Chemist and cancer researcher finds ‘well-rounded life’ at SDSU

Tell us about yourself, including when your interest in science began, your education and research experience, and what led you to your current position as Assistant Professor and founder of the RAWC Lab at South Dakota State University.

My interest in science began in the lab of my grandfather’s veterinary clinic, where he served both large animals and small animals. I spent summers on the ranch in Illinois with my grandparents, and I spent most of my time at “the clinic” observing in the operating room and working in the lab. I distinctly remember wearing scrubs and a lab coat and looking at parasites under the microscope with my him. These experiences were the beginning of my interest in science.

Later, I began my undergraduate studies at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, and I eventually transferred to Creighton University. I was a biology major and pre-med, which required numerous courses in physics, chemistry, and math, in addition to biology. I distinctly remember being very nervous to take organic chemistry, so much so, I delayed taking the course until my junior year. Then and even now it is rumored to be a “weed-out course” for pre-professionals due to the difficulty of the course. I was surprised to find that I loved organic chemistry, so much so that I rejected my acceptance to medical school and began a chemistry PhD program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


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Early career spotlight: SDSU engineering grad pivots from design to construction

Tell us about yourself, including where you are from, why South Dakota State University was the right fit for you, and what led you to pursue the major you selected at SDSU.

My name is Brian Eiesland. I grew up Brandon, SD and spent the majority of my young life playing sports year-round. I chose to attend South Dakota State University because it had the larger university atmosphere I desired while still being located close enough to home where I could see my family whenever I wanted to. I enjoyed math and sciences growing up, and they came easier to me as I took more courses in high school, so I knew that engineering would be a good choice for my college studies. After doing some research on the different types of engineering, I chose to study Civil Engineering because the thought of designing the infrastructure that the public uses on a daily basis really intrigued me.


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Executive profile: Midco chief technology officer Jonathan Pederson

As chief technology officer at Midco, Jon Pederson’s role is a diverse one. 

He manages a team of 65 people, taking care of core customer-facing technology: Internet, video service, phone service and business services. 

He also represents the Sioux Falls-based company at the highest levels of its industry, assisting with industry relations at a national level.

This month, he marks 34 years with the company – the result of a career that started with a job during college that led him down an unexpected path.


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Guiding growth: DSU president brings broad relationships to hone university’s niche

The physicist in Jose-Marie Griffiths appreciates the concept of centrifugal force.

Think of mud flying off a spinning tire. Or the spin cycle of a washing machine.

As the object moves rapidly, a force is created. A spinoff effect occurs. 

And Griffiths suspects she’s about to see that happen at the place she leads – Dakota State University – which this month opened a first-of-its-kind center: The Madison Cyber Labs.


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Minnesota Viking C.J. Ham: What connects me to Sioux Falls

Before he was a Minnesota Viking, C.J. Ham was an Augustana Viking.

He credits the education and experience he enjoyed at Augustana University for helping him in his career, preparing him for his future and keeping him connected to Sioux Falls.


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Early career spotlight: English, sign language teacher finds success in Tri-Valley

Tell us about yourself, including where you are from, what you studied at Augustana, and what led you to pursue the major(s) you selected in college.
My name is Robin Tyler. I grew up in Centerville, South Dakota, and I always had an interest in education and sign language. When I learned I could make a career doing both, it was perfect. When I graduated from high school in 2007, Augustana had the only Deaf Education program in the state. While there, I majored in Deaf Education, English, and Secondary Education.


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