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BACK2BACK Goldwater Scholars, Hope Juntunen and Vaille Swenson
BACK2BACK Goldwater Scholars, Hope Juntunen (left) and Vaille Swenson are students in DSU’s science programs. Both will graduate in May 2019.

Back2Back Goldwater Scholars

Academics, Admissions, College of Arts and Sciences

Dakota State University is a small school, but students in its programs accomplish big things.

Case in point, two of DSU’s science students have been chosen as Goldwater Scholars, Hope Juntunen in 2017, and Vaille Swenson in 2018.

“Hope and Vaille have extremely ambitious academic objectives, and have worked together tirelessly to build a vibrant and recognized culture of undergraduate scientific research and scholarship at DSU,” said Dr. Michael Gaylor, assistant professor of chemistry.

“Their unprecedented scholarly achievements have inspired students, faculty, and administrators from all walks of DSU academic life, and now with back-to-back Goldwater Scholarship awards to their credit, this dynamic duo is driven to show the rest of the world that DSU is a dark horse of undergraduate scientific research excellence.”

Both students note DSU’s small class sizes have helped their academic efforts at DSU, along with individual attention from faculty such as Gaylor and biology professor Dr. Patrick Videau.

“The biggest advantage to studying science at DSU is definitely the guidance and inspiration of the wonderful science faculty,” said Juntunen. “Without these awesome individuals, I would not have learned to become a diverse problem solver or been exposed to several unique opportunities,” she stated.

These opportunities include the national and international conventions she and other DSU science students have attended, such as the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) World Congress, the American Society of Microbiology (ASM), and the 2018 Gordon Conference on the Origins of Life. Juntunen and Swenson have also been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

“My extensive experience conducting research at DSU will undoubtedly make me a strong candidate as I continue my scientific career into graduate school,” said Swenson. She has accepted a summer internship position at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where she will be researching viruses and cancer cell lines.  

The Goldwater Scholarship program serves as a living memorial to honor Sen. Barry Goldwater. It provides students with $7,500 per year. For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship program click here