MARQUETTE, MI-- The Northern Michigan University Center for Native American Studies has been awarded nearly $300,000 by the National Science Foundation for a program to enhance the Native
American presence in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math—or STEM.
Center Director April Lindala says “NSF INCLUDES: Indigenous Women Working within the Sciences” is made up of three parts. They include teaching educators who are in K-16 STEM fields how to be more inclusive with American Indian methods and materials; hosting a summer program for Native high school students and offering them college credit through learning how to merge Native American studies with STEM subjects; and building a mentorship program with those high school students, who will participate in an extended weekend on campus to see how educators apply what they’ve learned in workshops and college prep activities.
Lindala says while the name of the program is “Indigenous Women Working within the Sciences”, the goal is to educate all ages and genders involved in the project.
“When we have educators in the classroom who can have inclusive materials, all students in that classroom are going to benefit and have a greater understanding of American Indian culture and perhaps their American Indian neighbors down the street,” she says. “American Indian high school students will benefit by the summer program, and then American Indian females are really the ones we would like to see mentored and subsequently kind of work with them on the college prep activities.”
Lindala says the grant not only highlights the vitality of the Center for Native American Studies, it puts NMU on the map in a way that adds to the scholarship of STEM as a whole across the nation.