Vermillion, S.D. – It was a year of firsts for Alex Bergeson, an incoming student at the University of South Dakota from Mitchell, S.D. Not only did Bergeson finish in first place with the best time (4.53 seconds) in the 2018 South Dakota High School Rodeo Finals steer wrestling event, he also became the first recipient of the Nolop Institute Scholarship for Medical Biology at USD.
The Nolop Scholarship is named after alumnus Keith Nolop, a medical doctor who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from USD in 1975 and had a distinguished career in drug development in the pharmaceutical industry.
Scholarship recipients receive an award that covers four years of in-state tuition and fees, books and room and board as an undergraduate. They also must plan to attend medical school.
Bergeson said the generous scholarship and academic offerings at USD were big influences on his college choice, even if that meant not competing in rodeo on the college circuit.
“With the Nolop Scholarship and what USD has to offer academically, I felt this was the place for me,” Bergeson said. “I wanted to put my academics before rodeoing in college.”
Science was always one of Bergeson’s best subject, he said, and he decided to study biology and become a physician after considering other majors and career options.
“With science, you are always progressing and learning more,” said Bergeson. “You can learn something new every day.”
Bergeson said he also looks forward to performing research at USD. His scholarship includes a position as an undergraduate researcher in a university laboratory.