Making Science Interesting

Nov 15th, 1994 | By | Category: 6-3: Philanthropy, Tribal College News

Children as young as ten will benefit from a grant awarded to Fond du Lac Community College for a new computer science and engineering curriculum.

An 11.38 million grant from the National Science Foundation will allow the Minnesota tribal college to develop a lower division computer science program designed specifically to sup­port American Indian stu­dents. It will emphasize mentoring and integrate Native American culture in all math and science classes. Ultimately, students will be encouraged to transfer to four-year institutions.

The grant will allow the college to develop the curriculum, purchase needed equipment and train staff and faculty.

Along with the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, the college will also hold sum­mer camps for American Indian children in grades five through eight. In addition, bridge-to-college camps will be offered for high school students, where traditional culture will be integrated into the study of computer science.

According to Ted Wetherbee, a project inves­tigator and member of the college’s faculty, the sum­mer camps will not turn the students into computer programmers, but will instead “expose them to interesting activities, pique their interest…show that science is a part of [tribal] culture.”

The Fond du Lac Ojibwe School will also become connected to the Internet, allow the staff and faculty to communi­cate with the colleagues at the tribal college, govern­ment and non-Indian col­leges and universities. Students, too, will tap its resources, taking advan­tage of the data and library resources it con­tains. Mostly they will see, first hand, the excitement of computer communica­tion before it becomes intimidating. “The kids are willing to experiment,” says Wetherbee.

The grant is a signifi­cant step for the new col­lege. Although it opened in 1987, Fond du Lac Community College became a full-fledged community college this past summer. Until then, the college operated as an extension campus affiliat­ed with Mesabi Community College.

Find similar: , , ,

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.