RAPID CITY, S.D. (Nov. 24, 2013) – Travis Davis, a senior
mechanical engineering major at the South Dakota School of Mines &
Technology, has been selected as a George J. Mitchell Scholar.
Nearly 300 applicants nationwide sought the 12
scholarship positions for the Class of 2015. The US-Ireland Alliance selected
and notified recipients on Saturday. Recipients will spend one year of postgraduate study in any discipline
offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Applicants are judged on three criteria – scholarship, leadership and a
sustained commitment to community and public service.
Davis, of Camp Crook, will study bioengineering at Trinity
“Travis Davis is an exceptional young leader and scholar,
and all of us at Mines are very happy for him,” said Heather Wilson, president
of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
The School of Mines has not had any applicants for the
Rhodes, Marshall, Gates or Mitchell scholarships in many years. Wilson, a
Rhodes Scholar who has served on the Rhodes selection committee in the Rocky
Mountain region in the past, said, “Our best students can compete for these
prestigious scholarships with students from any university in the country. Some
of them needed to be encouraged to apply. We had three applicants this year for
the Rhodes and Mitchell. All of them were very competitive, and Travis was
fortunate to have earned the Mitchell. He will be a great role model for
in his college career, Davis worked at John Deere as an engineering intern; at
Caterpillar, ensuring diesel engines met EPA standards; and at NASA with four
different internships. His mother, born without a hip joint, had undergone
multiple surgeries, and when Davis began college, a recurrence of his mother’s
health crisis worsened to the point that an amputation, a hemipelvectomy, was
the only procedure that would save her life.
at NASA, Davis designed cryogenic valves that were printed out of metal using a
cutting-edge manufacturing process known as Direct Metal Laser Sintering. The
process is also used to develop custom prosthetics. While completing his
projects at NASA, Davis always linked the technologies he was working with to
his mother’s struggles.
up on a cattle and sheep ranch in one of the most rural parts of the United
States, Davis is a volunteer firefighter, a pilot and a junior high basketball
referee. He has helped his close-knit community, which supported his family by
establishing a fundraiser to make their house disabled accessible, assisted
with farm and ranch chores and in checking on his mother.
being courted by NASA, Davis believes he must help others avoid the hardships
his mother endured. He has an “unfaltering passion … driven by an intimate
understanding of what is at stake.”
Mines, Davis is a
Sigma Phi member.
am ecstatic to be considered a George J. Mitchell Scholar. Receiving support
from my family, my community and SDSM&T made this dream a reality.
Hopefully my success will help students to realize that when opportunities are
offered, you should at least give it a shot,” Davis said.
The Mitchell Scholarship Program provides tuition,
accommodations, a living expenses stipend and an international travel stipend.
Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines
& Technology is a science and engineering research university located in
Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The
university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a
student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is
$62,400 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at