Field Notes: Native Science Report Blog

Nominations sought for new STEM Education Advisory Panel

The NSF is seeking highly qualified individuals to serve on a newly established STEM Education Advisory Panel.

Established in collaboration with the Department of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the panel is expected to advise the Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (CoSTEM), and assess progress in carrying out responsibilities related to the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act.

The sponsoring agencies are now soliciting recommendations for membership on this prestigious panel. According to information provided by the NSF, the eleven-member panel will include representatives of academic institutions, non-profits, and industry. Additionally, “other factors that may be considered are balance among diverse institutions, regions, and groups underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Recommendations should be submitted by November 30. Self recommendations are accepted.

For more information on the recommendation process, please visit




Tribal colleges encouraged to participate In the Community College Innovation Challenge

The National Science Foundation is encouraging tribally controlled colleges and other two-year Native-serving institutions to participate in the upcoming Community College Innovation Challenge.

According to the NSF, the Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) “is a prestigious, two-stage competition where community college teams use science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to innovate solutions to real-world problems, compete for cash awards, and earn full travel support (students and faculty) to attend an Innovation Boot Camp in Washington, D.C.”

The CCIC is an annual event in its fourth year. It is sponsored by the NSF and the American Association of Community Colleges.

Submissions will be accepted until February 14, 2018. Details can be found at


Pre-conference workshop on genomics for tribal colleges at 2017 FALCON conference

On Friday, November 3, 2017 from 3-5 pm, the new Tribal Colleges Consortium on Genomics Training (TCCGT) is holding a pre-conference workshop at the First Americans Land-Grant Consortium (FALCON) 2017 Annual Conference at the Westin Crystal City in Virginia.

TCCGT aims to create a network of tribal colleges and universities dedicated to expanding training and grant opportunities in genomics for tribal college faculty, increasing recruitment and preparation of tribal college students interested in genomics, enhancing genomics curricula at TCUs, and incorporating genomics in the context of traditional views.  Over coffee, treats, and snacks, workshop organizers will host an informal discussion of the new consortium’s purpose, structure, and outcomes.

The workshop is free to attend, but please register here.

SEA-PHAGES application deadline is October 31

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is inviting eligible tribal colleges to participate in its SEA-PHAGES program. The application deadline for fall 2018 classes is October 31, 2017.

SEA-PHAGES is an innovative undergraduate curriculum that replaces traditional introductory biology lab courses with a two-semester research-based course focusing on the isolation and analysis of bacteriophages from local soil samples. Over 100 colleges and universities, including four tribal colleges, now offer the SEA-PHAGES program.

Participating institutions receive faculty training, course materials, and an opportunity to participate in an annual SEA Symposium. NSF-TCUP awardee institutions are also eligible for supplemental funding from the NSF for program costs not covered by HHMI.

Program details and application forms are available at For additional information, contact HHMI at


Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline disproportionately affects tribal communities in North Carolina

While the Dakota Access Pipeline continues to generate headlines, a natural gas pipeline under consideration along the eastern seaboard is also coming under scrutiny, in part for its disproportionate impact on Native communities in North Carolina.

First proposed in 2014, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would carry natural gas fracked from Marcellus Shale in central West Virginia to end points in Virginia and the southern border of North Carolina. The project is supported by those who believe it will aid struggling rural economies, but environmental organizations and some landowners argue that it will pose a threat to residents and the region’s ecosystem.

In addition, opponents note that the pipeline, which crosses the territories of four tribes, will disproportionately affect Native American communities in North Carolina.

Ryan Emanuel, an associate professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, writing in the July 21 edition of Science, argued that the “nearly 30,000 Native Americans who live within 1.6 km of the proposed pipeline make up 13.2% of the impacted population in North Carolina,” even though they make up 1.2 % of the state’s population.

Emanuel argued that a draft environmental impact statement released last December by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed to acknowledge the large Native population along the proposed 600-mile route, “leading to false conclusions about the project’s impacts.” He urged federal regulators to consult with tribes before making a final decision, which is expected later this year.


Deadline extended for Wildlife Society’s Native Student Professional Development program

The Wildlife Society is encouraging Native American, First Nation, Native Hawaiian, and/or Alaskan Native students to apply to its Native Student Professional Development (NSPD) program. The program deadline has been extended to July 7.

Successful applicants will receive support for travel to the Wildlife Society’s annual conference, which it calls “the largest gathering of wildlife professionals in North America.” Additionally, program participants will receive a one-year membership in The Wildlife Society and become members of the Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group.

According to the program announcement, “Candidates must be members of a Native American, First Nations, or Indigenous Tribe, or identify as Native Alaskan or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in a relevant academic discipline such as wildlife biology or ecology.”

Additional information and complete application requirements can be found in the Wildlife Society’s program announcement.



A better approach to math remediation?

Remedial education is the great conundrum of higher education. Lot of students need it—but the time and effort required is both daunting and discouraging. Eager to earn a degree, students placed in remedial math and reading courses instead find themselves on the proverbial slow boat to China.

According David Kirp, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, a number of colleges and university systems, including the City University of New York, are experimenting with a new approach to remediation that accelerates learning without sacrificing rigor.

Writing in the New York Times, Kirp said the CUNY program places full-time students in need of remediation in a semester-long program that focuses exclusively on skill building. Significantly, students in the CUNY Start program are provided 25 hours of instruction each week, which, he noted, is “substantially more than the usual course load.”

“The strategy is working,” Kirp argued. “More than half the students who complete the program are ready for college in just one semester, something that’s almost impossible with regular remedial courses.” Indeed, nationwide, only one-third of students placed in remedial math courses complete their studies with a passing grade.

For more about the CUNY Start program, see:

An evaluation of similar “ASAP” remediation programs by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation can be found here:

Webinar for linguists applying for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The Linguistic Society of America is hosting a webinar for linguistics scholars focused on applying for the National Science Foundation’s  Graduate Research Fellowships.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 10 from 2:30 to 4:30 PM US EDT.

Register for the webinar here.  Participation is limited to 100 attendees, but the webinar will be archived for later viewing.

According to the LSA’s announcement, “students early in their research training – undergraduates, post bacs, first or second year graduate students, those whose graduate training was interrupted, and faculty advisors – are encouraged to attend, especially those from tribal colleges  (TCUs),  historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and other minority serving institutions.”