PHOTO BY ALEXIS BONOGOFSKY
Jason Baldes spoke last August at the Summer Science Institute, a professional development conference for science teachers hosted by the College of Education, Health, and Human Development at Montana State University. He spoke about his role in returning bison to tribal lands. For more about Baldes, see the Fall 2017 issue of Winds of Change.
Sequoyah Fellow Dr. Roger Dube, winner of the 2019 Ely S. Parker Award, is slated to be among the speakers at the 2022 Turtle Island Indigenous Science Conference, hosted by the University of Manitoba Faculty of Science. The June gathering, which will focus on traditional knowledge of the five elements (Earth, water, air, fire, and spirit), is planned to be in person pending health restrictions.
Council of Elders emerita member Dr. Henrietta Mann was a featured speaker last February at the annual “Would Jesus Eat Frybread?” conference. Hosted by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, the gathering welcomed college students to discuss topics related to Christianity and Native culture.
Sequoyah Fellow Fillipe Southerland was named to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee by the head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). He is the director of Healthcare Solutions at Yardi Systems, a leading information technology developer.
Amaiya Bearpaw was featured in a story in the Tahlequah Daily Press titled “Everyday Heroes” about her role as a water protector, advocating for water rights and water quality in her home community. A junior at Northeastern State University, Bearpaw serves as president of the AISES College Chapter.
Past Board of Directors chair Dwight Gourneau and his role with AISES were recognized in the Acknowledgments section of the best-selling novel The Night Watchman, by his niece Louise Erdrich. The book is a fictionalized account of the successful struggle of Erdrich’s grandfather Patrick Gourneau to reverse an attempt to terminate tribal rights of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Patrick Gourneau served as chair of the tribe’s Advisory Committee in the mid-1950s.
Dr. John Herrington was the subject of a feature article in the special Career Development issue of SAY Magazine, published last October. The first tribally enrolled NASA astronaut, Dr. Herrington actively promotes STEM education, especially for Native young people. He is a former member of the AISES Board of Directors.
Paul Markel has been named the founding director of the South Dakota State University School of Psychology, Sociology, and Rural Studies. The school is the sixth to be established at the university.
Council of Elders member Dr. Bret Benally Thompson was the subject of a profile on the website of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, where he is an assistant professor of medicine, a faculty advisor for the Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP), and the principal investigator for the NACHP Indians Into Medicine (INMED) grant. In the article Dr. Benally Thompson, a palliative care physician, described the important and enduring place AISES has had in his life and that of his wife, Antoinelle Benally Thompson, also an active member of the Council of Elders.
Marcellus Proctor was profiled last fall in the digital and print editions of IEEE Spectrum, the publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Proctor earned his master’s in electrical engineering at Johns Hopkins before realizing his childhood dream of working at NASA’s Goddard Space Center, where he is now associate chief of the Electrical Engineering Division. He also serves on the AISES Government Relations Committee.
An article in the summer 2021 issue of Sooner magazine profiled AISES co-founder J.C. Elliott High Eagle, focusing on his life, his student days at the University of Oklahoma, and his career at NASA, where he had a part in 11 Apollo missions. He served as retrofire officer in the imperiled Apollo 13 mission and played a crucial role in guiding the crew back safely. Sooner is published by the University of Oklahoma Foundation.
The USDA has named Dr. Marty Matlock a senior advisor for Food Systems Resiliency with the agency’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Dr. Matlock was the founding executive director of the University of Arkansas Resiliency Center and was a professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. He holds a PhD in biosystems engineering from Oklahoma State University and served as a longtime chair of the Cherokee Nation Environmental Protection Commission.
AISES CEO Sarah EchoHawk was interviewed for The 360 Blog at salesforce.com. She spoke about the challenges of expanding opportunities for Indigenous and other minority professionals in the tech sector.
Montoya Whiteman, AISES senior director of marketing, was quoted in “Catching Up Native American Students in Science,” a special report published last November by Education Week. Whiteman commented on pandemic-related deficits in Indian Country.
FILLIPE SOUTHERLAND PHOTO VIA HEALTHIT.GOV
Living Legacy: Dr. Floy Agnes Lee
This column celebrates pioneering Indigenous people in STEM who helped establish a heritage of accomplishment, perseverance, and service. In this issue we meet a woman who is celebrated by the Atomic Heritage Foundation for her work with the Manhattan Project: Dr. Floy Agnes Lee, Santa Clara Pueblo.
A staunch proponent of the importance of science education throughout her career, Dr. Floy Agnes Lee was an early member of AISES. She studied biology at the University of New Mexico and graduated in 1945. Based on her research at UNM, she was recruited to join the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M. There she worked in the hematology lab, collecting and checking the blood of scientists on the project, which was racing to develop an atomic bomb. Dr. Lee was inspired to go to graduate school by her frequent tennis partner, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, whom she usually beat. (At the end of the war, when she learned of Fermi’s importance to the project’s success, she let him win a game.) She earned her PhD at the University of Chicago over a period of 14 years while she was a widowed single mother working at Argonne National Laboratory. Later she also worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, eventually returning to Los Alamos. During her long and productive career, she became a pioneering researcher in the field of radiation biology, focusing much of her research on the effects of radiation on chromosomes. Dr. Lee died in 2018 at the age of 95.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ATOMIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION