graduating from the University of Sioux Falls.

Three commencement ceremonies will be held on Sunday at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

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