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USD Sponsored High Schools Students Earn Honors at International Health Conference

Sophia VanBuskirk, a student at Harrisburg High School and member of South Dakota HOSA, celebrates. Sophia VanBuskirk, a student at Harrisburg High School and member of South Dakota HOSA, celebrates after winning a first place prize in the Health Career Photography category at the International HOSA conference recently held in Dallas.

Vermillion, S.D. – Six South Dakota high school students who are members of the South Dakota HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) Future Health Professionals were crowned champions at the recent 2018 HOSA International Leadership Conference, held in Dallas.

South Dakota HOSA is an initiative sponsored by the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine and the South Dakota Area Health Education Center.

Sophia VanBuskirk, a student at Harrisburg High School, was awarded first place for her entry in the Health Career Photography category, and a five-person team from Iroquois High School won for their submission in the Health Education category. Iroquois team members were Hayley Geyer, Kaitlyn Maas, Sean McManus, Addison Reed and Caleb Waldner.

Seven other South Dakotans placed in the top ten in three other categories, making this the most successful conference for South Dakota competitors since South Dakota HOSA was organized in 2012.

HOSA was nationally organized in 1976 as a means to inspire high school students to pursue careers in the health sciences, and there are now more than 230,000 HOSA members in 48 states. In South Dakota, HOSA boasts nearly 850 members in 30 different high schools. Leadership for the organization in South Dakota is provided by the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine.


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


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