Initial Publication Date: March 10, 2017

Indigenous Women Working Within the Sciences Pilot (IWWS)

Project website:

Shared Vision

Project Summary

Northern Michigan University's Center for Native American Studies and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will lead this Design and Development Launch Pilot about culturally inclusive K-16 STEM education for American Indian and Native Alaskan (AIAN) students. This project was created in response to the NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) program solicitation (NSF 16-544). The INCLUDES program is a comprehensive national initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discoveries and innovations focused on NSF's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and broadening participation in these fields. The INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilots represent bold, innovative ways for solving a broadening participation challenge in STEM.

The full participation of all of America's STEM talent is critical to the advancement of science and engineering for national security, health and prosperity. Our nation is advancing knowledge and practices to address the undergraduate STEM achievement and the graduation gap between NAAIs and non-native Americans. This project, the NSF INCLUDES: Indigenous Women Working Within the Sciences (IWWS), has the potential to advance knowledge, instructional pedagogy and practices to improve the performance of NAAI high school students and undergraduate students in STEM.

This project team will work to:

  • pilot activities and coursework to train K-16 STEM educators about American Indian inclusive methods and materials,
  • to provide AIAN high school students with STEM college preparatory experience using inclusive STEM practices, and
  • to provide a cohort of female AIAN high school students additional university experiences and mentors as these students transition to postsecondary education.

Activities include a five-day summer educators institute for 40 K-16 STEM educators, an additional weekend workshop for 20 K-16 STEM educators, a summer STEM academy for 96 AIAN high school students, a STEM weekend workshop for female AIAN high school students, and a mentoring program for AIAN high school students.

Project Materials

Principal Investigators

  • April Lindala, PI
  • Jessica Cruz, Co-PI
  • Martin Reinhardt, Co-PI