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Summer camp opening ceremonies scheduled

Opening ceremonies for the Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE) 2009 summer camp are planned for Monday, June 1, at 11:30 a.m. at the Alumni Center.

A two-week summer camp for American Indian tribal college students, faculty and reservation high school teachers is scheduled for June 1-12 at NDSU. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. The camp aims to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education among North Dakota tribal college and high school students.


This year, 20 American Indian students from five tribal colleges will participate. Concurrently, 10 tribal college faculty and six reservation high school mathematics and science teachers will work with the faculty from NDSU and the University of North Dakota. They will develop lesson plans for the high school summer camps to take place later in the summer at the tribal college sites and for the upcoming Sunday Academy sessions, scheduled for one Sunday a month through the academic year 2009-10.

Camp activities for students include laboratory visits and demonstrations in physics; chemistry; computer science; civil, mechanical, electrical and industrial and manufacturing engineering; field visits; mathematics lessons; and project work.

“The purpose of the camp is to develop pathways of learning activities for the Native American students leading to higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics areas and ultimately to enter into STEM careers,” said G. Padmanabhan, program coordinator and professor of civil engineering. “Hands-on activities and cultural relevance are emphasized whenever appropriate. It’s a good mix of learning and fun.”

During the last two days of the camp, five cultural leaders, one from each of the five tribal colleges, will work with the university and tribal college faculty developing units on the cultural connection and relevance of the lesson topics to the reservations.

The camp, directed by Robert Pieri, professor of mechanical engineering, will conclude with students presenting their research and a closing ceremony. Chad Ulven, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will direct the program's Sunday Academy efforts during the summer and academic year.

For additional information on NATURE summer camp, contact Padmanabhan at 1-7043 or Pieri at 1-8673.


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North Dakota State University
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