A two-week science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) summer camp for American Indian tribal college students, faculty and reservation high school teachers was held June 7-18 at NDSU. The annual camp is a component of the Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE) project to attract American Indian youth to STEM careers. The National Science Foundation and the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ND EPSCoR) funded the project.
In its fifth year, NATURE has four component activities including summer camp for tribal college students and faculty at NDSU, summer camps for high school and middle school students at tribal college sites, Sunday Academy directed to high school students in the five North Dakota reservations and university-tribal college collaborative undergraduate research mentoring.
This year, 14 American Indian students from three tribal colleges participated in the camp. Concurrently, five tribal college faculty and seven reservation high school mathematics and science teachers worked together with faculty from NDSU and the University of North Dakota to develop lesson plans for the high school summer camps in June and July at the tribal college sites and for the upcoming Sunday Academy sessions. The academies are held one Sunday each month through the academic year. A two-day workshop will be held at NDSU later in August for the tribal college faculty and teachers to practice and perfect the hands-on activities they developed for the Sunday Academy for the upcoming academic year.
Camp activities for students included laboratory visits and demonstrations in physics, chemistry, food science, computer science, geosciences, climatology and engineering. NDSU and UND instructors introduced science, mathematics and engineering disciplines and career opportunities to the students.
G. Padmanabhan, professor of civil engineering; Robert Pieri, professor of mechanical engineering; and Chad Ulven, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, organized and conducted the camp. Adnan Akyuz, assistant professor of climatology; Wendy Reed, associate professor of biological sciences; Deland Myers, director of the School of Food Systems; Clifford Hall, associate professor of food systems; Xuefeng Chu, assistant professor of civil engineering; Alan Denton, associate professor of physics; Scott Payne, assistant director of the Electron Microscopy Center; Jayma Moore, research specialist in plant pathology; Yechun Wang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Anne Denton, assistant professor of computer science; Prakash Ranganathan, instructor of electrical engineering at UND; Vasyl Tkach, associate professor of biology at UND; Hanying Xu, director of the environmental analytical research lab at UND; and Carrie John, postdoctoral research associate of chemistry at UND, were the primary resource faculty for instruction and project mentoring. Austin Allard and Kayla Allard, undergraduate students, assisted in instruction and logistics. Other faculty helped in department tours and laboratory demonstrations.
For information on the NATURE program, call Padmanabhan, principal investigator and project coordinator, at 1-7043; David Givers, ND EPSCoR co-project director, at 1-7516; or Mark Hoffmann, ND EPSCoR co-project director at UND, at (701) 777-2742.