Phelps, who is completing his doctoral degree in Adult Higher Education at USD, is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe in South Dakota. He currently coordinates the South Dakota GEAR UP and is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Indian Institute for Innovation. In 2008, Gov. Mike Rounds appointed Phelps to the South Dakota State Board of Education. Because of his efforts working with American Indian students in early college readiness programs and developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Coalition programs at tribal colleges and universities, Phelps was presented with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring during a White House ceremony in January. Phelps earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and his master’s degree in educational technology from Dakota State University.

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