By: SDSU Marketing & Communications

South Dakota State University has received a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to provide Native American and economically challenged students with research and educational experiences.

The 10-week summer program, officially known as the Future Agriculture and Science Taskforce Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates, gives students a $6,000 stipend each year for two years. It will start in May 2018.

“The FAST fellowship is unique in that it brings stakeholders from academia, industry and business together in providing students with research experiences and soft skills they will need to become successful in their future careers,” said Madhav Nepal, an associate professor in the Department of Biology and Microbiology. “I hope this project becomes an example to many future programs to inspire American Indians and other students to enter the STEM workforce.”

In their first year in the cohort, students will receive training at South Dakota State to prepare for careers in the food, agriculture, natural resources or human sciences areas or academia. The second year has the students participating in a career-oriented industry internship.

Students from South Dakota State University, Oglala Lakota College and the region’s tribal colleges will be recruited to participate.

“This experience will bring top students from tribal colleges and SDSU together to cultivate scholars and future leaders within the agricultural industry. Students will have the opportunity to engage in research, community outreach and professional development,” said Becky Bott-Knutson, dean of SDSU’s Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College. “We’re excited to bring our first cohort of student participants to campus this summer.”

For more information, visit, call (605) 688-5971 or email

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