Skip to main content

Graduate School Newsletter - April 2024

Student Spotlight

Haritha Gurrala

SDSU is known for family legacies and that is no different for Haritha Gurrala, an international student from Hyderabad, India whose sister and brother-law both attended State. Gurrala, who is currently part of the M.S. in Civil Engineering program jokes, “it's our family university!” Their positive experience at SDSU, coupled with engaging curriculum and research work of faculty, are what drove Haritha to apply and ultimately attend SDSU. “I believe SDSU provides an excellent platform for those interested in research,” she shares. “The university and its faculty offer strong guidance and support making it an ideal environment for pursuing such endeavors.”

Building on her previous civil engineering foundation earned during her undergraduate career in India, Haritha has been able to engage and will continue to expand her research. Currently she is assisting Dr. Michael Pawlovich in his adverse weather project for the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SD DOT). The focus is on developing a metric for ‘adverse weather days per month’ using climatic parameters like minimum/maximum temperature, wind speed, rainfall and snowfall. “These parameters will be used to define adverse weather zones, establishing regional construction standards that minimize construction delays due to weather events,” Haritha shares. Which is extremely important, given South Dakota’s unpredictable weather throughout construction season! 

Haritha’s primary research will focus on Network Safety Screening, as her main area of interest lies in operations and safety of transportation engineering. The department is currently in the data extraction stage and will continue to build on this project. In addition to her research, Haritha serves as a graduate teaching assistant under both Dr. Pawlovich and Dr. Suzette Burckhard. 

Outside of the classroom, Haritha enjoys traveling and music, namely singing South Indian melodies. Following graduation, she hopes to bring back what she’s learned about transportation engineering and share that with her home country. “I am committed to being a driving force for positive change,” she states. “South Dakota State University and Dr. Pawlovich have equipped me with the necessary tools and expertise to make a difference.”

“As a student of SDSU, I take immense pride in being part of an institution that fosters academic excellence and personal development,” Haritha shares in closing. “I am deeply appreciative of the enriching experiences and meaningful connections I have made during my time at SDSU, and I look forward to carrying the pride of being an SDSU student with me wherever I go.” 

Awards and Scholarships

The SDSU Graduate School is seeking to recognize outstanding creativity, impact and innovation in all disciplines offered at SDSU. This award includes original works accepted by the university "in lieu of thesis" - including non-thesis papers, projects, portfolios, media, computer software, etc. Nominations should be made by the student who is completing either B, C or D options or a DNP student.

Submission requirements include:

  • Completion of electronic nomination form.
  • A non-technical summary prepared by the nominee (2 pages max) describing the research, impact, innovation and/or benefit to the field and its significance.
  • A nomination letter from the major adviser and/or faculty member who can speak to the student’s contributions to the discipline.
  • An updated resume or curriculum vita.

Nominations must be submitted electronically via the MyState submission form. Deadline: April 4, 2024.

To submit your nomination form, log into MyState and click the Dashboard tab. Under the forms portlet, click "Distinguished Innovation and Creative Work Award".

The SDSU Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes a doctoral student who has completed a dissertation representing original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to their discipline. There are two broad fields of competition: Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering; and the Social Sciences OR Biological and Life Sciences, and Humanities and Fine Arts. If a dissertation is multi- or interdisciplinary in nature, a significant portion of the work must be comprised by at least one of the 2022 fields of competition. The effective date of the degree awarded, or the completion of doctoral degree requirements and dissertation, must be within the period of July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2024, inclusive, for each nominee selected. Such degree award or completion is to be confirmed by the Graduate School. The award recipient will be selected by a committee of graduate faculty. SDSU awardee’s dissertation will also be submitted to the national CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards competition. Deadline: April 11, 2024

Submit a Nomination

Upcoming Events

You can begin GPA at any time during your graduate career. The deadline each year to complete and receive the GPA certificate is the second Friday of April, and awards will be presented at our annual Graduate Student Recognition Event. For Spring 2024, the deadline is April 12.

To showcase the innovative work of SDSU graduate students, the Graduate School will be sponsoring Graduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Day (GRSCAD) on April 23, 2024. The day will begin with a featured speaker/presentation, followed by graduate student poster presentations, culminating with the Graduate Student Recognition Event.

The event is open to ALL graduate students, regardless of discipline or type of degree being earned. Students not completing a thesis or research paper are welcome to present on a project, portfolio, written work or any other type of creative activity. A group of faculty judges will select the top 2 posters to receive awards.

The deadline to register for the event is Friday, April 12, 2024. Graduate students will need to provide a brief abstract of the project, as well as other pertinent information. Students interested in giving an oral presentation during the featured speaker portion should also indicate this on the registration form.

GRSCAD Registration Form

Join the Graduate School staff as we celebrate the end of the 2024 academic year with ice cream and socialization on the green! This event is open to all graduate students. Graduates, feel free to bring your cap, gown and hood for a photo op by the Campanile. Those in attendance also have a chance to win some cool door prizes!

Wednesday, May 1 3-4:30 p.m. CST

Campanile Lawn 

Important Upcoming Dates

  • April 12, 2024 - Final Oral Exam Completed
  • April 26, 2024 - Thesis/Dissertation Deposited to the Graduate School 
  • May 3, 2024 - Capstone Component Completion
  • May 4, 2024 - Spring 2024 Commencement Ceremony 

Check out the Graduate Assistantship Opportunities.

Like us on Facebook!

Follow us on Instagram!