Twenty Years of NATURE

This long-running academic enrichment program is creating pathways to STEM careers for Native students in North Dakota

By Paul Boyer

In the fragile and fleeting world of education reform movements, it’s worth noting the durability and accomplishments of the NATURE program, now celebrating its twentieth anniversary.

NATURE (Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education) began in 1998 as an informal collaboration between four North Dakota tribal colleges–Turtle Mountain College, Sitting Bull College, Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, and United Tribes Technical College–and the North Dakota State University.

Carol Davis

According to former Turtle Mountain College Vice President Carol Davis, the goal was to strengthen STEM education opportunities for American Indian middle school, high school, and tribal college students. “Our motivation in the beginning was to increase the number of American Indian students who would declare STEM as a major,” Davis recalled.

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Mentoring Helps Move the Needle

Working together, students and faculty are finding, and removing, barriers to enrollment and retention in STEM programs

By Lisa B. Bosman

Prof. Kelli Chelberg (right) with student Deb McPherson.

The College of Menominee Nation (CMN) is an accredited, baccalaureate-level tribal college with a main campus on the Menominee Indian reservation and urban campus in metropolitan Green Bay, Wisconsin. Like many other educational institutions, CMN struggles with recruitment, retention, and persistence of students enrolled in its STEM programs.

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Changing of the Guard at the USDA

Tim Grosser ends a decade of service to tribal colleges

By Katie Scarlett Brandt

Tim Grosser

As a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana in the early 1990s, Tim Grosser learned key lessons that would follow him throughout his career: how to do without and how to rely on others. Those lessons came to life most starkly when a combination of malaria and dysentery ate away at Grosser’s 5 foot 10 inch frame, whittling him down to 125 pounds. With nothing but the people directly around him, he had to rely on them to carry him to the hospital, where Grosser was certain he would die.

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STUDENT RESEARCH

Antioxidant Activity of Common Vegetables in Hawai’i

Cranberry hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)

“Antioxidant Activity of Common Vegetables in Hawai’i” is one of three papers selected for publication as part of the Native Science Report’s 2018 student research showcase. Submitted by Shane Yaw, an undergraduate student currently enrolled at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, it analyzes the antioxidant content of several leafy vegetables, both native and introduced, that are easily grown in Hawai’i. The project was completed under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Bariyanga at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu, where Shane was previously enrolled.

A graduate of Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, Shane is majoring in biology with a minor in mathematics and plans to pursue a career in medicine. He is the oldest of seven children in what he describes as “an even larger Hawaiian/Puerto Rican family.”

Shane Yaw’s research project can be downloaded here.

FIELD NOTES: Native Science Report Blog

New Report Examines Language Revitalization on the Fort Berthold Reservation

What does it take to save an endangered language? Is it enough to teach it in the schools? If not, what more is required?

These are some of the questions explored in Taking Back the Language, a new report written by Native Science Report Editor Paul Boyer, and available here. Focusing on over forty years of language revitalization work on the Fort Berthold Reservation of North Dakota, the 20-page report examines the progress made as well as the obstacles encountered by educators and community activists working to teach the tribe’s three languages.

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Navajo Technical University receives ABET accreditation

Navajo Technical University, a four-year tribally controlled institution located in Crownpoint, New Mexico, learned this week that its electrical and industrial engineering programs have received ABET accreditation.

ABET accreditation is only awarded to institutions able to meet the rigorous requirements of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which evaluates programs in the disciplines of applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.

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