▸ Master of Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship (MTRES)
An innovative, one-of-a-kind graduate path —
designed by tribal communities for tribal communities — has been
launched at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). The school’s
American Indian Studies Department is welcoming applications for its
groundbreaking Master of Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship
(MTRES) program, focused on sustainably managing natural resources. This
is an applied degree designed to meet the professional and leadership
needs of tribes as they manage natural resources and advocate for
Indigenous rights. The purpose of the program is to offer students an
overview of the environment from an Indigenous perspective so they can
play successful roles in sustaining tribal lands and water.
Now in its second year, the MTRES path was developed after three
years of in-depth consultations with regional tribes. The curriculum is
based on the interrelationship of biological, physical, and cultural
systems and includes required as well as elective courses. Through a
combination of online classwork and a series of face-to-face meetings
each semester, participants study topics that include the principles of
tribal sovereignty, Indigenous environmental systems, integrated
ecosystems stewardship, tribal natural resource programs and economics,
and environmental stewardship.
To be eligible for this opportunity, candidates should have a
bachelor’s degree (preferred minimum GPA is 3.0). The online application
requires unofficial transcripts or academic records, two letters of
recommendation, and a 300-word personal statement.
➜ Up to 20 students will be selected for the program that begins in fall 2020. The deadline for applications is May 1. For more information, go to umdmtres.org or call 218-726-7332.
What is unique about MTRES? The program was designed
by tribes for tribes. One of its key premises is that the traditional
ecological knowledge you find within tribes has incredible value. There
is so much Indigenous people know about wildlife, fish, and plant life
that you won’t find in textbooks; it’s been documented for generations
through oral and religious traditions. What we do with this curriculum
is a unique merging of Native American wisdom and experience with
Western scientific thought.
How did the program get started? In 2013, tribal
leaders started coming to us about a need they saw for advanced degrees
for people working in natural resource programs on reservations. To
research this idea, I worked with Rick Smith, a colleague from the UMD
American Indian Learning Resource Center, to obtain funding from the UMD
Swenson College of Science and Engineering. A group of us from UMD then
held a series of consultations in Wisconsin and Minnesota with natural
resource directors from different tribes. After three years of research,
with help from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, we
put together the right committee of scientists, policy experts, and
practitioners to design the curriculum.
What skills are students developing and refining through the MTRES?
In addition to the fundamental skills involved in tribal natural
resource management, it’s important for these professionals to
effectively adapt their knowledge to community-specific contexts. We’re
seeing them develop advanced methodological and communications skills
and apply them to complex tribal natural resource issues. Part of this
aspect of their education is better understanding their roles in the
context of the economic, legal, and cultural contours of their
stewardship. They’re also gaining special expertise in tribal
sovereignty that will continue to serve them — and their tribes —
throughout their careers.
From your perspective, what are some key takeaways for students in the program?
One of the most critical benefits of experiencing the program is that
graduates will be able to provide vigilant oversight of land, air, and
water while also advocating for Indigenous rights. Most of the
participants are already serving in natural resource management roles on
reservations, and the ground they cover in MTRES will position them to
be even more effective leaders in their work as environmental stewards.
Johnson is a professor in UMD’s American Indian Studies Department and
director of the MTRES program. He is an enrolled member of the Minnesota
Chippewa Tribe, Bois Forte Band.
▸ Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund (SPGSF)
Now the largest provider of scholarships to Native
students in the U.S., AIGC has been providing financial support for more
than 50 years. The merit-based SPGSF program offers financial
assistance for eligible American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate,
graduate, and professional STEM degree candidates, and is focused on
promoting STEM research and careers with tribal governments and Bureau
of Indian Education (BIE)–funded organizations on and off reservations.
Students must be enrolled members of a federally recognized American
Indian tribe or Alaska Native group, or able to provide documentation of
ancestry in a federally recognized tribe, and must be pursuing an
associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, or professional degree in a
STEM field as a full-time student at an accredited institution in the
Awards range from $10,000 to $30,000, and approximately 120 to 140
scholarships are issued annually. “We evaluate applications from a
wholistic point of view,” says AIGC Director of Scholarship Operations
Corey Still. “While we have a GPA standard, we also look beyond GPAs to
applicant essays and aspects of their community engagement that tell
their story as a future STEM professional.”
➜ The 2020 application deadline is June 1. For more information on how to apply, go to aigc.cademicworks.com/opportunities/32066.
Where did you grow up and where do you go to school?
I grew up in Kaimuki, a suburb on the island of Oahu, with my mother,
father, and twin sister. I graduated from Punahou School, a
college-preparatory school in Honolulu. Currently, I’m a first-year
student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
How did you become interested in STEM academics and career possibilities?
Throughout my childhood, I was always quite interested in the sciences
and engineering — especially biology. Through classes and
extracurriculars, I found myself becoming more curious about the field
of biology as a possible career direction, and eventually I knew that I
wanted to continue pursuing this path in college.
How did you find out about the AIGC SPGSF Scholarship? I learned about the SPGSF scholarship opportunity through AIGC’s website the summer before I began my undergraduate studies.
What has becoming a AIGC SPGSF Scholar meant for you?
This scholarship has allowed me to reach my fullest potential with my
studies at MIT. It has also allowed me to lessen the financial burden of
my college education on my family. I am very thankful for AIGC’s
generosity so I can pursue my education.
Moving forward, what do you see as your academic and career path?
Right now, I am planning to major in biological engineering with a
music minor here at MIT. In the future, my academic goal is to attend
medical school and become a doctor.
Chloe McCreery, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, was named an AIGC Scholar in 2019.
College students in North America are eligible to
apply for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) summer internships that offer
challenging work assignments and a competitive salary. These internship
opportunities are located at the FCA United States Headquarters and
Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Mich., other facilities in the
Detroit metropolitan area, and FCA business centers a cross the country.
The program provides students summer-long assignments of
collaborative work projects that are meaningful to the departments where
they are placed. Each assignment is based on the intern’s background,
skill set, and interests. Participants are expected to take
responsibility for a major task as they work alongside teams of career
FCA professionals. The experience is designed to give students exposure
to a busy corporate culture as well as an opportunity to develop the
communications and interpersonal skills required in business. In
addition, interns learn new systems and software and enhance their
overall computer and IT skills.
Students who perform well may be invited back for a second internship
or to interview for full-time positions in FCA new-hire programs.
Interns placed in FCA’s Engineering, Powertrain, or Hybrid divisions
gain consideration for direct placement into the company’s Chrysler
Institute of Engineering (CIE) Trainee Program, a long-standing
initiative that develops the country’s future technical talent.
may qualify for a housing allowance and/or travel assistance. For more
information about the program, how to apply, and deadlines, go to careers.fcagroup.com/global-students/students-north-america/internships.
When did you become interested in engineering? My
dad was a math teacher, and I’ve always been interested in math and
science. By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to go for an
engineering degree. That’s when I attended my first AISES National
Conference as a teenager, with my mom.
How did you become a summer intern at FCA? When I
attended the 2015 AISES National Conference, I interviewed with FCA and
was accepted into the 2016 program. I was assigned to our Advanced
Concept Engineering team, where I worked with car designers on the new
Jeep Wrangler model that came out in 2018. My project was to research
and make recommendations about the packaging and related under-hood
parts, so I had a hand in determining where a few of the lines were
routed through the engine bay. I also conferred with our Thermal team to
make sure that the parts I was working on met all our quality
What were some of the highlights of the experience?
It was really rewarding when the new Wranglers began rolling out — I
could look at one on the road and know that I played a part in making
it. Another valuable part of the experience is the opportunity to
collaborate with people and sometimes give direction as well. I also got
to attend a lot of meetings throughout the internship and learn about
corporate strategy and the big picture of how vehicle development works.
How did the internship lead to your next opportunities at FCA?
As a college graduate, I was accepted into the company’s CIE Trainee
Program, where I worked in seven different rotational assignments while
completing my master’s degree. During those two and a half years, I was
able to get a good idea of all the types of automobile engineering
within the company. I decided to go into electrified powertrain
calibration, and now I’m working on our Chrysler Pacifica hybrid plug-in
vehicle. Moving forward, I hope to work on calibration for one of our
future hybrid vehicles.
Jason Paskvan was selected to work at FCA as a product development intern in 2016. He has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is now a member of the AISES Professional Chapter in Detroit, where he works as an SI-EVT (Single Input Electronic Variable Transaxle) calibration engineer.
▸ The Cobell Scholarship Program
The Cobell Scholarship Program provides support for
American Indian and Alaska Native students pursuing college degrees or
technical training at an accredited institution of higher education.
These academic year and summer scholarships for undergraduate and
graduate students are administered by the New Mexico–based nonprofit
Indigenous Education Inc. (IEI) and funded by the Cobell Scholarship
Fund through a board of trustees.
Cobell Scholarship awards are both merit based and need based. To be
eligible, students must be able to demonstrate that they are a member of
a U.S. federally recognized tribe, and that they are — or will be —
pursuing a vocational certificate or undergraduate or graduate degree.
All applications are read by Cobell Scholarship reviewers — American
Indian and Alaska Native professionals located around the nation in high
schools, colleges, and nonprofit organizations. Reviewers look at a
range of factors when considering applicants, including overall academic
strength, language and writing skills, community engagement, and
While there is a minimum GPA requirement, IEI considers the following
to be general guidelines if candidates are to be considered highly
competitive for funding purposes:
Since 2015, the fund has awarded more than 7,500 scholarships
totaling more than $20 million to approximately 2,880 American Indian
and Alaska Native students. The awards can be up to $6,000 per academic
year for vocational and undergraduate students and up to $12,500 per
academic year for graduate and professional students.
more information about the scholarships, application deadlines and
helpful resources, and a link to the online application portal, go to cobellscholar.org.
How has your Cobell Scholarship helped you on your educational path?
The Cobell Scholarship has made graduate school possible for me. I
can’t express enough my gratitude for all the support the staff provides
to students across Indian Country. They help arm us with the education
we need to continue fighting for our people, our communities, and our
What would you like Winds of Change readers to know about higher education and the meaningful difference it can make for students who are Cobell Scholars?
Education has given me the freedom and power to explore my interests
and find my role in the world. It has given me the opportunity to dream,
and to challenge myself to reach my highest potential. Though I am so
grateful for all the doors my degree has opened for me, my commitment to
my people is paramount. I am excited to see more and more Native people pursuing higher education, and am endlessly grateful to those working to build a longer table for Native students.
Payton Bordley is a member of the Skokomish Indian Tribe in western Washington. She holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of Washington, and is a master of public administration candidate at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. She most recently worked as the suicide prevention program manager for the Skokomish Tribe, working primarily with youth.