Nick Bratvold

Nick Bratvold

Chapter Coordinator, Child Advocacy Centers of South Dakota
Sioux Falls, SD
History, 2016

"Get to know people with whom you disagree, who are unlike you and who see the world in ways that make you uncomfortable. We have our entire lives to accumulate knowledge, but we cannot possibly find humility and empathy soon enough. And for what we do not know, a good friend will always fill in the blanks."

Q&A with Nick:

Describe your current educational or professional pursuits.

In 2016 and 2017 respectively, I received a bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in educational administration. Since graduation in 2017, I have served as the chapter coordinator and statewide multidisciplinary team coordinator for the Child Advocacy Centers of South Dakota (CACSD). CACSD is responsible for coordinating investigative, healing and prosecutorial services around allegations of child maltreatment throughout South Dakota.

In my current role, I oversee financial and grant administration, membership services, growth and development, legislative advocacy, center training and technical assistance, and public relations. The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) model is used in all 50 states and more than 33 countries worldwide.

I am humbled and inspired by the progress we have made as an organization over the past year: from expanded services and training, to community education, partnership, and state and national legislative support. I do not believe my time with CACSD is through, although I am eager for the day when I am able to work towards a terminal degree, while continuing to explore the world.

How did your USD experience influence your career path?

USD taught me to understand my interests, but not to be overly narrow in my pursuits. For half of my undergraduate career, I wanted to be a history teacher, primarily because I thought history was cool. As the years went by, faculty, staff and students showed me how many other outlets there were for one’s passions. Turns out the world is a pretty big place - who knew?

I found mentors in the most unlikely of places at USD. Men and women of all ages and aspirations coached me through internships, leadership roles and, eventually, the position I currently hold. Today, because of them, I have a far lesser commitment to an arbitrary “will go” and a far greater appreciation for the “could go.” Now, if that path includes music, art or literature, I am sure I would not mind.

Tell us about your proudest achievement.

In 2016, Lambda Chi Alpha at USD celebrated its 100th birthday. Myself and two others were entrusted with planning festivities to commemorate the milestone, so we did and it was a blast.

Over the course of three spring days, between 400-500 alumni and their families returned to USD. Some of these individuals hadn’t visited their alma mater of fraternity brothers in decades. The smiles on their faces as they reconnected with an old roommate, mentor or partner-in-crime at Carey’s was better than anything we could have hoped for.

For a whole weekend, we watched as incredibly talented and prestigious brothers shared secrets, laughed, cried and gossiped like they were students again. Two years later, for those who are no longer with us, this was not only a celebration but a final goodbye. To have had even the smallest part in providing that nostalgic return home - I would be hard pressed to think of anything that has made me prouder.

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

USD became another home, not unlike the ones I spent my childhood in. Certain individuals - who became very special to me - believed in me and provided opportunities to travel the world, experience culture in real time, serve others and reflect upon each journey. I especially enjoyed my involvement with Lambda Chi Alpha, Interfraternity Council, Student Government Association, Graduate and Professional Student Association, and a number of other groups. For those of us who became burnt-out in the classroom, there was simply no greater escape than to positively impact yourself or the community.

Between convocation and commencement, I grew up or, at the very least, learned what it meant to grow up. My experience at USD was just that: a series of lessons on how to do good and how to do good, well.

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