Initial Publication Date: February 10, 2014

Supporting Minority Students at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota

Information for this profile was provided by Diana Dalbotten, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota. Information is also available on the program website.

Jump Down To: Context | Keys to Success | Attracting New Students | Supporting Our Majors | Preparing Students for Careers | Additional Information

gidakiimanaaniwigamig/manoomin and the Geoscience Alliance, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota


The Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) is a research laboratory situated on Hennepin Island in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Research at SAFL includes the work of many fields, including civil engineering, hydraulic engineering, hydrology, ecology, and geology. Research at SAFL has been spurred on in the first decade of the 21st century by its status as the headquarters of the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED). SAFL and NCED have developed and support national and regional programs related to broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM. The St. Anthony Falls Laboratory is part of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. The central theme of research at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) is interdisciplinary fluid mechanics. Researchers at SAFL combine field experiments with physical and computational modeling, utilizing our building's unique facilities, to address emerging societal problems in energy, environmental restoration, and human and ecosystem health. They emphasize quantitative and predictive understanding of the underlying physical processes across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. Researchers at SAFL are primarily faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral scholars affiliated with the College of Science and Engineering (primarily Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Earth Sciences) and with the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Science.

Keys to Success

  • SAFL uses the appeal of place-based, community-inspired research projects to engage students in geoscience education.
  • SAFL supports our majors by focusing on the needs of students, who often are nontraditional students.
  • SAFL prepares students for careers by focusing on research projects that are directly related to the needs and jobs in Native American communities.

Attracting New Students

SAFL diversity programs work to attract new students into the geosciences by focusing on the needs of the students and of their communities. Approximately 60% of students in the REU on Sustainable Land and Water Resources are parents and many are nontraditional students returning to college after an absense. We reach out to students through the Geoscience Alliance--through our listserv, website, and facebook group, and through GA national meetings and small meetings at professional conferences. We have a network of supporters from many different institutions who help us recruit for our programs.

Supporting Our Majors

We locate our research programs in the students' communities. We provide financial support for students to attend the GA conferences and other meetings. We support students' traditions and culture and center our research projects on the needs of the community.

Preparing Students for Careers

Students in the program, from junior-high to graduate programs conduct research mentored by scientists from the University of Minnesota and from our partner tribes. All students gain hands-on experience in defining a research project, designing methodology, collecting data, and carrying out analysis of data. In addition, we teach to the whole student, working to integrate many different ways of teaching, learning and knowing.

Addition Information

Additional information about these programs can be found in two publications that will be available in 2014. An article "Manoomin Science Camp Project: A Model for Engaging American Indian Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics," will be published in the upcoming Journal of Geoscience Education, Special Issue on Place-Based Education in May, 2104. Dalbotten is also an editor on the upcoming AGU Monograph, "Future Earth: Advancing Civic Understanding of the Anthropocene," which contains chapters on the Geoscience Alliance and on supporting diverse participants in undergraduate research programs. Please see for more information about this volume, which is scheduled for release in June 2014.

Geoscience Alliance ( This site may be offline. )

g i d a k i i m a n a a n i w i g a m i g

NCED REU on Sustainable Land and Water Resources