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University of South Dakota Recognized for Native American Opportunities

VERMILLION, S.D. – The national American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) has recognized the University of South Dakota as one of the nation’s top universities for American Indian students. USD has an active AISES chapter, one of about 200 such chapters in the country.

AISES was organized in 1977 to support and encourage American Indians to pursue careers in various sciences and engineering fields. The organization has awarded almost $12 million in academic scholarships and has provided internships, leadership development and other resources. There are more than 5,600 AISES members across the country.

AISES selected USD for criteria that includes the number of Indigenous students attending the institution and a recognition that it is a place where the community and Indigenous programs support students.

USD’s AISES chapter is led by co-president Amari Weston (Ihanktonwan Nakota, Wagner, South Dakota), co-president Julianna Benge (Sicangu Lakota, Martin, South Dakota), and secretary Josie May (Oglala Lakota, Martin, South Dakota).

“We are honored to serve as a student organization that supports Indigenous scholars at USD," said the AISES members. "The mission of AISES is to increase the representation of Indigenous peoples of North America in traditional STEM studies and careers, including health sciences, social sciences and biomedical research. Our USD AISES chapter contributes to this mission through promoting research, professional development, leadership and culturally relevant opportunities for our student members from tribal nations across the region.”

The honor will be described in a special, upcoming issue of the national AISES magazine, Winds of Change.


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