The largest classroom in the new $20 million, state-of-the-art American Indian Hall at Montana State University has been named in honor of AISES Council of Elders charter member emerita Dr. Henrietta Mann. One of the features of the Mann classroom is that it is configured in the round, a culturally harmonious design that brings students closer to each other and to their instructors. That feature is especially appropriate because over Dr. Mann’s long career as an educator she was known for her leadership in advancing Indigenous students. She is a professor emerita at Montana State University, where she was the first to hold the Katz Endowed Chair in Native American Studies. She has also taught at several other colleges and universities around the country, has won multiple awards, and is the founding president of Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribal College.
Former chair of the Board of Directors and 2010 winner of the Ely S. Parker Award, Dr. Robert Whitman has retired from the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Denver. Long active in AISES and a mentor to many, Professor Emeritus Whitman is one of only three Native engineers honored as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Sandra Begay is among the 2021 Women in Technology Awards honorees named by the New Mexico Technology Council. The awards recognize outstanding women in the state’s STEM industries who are also committed to mentoring and community service. Begay, a principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, has been active in AISES since her student days. She has served as executive director and chair of the Board of Directors, and was honored with the Ely S. Parker Award.
Weston Jones was profiled as an “outstanding grad” in Colorado State University’s online College News. The next step for the philosophy major is Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minnesota, where he plans to focus on federal tribal law.
Council of Elders member and vice-chair of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission Steven Darden has been awarded a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship by the Henry Luce Foundation and First Nations Development Institute. Darden will use the fellowship, which supports Native American knowledge holders, to perpetuate traditional Navajo end-of-life practices.
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development selected Sequoyah Fellow Dr. Tyler Parisien as a 40 Under 40 award recipient for 2020. Emerging Native American and Alaska Native leaders from around the country are nominated by their peers, and to be selected for the award must demonstrate initiative, resilience, and dedication to their communities and businesses. Dr. Parisien directs the Medical Laboratory Technician Program at Turtle Mountain Community College. He became involved with AISES by participating in NAISEF as a middle school student, and served as a Junior and Senior National Student Representative as an undergraduate at the University of North Dakota.
Northern Arizona University has named Dr. Jani Ingram a Regents’ professor, the highest rank a faculty member can achieve. Nominees must be full professors with a record of contributions to their field that has merited national and international recognition. Dr. Ingram, who teaches in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is the principal investigator for the Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention. She has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to recruiting Native students in STEM.
Dr. George Blue Spruce, DDS, MPH, has been recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Josiah P. Macy Jr. Foundation Awards for Excellence in Social Mission in Health Professions Education. The first American Indian dentist in the United States, Dr. Blue Spruce was instrumental in founding the Society of American Indian Dentists and serves as assistant dean for American Indian affairs at A.T. Still University – Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health.
Physician and actor Dr. Evan Adams received an honorary doctorate from Vancouver Island University. Now the deputy chief medical officer of public health with the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Indigenous Services Canada, Dr. Adams was tapped by a talent scout when he was an undergraduate at McGill University, and put his studies on hold for 12 years while he pursued acting in roles that included the iconic Thomas Builds-the-Fire in Smoke Signals. He went back to school at age 30 to become a physician. Dr. Adams was the keynote speaker at the 2016 AISES National Conference.
Members of the Mesa Community College Chapter in Mesa, Ariz., are among the beneficiaries of emergency funding provided by a $150,000 grant from Bank of America, awarded through the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation. The funds provide educational stipends for Indigenous students as well as up to $500 per semester to help cover necessities. Membership in the chapter is one way students can qualify for the funds.
The Northeastern State University College Chapter has joined with other students and alumni as well as Native student and professional groups to call for removal of a campus statue described as inappropriate and demeaning. The work, titled Statue of Forgiveness, was created by a Dutch artist and has been controversial since it was accepted by the university in 2016.
When the first — and so far only — First Nations Launch team from Canada couldn’t travel to the launch event last May due to COVID-19 restrictions, the University of California, Davis, College Chapter stepped up. Under the competition rules, the team from Queen’s University in Ontario was completely in charge and directed the UC Davis team via Zoom. The UC Davis team had already carried out its own launch. The NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium First Nations Launch gives Indigenous students a chance to refine their engineering and design skills through high-powered rocketry.
The AISES Circle of Support Program acknowledges the generous investment of partners whose support is integral to the AISES mission. Circle Partners are organizations that established a multiprogram partnership with AISES in 2020. We wish to thank each of our Circle Partners for their continued efforts to serve AISES student and professional members.