STEM Professionals

Science Communication Workshops


The Portal to the Public (PoP) approach is a NSF-funded, tested strategy that helps connect public audiences with local researchers and professionals through informal learning organizations. 
If you are a scientist, or STEM professional looking to share your research with a broad audience and engage the community in current research from South Dakota, join us and become a SD Discovery Center Science Communication Fellow!

The application for the Winter/Spring 2024 Fellowship is now open. Please click the button below to submit your application by January 15, 2024. 
If you have any questions, please contact Rhea.


Who are the Fellows?

Science Communication Fellows are scientists, engineers, researchers, graduate students, and other science professionals who have successfully completed a Science Communication Workshop and have been certified through Portal to the Public as current science ambassadors and excellent science communicators.

How can you become a Science Communication Fellow?

  • Participate in the Science Communication Fellowship
  • Develop a fun hands-on activity focused on your research
  • Present your activity at our Portal to the Public Showcase and at 2 other public events within one year
Tuition for the Science Communication Fellowship is $750 per participant.

Thanks to our sponsor SD EPSCoR, tuition will be waived for a limited number of participants.

What are the benefits of becoming a Fellow?

Professional Development:
  • Learn how to effectively communicate your work to diverse audiences
  • Enhance your science communication skills
Free Outreach Programs for the Public:
  • Present your hands-on activity to a general audience through various programs at the SD Discovery Center
  • Take your activity to schools, conferences, and other educational or professional events
  • Demonstrate the broader impacts of your work through multi-generational STEM education and outreach
  • Receive a certification suitable for sharing with supervisors and for grant reports and applications.
Build your Network:
  • Build and strengthen long-term relationships with regional STEM institutions, schools and teachers
  • Draw upon a network of participating Informal Science Institutions, schools, universities, and funding agencies for future collaboration and funding opportunities.

For more information visit Portal to the Public.


If you don’t have the time to commit to a full Fellowship, but still want to improve your science communication skills: participate in one of Crash Course workshops.  These workshops are about 2-3 hours and are offered in different parts of the state at different times throughout the year.

If you have questions or would like to get notified when and where the next Crash Course is offered, please contact Rhea.


Custom science communication workshops are fun, interactive professional development experiences that improve the abilities of content experts to communicate both within their teams and with external audiences. These workshops offer opportunities to learn and practice fundamental communication skills, including using analogies and understandable language, practicing questioning strategies, and crafting messages that convey the importance and relevance of a topic. Workshops can also include development of hands-on activities to help communicate content to non-experts in approachable, engaging ways.

Custom workshops range in length and can be tailored to meet the goals and needs of your group. If desired, training can include individualized follow-up consultation with participants.

To discuss options for custom workshops, contact Rhea.


Cohort Winter 2022 from left to right: Ahana Majumder (Winter 2019 Cohort), Bishnu Karki, Tao Ye, Ilke Celik, Yam Gautam, Mohamed Elfaruk, Jihong Cole-Dai 


  • Ilke Celik, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Watt's Up? | Contact  Ilke
  • Jihong Cole-Dai, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Something Buried in Old Snow? | Contact Jihong
  • Mohamed Elfaruk, Dairy and Food Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Superfood for Super Health | Contact Mohamed
  • Yam Gautam, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Vaccine: Young, Old, or Teen | Contact  Yam
  • Bishnu Karki, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Pack it up | Contact Bishnu
  • Arantxa Urchueguiafornes, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Reimagine Life | Contact Arantxa
  • Tao Ye, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: EZ Water | Contact Tao

Cohort Summer 2021 from left to right: Nabin Dangal, Ruchika Kashyap (Winter 2021 Cohort), Sheetal Jha, Ram Singh, Tejo Bheemasetti


  • Tejo Bheemasetti, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Soil-Water Interactions | Contact Tejo
  • Nabin Dangal, Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: The Right Balance | Contact Nabin
  • Sheetal Jha, Dairy Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Next-Gen Biosanitizer | Contact Sheetal
  • Ram Singh, Chemical and Biological Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: BOB: Biofilm of Bacteria | Contact Ram

Cohort Winter 2021 from left to right: Sunil Subedi, Manisha Rauniyar, Abhilash Kumar Tripathim and Yifeng Huo.


  • Yifeng Huo, Chemistry at USD
    ACTIVITY: The Secret of Bank Notes | Contact Yifeng
  • Saima Ishaq, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Save Energy for the Future | Contact Saima
  • Ruchika Kashyap, Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Let's Stop the Spread! | Contact Ruchika
  • Manisha Rauniyar, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Black Out | Contact Manisha
  • Mike Ray, Marketing and Communications at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Why is Science a Worthy Investment? | Contact Mike
  • Hasan Md Sazadul, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: What's in the Water? | Contact Hasan
  • Sunil Subedi, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Switch on the Sun | Contact Sunil
  • Abhilash Kumar Tripathi, Chemical and Biological Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: The Good, the Bad and the Slimy | Contact Abhilash


SD EPSCoR Fellows
  • Luke Corwin, Physics at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY:  Seeing the Invisible | Contact Luke
  • Katelyn Graber, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Fun in the Sun! | Contact Katelyn
  • Divya Kota, Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Let the Force Guide Your Knees | Contact Divya
  • Ahana Majumder, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Our Saviors | Contact Ahana
  • Ishara Ratnayake, Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: The Teeny World Beyond Our Eyes
  • Daniel Sam, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: DNA Jigsaw | Contact Daniel
NASA@MyLibrary Fellows
  • Jason Ash, Mechanical Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Aerospace Materials 
  • Arjun Ayyanger, Computer Science and Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Optimizer 


  • Mercy Adoma Fosu, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Origin of Chemistry | Contact Mercy
  • Katrina Donovan, Dragonmaterials LLC in Rapid City
    ACTIVITY: 3D Printing: Layer-By-Layer | Contact Kat
  • Kim-Doang Nguyen, Mechanical Engineering at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Move It! | Contact Kim
  • Paul Okello, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Roots are Rooted for Life | Contact Paul
  • Joshua Reineke, Pharmaceutical Sciences at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: NanoMed PLINKO | Contact Josh
  • Mukesh Roy, Mechanical Engineering at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Life Behind the Cell Wall | Contact Mukesh
  • Trevor Van Den Top, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Little Frenemies: Molecular Horseplay | Contact Trevor
  • Rachel Willand-Charnley, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: The Sweet Side of Playing Hide-and-Seek with Cancer | Contact Rachel

Cohort Spring 2019 - II from left to right: Buddhika Prasad Rajapaksha, Prakriti Sharma, Felix Acheampong, Amanda Hyett, Deepak Joshi, Marie Severson, James Young, and Sadia Salam.


  • Felix Acheampong, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Finding New Drugs for Cancer | Contact Felix
  • Amanda Hyett, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: The Carlton of Chemistry | Contact Amanda
  • Deepak Joshi, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Soil is Life, Conserve it. | Contact Deepak
  • Sadia Salam, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Water vs. Sediment | Contact Sadia
  • Marie Severson, Basic Biomedical Sciences at USD
    ACTIVITY: Using Nanoparticles to Reduce Methamphetamin Toxicity | Contact Marie
  • Prakriti Sharma, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Drones for Digital Agriculture | Contact Prakriti
  • Buddhika Prasad Rajapaksha, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Asphalt Pavements | Contact Buddika
  • James Young, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Biological Nitrogen Fixation Feeds Our Food | Contact James

Cohort Fall 2018 from left to right: Bremansu Osa-Andrews, Bhuvan Vemuri, Lindsay Erickson, Amos Dwamena, Timothy Hansen, Alex Rickel, Drew Alton, Paul Gaillard, and Anahita Haghizadeh


SD EPSCoR Fellows
  • Paul Gaillard,  Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: From Fishing to Farming - How Soybeans Can Save Lakes | Contact Paul
  • Timothy Hansen, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: How do we Make Electricity and How Much Does it Cost? | Contact Tim
  • Zhongkui Hong, Biomedical Engineering at USD
    ACTIVITY: How do Cell Mechanics Affect Cardiovascular Disease? | Contact Zhongkui
  • Amos Kwabena Dwamena, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Solving Pollution | Contact Amos
  • Bremansu Osa-Andrews, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: New Drugs Provide Hope for Cancer Patients | Contact Bremansu
  • Alex Rickel, Biomedical Engineering at USD
    ACTIVITY: How strong are your cells? | Contact Alex

NASA@MyLibrary Fellows
  • Drew Alton, Physics at Augustana University
    ACTIVITY: The Gravitational Lensing Game | Contact Drew
  • Lindsay Erickson, Mathematics at Augustana University
    ACTIVITY: Dots and Lines on the Moon | Contact Lindsay
  • Anahita Haghizadeh, Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: A Trip to the Moon | Contact Anahita
  • Bhuvan Vemuri, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Waste to Energy | Contact Bhuvan

Cohort Spring 2018 from left to right: Graduate students Mohamed Elfaruk and Aliza Sigdel (accepting the fellowship award for Srinivas Janaswamy), Graduate student Mukesh Roy, Anamika Prasad, graduate student Josh Feiner, Scott Wood, Rhea Waldman, Jevin Meyerink


  • Srinivas Janaswamy, Dairy and Food Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Biobeads | Contact Srinivas
  • Nathan Jones, Soil Science Division at USDA-NRCS
    ACTIVITY: Soil is Alive!! | Contact Nathan
  • Matti Osterman (Kuykendall), Soil Science Division at USDA-NRCS
    ACTIVITY: Soils Have Layers | Contact Matti
  • Jevin Meyerink, Biomedical Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Rebuilding Bones | Contact Jevin
  • Anamika Prasad, Mechanical Engineering at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Know Your Materials | Contact Anamika
  • Jim Stone, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: What is you water footprint? | Contact Jim
  • Scott Wood, Nano Science and Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Let's Play Cell! | Contact Scott

Cohort Fall 2017 from left to right: Eric Sandhurst, Brooke Long, Scyller Borglum, Rhea Waldman, Riley Paulsen, Shaydel Davis, Jose Gonzalez Hernandez


  • Scyller Borglum, Geology & Geological Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Petroleum Engineering | Contact Scyller
  • Shaydel Davies, Basic Biomedical Sciences at USD
    ACTIVITY: Longterm Effects of Teenage Bullying | Contact Shaydie
  • Jose Gonzalez Hernandez, Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY:  Genomic Sequencing | Contact Jose
  • Brooke Long, Geology & Geological Engineering at SDSMT
    ACTIVITY: Sea Shells of the Past and Present: Environmental Change Through Time | Contact Brooke
  • Riley Paulsen, Basic Biomedical Sciences at USD
    ACTIVITY: Fire! Record and Control Live Cockroach Neurons | Contact Riley
  • Eric Sandhurst, Biomedical Engineering at USD
    ACTIVITY: Bone and Cartilage Repair | Contact Eric
  • Padmapriya Swaminathan, Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Grape Ripening and Optimal Harvest | Contact Priya

Cohort Summer 2017 from left to right: Eric Sandhurst (accepting the fellowship award for Hongli Sun), Raeann Mettler, Karla Otterpohl, Cecelia Miles


  • Raeann Mettler, Natural Science at Black Hills State University
    ACTIVITY: Primate Evolution | Contact Raeann
  • Cecelia Miles, Biology at Augustana University
    ACTIVITY: Sleepless Fruit Flies | Contact Cecelia
  • Karla Otterpohl, Children‘s Health at Sanford Research
    ACTIVITY: All about the Kidney | Contact Karla
  • Hongli Sun, Biomedical Engineering at USD
    ACTIVITY: Bone Regeneration | Contact Hongli