In 2016, Mark launched an ambitious plan to elevate NDSU’s Career Center to become one of the country’s strongest for integrating holistic career preparation into everyone’s NDSU education. One of his goals was, and is, to produce highly employable graduates–not only in the months following graduation, but for a lifetime. The Career Center is living out a ‘career everywhere’ model, bridging academic departments, staff departments, student groups, alumni, and employers in a unique way that charts new ground internationally in the university career services sector. Some of the innovative initiatives include: expanded team from 16 full-time professional and part-time student staff to 39, grew 2 career satellite locations to 6 satellites spread across campus, transformed central office to become more alive with the reception area run 100% by trained student career peers, now employ a large 30-student trained career peer and career peer advising team, developed rubric-driven advising tools, launched online career curriculum modules accessed by all students via any platform including cell phones, created a central office with a coffee shop feel with streaming music curated by the community that strives to catalyze career conversations in a more casual way than traditional career centers–including serving pour-over coffee during career conversations, ~8 career expos/fairs run annually–some of which attract 2,000+ students and 300+ employers, and run a robust co-op/internship program which monetarily incentivizes academic program partnerships.
Mark and his wife Jenny moved to Fargo from Los Angeles in July 2016 where he served as Director of Biola University’s Career Center. He has worked in managerial and teaching roles for the past 17 years in public and private universities in the US and overseas. Prior to working in higher education, he worked in business for 10 years in companies ranging from entrepreneurial startups to multi-billion dollar enterprises. Mark holds a Master of Arts from Biola University, a Master of Business Administration from Marylhurst University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Pacific Lutheran University. When not working, Mark engages in a variety of activities including exploring new places locally and internationally, walking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, espresso, hidden eateries, wild rock concerts, and reading ancient texts in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.
Brenda Vertin is the Business Coordinator at the NDSU Career Center. As a team member, she assists co-workers by coordinating finances, data, and backend operations for the office, allowing their focus to remain on students. Prior to working at the Career Center, she worked for the NDSU Extension Service for 12 years. Brenda holds a Bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead and a Microsoft Office Specialist certification.
Brenda and her husband Chad live in the Fargo area with their 3 children. They enjoy traveling, visiting family and friends, and spending time at the lakes in the summer.
Assistant Director of Career Coaching
Jerry South is the Assistant Director of Career Coaching. His mission is to help develop students into professional employees by engaging them from their first introduction to NDSU through graduation and beyond. Jerry oversees an extremely motivated and talented staff driven to help prepare every student for the evolution from a classroom to a ‘career everywhere’! He holds a Master of Science from DeVry University in Educational Technology, and a Bachelor of Arts from Chapman University, California in Social Science. Jerry recently moved to Fargo from the San Francisco Bay area where he served as Chief of Education & Training at Travis Air Force Base, CA. He retired from the Air Force in 2012 after 23 years of service. He has worked in educational roles for the past 14 years teaching military students and managing five college satellite campuses serving the educational needs of the military, their families, and retired veterans. Jerry and his wife Jennifer are trained financial coaches and enjoy teaching Financial Peace University classes through church and spending time with family.
Specialities and InterestsCollege of EngineeringGraduate SchoolExploratory Area STEM
Assistant Director of Employer Engagement
Smita Garg works with a resourceful, talented and hard-working team in engaging with internal and external stakeholders to prepare NDSU students for maximum employability. She understands the value of building relationships and is passionate about creating opportunities and connections to fulfill the Center’s ‘career everywhere’ vision, locally and globally.
Smita holds an MBA in International Marketing from Temple University, Philadelphia, and her career has ranged from being a ‘domestic engineer’ to working in the manufacturing sector, language service business, market research industry, immigrant serving agencies, and various aspects of the career services field at a direct service, project and policy level. In her most recent role with government, her primary accomplishment was the development and implementation of an Immigration Action Plan for the City of Saskatoon.
Multi-lingual, with an interest in culture, travel, and unity in diversity, she has lived in six countries over four continents. She recently moved to Fargo with her husband Adi. Their three daughters, Aditi (Chris), Avni and Aneri who live in Canada are her inspiration. Whether you are a student, an alum, a faculty member, or an employer, she encourages you to explore this website and invites you to visit her at 306 Ceres Hall – she looks forward to connecting with you!
Assistant Director, Internship Program
As the Assistant Director of the Internship Program, Alli oversees all aspects of the Career Center’s Internship Program. In this role, Alli works collaboratively with key stakeholders, including staff, faculty, employers, and alumni to ensure high quality internship opportunities and experiences are available for all students. She also works to increase the prominence of the internship program on campus and beyond, adding to the Career Center’s vision of a “career-everywhere” model. Alli holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Concordia College in Moorhead and is pursuing a master’s degree in Counseling and Student Affairs at MSUM. Prior to coming to NDSU, Alli spent four years as a high school English teacher and also served as a Graduate Assistant in the Career Development Center at MSUM. In her spare time, you can find Alli on the golf course with her husband, Brock, or spending time with their rescue pup, Stella.