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IdeaFest 2014 at USD to feature student research, guest lectures

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Student research will be on display for the university community during IdeaFest 2014, April 8-9, at the University of South Dakota.

IdeaFest is an annual event at USD that highlights accomplishments in graduate and undergraduate research, creative scholarship and academic engagement. This year’s two-day program features more than 200 presentations from more than 500 students, including student poster sessions, oral presentations and art exhibitions. The IdeaFest speaker series also features prominent guest lecturers Richard Sayre, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the New Mexico Consortium, and Ellen Gustafson, sustainable food system activist, innovator and co-founder of Food Tank: the Food Think Tank – an organization dedicated to highlighting ideas in agriculture and food systems.

Sayre, who was once selected by Nature magazine as one of the “five crop researchers who could change the world,” will deliver his lecture “Making Next Generation Biofuel Systems Work” at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8 in the Muenster University Center Ballroom. Gustafson will present her address, “Leading Change and Innovation” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9 at Aalfs Auditorium inside Slagle Hall. The IdeaFest speaker series is sponsored by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, and the Center for Academic and Global Engagement, in addition to various campus partners.

Established in 1992 as a celebration of academic and cultural diversity at USD, IdeaFest is hosted by the Center for Academic Engagement, Council for Undergraduate Research and Sponsored Activity, USD Graduate School, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the USD Office of Academic Affairs. For more information about IdeaFest 2014, including extended biographies of the guest speakers, please go to

A photo of Sayre is available for download at A photo of Gustafson is available for download at


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 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News