STEM Careers Articles


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 name is Dr. Rachel Willand-Charnley. My interest in science began in the lab of my grandfather’s veterinary clinic. He served both large and small animals. I would spend summers on “the ranch” in Illinois with my grandparents. During this time, I would go to “the clinic,” where I would watch him in the operating room and in his lab. I distinctly remember wearing scrubs and a lab coat while looking at parasites from various “patients” under the microscope. This was the beginning of my interest in science.


  Read More


Early career spotlight: From Coyote to researcher...and beyond

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

My name is Katrina Hosley. I was born in Sioux Falls, and I graduated from Lennox High School. Originally, I was interested in forensic pathology and contemplated pursuing a career as a coroner, which led me to look for good schools with good medical programs close to home. USD had the best medical school in the region, and I also had friends there and experienced the campus with those students, and I liked it. USD also had a good biology program.

As part of my biology major and chemistry minor, I worked in a lab at USD, and that’s how I fell in love with lab work. I quickly knew that this was the best career path for me.


  Read More

Southeast Tech building programs to meet industry needs

Fifty years ago, Southeast Tech began in Sioux Falls with six programs and fewer than 100 students.

A half-century later, it’s grown to 60 programs and more than 2,400 students.

“It’s up from last year again, so it’s nice to see that continued interest in trades and technical careers,” said Robert Griggs, who is beginning his third school year as Southeast Tech’s president.

Southeast Tech helps prepare students to secure jobs in the Sioux Falls area by tailoring its program offerings to match areas where workers are needed. That’s resulted in programs teaching skills in the following areas: Business, Transportation Technology, Horticulture, Industrial Technology, Media Communications, Healthcare, Engineering Technology, Law Enforcement, Early Childhood, Information Technology, Agriculture and Technical Studies.

“What’s really critical is that Southeast Tech respond to industry needs,” Griggs said. “In order to do that, we need to be in constant communication and conversation with industry representatives about what they see as current demand and what opportunities are going to exist for careers in the future.”

This school year brought a new program to train medical assistants, developed in response to needs from the healthcare field and with curriculum help from Avera Health and Sanford Health.


  Read More


Student researchers can connect with career opportunities at upcoming event

As many as 200 undergraduate students are spending their summer immersed in STEM-related research in South Dakota, and soon they will be in front of business leaders who could go on to hire them.

The research work is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, including the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, and Research Experience for Undergraduates, or REU, as well as the South Dakota Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network, or SD BRIN.


  Read More


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.


  Read More


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.


  Read More