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Graduate School Newsletter - December 2020

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

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Student Spotlight

"Islamiah “Is” Fuad Headshot"

Islamiah “Is” Fuad, a two-time graduate of SDSU, is currently completing her second master’s degree in Counseling & Human Resource Development with a Student Affairs specialization. Is came to SDSU as an international student from Malaysia to pursue her undergraduate degree in Sport, Recreation, and Park Management while also playing on the Women’s Golf team. Since Fall 2018, she has served as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of International Affairs.

In recognition of her superior work as a graduate assistant, student, and role model, Is was awarded the Outstanding Student Award from NAFSA Region IV. The award is presented to a student who inspires other students within the field of international education and as a steppingstone for further leadership within the association. Greg Wymer, Director of International Students and Scholars, nominated Is for the award. “There is never a day that she does not have a smile on her face, and she is extremely caring towards all of our international students. Being an international student herself, she understands what it is like to be far away from home in a foreign land. Her experiences have given her an ability to relate with all our new and current international students and she goes the extra mile to ensure that our international students' needs are being met,” states Wymer. Is was surprised to learn she had earned the award. “I didn’t know I was nominated until the award was announced,” she stated, “but I am definitely honored and thankful to have the continuing support.”

Much like other graduate students, Is’s role as a graduate assistant has shifted due to the current pandemic. Is shared, “My work as GA changed in a way that we were unable to provide the normal programming.” On-campus programming virtually came to a stop over the summer and Fall 2020 semesters. She went on to share, “we constantly brainstorm ideas on programs that we can provide for students. Not only that, we made some changes and developed virtual International Student Orientation to meet our new students that are here and abroad.” Meeting students where they are has been the key to the success of the office.

In addition to her award, Is served on a diversity panel and assisted with a poster presentation at the South Dakota Higher Education Association conference this past Spring. Following completion of her degree, Is is interested in pursuing a career as an academic or international advisor. “I love the interaction and working with students,” stated Is. “My goal is to not only help students achieve their goal but also learn from them.”

Upcoming Events

The winter break would be a great time to work on your PDP certificate!  All workshops can be completed online via D2L.

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

Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award

The Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award was established by the Graduate Council in 2010 to honor faculty members who have truly shown excellence in mentoring graduate students. The award honors faculty for efforts in supporting, encouraging, and promoting their graduate students' research, education, professional and personal development, and career plans. Nominate a faculty member for this award. Deadline: December 3, 2020.

SDSU Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award

The SDSU Graduate School is pleased to announce the 2019-20 Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, in recognition of graduate students who exemplify excellence in the teaching/learning mission of SDSU.

Nominations must be submitted electronically using this link:   Deadline: December 17, 2020.

Please see attached documents for evaluation criteria

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.

Click here to see the guidelines. Please complete and submit the application to be considered for the Wokini Scholarship.

Three Minute Thesis Competition

South Dakota State University invites you to participate in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition. The 3MT is an academic competition that challenges PhD and Master's students to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience. 3MT celebrates the discoveries made by research students and encourages you to communicate the importance of your research to the broader community.

The competition will be held from virtually, February 2nd-4th. We would like to encourage all students to participate. Interested students must register no later than Thursday, January 28th. More information will be sent out to interested students. Winners will be announced Friday, February 19th.

For more specific details about the competition, view the 3MT PowerPoint.

Register for the competition. If you are not already logged into MyState, you will have to enter your MyState credentials in the top right corner of the screen, click "My Resources," followed by "Forms," and you'll find "3 Minute Thesis Competition Registration.

$2,500 Graduate Scholarship Designed to Support Future of Agriculture

Advancements in agriculture research and technology are essential to tomorrow’s farmers and ranchers. To support the future of South Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers, Traveler’s Motor Club together with South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) Foundation provides a $2,500 scholarship annually to a South Dakota graduate student, pursuing an agriculture degree. Scholarship Deadline is December 15, 2020 Eligible graduate students include on-campus and distance education students who are pursuing any agriculture master's or doctoral program, agriculture teacher certification program (CERT/FCSC) or graduate certificate program (GCERT).

To apply for the South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) Foundation scholarship, graduate students need to apply by December 15, 2020 by visiting or call Karla Hofhenke, SDFU Executive Director at 605-352-6761 ext. 114.

Upcoming Dates for Graduation Candidates:

December 4, 2020 - Thesis/Dissertation Deposited to the Graduate School

December 8, 2020 - Capstone Component Completion and Official Fall 2020 Graduation Date

Have a great winter break!!

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