Scholarship committee

See the full University of South Dakota Scholarship committee.

Jamie A. Turgeon-Drake

Instructor, Public Health & Health Sciences

Jamie Graduated from USD with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences along with a minor in World Religions. She also received her master's degree from USD in Adult and Higher Education. She is an instructor in the Health Science Major with courses required for the Public Health Major as well as cross listed with Native Studies. She created and teaches the curriculum for HSC/NATV 330 Native People's Health Care Promotion and Policy & co-created HSC 375 US and Global Healthcare Systems (a course on human rights with a travel abroad component). She also teaches HSC 110 Interdisciplinary Healthcare Teams (with a student mentoring program), HSC 380 Health Literacy and Culture Care along with HSC 460 Leading change. She also works with honors students on their undergraduate research and scholarship along with facilitating Enter Mentoring to other professors though the HHMI grant on Inclusive Excellence here at USD.. She has a daughter Jaymes who is a dancer and runner, and a Toy Yorkie named Toto.
Melissa Berninger

Director of Honors Program
Melissa Berninger came to the University of South Dakota in 2018. As director of the University Honors Program, she advises and teaches honors students, provides administrative leadership for the program, and serves as the campus coordinator of nationally competitive scholarships. Before coming to USD, she spent nearly twenty years at Long Island University Brooklyn, where she served as writing program administrator, campus coordinator of assessment, and associate director of the Honors College. Melissa earned a master's degree in English from Pennsylvania State University and a master's degree in library and information science with a certificate in archives and special collections from the Palmer School at Long Island University. She is a merit badge counselor for the Vermillion BSA troop and a regular volunteer at the Vermillion Welcome Table.

Kathryn Birkeland

Associate Dean, Beacom School of Business, Associate Professor of Economics

Kathryn Birkeland, a USD alumnus, returned as a faculty member in 2011. She currently serves as the Associate Dean of the Beacom School of Business. Her teaching areas include macroeconomics, monetary economics, and the economics of education in addition to principles of economics. She has extensive training and experience in online teaching. Birkeland is a USD Honors Program alumnus (BSBA ’01) and now teaches in the program. In 2016, she was the recipient of USD’s prestigious Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Beacom School of Business Award for Faculty Excellence in Research. She specializes in research on the economics of higher education including access to college and state financial aid policies. Birkeland graduated from Arizona State University with a Ph.D. in 2007 and a M.S. in 2004. In addition to her work on campus, Kathryn serves as the President of the Executive Board of United Way of Vermillion. She and her husband live in Vermillion with their two children.

Anne Cipperley

USD Alumna ('09)

Anne has worked at the South Dakota Investment Council since 2009. As a portfolio manager, she manages high yield bonds in the energy, healthcare, media, leisure, gaming and metals/mining industries. During her time at the Council, she, and two of her colleagues, created a proprietary model to value high yield bonds. Anne graduated summa cum laude with honors from the University of South Dakota in 2009 with a bachelor of science in economics and a minor in mathematics. Anne played basketball for the Coyotes for two years, was a Presidential Alumni scholarship recipient, participated in the Honors Program, studied abroad in both the Czech Republic and Greece, and won the Midwest Economics Association’s 2009 Undergraduate Paper Competition with her honors thesis titled “The Cost European Union Consumers Bear to Support Rural Dairy Farmers.” Anne and her husband, Kyle, currently reside in Sioux Falls with their sons Wyatt & Will. Anne and Kyle are both USD trustees.
Tayte Gleason
USD Student
Bio coming soon.

Michael Hook

Professor, Art Foundation Coordinator

Phillip Michael Hook came to the University of South Dakota in 2006. He teaches two-dimensional design, color theory and all levels of drawing in the Department of Art at USD. Hook is also the academic advisor for all freshmen in the art department as well as mentor for all graduate teaching assistants teaching art classes. Professor Hook’s research interests are in the areas of landscape and abstraction, works on paper, printmaking and hand-bound books. Professor Hook grew up in the small town of Boonville, Missouri though originally from Kansas City. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Missouri. Hook has frequently exhibited work throughout the Midwest and has been selected to participate in many juried competitions and invitational exhibitions throughout the United States.

Eric Jepsen


Eric M. Jepsen, Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Internship Coordinator in Political Science, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of New Mexico in 2006. His teaching and research interests include comparative politics, international relations, political economy, democratization, Latin American politics and South Asian politics. His research on sub-national economic development in India and Mexico has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Social Science Research Council, and he received Fulbright Awards to India in 2002 and 2012. He has previously taught at the University of New Mexico and the University of Vermont. 

JoElla Kleinhesselink

USD Student

JoElla Kleinhesselink is a Presidential Alumni Scholar from Washington state in her final year of studying political science and economics at USD. She is a former Writing Consultant and Residential Assistant but is now currently interning with the United States Department of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. She is also a David L. Boren Scholar who will be studying abroad in South Africa and learning Afrikaans in the spring of 2023. Upon graduation, JoElla plans to earn her Masters of Economic Development and eventually work for a federal agency.

Gabriela Luevano

USD Student

Gabi Luevano is a second-year Communications Studies major with minors in Business Administration, Multicultural Studies, and Spanish. Gabi works as an Office Assistant for the Dean of Students and as a Resident's Assistant. Gabi is involved on campus as an Honors Peer Mentor and is involved in multiple multicultural student organizations.

Sara Mart

Academic Advisor

A graduate of USD with a bachelor's degree in speech communication ('91) and a master’s in communication studies ('06), Sara Mart worked for six years in admissions for Southwestern College (Kan.) before returning to USD in 1997 to work in the Admissions Office as an Admissions Counselor and then as the Associate Director of Admissions. In 2007, she transitioned to the Academic & Career Planning Center where as Assistant Director, she advises nursing majors, coordinates the First-Year Experience, and enjoys teaching USD 101 to freshmen each fall. Sara’s children have all left her nest, so she enjoys life on the Missouri River with her husband and chocolate lab, Rex.

Michelle Maloney

USD Alumna

A third generation USD alum, Michelle Maloney graduated with a degree in English and a minor in mass communications (now known as contemporary media and journalism). A supporter of all things USD, she serves on the Howling Pack Board of Directors for USD and is a Trustee at the University of South Dakota Foundation. Michelle owns Maloney Real Estate and Property Management in Vermillion where she lives with her husband Kevin Murley (MFA 96').

Daniel Mourlam

Associate Professor and Chair of Teacher Residency & Education

Daniel Mourlam earned his Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Northern Iowa in 2015. He joined the University of South Dakota in 2015 and teaches courses in educational technology, secondary teaching methods, and STEM Education. His research focus is at the intersection of digital technologies and media with the beliefs and knowledge of pre- and in-service teachers, PK-12 learners, and university faculty. Prior to joining the university, he was a technology coordinator, teacher, technology specialist, and project manager at both PK12 and post-secondary institutions.

Megan Red Shirt-Shaw

Director of Native Student Services

Megan Red Shirt-Shaw (Oglala Lakota) earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in English and her Master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Higher Education. She has worked in undergraduate admissions, college counseling, and student success at the University of Pennsylvania, Questbridge, Santa Clara University, Albuquerque Academy, and the 7th Gen Summer Program. She is currently the Director of Native Student Services at the University of South Dakota and a PhD student in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development with a focus on Higher Education and a minor in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is a member of the Board of Overseers at Harvard University. Her favorite phrase her mother ever taught her in Lakota is “Weksuye, Ciksuye, Miksuye” meaning “I remember, I remember you, remember me.” 

Matthew Schmitz

USD Student

Matthew Schmitz is a junior majoring in Medical Biology with minors in Chemistry and Neuroscience. He is initially from Sioux Falls, South Dakota where he attended high school in Brandon. An early passion for medicine led him to attend the University of South Dakota to pursue a pre-medical discipline. Post-undergraduate plans include attending the Sanford School of Medicine at USD. A few of his dedicated involvements include SARS-CoV-2 research with the Huber Lab, tutoring for the TRiO program, and playing percussion at a local church. Matthew is a recipient of the Presidential Alumni Scholarship and is also a fellow in the Sanford School of Medicine Alumni Student Scholar Program.

Haoran Sun

Associate Professor

Haoran Sun earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Jilin University. Prior to joining the Department of Chemistry at the University of South Dakota (USD), he worked on fluorinated metalloporphyrins and highly reactive nucleophilic fluorinating reagents at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Sun joined the USD Department of Chemistry in 2008, and he teaches organic chemistry and electrochemistry courses for both undergraduate and graduate students. He also routinely mentors undergraduate and graduate research, which provides students indispensable hands-on learning experience outside the classroom. His lab’s research focuses on study of fluorinated materials for renewable energy generation and storage, as well as developing new fluorination methods for medicinal applications. He has authored and co-authored five book chapters and 84 peer-reviewed journal articles, and he obtained four U.S. patents. Awards include the NSF CAREER award and the USD President's Award for Research Excellence. Dr. Sun enjoys working with students and supporting their future success.

Susan Tuve

Senior Director of Planned Giving, USD Foundation

Susan Tuve attended the University of South Dakota for two years and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in anthropology (a degree not available at USD at the time). The experience at both schools gave her an appreciation for the faculty support and academic and service opportunities afforded at USD as opposed to a much larger university. With a liberal arts background she had a successful career in the business world as a trust and investment banker. She retired in 2018 from the University of South Dakota Foundation, an entity dedicated to raising private dollars for support of the University of South Dakota. She and her husband are chaperones for the USD Chamber Singers when they go on tour. She is an avid Coyote fan. Her hobbies include reading, biking and jigsaw puzzles.


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