The Make a Difference Scholarship is announcing its rebranding, which includes a full in-state tuition award, thanks to the efforts of Black Hills State University students Lexie Bendigo, Julia Blom, and Ezekiel Duvall. Last spring, the Make a Difference Scholarship was awarded to Bendigo, Blom, and Duvall, and the students have been working on rebranding and updating the scholarship throughout the summer and into the fall semester.  

The Make a Difference Initiative was established in 2012 by BHSU professor Dr. James Hess with the mission to assist students at Black Hills State University in their contribution to making a difference in the Northern Hills. In the past, recipients of this scholarship have conducted various projects including directing the establishment of book houses, creating murals at the Spearfish Rec Center, and implementing the Free Store on the BHSU campus that allows students access to free clothing, food, and school supplies.  

Bendigo, Blom, and Duvall have been working on updating the Make a Difference webpage and application, as well as adding a new bulletin board in the Jonas Skywalk. The bulletin board features informational posters about the initiative created by Bendigo and art pieces by Blom. Past recipients of the scholarship were awarded $3,500 towards their tuition. With the rebranding efforts by these students, Make a Difference scholarship recipients will now receive a full in-state tuition award and $2,500 to fund a project of their choice that gives back to the community. 

“After the loss of Dr. Hess, the Make a Difference Initiative Board recommitted itself to fulfilling his goals for his scholarship. As a man with an impressive philanthropic history, Dr. Hess was deeply committed to education and the opportunities it provides. He believed in giving people a hand up. He also felt strongly that those who received so much should give back. These values are reflected in the scholarship. Students receiving this scholarship are required to develop a project giving back to the community,” said Dr. Cheryl Anagnopoulos, Make a Difference Committee Member and professor of psychology at BHSU. 

To be eligible for the award, BHSU students must be at least a sophomore with declared major(s) in Exercise Science, Human Services, Psychology, Sociology, or Outdoor Education, with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA.  

For more information about the Make a Difference Scholarship, contact Dr. Cheryl Anagnopoulos at or visit the Make a Difference Webpage