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Graduate School Newsletter - October 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.  


Student Spotlight

Nick Shirley

Nick Shirley, a MS student in the Counseling and Human Resources Development program specializing in both College Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling, is all too aware of the challenges that COVID-19 has created on the campus of South Dakota State University. Nick serves as the Residence Hall Director for Mathews Hall. Mathews is home to 380 first and second year residents who are also trying to navigate the changing environment of campus. “During COVID-19 he has done tremendous frontline support services for our SDSU students who live in the Res Halls,” states his academic advisor Dr. Katelyn Romsa.

In addition to his position in the residence halls, Nick also works as a graduate student intern at the SDSU Counseling Services. Nick is part of the team who actively works to ensure students needing counseling are still able to receive those services with physical spacing being a challenge. As stated in the October 5, 2020 Monday Morning Message, “Counseling Services is offering group counseling through Zoom for Healthcare with different focuses. Grief group, anxiety group and coping with COVID are all group counseling options for students.” This counseling is available to all SDSU students.

Outside of work and the classroom, Nick has found other ways to get involved and keep himself busy. Nick was recently elected to serve as the Graduate Student Representative for the SDHEA (South Dakota Higher Education Association) Board of Directors. Nick was also elected to serve as the President of Chi Sigma Alpha, an honor society for graduate students pursuing a master's degree in College Counseling/Administration of Student Affairs at SDSU for this academic school year.

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

Self-Advocacy Workshop (Mandatory)

     Thursday, October 20th  3:00-4:00pm

Live Session Zoom Link

This required PDP workshop presented by Dr. Nicole Lounsbery, Director of the Graduate School, will provide information and advice about navigating your experience as a graduate student and how to advocate for yourself now and in the future. 


How to Use Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) to Enhance Discussion and Engagement (Teaching)

VTS is a simple strategy that creates complex results. Research indicates that VTS increases civil discourse and critical thinking for students who participate. Learn the basic steps to incorporate VTS into a lab kick-off or at times when you present a visual, a chart or a diagram to your students.

     Tuesday, October 27 (4pm-5pm) @

Registration Link:

Awards and Scholarships

Distinguished Master's Thesis Award

The SDSU Graduate School is soliciting nominations for the Distinguished Master's Thesis Award. The award is to recognize and reward distinguished scholarship and research at the master's level. SDSU is seeking nominations in the two broad categories of Social Sciences and Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering, which align with the 2021 Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Thesis AwardsDeadline: October 15, 2020  

Faculty can submit a nomination at:


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 virtually, in February. We would like to encourage all students to participate.

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. 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). Scholarship Deadline is December 15, 2020

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:

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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