SIPI Students Present Research at Houston

Aug 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 15-1: Indigenizing Our Future, Tribal College News

Three emerging scholar interns at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) gave professional research presentations to an audience of scientists from around the world last March. Students Robert Gakin (Standing Rock Sioux), Kevin Lewis (Cochiti Pueblo), and Adrian Livingston (Navajo) researched how to develop a meteorite identification program and examined the surface of Mars to determine if a crater existed. They made their presentations at the 34th annual Lunar and Planetary Science conference in Houston, TX.

For two-year college students to be selected for such a presentation is very unusual, according to SIPI. Only a few of the students attending the conference were from two-year colleges and were first time authors and presenters.

Students participating in the SIPI/NSF/NASA program have the opportunity to get trained on state-of-the-art lab equipment by Ph.Ds. “The National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA have given me the opportunity to do research that most two-year college students don’t have access to,” stated Gakin.

SIPI’s NSF partnership project was designed to further build SIPI’s capacity to deliver rigorous instruction and to increase the number of American Indians entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (STEM).

SIPI identified five goals to reach these objectives: 1) improve student learning outcomes in calculus, chemistry, and physics; 2) provide a rich learning environment for the development of problem-solving and critical thinking skills through a technology-enriched curriculum; 3) increase the number of STEM graduates that matriculate to a baccalaureate program or competitively enter the technological workforce; 4) provide students with a meaningful research experience that will lead to improved diverse career opportunities in STEM fields; and 5) increase the number of certified information technology professionals to assist American Indian tribes in getting access to cutting-edge technological resources.

Dr. Joe Martin, SIPI’s president, sees SIPI’s NASA grant as a way for participants to build a solid academic and research foundation in earth and planetary sciences, mathematics, technology, and communications. The collaboration between the University of New Mexico’s Institute of Meteoritics and the meteorite identification laboratory at SIPI provides students with an opportunity to learn more about earth and planetary sciences, to participate in meaningful research, and to interact with professionals in the field.

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