USD grad receives $114,000 fellowship A graduating senior at The University of South Dakota was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship worth $114,000. Kortney Klinkel, of Spearfish, just received her B.S. in chemistry and physics from USD and will use the fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
NSF Graduate Fellowships offer recognition and three years of support for advanced study to outstanding graduate students in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, and behavioral and social sciences and to research-based Ph.D. degrees in science education. The award carries an annual stipend for each fellow of $27,500 and cost-of-education allowance of $10,500.
Klinkel was one of only 131 recipients of the fellowship in physical sciences, out of 1,255 applicants, and she gives much of the credit to her education at The University of South Dakota.
"My time at USD has definitely helped prepare me for this award," Klinkel said. "I can't imagine that I could have gotten a better education anywhere else. The fact that USD is a smaller university is definitely an asset. I received a lot of personal attention from all of my professors which was great. Looking back on it, deciding to come to USD for my undergraduate degree was one of the best decisions I have ever made."
Klinkel said her professors helped motivate her to apply for the fellowship.
"The professors in both the chemistry and physics departments were great," she said. "Without them I would have never thought to even apply."
Klinkel, the daughter of Mike and Danita Klinkel of Spearfish, is also a recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and has been very active at USD since her arrival on campus in 1999. She has been on the dean's list every semester, received numerous scholarships and awards, served as a resident assistant and president of the Chemistry Club and was a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society.
After she earns her Ph.D., Klinkel aspires to be a professor of chemistry; a goal that will be helped by her fellowship.
"The NSF fellowship is definitely going to help my future plans become a reality," she said.