OLC collaboration will train future engineers

May 13th, 2011 | By | Category: 22-4: Honoring Student Success, Science & Technology, Tribal College News

Oglala Lakota College, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, and South Dakota State University have recently been awarded a major cooperative grant from the National Science Foundation. The new cooperative program is designed to attract more Native American students into engineering fields and to provide them with greater support and mentorship while they work toward their engineering degrees.

Through this program, Native American students can acquire their basic engineering training as freshmen and sophomores at Oglala Lakota College (OLC, Kyle, SD) and then transfer to either South Dakota School of Mines or South Dakota State University as juniors. Civil engineering, geological engineering, and environmental engineering fields are the present focus of the project. Additional engineering fields will be added in the future as enrollment increases and the program develops. Students completing their first two years of training at OLC also will have the option to transfer to other universities with accredited engineering programs.

The program includes project-based service learning: Students identify critical needs or problems within their local communities and then design engineering solutions and work as a team to address them. Service learning projects might include water quality investigations, water treatment and distribution, wastewater disposal, solid waste management, and other natural resource problems in reservation communities.

The grant currently is approved for five years with a total support level of $1.25 million awarded to Oglala Lakota College, $825,000 to South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, and $825,000 to South Dakota State University.

For more information, contact Charles Jason Tinant at jtinant@olc.edu.

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