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Graduate School Newsletter - March 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.

Jessie Hendricks

Student Spotlight

Statistics, as Jessie Hendricks can attest, are integral to the success of any research initiative. Hendricks, who is earning her PhD in Computational Science and Statistics, serves as a graduate research assistant (GRA) for the College of Education and Human Sciences (EHS). Within her role, Jessie meets frequently with researchers to learn about their projects and needs within those projects, assists in cleaning and formatting data, performing statistical tests, and building statistical models, interpreting, formatting, and communicating results to researchers. Jessie works under the guidance of Dr. Gemechis Djira.

Prior to Jessie’s start within the college during the Fall 2018 semester, Dr. Matt Vukovich, Associate Dean of Research for the College of EHS, noticed the common need of researchers within the college. “Many researchers were collecting complex data sets and needed assistance implementing advanced statistical models to address their research questions. Dr. Vukovich established this collaboration in which the knowledge and work of researchers who are experts in their own fields of study can be combined with my knowledge of statistics to achieve their research goals,” stated Hendricks.

Jessie works closely with researchers and is consistently working on several different projects at any given time, each at a different stage of the research process. The focus areas in which Jessie assists are also varied. “I have worked on projects with applications in many areas including nutrition, aviation, counseling, exercise science, and education,” remarked Hendricks. “With all of the variation in responsibilities and applications, this role is always exciting!” While some projects may be more simplistic and only last a week or two, others can take months!

In addition to her GRA role, Jessie also serves a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) for the department of Mathematics and Statistics. During the Spring 2021 semester, Jessie is serving as an instructor for STAT 414/514 – Basic R Programming. In past semesters Jessie has assisted with labs and grading for several introductory statistics courses.

When not working as a GRA or GTA, Jessie stays busy with her dissertation research on quantifying the weight of evidence for complex and high dimension evidence types (like fingerprints). She also enjoys spending time with her dog, Nova, and family and friends. Jessie hopes to graduate this Summer and take the skills she has learned through her coursework, research, and consulting work into a career as a statistician.  

Upcoming Events

Please join the Graduate School in recognizing our virtual 3 Minute Thesis awardees during a showcase event on March 2 at 2 p.m. The top 3 awardees will be introduced and their 3MT video recordings will be presented. We will also share details about the virtual 3MT competition and recognize our judges.

Zoom link:


Concept Maps – What a concept! (Teaching)

     Monday, April 5 at (1-2 p.m.) @ (



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

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.

Upcoming Dates for Graduation Candidates:

March 26, 2021 - Request to Participate Form Due (Summer/Fall 2021 Graduates ONLY)


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