By Peter Carrels
Marie Gross was born and raised in the small town of Timber Lake, South Dakota, and her commitment to her hometown and to the Cheyenne River Reservation and the Sioux people who live on that reservation and other reservations is evident by her work and her history. Timber Lake is the county seat of Dewey County, and Dewey County is one of five South Dakota counties that is wholly situated on a Native American reservation. Nearly all of Dewey County lies within the Cheyenne River reservation, with a small, northern sliver of the county fitted into the Standing Rock reservation.
A 1996 graduate from Timber Lake High School, Gross – an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe – moved to Rapid City where she earned a degree in nursing at the University of South Dakota’s program there. She returned to the Cheyenne River reservation to work as a nurse for the tribe, and later continued her post-secondary studies, earning a bachelor’s degree in business from Presentation College.
Gross is now enrolled in the University of South Dakota’s public health program, and intends to complete her master’s degree – an M.P.H. – next spring. “I love the M.P.H. program,” said Gross. “It has me thinking about health issues more comprehensively. Plus, what I’m learning is directly applicable to the work I am already doing and to the goals I have set for myself.”
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