Grant Offers Research Projects to Undergrads

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

When Northwest Indian College (NWIC, Bellingham, WA) received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates grant in April 2004, it was the first tribal college to do so. It joined the ranks of universities such as Harvard, Cornell, Notre Dame, Vassar, and Texas A&M.

This award reflects NWIC’s transition to research-based science education, according to Dr. Roberto Gonzalez-Plaza of the NWIC science faculty. The tribal college is forging partnerships with the Lummi Tribe and area universities to place students from its Tribal Environmental and Natural Resources Management program.

The grant will distribute $188,000 in this phase to qualified students. It supports research opportunities for students in the areas of science, environmental science, and natural resources as relevant to tribes in the Northwest. A faculty member at NWIC and one or more mentors at research sites will oversee student research activities.

Research projects focus on non-point source pollution, salmon restoration ecology, remote habitat assessment tools, aquaculture technologies, traditional use of native plants, DNA-based shellfish and fish population analysis, the ecology of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound), and rain forest ecosystems dynamics.

Students will be placed with partners of NWIC such as Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories (in the San Juan Islands) and the Natural Resources Department of the Lummi Nation. As the National Indian Center for Marine Environmental Research and Education starts functioning on the Lummi Reservation, the college expects to incorporate research dealing with other aspects of marine sciences.

For details, contact Dr. Roberto Gonzalez-Plaza at NWIC, rgonzalez@nwic.edu.

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