Seven new Black Hills State University students were recently awarded Dakota Corps scholarships to pursue careers in critical-need occupations within the state.

Scholarship recipients are:  Emily Carr, a music education major from Belle Fourche; Breanna Cuka, a biology major from Wagner; Leah Lashley, an education major from Rapid City; Shauni Lyon, an education major from Lemmon; Mikaela Murtha, a math and science education major from Parkston; Kylie Steever, an education major from Hill City; and Aaron Vitter, a music education major from Hill City.

Each year, Dakota Corps recipients receive funding equivalent to the cost of tuition and applicable fees at their postsecondary institution. Once graduated, they are required to enter into a critical-need occupation in South Dakota, with terms of service equivalent to the number of years they received the scholarship, plus one year. The scholarships are supported entirely by private donations.

“By choosing careers in critical-need occupations, these students will be giving back to our state,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “They will be educated in South Dakota and then remain here to provide important services and support for fellow South Dakotans. That is a win for all of us, and I thank the private businesses and non-profit organizations that recognized the importance of providing these students with scholarships.”

Current occupations that qualify for Dakota Corps scholarship support include teaching K-12 music, special education, or foreign language; teaching high school math or science; working as a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, or in other allied health-care fields; or working as a large-animal veterinarian.

A total of 38 new S.D. high school graduates were awarded the Dakota Corps scholarships to pursue careers in critical-need occupations within the state. The South Dakota Board of Regents administers the Dakota Corps Scholarship program. For more information about this program, contact the board office at 1-800-874-9033 or mail  info@sdbor.edu.