University of South Dakota students landed 10 national scholarships or fellowships this spring, including a Truman, two Fulbrights and two Goldwaters. National scholarships and fellowships, which offer significant prestige, educational and networking opportunities in addition to monetary benefits, are highly competitive and often draw hundreds of applicants for only a handful of such scholarships.

"Not only is this a record year for USD in terms of breadth of scholarships awarded, but no other regional institution came close to having this many different national scholarships awarded to their student body in 2016, said USD President James W. Abbott. "It reflects well on both the excellence of our students and the education they receive at USD."

Truman Scholarship

Joshua Arens, Yankton, S.D.

Chemistry, Math Majors/Spanish Minor

Joshua Arens’ academic success and leadership accomplishments have earned him a 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which provides up to$30,000 for graduate study. He is one of only 54 college juniors nationwide who were named Truman scholars this year out of a pool of 775 candidates nominated by 305 colleges and universities. Arens’ research interests focus on the effects of climate change on agricultural communities worldwide. On campus, Arens works in the chemistry lab of Associate Professor Haoran Sun, Ph.D., developing novel fluorinated compounds that have applications in solar cells, batteries and various sustainable technologies. This research makes up the backbone of his honors thesis. During summer 2016, he is performing research at the University of California Berkeley Center for Sustainable Polymers.

Capitalizing on his interest in politics—he has also interned in the Sioux Falls office of former U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson—Arens said he hopes to use his scientific training to inform policy decisions while working at a public policy institute or a non-governmental organization. The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to our 33rd president. The foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service.

Joshua Arens photo

Gilman Scholarship

Christina Bushinger, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Anthropology, International Studies Majors/Biology Minor

An interest in nutrition and anthropology garnered Christina Bushinger a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to travel to Peru this summer and participate in an internship at Potato Park, a conservation organization dedicated to preserving native potato diversity and traditional agricultural knowledge.

In May, Bushinger began her summer travels by studying on a USD faculty-led trip to Lima and Cuzco, where she took part in an intensive Spanish-language program, after which she began a month-long internship in Potato Park, a land reserve outside of Cuzco dedicated to preserving hundreds of varieties of native potato varieties and home to 6,000 indigenous Quechua who manage the land and share their traditional knowledge.

Bushinger is one of more than 1,150 American undergraduate students from 377 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs.

Christina Bushinger photo

Udall Scholarship

Tamee Livermont, Martin, S.D.

Medical Biology Major/Interdisciplinary Sciences, Communication Minors

Tamee Livermont has been selected as a 2016 Udall Scholar. A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Livermont was chosen for the scholarship based on her interest in becoming a neonatologist serving Native American newborn infants and their mothers. She plans to use her education and background to counter drug and alcohol abuse through prevention education programs and work as a medical specialist in an Indian Health Services hospital or in a location with a large Native American population. Livermont works in the laboratory of Lisa McFadden, Ph.D., assistant professor of basic biomedical sciences at USD, studying how to reduce drug-seeking behavior in rats in relation to methamphetamine addiction. She is also a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the USD Medical Biology Club.

The Udall Foundation selects scholarship recipients based on their commitment to careers in the environment, American Indian health care, or tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement.

Tamee Livermont photo

Critical Language Scholarship

Jenna Hayes, Sioux Falls, S.D.

English, Anthropology Majors/Russian Minor

Jenna Hayes, a junior who's pursuing a double major in English and anthropology, is the recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. Hayes will go to Russia to further her learning of the language and culture.

The trip is funded through the Critical Language Scholarship Program in the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Scholarship recipients are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their professional careers.

Jenna Hayes photo

Kaleigh "Rose" McLaughlin, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

International Studies, History Majors

Kaleigh (Rose) McLaughlin is the recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. McLaughlin is majoring in international studies and history and will go to Azerbaijan this summer to further her learning of the language and culture.

The trip is funded through the Critical Language Scholarship Program in the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Scholarship recipients are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their professional careers.

McLaughlin photo

National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Fellowship

Martin Muñoz, Vermillion, S.D.

Political Science/International Studies Majors

Martin Muñoz, a political science and international studies major, earned fellowship through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program to study civil conflict management and peace science at the University of North Texas this summer.

Muñoz, who will be a senior at the University of South Dakota in the fall, is researching civil-military relations and political violence in Colombia and his native country, Peru, as part of his honors research thesis. He will work with senior faculty at the program’s host university to develop theoretical propositions that are tested empirically using tools such as a geographic information system, which allows users to analyze and present geographical data.

Through his job as an undergraduate researcher at USD’s Government Research Bureau, Muñoz already has firsthand experience with various data analysis tools. He plans to attend graduate school in international relations.

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation.

Martin Munoz

Fulbright Scholarship

Angela Luedke, Omaha, Nebraska

International Studies, French Majors/Political Science Minor

Angela Luedke ('13) will serve as an English teaching assistant in Morocco through a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Luedke’s Fulbright experience will mark the second time she has lived in Morocco; she spent a semester studying abroad in the country during her junior year. She is currently working in an AmeriCorps agency in Omaha assisting low-income students in getting into and succeeding in college.

Luedke is one of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research and provide expertise abroad for the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. English teaching assistants spend 10 months in their assignments.

She will begin her assignment in September 2016.

Angela Luedke photo

Christopher Zimmer, Rapid City, S.D.

Political Science, History Majors

Christopher Zimmer ('16) will serve as an English teaching assistant in Greece through a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Zimmer, a history and political science major originally from Rapid City, has also spent some time in Greece, where he will teach English at a high school in Athens.

Zimmer is one of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research and provide expertise abroad for the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. English teaching assistants spend 10 months in their assignments.

He will begin their assignments in September 2016.

Chris Zimmer photo

Goldwater Scholarship

Jade Fostvedt, Vermillion, S.D.

Chemistry Major/Mathematics Minor

Jade Fostvedt is one of four South Dakotans and 252 sophomores and juniors nationwide to receive the Goldwater scholarship for 2017.

Fostvedt’s career goal is to obtain a doctorate in inorganic chemistry and conduct research in alternative energy and catalysis, teach at a university level and lead a research team comprised of both graduate and undergraduate students.

The scholarship will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 per year. Congress established the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in 1986 to honor Sen. 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.

Jade Fostvedt photo

John Slunecka, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Medical Biology, Chemistry Majors/Interdisciplinary Sciences Minor

John Slunecka is one of four South Dakotans and 252 sophomores and juniors nationwide to receive Goldwater scholarships for next year.

Slunecka’s career goal is to obtain master’s and doctorate degrees in biochemistry and conduct research on protein structures and their effects on macroscopic functions of organisms with a focus on the human species, especially as it applies to diseases.

The scholarship will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 per year. Congress established the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in 1986 to honor Sen. 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.

John Slunecka photo