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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.

“Once you’re at that place, you can then do anything,” he said, roughly 25 years later. Grosser called his two years in Ghana, where he taught agriculture, some of the best of his life. His time there formed his outlook on how the rest of the world lives and how to get things done.

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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

 

 

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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