NSF Enhances Science Teaching at Leech Lake

Feb 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 17-3: Heroes of Today, Tribal College News

The National Science Foundation has awarded Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC, Cass Lake, MN) a 5-year grant for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The grant will total $500,000 each year for a maximum of five years.

Leech Lake Tribal College plans to become a conduit for more Native American students in the reservation communities to actively pursue higher degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Michael Wassegijig Price is the program director at the tribal college. He previously served as LLTC Science Department Chair from 1998-2001.

The faculty will introduce and integrate aspects of the Anishinaabe culture into the science curriculum to make science and math more culturally relevant to students. An ethnobotany course will be developed within the first year for both on-campus and online delivery.

The college plans to increase the technological skills of the entire reservation through Community Learning Resource Centers. A total of nine sites will have computers, internet access, and distance education capability. An outreach specialist will be hired.

LLTC will hire a library media specialist to develop STEM resources, enhance access and utilization of library resources, and manage the library.

“We are excited about the opportunity to develop our institution in the direction of science, technology, engineering, and math. Our students deserve it,” says Leah Carpenter, president of the college.

Prior to being hired by the tribal college, Price received a prestigious award from the National Geographic Society and Microsoft for an essay he wrote about indigenous science. He was named an “emerging explorer” and sent on an expedition to Argentina in August 2005 with high-altitude archaeologist Dr. Constanza Ceruti. Ceruti’s work includes the study of Incan mummies and ceremonial sites in the Andes.

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