Translating Research into Practice Through the Geoscience Alliance

Tuesday 4:30pm-5:30pm Red Gym
Poster Session


Nievita Bueno Watts, Purdue University-Main Campus
How can we increase the number of Native Americans trained in the Earth and Environmental Sciences?
Indigenous peoples are already feeling the effects of a changing climate on lifeways. Tribal leaders want indigenous voices to be heard when environmental decisions are being made. One way for Native voices to be heard is for Native peoples to seek advanced degrees in Earth and environmental science. The Geoscience Alliance is a national organization dedicated to this idea.
I conducted interviews with fifteen Native American geoscientists and ten directors of programs designed to increase the number of Native Americans in Earth and environmental science degree programs. To make progress in broadening participation as a discipline we need to move from an exclusionary model to an inclusionary model. Pathways must be built from trusted relationships, and these relationships take time. When working with Native communities it is a long term commitment. Suggestions include:
1. Build a step-wise program which originates at tribal schools, goes through a 4-year college, and ends at a doctoral degree granting institution.
2. Visit schools and community events and bring hands-on experiences to the community. Educate the community on how to become an Earth scientist.
3. Summer Science and Math camps involving the community, university, local teachers and students, science educators, and elders. Make them ethnocentric, rooted in place, and multigenerational.
4. Promote and develop science fairs in the community and local school system.
5. Sponsor SACNAS or AISES chapters in your department.
6. Begin a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in conjunction with tribal college partners.
The Geoscience Alliance is a national alliance of individuals committed to broadening the participation of Native Americans in the geosciences. Its members are faculty from tribal colleges, universities, and research centers; native elders and community members; industry representatives; students and teachers; and others.

Presentation Media

Translating Research into Practice Through the Geoscience Alliance (Acrobat (PDF) 1.6MB Jul14 16)