BHSU students honored with John T. Vucurevich scholarships

Author: BHSU Communications/Friday, April 25, 2014/Categories: 2014

    Melissa Barnard

    Jillian Draine

Twenty-seven Black Hills State University students were recently honored as John T. Vucurevich scholars including Melissa Barnard, theatre major from Rapid City, and Jillian Draine, biology and chemistry major from Spearfish, who are this year&rsquos Presidential Scholars.

Recipients of the Vucurevich Presidential Scholar award are nominated by faculty and staff and are among the best and brightest students at BHSU entering their junior year.

Before beginning her academic career, Barnard owned a production company that created documentaries, short films and commercials. She has worked with Disney, NBC, Nick @ Nite, MTF, Travel Channel, SyFy, plus a major Italian movie and other independent films. While at BHSU, Barnard has been in many theatre productions including "How I Learned to Drive," Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol," and "Plaza Suite" for which she was nominated for an Irene Ryan acting award. She also designed the set which was nominated for a Barbizon award. She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and has continued to work on films while enrolled at BHSU, integrating her gained knowledge into the projects. After graduation, she plans to make her own movies and work on outside movie projects.

             Twenty-seven Black Hills State University students were recently honored as John T. Vucurevich scholars.

Draine is involved in SCIENCIA, a campus organization that focuses on keeping  students interested in science. She is also a member of the Health Sciences Student Organization. Jillian is currently assisting Dr. John Dixson, BHSU associate professor of chemistry, with research on malaria. Last summer, she received a NASA Space Grant stipend for her research. When she is not busy with her classes or other University activities, Drained helps teach dance to children, tutors high school students and volunteers at her church. After graduation, she plans on attending medical school.

BHSU students receiving a Vucurevich Math and Science Scholarship include: Morgan Larson, pre-nursing major from Mitchell Kennedy McClausland, exercise science major from Box Elder Kristin Rath, chemistry education major from Canton Kylee Lerback, pre-nursing major from Rapid City Shane O&rsquoBrien, math education major from Rapid City Aaron Schone, biology major from Rapid City Jayce Marks, math and science education major from Rapid City Nick Olson, math education major from Spearfish Maria Steckline, math major from Sturgis Kayla Marquardt, exercise science major from Canistota Jaylen Osborne, applied health sciences major from Sturgis Amy Weiers, Project SECOND graduate students from Rapid City Colin Weinzirl, math major from Sturgis Michael Birkeland, math and science education major from Rapid City Emma Crim, math education major from Belle Fourche Hayley Hansen, biology major from Beresford Katelynne Blades, biology major from Sioux Falls Mandi Decker, math education major from Frankfort Genetie Hendrix, biology major from Sturgis Paige Brink, exercise science major from Union Center Kylie Farrar, biology education major from Rapid City Alissa Humphrey-Iverson, biology major from Spearfish Samantha Christensen, biology major from Wall Jordan Frost, exercise science major from Rapid City and Alexandra Hurdel, math and science education major from Rapid City.

These scholarships were made possible thanks to the generosity of the John T. Vucurevich Foundation. The late philanthropist grew up in Lead, where he learned the value of hard work, telling the truth, the need for keeping sound spiritual values, and the importance of helping those persons less fortunate. He felt that community service was very important and served in both the South Dakota House of Representatives and Senate, and was also an active supporter of higher education. He was a successful banker, and his success allowed him to create the John T. Vucurevich Foundation to carry out his goal "to make a piece of the world a brighter place."

For more information about the John T. Vucurevich Scholars program or BHSU scholarships contact Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement at BHSU, at 605-642-6228 or

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