Rewards of Research Go Beyond Students, FBCC

Nov 15th, 2004 | By | Category: 16-2: Tribal College Research, Tribal College News

Fort Berthold Community College (FBCC, New Town, ND) has been conducting research projects focusing on the environment and people for the past 10 years. Students involved in research have not only been introduced to quality research methods. They have also have been able to work closely with the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation and form relationships with agencies to help meet reservation-wide research needs.

Research projects over the years have included several on water quality (lead in drinking water; E.coli in drinking water; well-water quality; and locating pesticides in surface water). Others have studied radon; bio-control of Leafy Spurge; mosquito surveillance; endangered species; Shagella epidemiology; and diabetes.

Initial grants that enabled FBCC to begin research were provided by AhJoGun (National Institutes of Health) and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minorities Program (National Science Foundation).

Presently, FBCC is conducting research projects through several different grants: Through the NSF Tribal College and University Program grant, faculty and student interns conducted research on the effectiveness of block scheduling classes to increase student retention.

The aquaculture project (USDA) is investigating the feasibility of developing aquaculture in the local reservoir by observing attrition and growth of fingerlings in a local pond.

Through the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) grant (National Institutes of Health), some students are researching traditional plant dyes. In a separate RISE project, students are studying the nutrient content of traditional Three Tribes diets to identify sources of calcium. Another diet-related project involves the use of the traditionally foraged Juneberries (high in antioxidants) as an alternative crop.

In a collaborative project involving North Dakota State University, Sitting Bull College, Sinte Gleska University, and FBCC, students and faculty are studying the cancer-protective properties of selenium in grains, cattle, and bison raised in the western plains of the Dakotas. That project is also funded by USDA

“Experience in conducting research, presenting at national symposiums, mentorship, collaborations, and the knowledge gained from findings have shaped our college and students,” says Ruth Shortbull, FBCC faculty member. “Many of our previous research students have continued their educations and are currently working on the reservation.”

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