Mines News

Release Date Friday, April 29, 2016

SD Mines Alumnus David LaPorte Named 2016 Fulbright Scholar

RAPID CITY, S.D. (April 29, 2016) – South Dakota School of Mines & Technology alumnus David LaPorte has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to Guatemala in engineering from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. LaPorte will be researching at Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, with the cooperation of Coordinadora Nacional para le Reduccion de Desastres, as part of a project to develop cost-effective ways for residents of at-risk communities to monitor the movement of the large landslides on which they live.

"David was one of our top students to graduate last year and I am very pleased that he has applied for and earned a Fulbright Scholarship. He will make a tremendous difference in the world," said SD Mines President Heather Wilson.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

LaPorte will help to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and the people of Guatemala as part of the Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States, designed to build relations between the U.S. and other countries to solve global challenges. He will join the over 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists who have undertaken Fulbright grants in over 160 countries since the program began in 1946. 

LaPorte graduated from SD Mines in 2015 with a bachelor’s in geological engineering and a minor in geospatial technology and a 4.0 GPA.

During his tenure at Mines, he worked for a geotechnical consulting company in Nebraska on a six-month co-op, studied for a semester in Paris, France, and spent a summer volunteering with Engineers Without Borders designing a water treatment system for a rural university and mapping local watersheds in Carmen Pampa, Bolivia.

With a lifelong passion for geology arising from a youth spent outdoors in the southern Appalachians, he was president of the geology club and vice president of the student government at SD Mines. 

LaPorte was awarded the $10,000 Tau Beta Pi fellowship in 2015, given to a select group nationwide to finance a year of graduate study. After graduating from SD Mines, LaPorte began pursuing graduate education at Colorado School of Mines. 

Fulbright scholars address critical global challenges – from sustainable energy and climate change to public health and food security – in all areas, while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the U.S. and the world. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 54 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who have received Pulitzer Prizes and 33 who have served as a head of state or government.

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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.