NWIC Overcomes Tragedy to Earn AISES Award

Feb 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 14-3: Your Heroes Are Not Our Heroes, Tribal College News

The Northwest Indian College Chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) received an important award at the organization’s annual conference Nov. 7-10 in Tulsa, OK. In presenting the Stelvio J. Zanin Distinguished Chapter of the Year Award, AISES National Student Representative Steven Baranyai said that the Northwest Indian College (NWIC) chapter planned and executed activities that epitomize the AISES principles. These activities included working with K-12 students, campus community service projects, and hosting a regional conference.

He also noted that the group endured and overcame tragedy while maintaining a focus on the future of Native peoples. Some of these tragedies included the loss of one student’s husband to cancer, the loss of another student’s nearly full-term baby, and the murder of a faculty member and close friend to the AISES chapter and its students.

Twenty-four NWIC students and their advisor, Wayne Woods, were at the conference to receive the honor. Last year’s and this year’s presidents of the chapter, Sandy Hensley and Tony George, spoke for the group, thanking the students and professional scientists, engineers, and corporation representatives for the recognition. The award also carries a $1,000 donation to the local chapter. Runner-up for this honor was the Arizona State University AISES Chapter. Previous winners have included much larger institutions than the tribal college: the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Cornell University, Michigan Technological University, and Arizona State University.

The NWIC chapter has been active since 1999 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began sponsoring it. Additional sponsorship has come from the National Science Foundation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program, Microsoft Corporation, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Swinomish Tribe. The Lummi Indian Business Council charters Northwest Indian College, which is based near Bellingham, WA. The college serves tribes throughout the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and southeast Alaska. Approximately 1,200 students take classes at NWIC each year.

AISES is a national, nonprofit organization that nurtures building of community by bridging science and technology with traditional Native values. Founded in 1977, the organization has over 160 college and university chapters, over 150 high school chapters, and hundreds of corporate sponsors and supporters.

For additional information about this award, contact Wayne Woods at Northwest Indian College (360) 392-4312 or at <wwoods@nwic.edu>.

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