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Graduate School Newsletter - February 2023

Student Spotlight

Hannah Mulligan started fishing with her dad off the coast of South Carolina at a young age. Now, as an adult, she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences with a specialization in Fisheries Sciences – taking her lifelong passion and interest in fish and nature and applying study and research to it to ultimately make a positive impact on the world around her.

Hannah Mulligan

From Yellowstone National Park to Alabama to Congaree National Forest during her undergraduate work at Clemson University, Hannah took an exciting and hands-on experience to her education that eventually led her to South Dakota State where she knew it would be a “great fit” for her, especially after meeting with a current graduate student of the Natural Resource Management (NRM) department, who told her about “the support and encouragement of the NRM department, the countless resources to take advantage of, and the community of the students within the department.”

Now, Hannah is an active member and mentee of the program herself while studying and researching her thesis project about the risk of the live bait trade as a human-mediated vector of non-native species in the Missouri River Basin. The inspiration for her project stems from her desire to communicate with professional and public communities – both regionally and nationally - about the threat of invasive species in the area, a natural output of her interest in native fish conservation and invasive species management.

So far one of the biggest challenges Hannah has faced is maintaining and repairing equipment during multi-day excursions into the field. Even so, Hannah has a positive outlook on these moments as she says, “making changes in the field taught me a lot in terms of problem-solving and allowed me to be better prepared for the next trip”. She has also faced what many others can relate to as “imposter syndrome”, or the feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success, throughout her graduate studies. However, “being surrounded by such a supportive and encouraging group of graduate students has been extremely important” to her overcoming these feelings of self-doubt and finding continued success.

When not out in the field or in her graduate classes, Hannah is already passing on her passion for fisheries sciences to undergraduate students through her mentorship and work as a teaching assistant for the NRM Department. “Being a teaching assistant made me realize how much I loved teaching, and I hope to continue to do so in future endeavors.”

As a result of her hard work, tenacity, passion and service, Hannah has won numerous awards. The two that she is most proud of, though, are the John E. Skinner Memorial Award that she received at the Annual American Fisheries Society Conference in 2022 and the Joseph F. Nelson Scholarship Award that she recently received at South Dakota State in Spring 2023.

Looking toward the future, Hannah hopes to continue her education and receive a Ph.D. to become a federal fisheries biologist with an emphasis on fish conservation and invasive fish management. She would also like to continue to find ways to be an educator to the public about these issues.

Finally, Hannah acknowledges the value of the adventure that started along the coast of South Carolina where she fished with her dad and continued to the prairies of South Dakota and its natural resources. “SDSU has helped me to become successful by providing me with the experience, skills, and knowledge necessary to excel in my field...from getting guidance on my research from my incredible advisor Dr. Alison Coulter, attending American Fisheries Society conferences, furthering my education through relevant classes and seminar and applying the scientific method to my research, I feel prepared to take the next steps in my career.”

This year’s 3MT competition will be held in the Lewis and Clark Room, University Student Union, on February 9, 2023 at 5 p.m. We encourage all graduate students to participate. Interested students must register no later than Friday, February 3, 2023. More detailed information will be sent out to registered students after that date.

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

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.

Nominations must be submitted electronically using the online link (will be posted soon!). Deadline: April 7, 2023.

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

Learn more at the SDSU Distinguished Dissertation Award web page. Deadline: April 13, 2023

Professional Development Spotlight Communication: Modules include: 3MT, Making Word Documents ADA Accessible, How to write a professional email, Cultural Sensitivity in Communication, Other Live Events

Professional Development Spotlight: Communication

The communication module area is full of opportunities for students to grow in their understanding of different communication styles and techniques and learn more about how to apply these tools in many contexts to all forms of communication, including listening, speaking, and writing!

Below is a quick summary of each communication module, how it is offered, and how it can benefit you!

  • Give a 3-minute presentation about your research that focuses making the content accessible to all!
  • Take the opportunity to practice public speaking and adding to your resume/CV.
  • Sign up to compete and possibly win cash prizes and a trip to regionals!
  • Watch a 9:56 minutes video about how to make your documents accessible to all people digitally.
  • Immediately practice these techniques on your own work.
  • Watch 2 short videos on tips and tricks to writing a professional email.
  • Draft an email demonstrating a use of these critical and valuable skills as email continues to be one of the most utilized tools of communication today!
  • Learn how to communicate respectfully with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
  • Watch the Cultural Sensitivity & Diversity video (22:05), and complete the related activity.

If you attend an event on or off campus that gives you the opportunity to demonstrate or learn about leadership, submit an Event Participation Form to earn module credit for your participation!

If you have any questions about any of the communications modules or the professional development program in general, please reach out to Kerry McDowell.

Don’t Forget to Check Out These Live Events!

  • 2023 Women in Leadership Luncheon: Elevate Yourself with Networking and Mentoring (Leadership Module) – February 8 (register online by February 1 at 5 p.m.)
  • Lit Review 101 (Research Module) – February 2, 6-7 p.m., in-person-Briggs Library (register online)
  • Midwest Economic Outlook Summit (Wellness Module) – February 8 (register online)
  • CPR, AED, and First Aid Training (Wellness Module) – February 15 (register online)
  • How to Support Youth with Disordered Eating (Teaching Module) – March 30 (register online)
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Training (Wellness Module) – January 9, 12:30-5:30 p.m. (*Sign up by December 23, 2022)

Hosted on the SDSU campus on February 6-7, 2023. The symposium included pre-conference workshops, oral presentations, poster presentations, student job fair, and keynote addresses. 

The South Dakota State University Department of Mathematics and Statistics hosts Data Science Symposium on the SDSU campus annually. The symposium brings together hundreds of people from various backgrounds providing a mix of academic and industrial learning opportunities to the region. All participants can expect to gain a larger perspective of data science through connecting the education, research, and use cases in the industry. By attending, you can expand your knowledge, share your experiences, and develop relationships with students, faculty, and companies. Business leaders, recruiters, Professionals, and Practitioners will have the opportunity to promote their business, recruit talent, and receive training.


We are excited to announce that we have opened submission for talks and posters for the 2023 SDSU Data Science Symposium which takes place Feb 6-7, 2023 on the SDSU campus. Students, faculty, and industry representatives can submit their proposals on the conference website.


Several of our generous sponsors will be available for recruiting students for internships and permanent positions.  Many are recruiting for several positions.  This is a unique opportunity to network with the hiring managers and executives of some of our best regional employers.

Advance in your professional education career. The Educational Administration M.Ed. program is designed for future principals, assistant principals, curriculum directors, and supervisors. No RSVP required. You can join the Zoom on February 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Join the Graduate School on Wednesday, February 22 at 10 a.m. CST via Facebook Live as we answer your questions about applying, admission, and acceptance into the SDSU Graduate School!

The Graduate School will be hosting zoom sessions where we will be spilling the tea on Graduate School updates, events, awards, and deadlines! There is also a chance for participants to win a door prize at each event! You can join us on Thursday, February 23 at noon on Zoom

The Graduate School will be sponsoring Graduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Day (GRSCAD) to showcase and recognize the accomplishments of SDSU graduate students! The day will begin with a featured speaker/presentation, followed by graduate student poster presentations, culminating with the Graduate Student Recognition Event which will recognize Graduate School award recipients and students who successfully earned a Professional Development certificate.


  • Featured speaker/presentation: 2-3 p.m.
  • Poster show/project judging: 3-5 p.m.
  • Graduate Recognition Event: 5-7 p.m.

Students interested in presenting an oral and/or poster presentation should complete the event registration link no later than Friday, April 14.

Important Upcoming Dates:

February 10, 2023 - Graduation Application Deadline

February 20, 2023 – President’s Day (Graduate Office Closed)

March 24, 2023 - Request to Participate Form Due (Summer/Fall 2023 Graduates ONLY)

April 3-7, 2023 - Graduate Student Appreciation Week

Graduate Assistantship Opportunities

Internships, Fellowship & Scholarship Opportunities

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