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.
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!
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.
Senior Career Coach
As a Senior Career Coach, Olivia works diligently to provide guidance, tools, and resources to students, faculty, and staff in order to assist students and alumni in their career endeavors. Olivia happily oversees the Career Mentor Program in the Career Center where she is dedicated to training student mentors in assisting their peers on campus. Olivia received her bachelor’s degree in Management Communication from NDSU where she spent much of her time rooting on the Bison as a member of the Gold Star Marching Band. While working towards her undergrad degree she started her journey at the NDSU Career Center as a Career Peer and after working for a year became an Intern in the office. Upon her graduation, Olivia found a permanent home in the Center as a Career Coach where she happily gets to support the bison and assist students in reaching their career goals. Before working with the NDSU Career Center Olivia spent time as a Guest Service Associate with Target where solving problems was the name of the game. In her spare time you’ll find Olivia, experimenting in the kitchen, planning her next adventure abroad, attending her brother’s baseball games, and drinking coffee while catching up with friends.
Specialities and InterestsCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social SciencesCollege of Human Development and EducationCollege of Science and MathematicsExploratory Area Liberal Arts, Communication, & DesignExploratory Area Social Science, Human Services & Education
Senior Career Coach
As a Senior Career Coach, Amanda assists students in planning for their futures. She is enthusiastic about meeting with students to help them identify their strengths, inventory their talents, brainstorm different options to a fulfilling career path, and to help them realize their full potential! Amanda partners with many faculty and staff throughout campus to assist in implementing the “career-everywhere” model and to ensure that students are able to get connected to Career Center services. Amanda has a bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Sciences from NDSU and a bachelor’s of Social Work from Minot State University. Her passion has always been helping others, previous to her role at NDSU she worked with nonprofits in the community as a Self-Sufficiency Advocate and a Job Counselor. When not working with students or collaborating with her team at the Career Center, Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, going for walks, biking, kayaking, gardening, and visiting her family on the farm.
Amanda is Strong Interest Inventory Certified. Stop by to see Amanda and learn more about the Strong and how outcomes can assist with career exploration.
Specialities and InterestsCollege of BusinessCollege of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources
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.
Internship Program Specialist
Emmanuel is the Internship Program Specialist at the NDSU Career Center. In his role, Emmanuel works with the systems aspect of the Internship Program. Emmanuel also reviews internship postings on CAREERlink to ensure the most meaningful experiences are available to students in order to enhance their learning beyond the classroom. Meeting with students and assisting them meet their career goals through internships is one of the most rewarding aspects of his role. Emmanuel holds a BBA degree in Human Resources Management and Management Information Systems from the University of North Dakota and is pursuing an MBA degree at NDSU. Emmanuel is fascinated about cultures and languages so, he enjoys international travel and interacting with people from different socio-cultural backgrounds. Emmanuel also enjoys playing soccer, volleyball, table tennis and lawn tennis.
As a Graduate Assistant, Emma meets with students to help them register their internships for academic credit. She also works with students on resume development and assists with mock interviews. Hearing about exciting internship experiences from students she meets and working on a variety of projects are two things she really enjoys about her job. Emma earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Winona State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in counselor education at NDSU. Prior to working at the Career Center, Emma served as an Office Assistant for the Geoscience and Physics departments at Winona State. Outside of the office, Emma enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring national parks, and kayaking or sailing on Minnesota’s 10,000+ lakes.
As a Graduate Assistant, Andrew advises students on resumes, cover letters, and job interviewing. Being able to interact with individual students, both one on one and in classroom settings, and seeing their development during each appointment are two things he really enjoys about his job. Andrew earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and human services with a concentration in criminal justice from Valley City State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in counselor education. Outside of the Career Center, Andrew enjoys watching different sporting events, spending time with family and friends, and watching movies with a big bowl of popcorn.
Satellite Office Hours:
Center for Writers (lower Library)
Wednesdays: 10 am – 12 pm
Thursdays: 10 am – 11:30 am
Available for appointments & walk-ins