Author Archives: Paul Boyer

Not Giving Up

Beginning with uncertain plans and a few false starts, Student Research Award winner Jusden Keliikuli found support and success at Kapiolani Community College.

I’ve come a long way with my college education.

In high school, I didn’t prepare for college. I completed the SAT test at the last minute before graduation and received low scores. Attending a local community college became my best option. While taking a year off before enrolling, nursing became an interest. The salary, along with the opportunity to care for others, was very appealing. So I started my college career by majoring in nursing at Kapiolani Community College (KCC), where I completed prerequisite courses. I transferred to Hawaii Pacific University (HPU), hoping to be accepted into its nursing program. While at KCC and HPU, however, my interest for nursing gradually faded, which affected my grades. Eventually, I decided to drop out of HPU for financial, academic, and personal reasons.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Undergraduate research is a growing part of the STEM curriculum within many tribal and Native serving colleges. The opportunity to conduct original research, even in the first years of study, strengthens learning and, faculty report, increases student interest in STEM disciplines traditionally overlooked by Native students. Additionally, research projects devised by students often focus on the needs of their own communities and frequently honor traditional values and unique cultural knowledge, producing innovative projects and new approaches to scholarship.
     To highlight and support this work, we put out a call to tribal colleges and Native-serving universities nationwide, inviting submissions to our new Student Research Award program. For the spring 2018 academic term, three submissions were chosen for publication, beginning with Kapiolani Community College student Jusden Keliikuli’s paper below.
     Congratulations to Mr. Keliikuli–and to the other awardees who will be featured in the coming months.
–Dr. Paul Boyer, Editor

How fo’ solve one Atwood System in Pidgin

by Jusden Keoni Keli‘ikuli

Physics is a difficult subject that I struggled to understand. But I was able to succeed with the help and encouragement of Dr. Herv´e Collin who allowed me to write this physics research paper in Hawai‘i Creole English (HCE), also known as Pidgin in Hawai‘i. I consider Pidgin as my first language because I grew up in the moku (district) of Wai‘anae on the mokupuni (island) of O‘ahu where Pidgin is commonly spoken. Writing in Pidgin helped to bridge the language gap between Pidgin and English, thus making it easier for me to clarify and comprehend physics concepts and problem solving methods. Not only has writing in Pidgin increased my physics comprehension, but it also made physics and writing more enjoyable for me. I hope that this research paper will help my fellow k¯anakas and Pidgin-speaking students succeed in physics and inspire other k¯anakas to purse a career in STEM. The full paper PDF file can be downloaded here: Jusden Keliʻikuli’s pidgin research paper



Submissions invited to NSF “Vizzies Challenge”

The National Science Foundation, in partnership with Popular Science, invites researchers and members of the general public to submit their best science or engineering visualization to this year’s “Vizzies Challenge.”

Visualizations include animations, apps, illustrations, or photographs that help explain scientific or engineering concepts. According to the NSF, they “connect scientists and citizens, creating a universal language that enables people the world over to exchange knowledge and to understand scientific ideas and phenomena.”

Entries may be submitted by individuals or by teams by visiting NSF and will feature the winning entries on their respective web sites. In addition, up to five Experts’ Choice winning entries will receive $2000 each, and up to three People’s Choice winning entries will receive $500 each.

This year’s Vizzies closes April 15.

To learn more about the competition, now in its 16th year, and view previous year’s winners see:


NSF-TCUP program solicitation released; new support for tribal “Enterprise Advancement Centers”

The National Science Foundation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) has released its new program solicitation, outlining funding opportunities for TCUP-eligible colleges and universities.

A significant new addition to this year’s solicitation is funding for “TCU Enterprise Advancement Centers.” These centers “will enable tribal colleges to become research and development resources for their reservations and communities,” according to the announcement. Specifically, “TEA Centers may 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.”

Possible research areas include the “environmental sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and engineering, as well as indigenous research, service learning, and STEM entrepreneurship,” among others.

The full solicitation, with additional information about TEA Centers, submission deadlines, and submission requirements can be found here.


Administration for Native Americans announces 2018 funding opportunities

The Administration for Native Americans, an office within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has released its 2018 Funding Opportunity Announcements.

The ANA’s mission is to support social and economic self-sufficiency within Native American communities. Funding areas include:

  • Native American Language Preservation and Maintenance
  • Native American Language Preservation and Maintenance – Esther Martinez Immersion
  • Social and Economic Development Strategies Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Strategies
  • Environmental Regulatory Enhancement Social and Economic Development Strategies for Alaska
  • Native Language Community Coordination Demonstration Project Native Youth Initiative for Leadership, Empowerment, and Development

An interactive map of current grantees can be found here.

Visit ANA’s website for further information on the current funding announcements or for technical assistance for applicants. Applications are due April 9, 2018.


New Behavioral Sciences Degree at Sisseton Wahpeton College

Innovative two-year program, developed with support from mainstream universities, builds research skills and prepares graduates for a wide range of “people” professions.

Scott Morgan

By Paul Boyer

While all tribal colleges are looking for ways to expand their STEM degree programs, offerings in the social and behavioral sciences sometimes lag behind. According to Scott Morgan, director of institutional development at Sisseton Wahpeton College located on the Lake Traverse Reservation of South Dakota, this is a missed opportunity.

“On our reservation, social service-type jobs are one of the primary sectors where people are needed,” said Morgan. This is true even when compared to the technology and the hard sciences. “If you look across the board at STEM, there are more jobs that relate to behavioral sciences than any other area.”

In response, Sisseton Wahpeton College is now offering a new two-year behavioral sciences degree. Developed with support from the National Science Foundation and in partnership with North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University, it is one of the first behavioral science degrees offered by a tribally controlled college and it is the first developed with support from the NSF.

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NSF video highlights work of tribal colleges

How long does it take to explain the value of STEM education within tribally controlled colleges and universities?

About one minute and thirty seconds.

That’s the length of this excellent video, produced by the NSF, which neatly summarizes the variety of STEM programs at tribal and Native-serving institutions and their educational and economic benefits.

Take a look.

TCUP helps tribal college students thrive

#DYK the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program, TCUP, began in the early 2000s as a way to address the lack of science, technology, mathematics and engineering programs and faculty at tribal colleges. Watch (and share!) the video to learn more.

Posted by National Science Foundation (NSF) on Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tribal college student research featured in Geophysical Union publication

Several research projects developed by students at Salish Kootenai College and Northwest Indian College are featured in a publication sponsored by the American Geophysical Union.

A recent article published in The Prow spotlights student-led projects at Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Reservation of Montana that deepen understanding of traditional foods and environmental factors “that may impact future food availabilities.” Northwest Indian College was cited for its “hands-on research projects related to species protection and restoration along the northernmost coastline of Washington.”

These examples illustrate efforts by Native communities to “combine culture, traditional knowledge and contemporary scientific practices,” according to the article’s authors. “All this happens in the face of longstanding and ongoing challenges to tribal sovereignty established by treaties with the U.S. government.”

The full story can be found here.