UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, MORRIS GEOLOGY PROGRAM INITIATIVES TO ADVANCE THE PARTICIPATION OF NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE GEOSCIENCE WORK FORCE
A recent effort to encourage success at every level of academic development is a focus on “transitions”. Specifically, the transitions from high school to college, college to graduate school and college to the work force which have been advanced in three programs already running. In development is an additional program that will focus on the transition from tribal college to university. The UMM Wind-STEP program is a 2-week residential program for rising Native America high school juniors and seniors. Wind-STEP participants conduct research using GIS to determine the feasibility and environmental impact of placing a wind turbine on a given reservation. The UMM REU program is specifically for Native American women geology major. Participants complete field research in Minnesota and Brazil; examine pathways to “thinking like a geologist”; discuss scientific ethics, meet professional women geoscientists, and begin planning future academic and scientific careers. This program builds confidence and aids in the maturation of these Native American women as scientists and individuals. The “IUSE Summer Internship Program” partners Native American science majors interested in Environmental Sciences with scientists at: a local environmental consulting firm, a university outreach and research center and a USDA soil lab. Students participate in the day-to-day activities of these businesses and complete a research project in a “non-academic” setting. Each program is part of an institutionalized process of nurturing young Native American scientists toward careers in the Geosciences.
Support provided by the NSF-STEM Talent Enhancement Program (STEP) (NSF/DUE-0653063), the NSF- Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program (NSF-EAR 1262945) and the NSF- Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Program (NSF/ DUE 1432383).