The Bismarck State College (BSC) Enrichment Program offers evening classes for the community in everything from computers to fitness, jewelry-making, dance, cooking, reflexology and more. Classes run September through June.

The classes are based on the community’s needs said Program Manager, Karen Selensky. “(For instance) we have added some classes for baby boomers who are having to take care of their parents, with information on Alzheimer’s and dementia. People will find classes that can enhance their lives professionally as well as classes for fun and leisure. And, there is always something new in the catalog.”

The Enrichment Program also partners with professionals to offer classes at places like Northern Plains Dance and Yoga for You.

The program is always looking for new instructors from the community. Selensky said that if someone has a passion for something they should contact the Enrichment Program to see if there is an opportunity to begin teaching a class.

Inspired Woman talked with three of the instructors about their class offerings:

Barb Thorsen

Barb ThorsenThorsen owns Prairie Art Glass, and used to travel to art shows and art fairs, before she joined the Visual Art Department at BSC. She has been an instructor in the Enrichment Program for eight years. She teaches jewelry and stained glass classes, including, but not limited to, ‘Intro to Metalsmithing’, ‘Steampunk Jewelry’, “Cold Connections-Riveted Jewelry’ and ‘Enameling’.

The metalsmithing classes are some of her favorite. “There was nothing like it in Bismarck when I wanted to learn how to do it, so I am self-taught,” she explained. “I was determined to learn how, and that is another motivating factor with teaching these classes – I know how frustrating it was when there wasn’t anything available.”

Thorsen explained how she got started with the Enrichment Program: “I have a jewelry classroom at the college, which is unique and wonderful, and when I first started teaching the jewelry class for credit I had a lot of people tell me they wished they could take it but it was in the afternoon. So I started thinking, maybe I could pull some projects out of that class and offer them in the evenings. Since we are a community college, I felt like I really needed to include the community in on that. I’m sure I get 60 – 70 people through that room, in the evenings, every semester. That makes me feel really good because it gets people on campus to see what’s going on.”

She is very excited about the new building going up on the BSC campus which will house the Art and English Departments as well as the Library. Her new space will be much nicer than the one she has now in the basement at Werner Hall.

Loretta Benedict

DSC_0605Who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds, feel better and have fun at the same time? That all happens when you register for Loretta’s fitness classes through BSC Enrichment. Loretta has enjoyed the past five years meeting all kinds of people from our great community. They come for many reasons but what she enjoys the most is teaching the basics and seeing familiar faces return every fall, winter and spring session.

Loretta’s classes focus on a community of members who support each other to live better and enjoy more healthy lifestyles. Smaller classes give members the opportunity to encourage each other to succeed before, during and after workouts. Attendees range from a mothers and daughters, sisters, and friends who come to push each other.

Loretta currently offers three sessions for the community – ‘Zumba’, ‘Strong to the Core’ and ‘B.F.F.’ (Breathe Thru It, Fight for It, Finish Strong). ‘Zumba’ is a fun Latin dance exercise where members find out they do have rhythm and have fun burning calories. ‘Strong to the Core’ is focused on building strong core muscles for all fitness levels, and is a great way to improve minor back problems. ‘B.F.F.’ is a fairly new course that targets the glamour muscles: the booty, the arms and the abs. All levels of participants (male and female) are welcome.

Debbie Mantz

Debbie Mantz 1 - Copy (427x640)Mantz teaches the majority of the computer classes offered through the Enrichment Program.

One of the things she wants particiapnts to know is there are a lot of people who are not comfortable with computers, iPads and tablets. “I like to tell people they are not the only one,” she said. “They are going to be in a group of individuals who feel the exact same way.”

She has developed an introduction series for some of the courses and says that people should feel fairly comfortable when they are done. For instance, with iPads, the first class a person should take is ‘Thinking about an iPad?’, then ‘Getting More from your iPad’. After those she broke out specific topics like ‘Settings and Safari’ and ‘Email and Apps’. It makes it easy when people can take them in a sequence.

She encourages those that may be hesitating to just go for it. “A lot of older people get pressured by their families to get an iPad,” she said. “That way they don’t have to learn how to run a full computer and it really is an easy way to stay connected to family.”

She really enjoys teaching the classes and especially the knowledge she gains in each session. “I am such a big proponent of learning, because you don’t know what you don’t know,” said Mantz. “Every time I teach an iPad class I learn something new. People will come to the class and say, ‘well, I do this with it.’ You get sixteen people in a class and you are always going to learn from each other.”

For more information, to inquire about teaching and view the Enrichment Program catalog, visit