Packard Supports Science/Math StudentsAug 15th, 1998 | By tcj | Category: 10-1: Teaching Math and Science, Tribal College News
“We often get students with ‘math-o-phobia,'” says Holly YoungBear Tibbetts, a dean at the College of the Menominee Nation. “They think Indians don’t do math and science.” Tribal colleges are changing that perception at Menominee and other reservations with help from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. As part of a multi-year initiative, the foundation has been giving $100,000 to each of 11 tribal college science and math programs since 1994. This year, Packard has invited all the colleges to submit new proposals. In addition, the Packard Tribal Scholars program includes 17 tribal college graduates now studying math and science at four-year institutions. A third group of $20,000 scholarships were awarded this summer.
At Menominee, Packard’s support has allowed the college to build a “state of the art” natural resources research laboratory, hire instructors, and strengthen math and computer programs. The college also has been able to develop a new associate science degree in sustainable development. “Our students are working with better equipment than students at most of the state colleges in Wisconsin,” Tibbetts says. “Packard has been a partner in our goal of bringing sustainable development to the forefront of higher education.” With prized water and woodland resources, the Menominee tribe’s development efforts have been internationally recognized. So far, Tibbetts says all 10 of the colleges’ natural resources graduates have found employment or are continuing their education. That includes two Menominee graduates who have received Packard tribal college scholarships.