Education and Outreach

Education and Outreach

The Education and Outreach (E&O) Department at the Sanford Underground Research Facility at Homestake seeks to use the excitement and promise of deep underground science and engineering to inspire and prepare students, educators and an informed citizenry through a variety of programming, including:

  • Surface tours, workshops and presentations onsite at Sanford Lab for school field trips, summer camps, afterschool programs and community groups
  • Workshops and presentations at schools and communities around the region (and further, utilizing videoconferencing technology)
  • Undergraduate and high school research internship and teacher-in-residence programs, as well as summer enrichment programs for STEM students
  • Professional development workshops for inservice teachers and, in collaboration with Black Hills State University, preparation of new science teachers
  • Public outreach events, such as the annual Neutrino Day Science Festival at Sanford Lab and a Communicating Science through the Arts program

The E&O Department is committed to increasing the number of students pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers, especially students who belong to groups historically under-represented in those fields. Sanford Lab pilot programs already are reaching out to American Indian students on reservations in the region, and providing afterschool programming to interest girls in STEM careers. The E&O Department works closely with the SURF Cultural Coordinator, KC Russell.

The newly renovated Yates Education Building on the Sanford Lab site in Lead provides facilities for groups of all sizes and offices for the Education and Communications Departments, and helps foster connections between scientists and students, educators and the general public. Current programs serve as prototypes for the planned Sanford Center for Science Education (SCSE), to be built in the future on the Lead campus.

  • “A sense of real engineering”

    June 2, 2014

    The fifth graders from Lead-Deadwood Elementary School sit in small groups on the floor or around tables concentrating on the makeshift hoists they are building. Using limited supplies, each group designs a “working hoist” then tests it. The varying results show different levels of creativity and different ways to resolve challenges. 

  • Apply now for summer internships

    November 2, 2013

    Apply by January 10, 2014.

    Dave Bozied Internships: 

    3-4 positions are available for undergraduate or graduate majors in physics, chemistry, geology, engineering (environmental, geological, mining, industrial, chemical or mechanical), science education or communication or related disciplines. Applicants must have a South Dakota address or be attending a South Dakota university. 

  • ‘Spooky Science’ and ‘Girls and Gadgets’

    December 1, 2012


    The Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) has begun a partnership with Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons (GSDH), which serves 15,000 girls in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. The Girl Scouts are committed to introducing girls of all ages to fields of study that are included under the umbrella term STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

  • Davis-Bahcall class visits the 4850 Level

    July 2, 2012

    Last Thursday this year’s class of Davis-Bahcall scholars completed their 12 days of study and research at the Sanford Lab, but not before visiting the Davis Campus at the 4850 Level, where they set up a muon detector and took background radiation measurements with a Geiger counter.

    “We collected good data,” Deputy Education and Outreach Director Peggy Norris said. Background radiation data from the 4850 Level is important for physics experiments there.

  • Science rocks in Lead, July 7-9

    June 4, 2011

    The annual celebration of science in Lead, South Dakota, takes the leap from outer space to the deep underground from July 7 to 9. Events include a South Dakota Public Broadcasting Science Café on July 7, a special radio broadcast on July 8 and the fourth annual Neutrino Day science festival on Saturday morning, July 9, at the Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake.

  • Hundreds attend Neutrino Day 2010

    June 5, 2010

    July 10 event draws 600-plus

    Neutrino Day drew about 550 people  to the Yates Dry and the Yates Shaft hoist room on a Saturday morning.

    Add 65 people for the  standing-room-only crowd at Friday’s night’s Science Cafe at the Stampmill and about 30 for an art-and-science lecture downtown on Sunday, and we reached well over 600 people for the third straight year. Lecturers Jaret Heise and John Scheetz of the Sanford Lab, Kara Keeter of BHSU and Tom Durkin of SDSMT each spoke to near-capacity crowds in the old ERT room.