Scholars, summer interns arrive

Matt Kapust

Last week Sanford Lab welcomed four summer interns. Today, two more interns and 10 Davis Bahcall Scholars arrived. Nearly 80 students applied for the programs; 10 were selected as Scholars, while six received internships in engineering, science, environmental health and communications. 

The Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program has been sponsored for six years by 3M. For the last three years, the 3M funding has been supplemented with fellowships from the S.D. Space Grant Consortium. Scholars spend five weeks learning from scientists at some of the world’s leading universities and laboratories, including Sanford Lab, Fermi and Argonne National Laboratories in Illinois, and Gran Sasso and Frascati National Laboratory in Italy.

“The wonderful thing about this schedule is that students see first-hand the real-world applications of science, while learning from experts,” said Education & Outreach Deputy Director Peggy Norris. “They learn about the importance of collaboration and diversity to make a scientific experiment successful.” Norris noted that some students might not want to be a researcher, but would find doing the engineering on a project highly appealing.

Davis-Bahcall Scholar Rachel Williams will be a sophomore at Black Hills State University. “This is a brilliant opportunity for students to get an early start in research,” she said. “Most of the time you have to wait until later in college.” 

The Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program is named for experimentalist Ray Davis, and theoretician John Bahcall, who proposed the solar neutrino experiment in the former Homestake mine. The experiment led to a Nobel Prize for Davis and opened the field of underground physics. More than 35 students who have participated in the program have completed their undergraduate degrees, with many attending graduate and professional schools around the country. Others are now in the STEM workforce. 

“The goal of the program is to create future leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” Norris said. “The Davis Bahcall program helps students make a difference in the world. We owe 3M deep thanks for their support over the years.”

Wade Vandine, a freshman at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, received a Chris Bauer Engineering Internship. He’s excited because it will give him “great experience for the future.” But it’s also about continuing a family tradition. Vandine’s great-grandfather, grandfather and his father, Ross Shaft Foreman George Vandine all worked for Homestake. “I’m honored to be able to work with my dad,” he said.