News Releases

Senior lands three scholarships totaling $16K – and coveted summer internship
Release Date Monday, June 2, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (June 2, 2014) – Senior metallurgical engineering major Myriah Santistevan has been selected as the recipient of three prestigious scholarships in the area of extractive metallurgy totaling more than $16,000 – one of which had not been awarded to a South Dakota School of Mines & Technology student in more than a decade.

Supported by the copper industry, the $10,000 Copper Club Scholarship is awarded to 12 students nationwide. Santistevan is the first Mines student to have won the scholarship since 2003. The award aims to prepare exceptional students for careers in fields related to maintenance and expansion of the copper industry.

Santistevan has also been awarded the Society of Mining, Metallurgical and Exploration – Mineral Processing Division “Richard Klimpel” Scholarship, a $2,500 nationally competitive scholarship given to students pursuing education in mineral processing.

The final $3,800 scholarship was awarded by Freeport-McMoRan, the natural resource company where she will spend her summer interning in the organic side of its solvent extraction plant and a new start-up facility, both located in Morenci, Ariz. She left her mark on the company this past academic year, leading a team of students on industry-driven research focused on separating iron and aluminum to improve their sequential metals extraction process in order to produce copper. As part of her design experience, Freeport-McMoRan flew Santistevan and her team to Arizona to visit their operation – leading to her upcoming internship opportunity.  

“Myriah represents the next generation of extractive metallurgical engineers,” said Michael West, Ph.D., associate professor and head of the Department of Materials & Metallurgical Engineering. “During her career at SDSM&T, she has been active in many student organizations on campus,” including as a member of the mini-Baja team, treasurer of the American Welding Society and president of Material Advantage, where she has led many outreach activities to interest young students in science and engineering.

Santistevan has also had a wealth of real-world experience to match her impressive academic career, having interned at both Nucor Steel Nebraska and Newmont Gold Mining and participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates at Mines.

"Mines has one of the top metallurgy and mining undergraduate programs in the nation. These scholarships are a credit to Myriah, our faculty and those who support our program,” said Mines President Heather Wilson.


About SDSM&T

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, on Facebook at and on Twitter at