This week I have been made proud by a tribal college student and graduate in the STEM fields that are Thinking Indian.
Marie, a second-year student at Leech Lake Tribal College in Minnesota in liberal studies with a STEM emphasis, was selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as one of its 105 best and brightest interns and fellows for the NASA Student Ambassador Program. During a 10-week internship with NASA, Marie produced maps that showed where heritage sites have been found and surveyed and what areas were in need of survey. Marie wants to be a math teacher on her reservation to encourage other Natives to pursue the STEM fields.
Melinda is a 2008 Haskell Indian nations University graduate and a graduate student in the Department of Botany and Plant Psychology at Purdue University in Indiana. Melinda is passionate about her research, and is studying how to incorporate pre-Colombian tribal soil practices to restore degraded soils in North America.
Our American Indian students continue to show that American Indian practices and traditions are science, and can be used to protect and preserve our water, land and air resources. As Melinda says, “Traditional ecological knowledge in the U.S. can be used to grow crops, reduce carbon emissions, and more!”
Now that is “Thinking Indian!”