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USD School of Health Sciences Success Spotlight-Dawn Marie Johnson

Dec 20, 2021 07:00AM ● By Med Magazine

Dawn Marie Johnson

Degree: BSW 2012, MSW 2020

Current Position: Career Technical Education and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Sioux Falls School District

Dawn Marie Johnson originally chose to study at USD to be closer to her sick father in Vermillion. But what she found in the School of Health Sciences was an academic "home" that would carry her through not only her undergraduate degree in social work, but also her MSW eight years later. 

"It ended up being the perfect place for me, especially because they had native support services available including a mentorship program offered to first generation Native American students," says Dawn Marie. 

At USD, she encountered the first Native American women she had ever met in her education. After graduation, Dawn Marie stayed in touch with her advisers who encouraged her to to be a part of the Social Work Board and to eventually return to USD to further her studies.  

"These people already knew me and knew what I was about and what I was capable of," says Dawn Marie. "They encouraged me to apply and I ended up getting Advanced Standing." Advanced Standing meant she received credit for work in the field and enabled her to earn her MSW in just two years - all while working a full time job and raising her young daughter. 

Dawn Marie is a 2021 recipient of the Earl and Anna Broady Foundation Scholarship, an award connected to Running Strong for American Indian Youth, where she was selected as a Dreamstarter in 2020. In 2019, she was also selected as a USD "30 Under 30" and a Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders by the National Afterschool Association. 

Congratulations to this USD School of Health Sciences success story!

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