Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New Pre-Health Pathways Announced at SD Mines

Applied biological sciences major Sydney Sayler prepares samples in a campus laboratory.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (March 22, 2016) – After a six-month review and planning effort, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology announced today that it is strengthening the way it advises and supports the increasing number of pre-med and pre-health professions students pursuing their bachelor’s degrees at South Dakota Mines.

The new pre-health pathways initiative strengthens support for students in the areas of advising, research, internships and professional experiences, networking opportunities, seminars and student organizations in order to prepare students for graduate studies toward becoming doctors, dentists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physician assistants and other health-related professionals.

“Mines has always had graduates who go on to medical school, dental school, or physical and occupational therapy school. With the addition of the applied biology degree in 2014 and the increasing demand for health-care professionals, we have more and more students who are preparing for health-related careers. We are changing the way we support them to help them be successful and help meet the growing need for health-care providers,” said SD Mines President Heather Wilson.

As part of this effort, Mines has formed an external advisory board to assist the university. Members of the advisory board include: Mick Gibbs, president, Rapid City Regional Hospital; Jay Hammerquist, CEO, Black Hills Orthopedic and Spine Center; Phil Hartman, Ph.D., dean of the College of Science & Engineering at Texas Christian University; Mary Himmler, M.D., Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center; Barbara Hobbs, Ph.D., R.N, assistant dean, South Dakota State University West River Nursing Department; David Klocke, M.D., medical director, Rapid City Regional Hospital; William May, CEO, Black Hills Surgical Hospital; Dan Petereit, M.D., Rapid City Regional Hospital; Darrel Riddle, former CEO, Rapid City Medical Center; Matthew Simmons, M.D., associate dean, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine-Rapid City campus.

Health-care professions are among the most in-demand in the United States. Health-care occupations are expected to add 2.3 million positions from 2014-2024, more than any other sector, including practitioners and technical occupations requiring advanced education beyond a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pre-health is not a separate major at Mines. Graduates from any major can prepare for health professions.

“I’m a mechanical engineering major. I had a great internship with a medical device company, and what I realized from that experience is that I really want to work with patients. So, I’ve taken all of the electives I need in biology and chemistry to be ready to go to medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon,” said Rebecca Ceremuga, a mechanical engineering major with a pre-med focus. “I’m shadowing a surgeon here in Rapid City, and I think it’s great that the School of Mines is going to strengthen their support for pre-health students even more.”

In addition to the academic advisor in their department, selected faculty members will specialize in pre-health advising to help students ensure they have all of the pre-requisites for their post-graduate studies and help them secure internships and research experiences essential for their success.

“I’ve been able to conduct research right away and interact with professors in rigorous classes that are 20-25 students at the most. My medical school interviewers were very excited I was a Mines student, saying we are taught at a higher level than most universities,” said Sydney Sayler, an applied biological sciences major.

Additional details about South Dakota Mines’ new Pathways to Health Professions may be found at www.sdsmt.edu/pre-health.


About SD Mines  

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 2,778 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate is 96 percent, with an average starting salary of $62,929. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on Facebook and Twitter.


Contact: Fran LeFort, (605) 394-6082, Fran.LeFort@sdsmt.edu

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