Research is the centerpiece of Salish Kootenai College’s new dual enrollment STEM Academy
By Andrea Panagakis, Mary Larson, and Taylir Schrock
On a recent fall afternoon, a group of high school students enrolled in Salish Kootenai College’s Science Research class are bent over lab tables, deep in concentration. Their instructor, Taylir Schrock, circulates around the group. “Massage the smeg!” she urges.
The students, all participants in a unique STEM-focused dual enrollment program, know what to do. Using precision instruments called micropipettors, they mix samples of Mycobacterium smegmatis, also known as “smeg,” a bacterium that tiny viruses called bacteriophage prey upon.
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.
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.
Working together, students and faculty are finding, and removing, barriers to enrollment and retention in STEM programs
By Lisa B. Bosman
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.
“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.”
FIELD NOTES: Native Science Report Blog
The National Science Foundation is asking researchers and the public to help identify the “pressing research questions that need to be answered in the coming decade.”
The project, called the NSF 2026 Idea Machine, is intended to identify creative “outside the box” ideas for basic research that can “enable new discoveries that drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security and advance knowledge to sustain the country’s global leadership in science and engineering,” according to the project’s web site.
Submissions to this competition are eligible for cash prizes and public recognition.
The deadline for submission is October 26, 2018.
The Idea Machines web page is keeping a running tally of entries, with 256 submissions as of September 24. Perhaps Indian Country has a few ideas that can be added to this list.
The National Science Foundation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program has awarded $14 million to tribally controlled colleges to establish four research centers.
These Tribal Enterprise Advancement (TEA) centers, called the “first of their kind,” are expected “to become research and development resources for their reservations and communities,” according the original NSF solicitation.
While the NSF has long supported the development of STEM programs within tribal colleges, the centers were created to “address a critical tribal or community need or focus on a realm of STEM research or design that is beyond the scope of individual research grants or that is of interest to multiple tribes.”
According to an NSF announcement, each of the four funded centers will address environmental, social, educational, and economic challenges within Native communities.