Author Archives: Paul Boyer

NSF funds four tribal research centers

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.

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Big ideas wanted

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.

To enter: https://nsf-ideamachine.skild.com/skild2/nsfideamachine/loginPage.action

 

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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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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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.

Salish Kootenai College graduate receives distinguished National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

By Shadin Pete

Tyler Fouty

One of the most prestigious awards available to students pursuing STEM degrees is the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship. This highly competitive program, the oldest of its kind, provides three years of financial support to graduate students who “can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.” Past recipients include Nobel laureates, cabinet secretaries, and noted authors.

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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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