USD students awarded PhD assistantships through SD EPSCoR Vikul Rajpara and Robert Witte, both graduate students at The University of South Dakota, have been selected for 2008 SD EPSCoR PhD Research Assistantships. The research assistantships are being provided by the South Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program. â�?�?The SD EPSCoR PhD Research Assistantships provide the opportunity for doctoral-level graduate students to focus solely on a research project that is being done in conjunction with their faculty mentor or a South Dakota based company that has partnered with a university to accelerate their own R&D cycle. This experience is an integral part of a graduate studentâ�?�?s development as an independent scientist or engineer and the assistantship allows them to have it without financial hardship.â�? Rajpara and Witte were two of eight students selected across the state. Rajpara received his master of science in chemistry at USD and is currently pursuing his PhD in materials chemistry. Witte received his bachelor of science in Chemistry at Wayne State University and is currently pursuing his masters in materials chemistry at USD. �? Rajpara will be working with USD associate professor of chemistry Dr. Grigoriy Sereda and Witte will be working with chemistry professor and chair Dr. Mary Berry This activity is supported by the National Science Foundation and by the state of South Dakota. South Dakota EPSCoR promotes research, builds research infrastructure, and stimulates technology-based economic development throughout the state of South Dakota. For more information about South Dakota EPSCoR go to www.sdepscor.org.