Augustana Research Institute Requesting Applications From Area Organizations

Beacom Research Fellows Program Helps Provide Access to Research
By Jill Wilson | August 15, 2023
ARI Beacom Research Fellows

The Augustana Research Institute (ARI) is seeking applications from eligible organizations to partner with the Beacom Research Fellows Program in the fall of 2023, with the deadline to apply on Sept. 1. The program, endowed by Miles and Lisa Beacom, provides organizations with limited resources access to research, analytics and field-specific expertise in operations and data management.

“Through this program, the Augustana Research Institute works alongside mission-driven organizations and supports them in their work, which has had a tremendous impact in the community,” said Dr. Suzanne Smith, associate vice president of enterprise data analytics and ARI.

Once selected, partner organizations work with Augustana students who have been selected as Beacom Research Fellows to complete collaborative research projects on their behalf. The fellows provide close consultation through the entire research process, from refining research questions to collecting and analyzing data, making informed decisions and reporting to stakeholders — all at no cost to the partner organization.

“Beacom Fellows bring a range of skills, from data science to conducting interviews and surveys to policy analysis. Whether you need to collect data to bolster a grant application, design a program evaluation or better understand community needs, this program can help,” said Smith. “You will also be helping Augustana students by providing a unique learning opportunity that builds research skills and professionalism, as well as exposes the students, who hail from around the world, to the great work organizations are doing in our region.”

Beacom Research Fellows have previously designed and carried out research instrumental in measuring the gap between child care costs and affordability in our region. Fellows have also contributed to the community’s understanding of mental health needs across diverse populations. They are currently conducting program evaluations of addiction prevention curriculum, treatment and recovery programs, as well as resiliency training for the community’s childcare workforce.

“It was helpful to have the support of Suzy and the fellows to think through what data would be most important to collect, verified scales we could use and the data analysis. I could not have done these things on my own!” said Worthy WE Founder Sarah Vining, after working with the Beacom Research Fellows Program.

José Ángel Cruz Medina ‘23, now an Augustana alumnus, said having the opportunity to participate in the program as a Beacom Fellow expanded and further developed their research skills. 

“Taking courses, we accumulate a lot of knowledge, but this program provides the opportunity to practically use these skills, as well as help the community. I think having this program will further credit Augustana as a positive force in the Sioux Falls community,” said Cruz Medina.

Partner organizations are selected through a competitive application process based on the potential for the program to contribute to the organization’s mission and Sioux Falls community. Eligible organizations include government agencies, nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs that strive to improve the quality of life in Sioux Falls.

To learn more and apply to become a partner organization of the Beacom Research Fellows Program or a Beacom Research Fellow, visit

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