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Graduate School Newsletter - November 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.  

Turkeys in a line

Student Spotlight

Dr. Ujiwol Tamrakar

Dr. Ujjwol Tamrakar, a Spring 2020 PhD graduate from the Electrical Engineering program, utilized his doctoral research in part with his advisor, Dr. Reinaldo Tonkoski, to become a part of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers work group. This work group, consisting of 22 faculty and power industry leaders from around the world, was awarded the 2020 IEEE Power & Energy Society Working Group Recognition Award. This award was 1 of only 2 work group awards.

The IEEE Power & Energy Society provides the world's largest forum for sharing the latest in technological developments in the electric power industry, for developing standards that guide the development and construction of equipment and systems, and for educating members of the industry and the general public.

The technical report completed by the work group developed guidelines for analyzing microgrid stability. Since graduating from SDSU, Dr. Tamrakar has joined Sandia National Laboratories and continues to collaborate with SDSU work groups providing valuable insight to the Electrical Engineering department.

The group’s full report can be found here:

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.

Upcoming Events

Building Your Teaching & Learning Knowledge by Reading Current Research  (Teaching)

Teaching is its own discipline. Participants will be expected to read a selected research article focused on teaching or learning. The workshop will provide them with an opportunity to discuss the article with their peers and determine ways to apply the research to their own teaching.  

     Thursday, November 19 (11am-12pm) @

Registration Link:

Awards and Scholarships

Joseph F. Nelson Graduate Scholarship

The Joseph F. Nelson Graduate Scholarship Award is open to graduate students at South Dakota State University who are in good standing (a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above) and meet the specified criteria for the award (see guidelines).

Applications must be submitted electronically. Deadline: November 19, 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


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.


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.

The 2020 Sigma Xi Graduate Student Competition

The graduate student research competition was open to all SDSU students.  Thanks to all faculty judges, who volunteered their time evaluating student research proposals,  papers and their oral presentations. The competition was very strong, and the judges had to make decisions based on small differences among presenters.  Congratulations to all awardees and their mentors.

Winning Graduate Research Proposals

 Ph.D. Proposal

1st place:  Jessica Freeling (Advisor Dr. Lacey McCormack, Dept of Health and Nutritional Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences)

2nd place:  Haydee Torres (Advisors Dr. Adam Hoppe, Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry; College of Natural Sciences and Dr. Jianning Tao, Sanford Children's Health Research Center)

3rd place:  Ailin Guo (Advisors Dr. Joshua Reineke, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professionals)

M.S. Proposal

1st place: Aastha Acharya (Advisor Dr. Yang Yen, Dept of Biology and Microbiology, College of Natural Sciences)

2nd place: Camille Massmann (Advisors Dr. Bill Gibbons and Dr. Bishnu Karki; Dept of Biology and Microbiology, College of Natural Sciences)

3rd place: Jawata Saba (Advisor Dr. Darrell Napton, Dept of Geography and Geospatial Sciences College of Natural Sciences)

Winning Graduate Research Papers

Ph.D. Paper

1st place:  Rajesh Pathak (Advisor Dr. Qiquan Qiao, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences; J Lohr College of Engineering)

2nd place:   Ke Chen (Advisor Dr. Yue Zhou, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences; J Lohr College of Engineering)

3rd place: Obed Gyamfi (Advisor: Brian Logue, Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry; College of Natural Sciences)

M.S. Paper

1st place:  Ashiqur Laskar (Dr.  Qiquan Qiao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences; J Lohr College of Engineering)

2nd place:   Andrea Zavadil (Advisors Dr Bill Gibbons and Dr. Bishnu Karki; Dept of Biology and Microbiology, College of Natural Sciences)  

Pumpkins covered in snow

Upcoming Dates for Graduation Candidates:

November 20, 2020 - Final Oral Exam Completed

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

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


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