South Dakota State University 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, 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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New additions to ag education prepare students for jobs of the future

One look at some of the newest additions to South Dakota State University make it clear: Ag-related education is changing.
 
“We’re doing things that are really relevant to all the real, major grand challenges that face society today,” said John Killefer, the South Dakota Corn-Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
 
There are 2,000 undergraduates and 300 graduate students in the college, spread across 23 majors. Many of them are working and learning in facilities unlike any other in the country – preparing them for a huge range of in-demand jobs.
 
“There’s probably never been a more exciting time to be in this type of college for a student in the future than it is today,” Killefer said.


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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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