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Posts for 2012

Goats and WDT degrees

Lizby Mathews' life as a WDT student and missionary is like a crazy dream. She wakes up in the morning in Sentani, Papua, Indonesia, breathes in the warm humid air tinged with the smell of garden crops, wet earth, and sunshine. She hears the roar of traffic picking up on the main road in front of the house and the crazy motorcyclists who don't know the meaning of a speed limit. They drive like they are chasing death.

Lizby Mathews holding a goat Lizby Mathews is a WDT student and missionary who is earning her degree while living in Indonesia.

She goes outside and looks across the road at majestic mount Cyclops that towers 7,000 feet above the town of Sentani. Thousands of shades of green cover the hillside.

"It's a beautiful, wonderful place to live," Lizby said.

It turns out it's also a great place to pursue a Western Dakota Tech degree in Business Management and Marketing and apply the skills she learns in her classes.

"It helps to get ahead in coursework for when the power goes off and you can't get your work turned in," Lizby said, "though my dad did rig up an emergency power supply system that runs off my younger brother's RC airplane batteries."

Lizby has lived mostly in Indonesia ever since she was four years old, excluding about two and a half years she spent in the United States. While in the United States, she lived in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South Dakota. She attended Stevens High School in Rapid City for 11th grade and because of that, she feels more at home in Rapid City than anywhere besides Indonesia. She plans to move back to Rapid City in January and expects to live in the United States for at least two or three years.

Lizby completed high school in Indonesia at the Hillcrest International School, and after spending some time in the United States, she returned to Indonesia to attend seminary and work on mission projects. Lizby's mother is a medical doctor, and her father is a former mission pilot who now is working to start the first 100 percent Christian radio station on the island. Lizby's parents have been missionaries since 1991.

Lizby's most notable project involved taking charge of the goat project her family had run in the backyard for 15 years. She set goals to separate family and project finances, achieve financial stability for the project, import new breeding stock, move the herd to accommodate growth, and build relationships with local stores to sell goat and farm products.

She accomplished those goals and continues to run the goat project successfully. She gives credit, in part, to her WDT education.

"The courses I have taken have helped me to succeed in improving this goat project," she said. "I have learned skills to help market, sell, fund, and manage. I feel that the skills learned for business are applicable to any work I may do in the future. They are tools that I can use not just in America, but anywhere in the world."

Lizby's days are fairly free, and she sets aside four days a week to work on her WDT courses. She fits her mission projects around assignments and studying, and she takes each day and its challenges as they come. She doesn't know what the future holds because she's following a path of faith, but Lizby knows that faith, combined with everything she is learning in the mission and in her WDT courses, will prepare her for whatever awaits.

"The skills I'm learning are tools I hope will help me to relate to people, manage money and responsibilities well, and make attractive and accurate presentations," she said.

And she'll always keep those airplane batteries close by. Just in case.

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WDT opens the doors to Dakota Hall

Western Dakota Tech, the City of Rapid City, and Pennington County held a grand opening ceremony for the newly built Dakota Hall and County/City Public Library East on Friday, Nov. 30, at WDT.

"This expansion prepares WDT for an exciting future full of opportunity," WDT President Mark Wilson said. "The project will fuel future growth so WDT can play an even bigger role in making Rapid City and western South Dakota better places to live and work."

Dakota Hall includes lab space, bookstore, one-stop shop, administrative offices, and the County/City Public Library East at WDT.

The library makes this expansion unique. The shared WDT-community library brings together WDT, Rapid City, and Pennington County to serve the library needs of a diverse group of patrons in a 21st Century library that blends the traditional library of community space and resources with mobile access in the digital world.

The new branch provides more convenient access to library services to residents of the Rapid Valley area. It also serves as a fully functioning academic library for WDT students. The general public has full access to the library, and library card holders will be able to take advantage of all library services.

"The Rapid City Public Library continues to anticipate patron needs," said Greta Chapman, Library director. "Given the pace and direction of growth in the city and Pennington County, this new location helps ensure that we are providing access to library services to all members of our community."

The $12.5 million, 60,000-square-foot Dakota Hall project also includes:

  • New Campus Main Entrance: This new entrance will become a focal point for campus and will allow better campus access for the handicapped and others who need special assistance.

  • One-Stop Services Center: This area, located just inside the new main entrance, will serve as a hub for most services needed by the community and by new and current students.

  • New Lab Space: Students in Welding, Transportation Technology, and Electrical Trades will enjoy new lab space with updated equipment that matches what students will use in industry. These labs will help WDT better prepare our community's workforce.

  • Lecture Hall: The lecture hall will serve WDT's academic needs and will be available for community events, making WDT an even more vital community asset.

"WDT's mission is to train the workforce," Wilson said. "This project will help us do that and a whole lot more."

About WDT

WDT is the only technical institute that serves the western South Dakota region. WDT offers more than 20 programs in a variety of fields, including Business and Computers, Construction Trades, Health Services, Legal and Public Services, Manufacturing and Mechanical Trades, and Science and Technology. More than 94 percent of WDT's most recent graduates are either working or continuing their education, and more than 82 percent of those placed in careers are working in South Dakota.

WDT faculty, staff, and administration focus their efforts on helping students gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed. Through hands-on learning, internships, and industry partnerships, WDT students graduate ready to make a real and immediate contributions to their employers and communities.

For information about WDT, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to Visit WDT on the web at

About the Rapid City Public Library

The Rapid City Public Library has served the Rapid City area since 1879, and now has two locations, the downtown library at 610 Quincy Street and the north library within General Beadle Elementary School at 10 Van Buren St. Both offer print and electronic resources for adults, young adults and children as well as computers and Internet access and a variety of programs and events. In March 2008, USA Today named the Rapid City Public Library's downtown library as one of the nation's 10 greatest places to "Find a Nook and Read a Book."



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