Anjelica Brackins

Anjelica Brackins

Commercial Lines Customer Service Representative, Western Dakota Insurors
Rapid City, SD
B.S. Media & Journalism - Strategic Communications, 2013

"Do not be afraid of surprising yourself. You may have come with a certain vision for your future and then you take a class or join an organization that takes you into a completely different direction. Have an open mind and trust your gut. Keep your head up, stay positive, and go after what you want in life. It’s important to have goals that align with what is right for you – not anyone else."

Q&A with Anjelica:

Describe your current educational or professional pursuits.

In the fall of 2017, I became a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Hardrocker, pursuing a master of science degree in engineering management. The program has already brought me unforgettable experiences, such as visiting a Halliburton frac site and getting the opportunity to interact with women who are excelling in male-dominated industries. In March 2018, I received my South Dakota Property and Casualty Insurance License and am currently working full-time as a commercial lines customer service representative at Western Dakota Insurors in Rapid City. I also take on IT responsibilities and even helped configure and implement a new agency management system in our office, as well as helped train our entire staff. On top of that, I also work part-time as a guide for the Black Hills Party Pedaler because I love people. Outside of work, I hold board positions with the Rapid City YMCA, where I'm the youngest member, and the Rapid City Young Professionals, where I'm currently the co-chair for the Membership/Professional Development Committee and secretary-treasurer for the Executive Committee.

I'm also an avid volunteer at many non-profits and events such as Feeding South Dakota, Future Business Leaders of America, Habitat for Humanity, Helpline 211, Kids Against Hunger, Kids Fair, Main Street Square’s Scare in the Square, Nature Conservancy, Rapid City Regional Health’s Jared Boxes, Rapid City Club for Boy’s Medieval Night, Storybook Island’s Night of Lights, Lions Club, YMCA Kids Carnival, and Youth and Family Services. I'm also a proud team member of Bunny’s Heroes, a group of volunteers that dress up as popular characters at many organizations and events to brighten the lives of families going through a loss, tragedy, or sickness. I dress up as the Disney character, Moana, at South Dakota’s Make-A-Wish Walk for Wishes and Storybook Island’s Once Upon A Festival. The past two years, I’ve been elected as a senior and junior division science/engineering judge for the High Plains Regional Science and Engineering Fair that takes place at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Campus.

My ultimate goal is to be a project manager of a tech-based organization. I’ve got a long way to go, but I will continue to develop myself professionally and personally to make sure I succeed!

How did your USD experience influence your career path?

My experience at USD was unique in the fact that I went into college with a deep desire to become a nurse. After fulfilling the pre-requisites, getting into the program, and going through a year of it, I realized it wasn’t for me. At first, I was frustrated because I couldn’t fathom the thought that I had wasted four years of college. Then I remembered when I first started at USD, I saw a posting to audition for the student-produced news broadcast on campus and was curious so I took a leap of faith. I landed a co-anchor position and stuck with the program every semester from then on out. It was something I had never done before and never thought I would ever get into. At that pivotal moment in college, it was the professors who empowered me to take that chance and kept me coming back to the news broadcast every year, even when the group was well outside my program path. Its professors and department heads who truly care and invest in their students that ultimately made USD exceed my expectations.

My USD experience taught me leadership skills that got me to the position that I am at today. Whenever it came to projects or group work in college, I was always the first to volunteer to lead or be the presenter. My professors were incredible – they gave me brilliant opportunities to showcase my creative ability and gave me a platform to lead others. I’m able to confidently lead others, speak up in board meetings, attend networking events, plus a million more things that I’m probably forgetting. I wouldn’t trade my experience at USD for anything in the world.

Tell us about your proudest achievement.

In 2014, I landed the position of development officer for The Journey Museum and Learning Center. Although my position focused on fundraising and memberships, I evolved the position to include web-editing, graphic design, public relations, marketing, and leading international familiarity tours (including being filmed for a Kazakhstan news broadcast). While at The Journey, I helped the executive director further build upon a new branding plan, helped facilitate important communication conversations with key museum and community members, designed our 20th anniversary Annual Report, assisted in analyzing the future business model for the museum that helped cut costs, increased their marketing reach utilizing digital and social media campaigns to enhance our positive image in the community, helped launch a brand new website, grew memberships by 93.5%, and was elected as the marketing speaker at the 2017 Association of South Dakota Museums Conference in Deadwood.

Then in September 2017, I was presented with the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce's Young Professional of the Year Award. I was absolutely honored to even be nominated, let alone receive the award among friends, colleagues, and other young professionals. I was then approached to be on the selection committee for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology president.

What was your USD experience like? Were you involved in any campus organizations or activities?

My years at USD were some of the best years of my life. From move-in day to graduation, I grew so much as a person that I even surprised myself. To be honest, I was hesitant at first about going to USD because I had my heart set on going to a college outside of South Dakota and wanted the experience of a Big 10 school by going to Nebraska-Lincoln. That was up until I did a USD campus visit with one of my friends. I absolutely fell in love with the atmosphere, the town, the people, the culture – everything.

While at USD, I was in both the chamber and symphony orchestras as violin section leader, held multiple roles for Coyote News including co-anchor, live segment reporter, commentary blogger, commentary video package personality, and web-editor, was the associate VP of public relations for Coyoteopoly, participated in a USD Pageant, was the media and sponsorship intern for the Sioux City Bandits indoor football team, volunteered for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, did South Dakota Public Broadcasting voice-over work, and even operated the parabolic microphone for the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s Football Championships. Academically, USD taught me great knowledge that made me feel comfortable coming into the workforce here in the Black Hills. On the social side of things, I met some incredible people who I am proud to call my best friends. I’m proud to be a Coyote and USD feels like home to me every time I go back or attend an alumni event.

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