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Giving Tuesday

On Giving Tuesday, your gift will inspire and equip the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians.
Kids examining science materials

At Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), our team of education professionals is transforming education in South Dakota. From kindergarten through PhD programs, we inspire and equip the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians.

On Giving Tuesday, the SURF Foundation has the unique opportunity to expand programming for students in 2023. 

Donate to our Giving Tuesday campaign. 

students examine science materials

It starts with a spark.

We want to ignite curiosity in students at a young age. Through field trips, presentations, and curriculum units, we introduce K-12 students to the world-leading research happening in their home state and get them thinking (and talking) about science at a deeper level than ever before. 

“A few years ago, I saw a young girl in the corner of the room who appeared to be counting people, and I asked her how many people she counted,” said Julie Dahl, science education specialist at SURF. “I discovered she was ‘only counting girls,’ because some kids at school told her she couldn’t do science because she was a girl. Guess they were wrong.”

11 students underground in PPE

I am a scientist.

We help high school and undergraduate students understand just where their passions for science, technology, engineering, and math could take them. Our internships and Davis-Bahcall Scholars programs demystify these subjects by exposing students to what professionals do every day.

Phoebe Lefevre, a graduate of Rapid City Stevens High School, was stuck at a crossroads before she participated in the Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program. Today, she has the clarity to pursue a degree in physics. Read Phoebe’s story.

Douglas Tiedt

All grown up.

We are a driving force behind the physics PhD programs in South Dakota. With the momentum of research at SURF, the Board of Regents approved a shared program with South Dakota Mines and University of South Dakota in 2012.

In 2018, Douglas Tiedt became the first student to graduate from the South Dakota Mines physics PhD program with an experimental-focused dissertation. His PhD thesis was written on a dark matter experiment at SURF. Read Doug’s story.

Mehlhaff teaches students outside

Equipping our educators.

Excitement is contagious. When teachers are passionate about a subject, they pass that excitement along to their students. Our team’s professional development workshops leverage proven teaching techniques and innovative science to transform the teaching of K-12 science in South Dakota.

Nicole Mehlhaff uses phenomena from the natural world to excite her students at Yankton Middle School, but she wasn’t sure how to make subatomic particles seem real to them. When SURF’s team developed a curriculum unit on the search for dark matter, Nicole was one of the first educators to test it in the classroom. Read Nicole’s story.