Augustana Announces STEM Scholars Program for Fall 2023

New Program Funded by South Dakota Space Grant Consortium
By Jill Wilson | May 02, 2023

Augustana University is excited to announce a new STEM Scholars Program made possible through a more than $30,000 Project Innovation Grant (PIG) from the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium (SDSGC), established by NASA in 1991.

The goal of the grant provided by the SDSGC is to build interdisciplinary programs at institutions of higher learning related to NASA’s mission and in support of programs that serve to strengthen STEM education in the state. In staying with this mission, the Augustana STEM Scholars Program hopes to provide a diverse group of students with a strong foundation for their academic and professional success — allowing them to get a head start on their STEM-related education.

“We are extremely grateful to the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium for their support of the new program. Getting students on campus a few days early to give them a jump start on their new STEM career, connecting them with other STEM students, and adding experiences that support their identity in STEM will enhance the innovative educational experience that we provide at Augie. We are excited to start this new program that will help highlight the strong work done across the sciences at Augustana,” said Dr. Nathan Grau, associate professor of physics and chair of the Department of Physics.

As part of the Augustana STEM Scholars Program, students will have the opportunity to arrive on campus a week early and network with their peers while also participating in a STEM Career Engagement Orientation and 2-credit mathematical modeling course. The course, which will allow students to work collaboratively with other students to solve real-world problems, will take place on campus from Aug. 19-23, prior to the start of Fall Semester 2023.

“Many students are initially interested in STEM majors, but may be derailed by a math course. By introducing math concepts through modeling, students can acquire the necessary skill set while also gaining an understanding of how it can be applied. Moreover, by taking ownership of their projects, students are more likely to retain what they have learned and be more successful in future courses,” said Dr. Carl Olimb, associate professor of mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Augustana STEM Scholars will also meet periodically throughout the fall semester, providing them with opportunities to meet with alumni who are in STEM-related careers, as well as the opportunity to visit businesses in STEM fields, such as Raven Industries, POET and the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center.

“Augustana is fortunate to reside in the Sioux Falls region, which offers robust applied-learning opportunities for students. We are excited to see how these leaders can use their gifts to make a difference within the community and their field of study more broadly,” said Billie Streufert, Augustana assistant vice provost of student success & engagement.

For more information about the Augustana STEM Scholars Program, interested prospective and incoming first-year students should complete the registration form at or email with questions. The program is available to a limited number of students at no cost.

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