The University of Wyoming Native American Program is starting a chapter of a STEM program that focuses on providing support to native students. The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), was founded in 1977 to support Native students and their involvement in STEM programs.
The Native American Resource Center wants to partner with community colleges in the state.
Reniette Tendore is the UW Native American Program student outreach coordinator, said she wants to reach Native students around the state, even if they had not thought about a career in STEM.
"I want representation from other community colleges. It's really important," said Tendore. "And we know even up in Sheridan there has to be some Crow students or one or two. Their reservation is right there. So there has to be some Native students we are missing in the state of Wyoming so it would be awesome to get the word out."
AISES supports universities, community colleges and professional chapters in both the U.S. and Canada and has awarded $12 million in academic scholarships and other STEM related programming.
Lisa Abeyta is the student research programs coordinator for the universities' Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). She has been to the AISES national conference and saw a positive effect on the students she brought along.
"I definitely think it opened their eyes to opportunities they didn't know they were there," said Abeyta. "Being part of the university community there were opportunities that I didn't even know existed. So being able to open their eyes to see what else is out there outside the university to benefit them and their future was awesome."
On Thursday, Feb. 18, the Native American Resource Center hosted an informational talk for anyone around the state who would like to become involved in the new chapter of AISES.