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NDSU researchers awarded grant for Indigenous-based STEM education

Photo of Kelly Rusch

Kelly Rusch

NDSU, North Dakota Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (known as EPSCoR) and partner institutions across the nation have been awarded a one-year, $770,143 collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation to address the underrepresentation of American Indian and Alaska Native students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines and workforce.

The Cultivating Indigenous Research Communities for Leadership in Education and STEM, or CIRCLES, Alliance builds on existing partnerships with tribal communities and tribal colleges in six states in the western half of the United States to develop a collective strategy for increasing the engagement, involvement and success of American Indian and Alaska Native students in STEM.

Kelly Rusch, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and ND EPSCoR executive director, will serve as principal investigator for NDSU.

“We look forward to strengthening existing partnerships and building new and authentic collaborative efforts with the state’s tribal communities to pursue Indigenous-based STEM activities that address individual community needs,” said Rusch.

The project will look to develop American Indian and Alaska Native-based STEM education activities for K-12 and higher education students and become a model for partnering with tribal communities to advance Indigenous-based STEM education. Ultimately, the project aims to support tribal communities in producing a STEM-ready workforce to meet their communities' unique economic development needs.

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