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2019 Award Winners


Barry H. Dunn, Ph.D., President

Greetings of Gratitude on Behalf of the SDSU Student Body

Corey Berscheit, Student Association Senator, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

David Fee Memorial Lecture

Rebecca A. Kuehl, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, School of Communication and Journalism

Dr. Rebecca A. Kuehl is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies & Theatre. Her scholarship focuses on intersections among rhetorical citizenship and public deliberation, civic rhetoric and education, and women’s health discourses. Her scholarship has been funded by a Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation, the charitable arm of 3M. Her scholarship has appeared in edited volumes such as Rhetoric: Concord and Controversy and Contemporary Rhetorical Citizenship and has also appeared in the Southern Communication Journal, Communication Quarterly, Communication Design Quarterly, and the Journal of Human Lactation.

Awarded by Barry H. Dunn, Ph.D., President

Dr. David Fee was a professor of philosophy and religion at SDSU from 1964-1987. He was known to live “the life of the mind” and was an advocate for cross-disciplinary learning, inquiry and collegiality.

Excellence in Online Education Awards

April Myrick, M.S., Lecturer, English

Ms. Myrick has earned high praise year-after-year from the English Department for her use of technology to help deliver effective learning outcomes in her online courses. One of the best demonstrations of April’s dedication is her development of discipline specific Technical Communication courses to meet learning outcomes established in conjunction with the disciplines they serve. Currently she teaches ENGL 277-Technical Writing for Engineers and ENGL 379 for Biology majors. Her students appreciate and enjoy the opportunity they have in these courses to complete research in, and write documents for, their major field. Because of this, students internalize more of the course information, understand how it applies to their future careers, and can effectively apply it to other courses in their major. April researched and wrote a white paper titled “Creating a Social Presence in Online Courses” while working to obtain her Master Level Online Teaching Certificate. Since then she has implemented various creative technologies in her online courses, helping to establish genuine human connection with her students. Many of April’s students have praised the level of detail and organization present in the course set-up and assignments, as well as the genuinely helpful feedback provided on assignments in her courses.

Awarded by Lindsey Hamlin, MBA, Director, Continuing and Distance Education

Online Program: Masters of Science in Chemistry Education

Accepting this award on behalf of the program is Dr. Lyle Olson, Interim Department Head and professor of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Accepting this award on behalf of the program is Dr. Doug Raynie, Department Head and associate professor of Chemistry.

The online M.S. Chemistry – Chemical Education Specialization degree was designed specifically for high school teachers. Given that teachers are only able to travel to campus during summers and are not willing to give up entire summers for their career development, the concept of on-line coursework following the AP curriculum, supplemented with additional coursework and research activities during two two-week summer periods, was developed. Though initially designed to help teachers obtain “highly qualified status” under No Child Left Behind, an unintended consequence is that program graduates are also prepared to teach in their local community colleges. That this program has rapidly reached it full capacity, from students across the country, is evidence that meaningful student access has been achieved. In addition to the coursework in chemistry knowledge and pedagogy, one feature of the program is that students participate in the research laboratory of a chemistry faculty mentor alongside Ph.D. students. This increases teacher-knowledge of cutting-edge chemistry skills and allows them to take a novel view of the chemistry profession to their classrooms. Thus, they interact with a variety of students and faculty; additionally, the on-campus portion allows the teachers to interact in a face-to-face manner with others in their cohort that they’ve only met electronically. These peer relationships build a network of chemistry educators that are invaluable to their teaching practice.

Awarded by Lindsey Hamlin, MBA, Director, Continuing and Distance Education

Faculty Awards for Global Engagement

Anne Fennell, Ph.D., Professor, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science

Since Dr. Fennell started her position at SDSU in 2002, she has been dedicated to developing international collaborations to expand the reputation of SDSU in the worldwide agricultural research community. She is an internationally recognized expert on the genetic and physiological aspects of grapevine bud dormancy. Anne has traveled to many countries to present her research findings. Without the development of climate adaptive cultivars, grapevine and other perennial crop producers will face significant yield losses. Her international collaboration has been greatly appreciated among her peers, and as a result, she is recognized as a top leading international scientist for research on bud dormancy mechanisms and on non-Vinifera grapevine species. Her research is an invaluable tool for facing the future’s challenges in grapevine breeding programs.

In addition, Dr. Fennell has played an integral role in developing VitisNET which has resulted in the creation of a system biology tool to rapidly analyze large data sets of gene products. She has been an excellent and successful researcher highlighted by several awards, millions of dollars in federal grant funding, and more than 50 impactful publications.

Srinivas Janaswamy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dairy and Food Science

Dr. Janaswamy has established an impactful research program on functional biopolymers, specifically in the design and development of novel carriers of bioactive compounds. Dr. Janaswamy is also well known throughout the international scientific community due to his research collaboration focusing on potato, sweet potato, and other root and tubers crops in Africa, Latin America and South Asia. Focused on healthier diets his research uses orange fleshed sweet potatoes to combat Vitamin A deficiencies. An outcome of Dr. Janaswamy’s collaboration with the International Potato Center in Africa, was the realization about reduced starch digestion of consumed sweet potato breads. This significant scientific outcome positively impacts those individuals with glycemic issues. This collaboration is ongoing in order to expand research on sweet potato products that could address both Vitamin A deficiencies and diabetic concerns.

Also of note, Dr. Janaswamy is also teaming with several Chinese Universities and developing strong research collaborations through the China Scholarship Council sponsorship. These well-coordinated activities will further Dr. Janaswamy’s research in fostering novel contributions to the field of Food Science and, in-turn, be valuable to SDSU as well as to his collaborators. He has also developed several collaborations with universities in Kenya and India.

Dr. Janaswamy’s outstanding contributions to the international research community make him worthy of receiving the Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Research.

Awarded by Greg Wymer,Interim Associate Vice President for International Affairs

South Dakota State University Commercialization Award

Qiquan Qiao, Ph.D., Professor, Electrical Engineering

Dr. Qiquan Qiao is Harold C. Hohbach Professor and graduate coordinator in Electrical Engineering at South Dakota State University (SDSU). Current research focuses on polymer photovoltaics, dye-sensitized solar cells, perovskite solar cells, lithium ion batteries, biosensors and agriculture sensors. He has published more than 100 peer reviewed papers in leading journals including Energy and Environmental Science, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Advanced Materials, Advanced Energy Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Nanoscale, and Nano Energy. He has received 2016 Faculty Excellence for Global Engagement in International Research, 2015 Distinguished Researcher Award from SDSU, 2014 F O Butler Award for Excellence in Research at SDSU, 2010 US NSF CAREER, and 2009 Bergmann Memorial Award from the US-Israel Bi-national Science Foundation.

Awarded by Bill Gibbons, Ph.D., Interim Assistant Vice President, Technology Transfer

Timothy J. Nichols Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Student Advising

Sharon Vestal, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mathematics

Dr. Sharon Vestal is Associate Professor of Mathematics & Statistics. Her academic responsibilities include Undergraduate mathematics courses, ranging from Calc I to Mathematics Education Capstone, with her specialty area in Mathematics Education. Dr. Vestal is a part of multiple professional memberships, to include: Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics, SDSU Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and Mathematical Association of America. Dr. Vestal received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, M.A. and B.A. from the University of South Dakota.

Awarded by Dennis Hedge, Pharm.D., Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award

Michael Hildreth, Ph.D., Professor, Biology and Microbiology

This year’s recipient is Dr. Michael Hildreth has taught over 500 students in a graduate-level microimaging methods course in the Department of Biology/Microbiology at South Dakota State University.  He has also served hundreds of graduate students as coordinator to the Functional Genomics Core Facility.  He has mentored 17 of his own PhD and MS students on research projects ranging from mosquito transmission of West Nile Virus to humans to monitoring anthelmintic resistance in cattle, sheep and bison.  Awarded by Kinchel Doerner, Ph.D., Dean, Graduate School

Edward Patrick Hogan Awards for Teaching Excellence

Joshua Westwick, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Communication Studies

Dr. Westwick’s research efforts have focused on assessment within the basic communication course which is designed to strengthen courses and the experience of students at South Dakota State University. Outstanding Service Award, National Communication Association Basic Course Division, Top Three Paper in the Basic Course Division, National Communication Association Annual Conference, Douglas M. Trank Award for Top Paper in the in Basic Course Division, Central States Communication Association Annual Conference and Melissa Beall Top Panel Award in the Basic Course Division, Central States Communication Association Annual Conference are just a few of the awards and honors Dr. Westwick has received over the years. He is also holds a professional membership with Speech Communication Association of South Dakota, Central States Communication Association, National Communication Association and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Awarded by Dennis Hedge, Pharm.D., Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Hogan served many different roles during his 36-year career at SDSU including professor and head of the Department of Geography, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, assistant vice president for academic affairs and chief information technology officer

Featured Faculty Performance

Fantasie sur un Theme Originale –Jules Demersseman

Yi Chen, D.M.A., Saxophone, Instructor of Music

Xuan Kuang, Piano

Distinguished Professor

David Clay, Ph.D., Professor, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science 

Dr. Clay is the Director of the South Dakota Drought Tolerance Center, Professor of Plant Sciences, and Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy. Currently he is serving as Senior Editor for the Agronomy Journal and associate editors for the Journal of Plant Nutrition, International Journal of Agriculture and Precision Agriculture. He was the Editor for several books that include South Dakota Best Management Manual (SDSU), Site-Specific Farming Guidelines manual, GIS Applications in Agriculture, Soil Science: A Step-by-Step Field Analysis, and GIS Applications in Agronomy: Nutrient Management for Improved Energy Efficiency. He is also an author of the new book, “Mathematics and Science for Improved Agronomic Decisions” that is being published by the International Plant Nutrition Institute. He has also published over 140 refereed papers.

Awarded by Barry H. Dunn, Ph.D., President

Dr. Sherwood and Elizabeth Berg Young Faculty Award

Staci Born, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Counseling and Human Development

Dr. Staci Born began her career at South Dakota State University in August of 2016 as an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development. In a very short time, Dr. Born has established herself as an expert in two areas of research - childhood mental health/play therapy and women’s mental health. Dr. Born has developed a 28-day intervention to serve as a foundation for a smartphone application which targets the enhancement of infertility self-efficacy, as this construct has been shown to moderate infertility-related stress and improve fertility quality-of-life. And Dr. Born’s work in early childhood mental health and play therapy has resulted in a 2.2-million-dollar Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration Grant. As Co-principal investigator, Dr. Born will translate evidence-based child-centered play therapy to young, rural South Dakota children enrolled in Head Start. In addition to her scholarly work, Dr. Born is a highly effective instructor in the Counseling and Human Resource Development program.

Awarded by Daniel Scholl, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Economic Development 

Dr. Berg was president of SDSU from 1975-1984 and was the first SDSU graduate to serve in this role. He served in World War II and was a U.S. Agricultural Attaché. Mrs. Berg, First Lady Emeritus, was awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Public Service for her volunteer leadership and service.

Dr. Harold and Barbara Bailey Award for Excellence in Academic Department Leadership

Joe Cassady, Ph.D., Department Head/Professor, Animal Science

Dr. Cassady is Professor and Head of the Department of Animal Science at South Dakota State University. He was raised on a diversified family farm in southern Iowa, earned a BS in Animal Science from Iowa State University, and earned MS and Ph.D. degrees in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska. Upon completing his Ph.D., Dr. Cassady worked as a research associate with the USDA ARS US Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, NE. He spent 12 years on the faculty of the Department of Animal Science at North Carolina State University earning the rank of Professor. He is a past-president of the National Swine Improvement Federation Board of Directors, and he served in a volunteer role as the Executive Director of the Beef Improvement Federation from 2009 to 2015. Dr. Cassady’s research focused on food animal genetics and genomics with special emphasis on the improvement of efficiency of production as it relates to pigs and beef cattle. Dr. Cassady, his wife, Dr. Beverly Shelbourn, DVM, and their two sons, Joseph and Cody, live in Brookings County, SD.

Awarded by Dennis Hedge, Pharm.D., Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Bailey served SDSU as vice president for academic affairs for 24 years. From 1979-1985, he also directed programs to develop departmental leadership for the South Dakota and North Dakota Boards of Regents and the American Council on Education.

F.O. Butler Awards for Excellence in Research, Teaching, and Service

F.O. Butler Award for Excellence in Research

Hemachand Tummala, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pharmacy

Dr. Tummala’s research is high quality application-based research, which has been transferred for commercial activities. Dr. Tummala has developed innovative drug and vaccine delivery technologies. Two of the platform technologies developed at his laboratory have been licensed to start-up companies. He developed a pathogen-mimicking vaccine delivery system (PMVDS) that has a major application in delivering vaccines for cancer and infectious diseases. He is continuing his endeavors towards cancer immune therapy using PMVDS technology. In the last five years Dr. Tummala has led to six paten publications with one approved and five pending. He has also published a total of 15 manuscripts, seven of which he was a co-author. Dr. Tummala has received more than $520,000 as principle investigator to support his research. Dr. Tummala has also received student elected Teacher of the Year 2014 and has consistently demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and service.

F.O. Butler Award for Excellence in Teaching

Radhey Kaushik, Ph.D., Professor, Biology and Microbiology

Dr. Kaushik is a key member of the team that helped 51 graduates of AY18 be accepted into professional healthcare programs. He has been equally active in mentoring graduate students to become competitive science professionals and has impacted many M.S. and Ph.D. students across life science departments. Dr. Kaushik is highly committed to facilitating student learning and is a true university professor as he teaches, mentors and molds the full spectrum, from undergraduate students through M.S. and Ph.D. students to post-docs. Everyone that spends time with Dr. Kaushik grows under his guidance. Dr. Kaushik is one of those rare mentors who has the knack of getting students to believe that their hard work is rewarding, and he pairs that with compassion and encouragement.

F.O. Butler Award for Service in Extension/Outreach

Bob Thaler, Ph.D., Professor/Extension Specialist-Animal Science

Dr. Thaler’s Extension expertise and leadership in pig production is recognized locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Thaler received the 2015 Governor’s Ag Ambassador Award from former Governor Dennis Daugaard. Dr. Thaler has also led the development of the newest and arguably best Swine Education and Research Facility in the country. His efforts and reputation in the pig industry enabled SDSU to acquire the necessary funds from individuals, organizations, and industry allies in not only South Dakota, but also Minnesota and Iowa.  He continues to be involved in research, teaching, and Extension activities at the facility. Dr. Thaler serves as a mentor to junior faculty, especially those with Extension appointments. He helps guide them in finding effective methods and topics for Extension programming and applied research.

F.O. Butler Award for Excellence in Service

Lora Berg, Director of Communications, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Lora serves as an advisor for the Agriculture Communicators for Tomorrow Club, Little International Committee, and Sigma Alpha professional sorority. Through these mentorship positions, Ms. Berg has had the opportunity to touch the lives of more than 230 students on a regular basis. She has also received the honor of Agribusiness Woman of the Year from the Ceres fraternity in 2015. She has the unique ability to relate to all ages and demographics. In her current position, here at SDSU, Lora has utilized her communications and photography skills to professionally distribute information related to the University and is particularly effective in agriculture related issues. Ms. Berg’s ever-present smile and positive attitude radiates her pride of South Dakota State University and her role.

Awarded by Barry H. Dunn, Ph.D., President

Presentation of Outstanding Researchers, Scholars, Performers and Artists

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Outstanding Researcher

Sharon Clay, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science

Dr. Clay is a Professor of Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science, with a specialization in weed science. She is a high impact scholar with an H-index score of 27 and over 130 refereed publications. She was awarded Weed Science Best Paper of the Year in 2007, 2012 and 2013. She has secured over $10 million as a PI and close to $50 million as a co-PI.

She is the first woman president of the American Society of Agronomy. She has also contributed to learning on a national scale through authorship of six books and more than 30 book chapters. The text book, Precision Farming – A Global Perspective, for example, is the leading class reference on precision agriculture today, and includes a chapter co-authored by Dr. Clay and colleagues from SDSU. Another book, Mathematics and Calculations for Agronomists and Soil Scientists, for which she is a primary author, is widely used in classrooms throughout the globe and is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. And although she does not hold a formal appointment with SDSU Extension, Dr. Clay has long influenced Extension programs through applied research and working with SDSU Extension colleagues to disseminate information. She was also a co-author and contributor for the book, Best Management Practices for Corn Production in South Dakota, which was designated a publication of excellence by the American Society of Agronomy.

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Outstanding Scholar

Charles MacBride, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Architecture

Professor Charles MacBride led the team that designed the Brookings Passive House, a residential construction project that showcases principles of passive house design, maximizing energy efficiency and sustainability. Sponsored by a grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the passive house has spurred collaborative research efforts across the university, including the Department of Architecture, the School of Design, and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. This project has brought national attention to SDSU, having been presented at national conferences during the past three years. The October 2018 ribbon-cutting featured Governor Dennis Daugaard, who advocated for the project at the state level.

Planning is already underway for a second house to be built adjacent to the first. Professor MacBride’s work addresses a vital need for the Brookings community, the state of South Dakota, and the nation, as he advances the Department of Architecture’s mission to combine research with locally-relevant practice.

College of Education and Human Sciences Outstanding Researcher

Staci Born, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Counseling & Human Development

Dr. Born is a licensed marriage and family therapist, play therapist supervisor, and assistant professor at SDSU. She completed her doctorate in Counselor Education & Supervision at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Prior to entering academia, she was in clinical practice working with children, families and adults. Here, she provided treatment for a diverse range of clinical presentations, emphasized by survivors of trauma and abuse, early childhood mental health, and support for women experiencing infertility. Dr. Born is an Adverse Childhood Experiences fellow for the state of South Dakota, providing information and training on the impact of trauma on sequential brain development to community members and professionals. Additionally, in 2018, Drs. Born and Carotta were awarded a 5-year $2.2M grant to improve early childhood mental health across South Dakota. They will be working in partnership with Southeastern Behavioral Health in Sioux Falls as well as Inter-Lakes Head Start.

Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering Outstanding Researcher

Reinaldo Tonkoski, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering

Dr. Tonkoski is an expert in power electronics and control. His research is applied in energy system for remote communities, data centers and the US power grid and addresses how integrate renewable energy systems and batteries into these systems while ensuring power quality and reliability.

Dr. Tonkoski established a strong multidisciplinary research group who collaborates with scientists and engineers from local and national industry like Missouri River Energy Services, Raven, Microsoft, OPAL-RT; and national laboratories like Sandia National Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop energy efficient systems and technology to maximize the use of renewable energy sources and improve power quality and reliability of the electricity grid. He has been a Principal Investigator on projects funded by NSF, Microsoft, and other regional and national entities. In 2014, he received the prestigious Microsoft Software Engineering Innovation Foundation award.

He has authored more than 80 publications and is currently an Associate Editor of IEEE Access and member of the Editorial Board of the IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy. He was a peer reviewer for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability Energy Storage Program from 2016-2018 and for NSF since 2015.

was a peer reviewer for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability Energy Storage Program from 2016-2018 and for NSF since 2015.

College of Natural Sciences Outstanding Scholar

Feng Li, Ph.D., Professor, Biology and Microbiology

Dr. Feng is known internationally for discovery and unraveling of the Influenza D virus. His scientific counsel is sought nationally and internationally, and he serves on at least three NIH NIAID panels every year and is invited to present seminars and workshops globally. As a global science leader, he collaborates widely and invests prolifically in the next generation, having graduated 10 Ph.D. and 4 M.S. students at SDSU.

Feng Li has held many grants from the National Institutes of Health, starting with a K02 five-year NIH Independent Scientist Award covering 75% of his salary. This was followed by an R21 for Influenza C, an R21 for Zika virus, and recently an R01 for $ 2.6 million to work on Influenza D, in addition to smaller grants from local and regional sources. He has also received sub-awards as co-investigator of NIH, NSF and USDA – funded grants.

The work of his group at SDSU has been communicated as 57 primary papers in international journals, supplemented by many invited seminars and conference presentations given by him and his many research mentees. He published 9 papers in 2018. We look forward to his continued leadership in the field of influenza virus research.

College of Nursing Outstanding Scholar

Mary Minton, Ph.D., Assistant Dean/Associate Professor, Graduate Nursing

Dr. Minton joined South Dakota State University (SDSU) in 2007. Since her initial appointment, she has developed a clear pattern of dissemination of study results at conferences followed by publication in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Minton has actively disseminated her research by publishing or presenting in over 50 peer reviewed/non-peer reviewed journals and conferences. Of note, eleven articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals with six as first author during the past 10 years. She has served in several capacities (e.g., PI, co-PI, evaluator, co-Investigator, project director) on multiple funded grants totaling nearly $900,000.

Dr. Minton, in collaboration with Dr. Mary Isaacson, Patricia Da Rosa, and Shana Harming, developed and psychometrically tested an instrument to measure healthcare professional comfort with palliative and end of life care communication. The instrument called, “Comfort with Communication in Palliative and End of Life Care” resulted from a $15,000 grant received from the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation

College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions Outstanding Scholar

Sharrel Pinto, Ph.D., Professor, Pharmacy Practice

Dr. Sharrel Pinto is the Hoch Endowed Professor for Community Pharmacy Practice. Her transformative work of finding solutions to pharmacy-based problems earned her the honor of the ‘Harvard Macy Scholar for Leading Innovations in Healthcare and Education,’ in June.

As the Hoch Endowed Professor, Dr. Pinto will lead the community practice movement in South Dakota. In under 6 months, Dr. Pinto secured a 5-year project with the SD Department of Health. This multi-million-dollar project funded by the CDC focuses on improving the health of Americans through prevention and management.

She spoke at the SDPhA Annual Meeting this summer, inviting members to collaborate with her on her state-wide project. She also speaks at the National Community Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting to share her concept of Adherence Pharmacy. Most recently, she presented her work to members of the Scottsdale Institute where she was heard by more than 250 practitioners and health care executives, from around the country.

Through her role at SDSU and her work with the state, Dr. Pinto hopes to impact the lives of South Dakotans by developing programs that improve patient outcomes and enhance patient care.

Awarded by College Deans