Researchers to Train STEM Students for Business

Image Ranjit Koodali and Brian Burrell USD researchers Ranjit Koodali and Brian Burrell will use a $2.9 million NSF grant to train STEM students.

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Two University of South Dakota researchers will use a grant from the National Science Foundation to recruit and train graduate students to help fill growing demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs in the public and private sector.

Fewer STEM Ph.D. students are obtaining tenure-track positions in higher education, so STEM graduate degree holders are increasingly finding work in non-academic fields that requires new professional skills for various career paths.

Brian Burrell, Ph.D., and Ranjit Koodali, Ph.D., will receive $2.9 million over five years from the NSF for the USD Neuroscience and Nanotechnology Network (USD-N3). Burrell is an associate professor in the division of basic biomedical sciences and associate director of the Center for Brain & Behavior Research (CBBRe) at the USD Sanford School of Medicine. Koodali is a professor in department of chemistry and dean of graduate education at USD.

The USD network, a joint effort between CBBRe and the chemistry and basic biomedical science departments, will train about 40 graduate students over five years.

Students accepted into the program will conduct research focused on developing nanotechnology-based approaches to study and treat the brain in a variety of disciplines, including science policy and project management.

Students will also learn about disciplines outside the sciences such as finance, product development, entrepreneurship and intellectual property rights through the USD Beacom School of Business and have the opportunity to participate in internships with regional and national companies. The directors hope to add additional training options in education and scientific writing.

What is novel about this program is that STEM graduate students will be able to develop interdisciplinary skills and expertise in both science and non-science disciplines, allowing them to tailor the training program to their interests and career goals.

Download a photo: USD researchers Ranjit Koodali and Brian Burrell will use a $2.9 million NSF grant to train STEM students.


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News