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Graduate School Newsletter - April 2021

Due to the impact of COVID-19, all faculty, staff, and students are required to wear a face covering when entering any building on campus. This includes all classrooms, offices, labs, etc. Students who have questions should contact the Graduate School via email whenever possible as opposed to physically coming into the office. Students needing to speak to someone in person, are highly encouraged to set up an appointment in advance. SDSU will closely monitor the situation and provide any updates via email and through the official COVID-19 Management website.  

Student Spotlight

Augustina Kwesie Osabutey

Finding time do research or extra work outside of completing a dissertation is not commonplace for most PhD students. Augustina Osabutey, who is pursuing a PhD in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, still made time outside of her master’s and doctoral work to provide clean drinking water to rural towns in her home country of Ghana.

The initiative to provide a drinking water facility was necessitated initially by Augustina’s two younger siblings, Adelaide and Fidelia who, in an effort to raise funding for the Adukrom community in western region of Ghana, participated in the Lifelink Model United Nations Conference. They were unable to secure proper funding and turned to the aid of their sister to make their dream a reality. Augustina worked in tandem with natives of the Butte, Montana community to raise funds for the project. Osabutey was working as a Biodiversity Conservation intern with Atlantic Richfield Company (a subsidiary of BP) after completing her master’s degree and master’s certificate in Environmental Engineering and Ecological Restoration, respectively, from Montana Technological University at the start of the project.

Funds for the project were not obtained without great thought and planning. “I was very disturbed when my younger siblings sent me the videos of the old state of the drinking water well for Adukrom community and I knew I had to step up and do something about it,” Augustina explained. “I showed the videos to a lady called Sheila O’Neil in church and she suggested fundraising in [the] Butte community. We were able to come up with a 10-member committee for the fundraising in Butte and [created a] GoFundme.” Initial funds were used to secure a water facility in Adukrom. A second facility was funded in the Yediyesele community this past February 26, 2021. Progress on those projects is regularly updated on Clean Water for Adukrom-Axim & Yediyesele, Ghana Facebook page.

The project resonates deeply with Augustina as she knows first had the struggle of obtaining clean drinking water. “Like most girls in Axim, I had to walk several hours each day toting large buckets, filled with water from a well to haul back to my family home. Sometimes we would walk like 1 mile to go fetch water,” Augustina stated. Beyond the difficulty of obtaining water, Augustina went on to explain the necessity for clean water. “[Water from the existing wells] is not clean. Though there appears to be an abundance of water sources in Ghana, many small towns in the tropical country still do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation. Being an environmental engineer, I know what drinking contaminated water can do to our human self.” Augustina’s work on the clean water initiative is outside the scope of her PhD research. However, her degree is affording her the knowledge of treating wastewater and recovering nutrients from wastewater with different methodologies which can be applied back to her project.

In addition, Augustina serves a graduate research assistant (GRA) as well as a diplomat for the International Relations Council (IRC) through SDSU. She is also the founder of Teen Leadership and Entrepreneurial Development Foundation whose primary goal is to inspire and enlighten youth through personal development. The organization focuses on mentorship, entrepreneurship, and leadership training. Augustina’s future goals include becoming a college faculty member, as well as a specialist in water and wastewater treatment, management, and land and stream restoration while continuing to work through her non-profit organization.

Upcoming Events

Concept Maps – What a concept! (Teaching)

     Monday, April 5 at (1pm-2pm) @


Lit Review 101 (Research)

     Wednesday, April 7 at (6pm-7pm) 

Join SDSU Librarians for an introductory session on literature reviews. This is a synchronous session via Zoom. Participants will be able to interact with librarians and ask questions during the session.

Signup and Details at:

Professional Development Series: Graduate Recognition Event

     Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 4:00pm - via Zoom (

Virtual recognition event for those students who successfully met the requirements of the Professional Development Program and for graduate student award winners for the 2020-21 academic year. All recipients will be recognized. Event is open to all graduate students! 

Professional Development Program

The 2020-21 Graduate School Professional Development Program will be completely online with recorded videos and supporting materials on D2L. To receive a professional development certificate, graduate students must participate in at least one workshop for each competency as well as the mandatory Self-Advocacy Workshop, for a total of seven (7) workshops, and complete a short evaluation component over each workshop completed. All graduate students should have been given access to the Graduate Professional Development Series course on D2L. If you do not see the course on your D2L, please contact the Graduate School (

For more information about the professional development program or earning the professional development certificate visit the Graduate Student Professional Development page.

Awards and Scholarships


The Graduate School will be running 30-day rabbit raisers fundraising campaign during the month of April to raise funds for graduate student awards. Following the Spring 2021 semester, funding for all graduate student awards will be depleted. To continue to offer existing awards and expand awards for graduate students, we’re asking for your help to promote this campaign. We will also be promoting through email and our Graduate School Facebook page.  We would greatly appreciate you sharing/liking/interacting with our posts. To find more information or to donate please visit:

Graduate Student Wokini Scholarship

Scholarships will be awarded by the Admissions Office in collaboration with the American Indian Student Center.  These scholarship opportunities exist for enrolled members of a South Dakota tribe who are full-time, degree seeking students that graduated with their Associates or Bachelor’s degree from a South Dakota Tribal College or University and attend South Dakota State University.  Priority is given to those students who submit a completed scholarship application, including tribal enrollment verification.  Selected Wokini Scholars will be awarded an annual $5,000 scholarship that can be renewed for two additional years.

Check out the guidelines. Please complete and submit the application to be considered for the Wokini Scholarship.

Upcoming Dates for Graduation Candidates:

April 16, 2021 - Final Oral Exam Completed

April 30, 2021 - Thesis/Dissertation Deposited to the Graduate School

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