Science Teachers’ Organization Honors SD EPSCoR

Posted on: February 15, 2018   |   Categories: Announcements, News & Updates

BROOKINGS, SD – The South Dakota Science Teachers’ Association (SDSTA) has named the South Dakota Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (SD EPSCoR) a recipient of its Friend of Science Award.

The award is given annually to organizations that help facilitate the implementation of science in all grades, provide staff development for science educators and enhance cooperative relationships and partnerships between science education and industry. SD EPSCoR was presented the award at the 2018 South Dakota Math and Science Conference in Huron.

SD EPSCoR promotes and supports educators, research faculty and programs in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Part of its mission is to strengthen research and education in STEM, increase science literacy and provide educational opportunities for K-12 students. SD EPSCoR is funded by the National Science Foundation and the State of South Dakota.

“We are honored to be recognized by the SDSTA,” said Mel Ustad, SD EPSCoR Director. “SD EPSCoR works to build partnerships between k-12/higher education, the private sector and state government to align our efforts so the ideas coming out of university-based research contribute to state economic development priorities and the students that are graduated from these programs are ready to fill the jobs that are created as a result.”

One SD EPSCoR program works with the South Dakota Department of Education to administer education/workforce development grants for innovators in career and technical education looking to create or improve programs that allow students to explore STEM-related disciplines. SD EPSCoR grants approximately $170,000 to school districts and educational service providers throughout the state.

This past year SD EPSCoR launched a free database of curriculum enhancement resources for middle and high school teachers that includes lesson plans based on research taking place in South Dakota’s higher education institutions. SD EPSCoR has also worked to strengthen STEM education in K-12 classrooms in rural and tribal schools by establishing a network among the state’s regional science fairs.

“SDSTA relies on a network of educators, STEM professionals and economic development programs working together to enhance tomorrow’s STEM workforce,” said Elizabeth McMillan, President of SDSTA.  “We wanted to recognize SD EPSCoR for working at all levels to lay the foundation for careers for today’s young scientists.”

The South Dakota Science Teachers’ Association is the state’s only comprehensive educational organization dedicated to excellence in science education and communication among members of the science-teaching profession. Membership includes professional scientists, teachers, student teachers, representatives of business and industry and others interested in science education.


About SD EPSCoR:

EPSCoR was started by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enhance research competitiveness by strengthening STEM capacity and capability. SD EPSCoR helps build partnerships between K-12, higher education, state government, and the private sector to enrich research, education, and economic development throughout the state. SD EPSCoR is supported by NSF/EPSCoR Award IIA-1355423 and by the State of South Dakota.

About SDSTA:

The South Dakota Science Teachers Association (SDSTA) seeks to advance, stimulate, extend, improve, and coordinate efforts of science education in all fields of science, at all educational levels.  As a recognized Chapter of NSTA, SDSTA is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of science education without restriction as to field or area of science, grade level, or membership.