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NDSU leadership program to begin fourth class

FARGO - Rural Leadership North Dakota's fourth class includes a physical therapist, gaming compliance officer, city auditors, volunteer coordinators, administrative assistants and economic development directors.

FARGO - Rural Leadership North Dakota's fourth class includes a physical therapist, gaming compliance officer, city auditors, volunteer coordinators, administrative assistants and economic development directors.

They are among 18 North Dakotans chosen for the North Dakota State University Extension Service leadership development program that starts this month. They will spend the next two years developing the skills to help them shape the future of their organization, community and state.

Class members will attend eight in-state workshops, a four-day seminar in Canada and a six-day seminar in Washington, D.C. They'll learn to think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, understand agricultural and rural policy, and find innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects. They also will create a network of contacts and resources they can tap into for ideas, answers and support.

To practice what they learn, participants will develop and implement a project to benefit their organization, community or region. Those proposed projects include starting a recycling program in Medora, developing the Goose River as a recreational corridor, organizing a Junior Achievement program in West Fargo schools, checking smoke alarm batteries for the elderly in the Bismarck area, increasing weather radar coverage for Bowman and Hettinger counties and preserving the Native American language at Fort Berthold.

The 2009-11 class members are Maureen Delzer, Ashley; Vivian Hall, Mandaree; April Haring, Oakes; Melissa Hennen, Hillsboro; Chet Hill, Williston; Teresa Huff, West Fargo; Jennifer Jordan, Langdon; Maeve MacSteves, Williston; Kevin McLean, West Fargo; Jennifer Ondracek, Medora; Christopher Schilken, Devils Lake; Kimberly Schuler, Langdon; Mary Siverson, Bismarck; Suzanne Sobolik, Dickinson; Medora Stevenson, Bowman; Deborah Tracy, Maddock; Ashley Ueckert, Sentinel Butte; and Jennifer Weisgerber, Tioga.

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They applied to participate in the program for a variety of reasons.

"I am excited to be able to take part in this opportunity, not only because of the knowledge I will gain but for the benefit for my community," Ueckert says.

Ondracek says the program will give her the opportunity to grow as a leader in her community.

"Devils Lake, the Lake Region area and the state of North Dakota will benefit from the tools and information that I will learn in this program," Schilken says.

For more information about RLND, visit its Web site at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/rlnd/; contact Marie Hvidsten, program director, at (701) 231-5640; or send an e-mail to ndsu.ruralleadership@ndsu.edu .

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