RAPID CITY, S.D. (Dec. 5, 2016) – Citizens in and
around Rapid City will benefit from engineering projects designed to solve
real-world problems through a new undergraduate honors program announced today
by the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
Students accepted into the SD Mines Honors Program
starting next fall will be part of teams of future engineers and scientists who
complete one or more community projects during the course of their degree.
Each year about 5 percent of the incoming freshmen
class, or about 30 exceptional students, and some highly motivated sophomores
will be accepted into the program. As a result, dozens of science and
engineering projects benefitting the community will be tackled within a few
Mines seniors have long been tasked with design
projects that benefit the community – everything from developing adaptive
equipment for people with disabilities to assessing and fixing the drainage
around the Black Hills Playhouse, to designing and building a greenhouse, to
writing software for the Dahl Museum.
The new South Dakota Mines Honors Program will build
on this concept and get students involved earlier in community-based project
leadership. This project-based approach is complemented by an array of
leadership and professional development opportunities to round out the rigorous
academic program at Mines.
“To our knowledge, no other university offers an
honors program quite like this. Over time, the engagement of teams of
engineering and science students each semester on problems that matter to the
community will make Rapid City an even better place to live,” said South Dakota
Mines President Heather Wilson. “It will also provide a great added benefit for
exceptional students to develop as leaders in engineering and science, solving
Four projects currently underway illustrate the kinds
of projects that Mines students will be engaged in. Mines students are:
facilities and developing a site plan that focuses on problem areas such as
drainage issues, road/trail access and maintenance of a fruit tree orchard for
Youth and Family Services Fullerton Farm in Box Elder.
an ecologically sound wastewater treatment system and a conceptual master plan
for the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation.
drainage, lighting and other facilities upgrades at the Rushmore Little League
a system to test reliability and improve design of low-cost, robust wheelchairs
for the humanitarian, faith-based nonprofit Free Wheelchair Mission, which
provides wheelchairs for free to people with disabilities living in developing
The science, technology, engineering and math degrees offered
at Mines are already challenging. Students get personal attention in small
classes, and 75 percent of Mines students would qualify for the academically-oriented
honors programs at most universities.
“This new honors program will offer an exceptional cohort
of students the opportunity to develop leadership and problem-solving skills
while working on real-world problems in our community,” Wilson said.
To graduate from the SD Mines Honors Program
four semesters of community-based project leadership experiences.
in four honors experiences intended to broaden a student’s perspective and
develop their ability to understand and tackle the most difficult problems of
the 21st century.
at least two semesters in an elected or appointed leadership position in a
club, team, organization, professional society, fraternity or sorority, or hold
an analogous or more significant leadership position as determined by the Dean
the Mines Advantage professional development program.
The university has established a community advisory
board, which will meet for the first time on Dec. 20, to help identify suitable
problems for Mines students to work on, as well as recommend other honors
experiences. Advisory board members may encourage and solicit community
organizations to submit potential projects.
All students who are applying as freshmen to SD Mines
for the class entering Fall 2017 will have an opportunity to apply for the honors
program. Selection will be competitive and based on academic excellence,
commitment to service and leadership potential. Honors program students will
have the option of living in the honors section of the university dormitories. Honors
program students will also have preference for on campus housing as
Click on the SD Mines Honors Program webpage for additional details and contact information.