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NSF award supports Native students in science
2 October 2013

BISMARCK (UTN) The National Science Foundation has awarded the United Tribes Tribal Environmental Science Dept. a three-year $480,425 grant to provide research experience training for college students and science teachers.

      The funding is a site award in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. It will support research training for eight students and four reservation-based science teachers during the summers of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

      The Tribal College REU Program provides students the opportunity to conduct environmental ecology research critical to Tribal lands in the Northern Plains.

      Research will be conducted under the guidance of mentors from United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck; Ft. Berthold Community College, New Town; Sitting Bull College, Ft. Yates; Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, SD; and Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD.

STUDENT RESEARCH

      The 10 week program each summer will involve students in research focusing on restoration ecology, insect behavior and ecological impacts, integrated buffalo prairie management, effects of oil development on natural resources, conservation biology, and geospatial applications to ecological research.

      Participants will be recruited from across the Northern Plains, with a focus on tribal college students selected on expressed interest, demonstrated skills, and dedication to science careers. They will conduct individual research projects while becoming part of the summer research team, receiving training in research ethics, project design, field techniques, advanced laboratory technology, and analysis and presentation of data.

SCIENCE TEACHERS

      Science teachers (grades 6-12) will be recruited from reservation school systems to conduct fieldwork alongside the REU participants. Teachers will develop curriculum modules based on their research experiences for their own classrooms and provide the modules to other teachers.

      Each program will have a shared orientation week, a midpoint camping trip, and final presentations, all helping develop teamwork among the participants. Students are encouraged to present at regional and national conferences and to publish their result in scientific journals.

      The program aims to improve recruitment, retention, and completion of Native American students in science, and provide a solid foundation for participants to be successful in graduate programs beyond the tribal colleges.

      More Information: Jeremy E. Guinn, PhD, Field Technician Program Director, Tribal College REU Program, Tribal Environmental Science Department, United Tribes Technical College 701-255-3285 x 1458, jguinn@uttc.edu.

 

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