Tribal college students from North Dakota and Minnesota are learning about research in a two-week summer undergraduate research program at NDSU, in partnership with the North Dakota IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. The program, held from May 15-28, provides students an opportunity to immerse themselves in research topics.
Students participate in science lab tours and hands-on activities, learn about indigenous research methodologies and research practices, gain exposure to graduate school and career opportunities, enhance professional development and meet future mentors.
“Students receive intensive learning opportunities on topics such as research ethics, case studies, professional development, critical thinking, how to become involved in research and benefits of participating in such programs,” said Pearl Walker-Swaney, INBRE project manager in the Department of Public Health in NDSU’s College of Health Professions.
Students from Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, North Dakota, who are attending the NDSU research camp include Mykaylynne Belgarde, Memphis Belgarde, Ashaye Decoteau and Jesse Rodriguez. Also attending the summer undergraduate research camp is NDSU student Tre Beaulieu from Red Lake Nation, Red Lake, Minnesota.
Students attending the program tour medical centers, visit colleges in Fargo-Moorhead, tour various research laboratories, learn about assistantships and fellowships available, and deliver presentations about research topics.
Ashaye Decoteau, who is majoring in biology and plans to go to medical school, finds the undergraduate research program a useful way to augment her studies. “I’m excited to meet people in this field that are doing things that are impacting the communities and making a change in the Native American community,” she said. “I think that’s inspiring.”
She noted the impact of a presentation made by Dr. Donald Warne, chair of the Department of Public Health at NDSU. “We do have a lot of people with diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Decoteau. “To have somebody, especially a Native American, study this and go into depth about how we want to prevent it, that’s something that really interested me.”
After completing the summer undergraduate research program at NDSU, Decoteau heads to Yale University for a summer program on medical and dental education.
Memphis Belgarde, also attending Turtle Mountain Community College, thought NDSU’s summer research program would assist in her biology major and eventual goal of medical school, as well as a master’s degree in public health. “I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to learn more about research.”
She said it adds to the knowledge she’s gained as a research assistant for Lyle Best of Turtle Mountain Community College who conducts genetics research. Belgarde has participated in the summer research program at NDSU the past two years.
“If someone is really interested in science and math, I think this would be a really good program for them to come to,” said Belgarde.
“This program provides opportunities for students to engage in research and think about how research can play a role in their future careers,” said Warne. “The program connects students with research methods and indigenous research methodologies, and shows them how they could play a role in solving research challenges.”
The program is supported by Grant FAR0024572 from the National Institutes of Health.
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