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Haskell Environmental Research Studies Institute: Summer Internship for Native Undergraduates

Authors: Katrina Mcclure*, Univ. of KS, Jay T. Johnson, University of Kansas, Phillip Marshall, Haskell Indian Nations University, Trevor Guinn, University of Kansas
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Higher Education, Environmental Science
Keywords: Indigenous, Higher Education, STEM
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The number of Native students pursuing graduate studies in STEM disciplines has remained stagnate while other minority groups have seen dramatic increases over the past decade. The Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) internship program seeks to engage Native students in science and create pathways to STEM careers. HERS is designed for Native students and promotes outreach to Tribal colleges and universities. Interns receive mentoring, support, and instruction for an 8-week internship hosted at Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU). The curriculum utilizes research frameworks that support Indigenous knowledge systems, Tribal research sovereignty, Indigenous research ethics, and Native science. Skill development areas include critical thinking, research design, professional writing, and introductions to environmental assessment and geographic information systems. Interns develop graduate-level research proposals, personal statements, and posters. Graduate student mentors assist in mentoring the interns for the first four weeks of the program. Post-internship opportunities include funding and support to present at national conferences, GRE or other entrance exam preparation, and access to academic advising. Over 100 students have completed the HERS internship program and approximately half have gone on to complete graduate degrees in disciplines, including mechanical engineering, environmental health, natural resource management, urban planning, and social work. Many HERS alum work professionally at tribal communities as natural resource professionals, teachers, and public administrators. The HERS internship is funded by an NSF-EPSCoR grant and represents an important collaboration between HINU, the University of Kansas, and the Institute for Policy and Social Research.

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