VERMILLION, SD – Tyler Seidel, a University of South Dakota biology major and Hunkpapa Lakota (Standing Rock), has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation award for graduate study.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” said Seidel, a graduate of T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre, South Dakota. “It provides a lot of opportunity for graduate school, internships and travel abroad studies.”
The Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides an annual stipend and cost-of-education allowance as fellows work toward a research-based master's or doctoral degree in STEM fields. Seidel will pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in ecology, evolution and behavior
Seidel credits his success to some of the early research opportunities he had at USD including the NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates program where he studied the interaction between insect and fish species on the Missouri River.
“My first experience was in a research position. It really encouraged me to reach out to other labs and test what I was interested in,” he said.
Seidel has traveled all over the United States presenting his research at different academic conferences and symposiums. He took first place at the annual American Indian Science and Engineering Society conference in Denver, Colorado this Fall, and he recently returned from the Posters on the Hill competition in Washington D.C.
Seidel’s biggest piece of advice is to get involved on campus in groups or research positions.
“If you demonstrate the passion that you want to be of help and do the work required, you will find a lot of people ready to help you succeed,” Seidel said.