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Education Students Awarded $10,000 Scholarships

Image Randi Johnson and Alanna Schmeichel USD education students Randi Johnson and Alanna Schmeichel, recipients of the premier $10,000 Jeanne Spilde Gonzenbach Scholarships.

VERMILLION, S.D. — The University of South Dakota School of Education has awarded the first of its new premier scholarships of $10,000 each to a junior and senior who plan to teach in South Dakota.

The Jeanne Spilde Gonzenbach Scholarship will be awarded annually starting with the 2016-2017 school year to two outstanding students who have a passion for teaching, financial need and hold majors in elementary, secondary or special education.

The first winners are senior Randi Johnson, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and junior Alanna Schmeichel, of Humboldt, South Dakota, both members of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

Johnson, who’s majoring in English with a minor in speech communications, has wanted to be a teacher since she was a high school freshman and plans to stay in South Dakota because she can make a difference here.

“Some students don’t have the best home life, so I try to be the best role model I can and want them to feel safe and comfortable in learning. My teachers changed my life and I hope to do the same,” she said.

Schmeichel, who’s pursuing majors in both elementary education and special education, said her passion for teaching stems from a desire to inspire students so they can realize their potential. She wants to work in the state after graduation because of tradition, family and home.

“South Dakota needs strong teachers who are dedicated to teach their students, despite wages, diversity and supplies. I want to teach because all children deserve equal opportunities to learn,” she said.


USD's School of Education is transformative in preparing students both inside and outside the classroom. Its research- and practitioner-based programs train future educators, counselors, leaders, fitness and sport-related professionals for successful careers. The school focuses on a comprehensive learning experience, lifelong learning and developing professionals grounded in best practice. The school’s divisions include counseling and psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, kinesiology and sport management, and teacher residency and education.


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 84 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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News