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USD Physical Therapy Student Awarded Prestigious NCAA Scholarship

Miranda Ristau playing basketball for Northern State University. Miranda Ristau holds the Northern State women's record for points in a single season. Her four-year GPA at Northern State was 4.0.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Miranda Ristau, physical therapy graduate student at the University of South Dakota and former honorable mention All-American basketball player at Northern State University, in Aberdeen, South Dakota, has been awarded a prestigious post-graduate academic scholarship by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Ristau graduated from Northern State University with an undergraduate degree in biology in spring 2018, and the following fall she began her studies in USD’s graduate program of physical therapy.

Ristau, a native of Warner, South Dakota, earned the NCAA scholarship because of her remarkably accomplished athletic and academic career. Not only did Ristau earn Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year honors following her senior year as a basketball player for the Wolves, she held a 4.0 grade point average for her entire academic career, including being named to the dean’s list every semester while she attended Northern State. In addition to being named an honorable mention All-American basketball player as a senior, she was also recognized three times as a member of the NSIC All-Academic team, and was selected as the NSIC female student-athlete of the year for the 2017-2018 school year.

Each year the NCAA awards 21 post-graduate scholarships to both female and male NCAA student –athletes who are continuing their academic work following completion of their undergraduate degrees.

“I was shocked and humbled to be named a recipient of this scholarship,” said Ristau.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


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