Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 2   April 2011

Math & Science: Native STEM students too few
Read the entire article: http://nativetimes.com
Condensed by Native Village

Oklahoma: Dr. Kent Smith has earned degrees in biology, chemistry and paleontology. His new goal is to get more Native Americans interested in the STEM fields.

“I noticed that there weren’t many [Native[ peers as I was a student at the undergraduate level ... , and when I was in graduate school -- same thing," said Smith, a member of the Comanche Nation. "There weren’t hardly any Native American graduate students. I didn’t have a single mentor that was Native American.”

Now an associate professor of anatomy, Smith created the Native Explorers program at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa. Students in the program visit and study natural resources first hand. They are also introduced to osteopathic medicine.

“The primary goals are for me to be able to get Native Americans excited about science, in particular anatomy and paleontology,” he said.

Shannean Fields is an OSU animal science pre-vet freshman. Last summer, she joined seven other Native Explorer students hiking 10,000 feet above sea level in Utah's Manti-La Sal National Forest.

“It was a lot of fun. It’s a very hands-on experience. You get to learn about archeology, paleontology … and you get to go out there and experience what it’s like to do a dig yourself,” Fields said. “I just thought it was very enlightening.”

Fields, Muscogee Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw and Pawnee, said hiking into a different altitude increased her interest in science. The experience also led to summer job opportunities.

Cara Cowan Watts, Cherokee, shares Smith's passion for science. Cara has earned degrees in mechanical engineering and telecommunications, and is now a Ph.D. candidate in biosystems engineering. She is also a lifetime member of AISES (the American Indian Science and Engineering Society)/

Cara is concerned by the lack of Native students in STEM fields. She has heard horrible stories about Native kids getting pigeon holed into lesser careers and not being challenged. She also wonders why Oklahoma does not require students to take college prep courses before graduating from high school. 70% of the fastest growing jobs require education beyond high school.

“With all the math and science ability, the last thing we need is for them to be something nobody needs,” Cowan Watts  said. “We need doctors, we need nurses, we need engineers. If we don’t have this skill set, how are we going to protect our natural resources?”

Cowan Watts is actively promoting STEM careers for Native students. Her family has created an Excellence in Engineering award for students in grades 5-12.  The Cherokee Nation holds both a STEM summer camp and National Science and Engineering Fair.

“We have been changing lives with these programs,” Cowan Watts said.

2011 Cherokee Nation National Science & Engineering Fair Awards
OVERALL WINNERS
Middle School Energy: Project #58, Jayden Hubler (Braggs Middle School) 
High School Energy: Project #2, Gretchan Moore (Muldrow High School) 
Middle School Environment: Project #89, Hannah Powell (Sadler Arts Academy) 
High School Environment: Project #30, Wyatt Dunham (Grove High School) 
Middle School Engineering: Project #39, McKalee Steen (Grove Middle School) 
High School Engineering: Project #25, Ezekial Kindle (Westville High School) 
Recognition Certificate: Wyatt Dunham (Grove) 

Outstanding Sustainability Award Certificate: Ezekial Kindle (Westville) 
 
Most Tribally Related Winners:
 3rd Place: Project #82, Onen Rhodes (Keys) 
2nd Place: Project #39,
McKalee Steen (Grove) 
1st Place: Project #36,
Gideon Moore (Muldrow) 
3rd Place: Project #27, J
ennifer Wilkie (Westville) 
2nd Place: Project #28,
Emily Alberty (Westville) 
1st Place: Project #2,
Gretchan Moore (Muldrow) 

 

Middle School (5-9)
Individual Winners
High School (9-12)
Individual Winners
Energy Efficiency
3rd Place: Project #60,
Jarred Scott (Westville Middle School)
1st Place: Project #58,
Jayden Hubler (Braggs Middle School) 
Energy Efficiency
 2nd Place: Project #18,
John Pruitt (Westville High School) 
1st Place: Project #17,
Paige Grooms (Westville High School) 
Energy Conservation
3rd Place: Project #56,
Paige Jones (Muldrow Middle School) 
1st Place: Project #57,
Anna-Gail Moore (Muldrow Middle School) 
Water Pollution
1st Place
: Project #30, Wyatt Dunham (Grove High School) 
Energy Business & Policies
1st Place: Project #55,
Gideon Hallum (Muldrow Middle School) 
Ecosystem Management
1st Place: Project #12,
Larod Snyder (Westville High School) 
Water Pollution
3rd Place: Project #87, Amber Roberts (Westville Middle School) 
 2nd Place: Project #83, Kelsey Combs (Keys Middle School) 
 1st Place
: Project #89, Hannah Powell (Sadler Arts Academy) 
Soil Pollution/Quality
1st Place: Project #28,
Emily Alberty (Westville High School)
Land Management
2nd Place: Project #67,
Abigale Weddle (Muldrow Middle School) 
Air Pollution/Quality
3rd Place: Project #1,
Bailey Helm (Westville High School)
Reduce-Reuse-Recycle
 3rd Place: Project #78,
Brooke Kindle (Westville Middle School) 
2nd Place: Project #77,
Laura Webster (Sadler Arts Academy) 
Noise Pollution/Quality
1st Place: Project #75,
Jordyn Houston (Keys Middle School) 
Bio Engineering
3rd Place: Project #33,
Lauren Drewes (Keys Middle School) 
2nd Place: Project #36,
Gideon Moore (Muldrow Middle School) 
1st Place: Project #39,
McKalee Steen (Grove Middle School) 
Reduce-Reuse-Recycle
1st Place: Project #27, J
ennifer Wilkie (Westville High School) 
Civil Engineering & Construction Engineering
 2nd Place: Project #51,
Noah Nickens (Westville Middle School) 
 1st Place: Project #50,
Kira Brown (Muldrow Middle School) 
Civil Engineering & Construction Engineering
1st Place: Project #10,
Ashley Pruitt (Westville High School) 
Chemical Engineering
3rd Place: Project #45,
Emily Guinn (Westville Middle School) 
2nd Place: Project #43,
Emma Delarosa (Westville Middle School) 
1st Place: Project #46,
Lexy Maggard (Westville Middle School) 
Chemical Engineering
2nd Place: Project #9,
Zachery McVey (Westville High School) 
1st Place: Project #6,
Kyisha Baird (Westville High School) 
Material Science
 3rd Place: Project #71,
Kindle Wilkie (Westville Middle School) 
2nd Place: Project #68,
Paxton McVey (Westville Middle School) 
1st Place: Project #70,
Hunter Stratton (Keys Middle School) 
Material Science
1st Place: Project #24,
Bryce Scraper (Westville High School) 
 
Mechanical Engineering
2nd Place: Project #73,
Chanae Stacks (Westville Middle School) 
Mechanical Engineering
2nd Place: Project #26,
Cole McCrary (Muldrow High School) 
1st Place: Project #25,
Ezekial Kindle (Westville High School) 
Thermodynamics
3rd Place: Project #79,
Tanner Dgdon (Muldrow Middle School) 
2nd Place: Project #80,
Adison Hood (Keys Middle School) 
 1st Place: Project #82,
Onen Rhodes (Keys Middle School) 
Thermodynamics
 2nd Place: Project #29, T
ristan Brown (Muldrow High School) 
Other
3rd Place: Project #65,
Jackson Wells (Keys Middle School) 
 2nd Place: Project #63,
Kaylee Childers (Muldrow Middle School) 

 

Other
2nd Place: Project #21,
Taylor Rogers (Muldrow High School) 
1st Place: Project #20,
Whitney Rector (Westville High School) 

 

  Bio Energy
1st Place: Project #2,
Gretchan Moore (Muldrow High School) 
  Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering
3rd Place: Project #14,
Bailey Brunner (Westville High School)

SPECIAL AWARDS

“Bill Warde Award” for Best Use of Statistics
$150 – Middle School, Project #55, Gideon Hallum of Muldrow 
$150 – High School, Project #28,
Emily Alberty of Westville 

Cara Cowan Engineering Family

 $50 Middle School, Project #51, Noah Nickens of Westville 
$50 High School, Project #25, E
zekial Kindle of Westville

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway
$50 Middle School, Project #50, Kira Brown of Muldrow 
$100 High School, Project #2, G
retchan Moore of Westville 
Oklahoma Professional Chapter of AISES
Shine Award,   $50 Middle School, Project #58 – Jayden Hubler of Braggs 
 $50 High School, Project #30,
Wyatt Dunham of Grove 
ENGINEERING ACTIVITY AWARDS
Nan Butler, OSU AISES President
 

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