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Tim Gjoraas Science and Education Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Mar 29, 2024
Winners Announced
Apr 29, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Must be a high school or undergraduate student
Field of Interest:
Must be planning to study education or science
Must be in South Dakota

Tim Gjoraas was a beloved science teacher for more than twenty years who passed away from cancer early in 2021. 

Throughout his life and career, Tim was passionate about educating and encouraging his students and would have wanted to leave behind a legacy of helping future scientists and educators.

This scholarship aims to support high school and undergraduate students in South Dakota who are pursuing careers in education or science.

Any high school or undergraduate student who is planning to study education or science and lives in South Dakota may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us what makes you passionate about science or education.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published July 29, 2023
Essay Topic

What makes you passionate about science or education?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Erica Thompson
Western Dakota Technical InstituteCuster, SD
It all started when Covid shut down the world, and I needed a new source to provide for my family. Alternative agriculture has been very beneficial to us in supporting our family needs and the needs of local community members. We have been able to provide produce and meat for gatherings, workshops, and special occasions with anywhere from ten to seventy participants. This has led me to a current midlife career path change, as my original desired path was Cosmetology. I am pursuing two associate degrees - one in the Environmental Engineering Technician program and another in Farm and Ranch Management. I live in a rural area where the growing season is brief, and the weather is unpredictable. However, I understand the need for alternative farming methods to meet the rising demand for local farm-to-table produce. This is also a more low-cost solution to the issue at hand. To address this, I am educating myself in bioinformatics to create a year-round growing environment. I plan to utilize hydroponics, aeroponics, and horticulture techniques within a closed system in a four-season geodesic dome, also known as a "bio-dome." My ultimate goal is to establish a sustainable alternative farming business that provides job opportunities, mainly for those residing in the South Dakota reservation. Alongside this, we will continue our online educational platform for nature and spiritual connection. With my knowledge and dedication, I am confident that we can positively impact our community while being prosperous. This is a new and exciting offering that I have yet to see replicated in any form or fashion locally to this degree. My goal is to include holistic land management to tend the land through the buffalo, chicken, and bees currently residing on the property. There is a harmony between the three that supports bringing back native grasses and plants that have been dormant for so long. Up until now, this has been an expensive "hobby." I have utilized my time by doing market research and traveling around the area to acquaint myself with how the systems work and target the need. I am looking forward to continuing on this path and providing a future for my children and generations yet to come. This is very important to me as to where I see the impact this will have on the community we are in and how it will benefit us for years to come. Thank you for your time in reading my essay, I greatly appreciate this opportunity.
Taryn Larson
Washington High School - 01Canton, SD
For me, science and education are only part of my passion. Science helps to get me the knowledge I need and also to get my foot through the door for my future career. The true thing that makes me so passionate about majoring in science is what I can do with it. I have known I wanted to be a doctor since I was little as I found out going through old school work. I love the idea of helping children and working to make their life just a little bit easier. Not only do I want to help the children but I also want to help the parents. I want to educate them on what needs to be done for their child or help them to understand how things will be different for them. Being a parent to a child with a disability can be sad but you can not spend the rest of your life mourning what could have been and instead be happy about what you have. It will be harder taking care of a child with a disability but it can also be just as rewarding as caring for any other child. I also want to be able to help the siblings to understand that things at home will look different than at other homes and that their siblings will need extra attention, but that does not mean their parents love them any less. I strive to be a person who can help as many people as possible. My passion for working with children only grew when I started to work at the local daycare in Canton, South Dakota. There is a two-year-old at the daycare who has a rare lifelong genetic condition that significantly impacts all of her abilities rendering her fully dependent on a caregiver. While working at the daycare, I took the initiative to work on her physical therapy exercises with her and found great joy in knowing I was helping and making her feel noticed. She quickly became my favorite little girl in that daycare and she gave me the idea to specialize in working with children who have disabilities. Working at the daycare was not the only thing that pushed me in the direction of a Pediatric Physiatrist. My mother also helped me to find my way through her knowledge as a physical therapist for children ages birth to three years old. A quote that she has said that makes me love the idea of working with children, even more, is, “They have taught me more than I have taught them.” I do not want to only teach children, I also want to learn from them and gain more knowledge throughout my career. Because of my experiences with that little girl and working with children for so long, I have found my passion for life and that passion starts with science in many aspects. Science is one of the biggest factors that will get me to where I want to be and because of that, I will put as much passion into my education and further my scientific knowledge. I also like that science is ever-evolving and by going into a field involving science you will constantly be learning new things throughout your career.
Evie AlSaffar
Augustana UniversitySioux Falls, SD
From a young girl in elementary school, to a first-year college student, I have always possessed a strong passion for science and staying focused on my education. Growing up in a small Midwestern school, I remember having influential teachers who were able to devote individual attention to students, which allowed the educators to express their love and expertise for their respective disciplines. In particular, I have very fond memories of my science teacher, who encouraged me to be curious and cemented my love for learning. My science teacher actually had a PhD, but chose to work at my small, rigorous high school so that she could establish individual relationships with each of her students. She was the perfect example of a successful woman in STEM. Her many years of knowledge and deep kindness inspired me to pursue STEM, which led me to the medical field, in particular. I am fascinated by the human body and how it functions. Every process and procedure seems like a miracle or a mystery for me to solve. Additionally, I enjoy working with patients and seeing first-hand how I am changing people's lives. I have spent a few years volunteering in various areas of the hospital, including the Emergency Room, Inpatient, and Labor and Delivery departments. Every day was a learning experience, from removing stitches to administering IVs, or from delivering a baby to experiencing a death. These experiences opened my eyes and gave me the confirmation that this was the correct career path for me to pursue. I am currently attending Augustana University in Sioux Falls in order to receive a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree, with a Biology minor on the side. I recognize the value of education and I understand how fortunate I am to be in this position since many people, including my father, weren’t afforded these same opportunities. My father was born in the Middle East, in a country ruled by a harsh dictator. In third grade, he had to drop out of school in order to work and make money for his family. As a teenager, he was drafted into the army, but fled the war-torn country and escalating conflict, becoming a refugee of war. My father spent seven years in a refugee camp before being offered asylum in the U.S, where he was completely unfamiliar with the language and the culture. He eventually met my mother, became a citizen of the United States, and learned the language and customs of his new country. Growing up hearing my father's story, I was instilled with a sense of determination and the importance of getting an education. On my father’s side, I am a first generation college student. I am making him proud by continuing my education, maintaining a high GPA throughout high school and college, and taking advantage of the opportunities that come my way. These are the stories, influences, and memories that ignite my passion to keep working hard for my goals. My aim is not only to make my parents, teachers, and mentors proud, but also to make myself proud. My passion for science and medicine is as strong as ever, and I hope to touch the lives of many people through my future nursing career.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 29, 2024. Winners will be announced on Apr 29, 2024.

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