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Two USD Students Awarded National Goldwater Scholarship

Rachel Rucker and Clara Kirkvold headshot. Rachel Rucker (left) and Clara Kirkvold (right) were awarded a national Goldwater Scholarship.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Two students in the College of Arts & Science at the University of South Dakota have been awarded a national Goldwater Scholarship for next year. Rachel Rucker is a sophomore majoring in chemistry and medical biology, and Clara Kirkvold is a junior majoring in chemistry. Rucker and Kirkvold are both students in the Honors Program.

This year there were 211 total Goldwater Scholars consisting of undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. A total of 1,280 students were nominated by campus representatives from over 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide. Of the 211 students chosen, 110 are men and 99 are women. Virtually all recipients intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree and many have dual majors in natural sciences, mathematics, engineering and computer science. The scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 per year.

“We are incredibly proud of Rachel and Clara,” said President Gestring. “Being selected for this prestigious scholarship is a testament to their hard work and determination in furthering their education. They have bright futures, and we are privileged to be part of their journey.”

Congress established the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate. The purpose of the foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


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