Stephanie Bebensee has been selected as an outstanding undergraduate student advisor in the South Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences by receiving the 2020 Walt McCarty Award for Academic Advising.

Bebensee is a program coordinator in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. She has served as an academic advisor to more than 150 students majoring in agricultural and biosystems engineering, agricultural systems technology, and precision agriculture.

“Steph adds so much value to the student experience by helping support students as they work toward both academic and personal goals. She has played a critical role in connecting students with industry professionals and has helped make her department and the University a warm and welcoming place for students,” Vikram Mistry, CAFES interim associate dean for academic programs, said.

Bebensee has provided mentorship acting as an academic advisor to over 150 students majoring in agricultural and biosystems engineering, agricultural systems technology, and precision agriculture. Along with being an academic advisor, Bebensee is the program coordinator in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

Bebensee’s passion is evident to her colleagues as well as the university leaders, all praising her efforts and overall passion she has for her role within SDSU, many of them giving additional praise for her involvement with the students from the recruitment process, all the way until they graduate.

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“The college experience is a time of great change, personal growth and challenges in young peoples’ lives. Advisors play such a crucial role during this important time in the lives of students. Advising is so crucial in helping students navigate their path to a future yet to be discovered,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

The Walt McCarty Advising Award was established by David Anderson, a SDSU college of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences alumnus. Anderson created the award in honor of his former academic advisor, J. Walters McCarty who was a professor of Animal and Range Sciences at SDSU from 1948 to 1986.

Bebensee is honored to have been given the award.

“I feel honored to receive an award based on such a fantastic legacy. Advising is a passion and I feel lucky to have interacted with so many great students over the years. We have amazing students at SDSU who are going to make a tremendous impact on agriculture,” she said.