MSU PHOTO BY ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ
Shannell Sinclair, a sophomore mechanical engineering major at Montana State University, was profiled in an article in the Sidney Herald. The Sidney, Mont., newspaper describes her journey from conducting a research project at Blackfeet Community College on how Native students navigate their college experience to enrolling in the engineering program at MSU.
Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer gave a virtual talk on
reciprocity, ceremony, and ways of knowing hosted by the library at the
University of British Columbia in partnership with the Faculty of
Forestry and the Simon K. Y. Lee Global Lounge and Resource Centre. Dr.
Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, directs the Center for
Native Peoples and the Environment at the SUNY College of Environmental
Science and Forestry. In 2016 she was honored with the Ely S. Parker
Award, the highest AISES honor.
Winner of the 2019 AISES Technical Excellence Award, Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben
was interviewed on the topic of including Indigenous researchers and
their knowledge, as well as the issue of data sovereignty, for an
article in the prestigious journal Nature. Trained in chemistry
and environmental engineering, Dr. Conroy-Ben is an assistant professor
at the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at
Arizona State University.
Dr. Donald Warne, director of the Indians into
Medicine (INMED) program at the University of North Dakota, was quoted
extensively in the journal Health Affairs in “American Indians’ Growing Presence in Health Professions.” The article was published in February in Vol. 40, No. 2.
AISES Board of Directors members Amber Finley, Kristina Halona, and Dr. Grace Bulltail
took part in a round-table discussion on Indigenous Women in STEM:
Resilience for the Future that was broadcast via Facebook Live this past
December. The panel was moderated by McKalee Steen, PhD student and Junior U.S. National Student Representative.
Dr. Naomi Lee was interviewed in SfN Neuroline,
a publication of the Society for Neuroscience, about her background and
her work in vaccine research. Dr. Lee, winner of the 2018 AISES
Professional of the Year Award, is an assistant professor of chemistry
and biochemistry at Northern Arizona University. For more on Dr. Lee,
see the Fall 2018 issue of Winds of Change.
Laura Smith-Velazquez was interviewed in All Together,
the publication of the Society for Women Engineers (SWE), in observance
of Native American Heritage Month. A senior systems engineer and
cognitive scientist, she is the winner of the 2020 AISES Technical
Excellence Award and the lead of the SWE Native American affinity group.
For more on Smith-Velazquez see the Fall 2020 issue of Winds of Change.
Sequoyah Fellow Jeremiah O’Callahan participated in a
panel on mental health issues facing Native Americans organized by WKYC
television in Cleveland. He is vice chair of the Advisory Board for
Native Americans at NASA.
The National Native American Veterans Memorial opened on Veterans
Day, 2020, at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington,
D.C. The virtual dedication ceremony featured remarks from several
dignitaries, including the co-chairs of the Memorial Honorary Committee,
Dr. John Herrington and Wes Studi.
Dr. Herrington is a former member of the AISES Board of Directors, and
Oscar-winning actor Wes Studi was the keynote speaker at the 2020
Denver’s CBS affiliate television station (CBS4) noted that Master Sgt. Frances Dupris is the 2020 recipient of the AISES Blazing
Flame Award. She was also profiled in an article published by the
Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group. A member of the Space Force,
she has long been active in STEM education outreach.
Dr. Chris Cornelius assumed the Wilkinson Chair at
the Iowa State University Department of Materials Science and
Engineering on January 1. He had been a professor of chemical
engineering at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and associate dean for
research in the College of Engineering.
AISES founding member J.C. Elliott High Eagle has
completed his latest musical work, “La Malagueña Nueva Suite,”
consisting of a prelude and a suite of eight movements. The composition
is an adaptation and arrangement for classical guitar of Cuban’s Ernesto
Lecuona’s original piano composition “Malagueña.” A prolific composer
and arranger, High Eagle has created more than 200 pieces and counting
for classical guitar, American Indian flute, and keyboard synthesizer.
High Eagle was also interviewed last fall in Physics Today
about his role as lead retrofire officer on the imperiled Apollo 13
mission. He helped compute trajectories for the safe return to Earth of
the spacecraft and crew.
A Public Interest Technology University Network Challenge grant has been awarded to Dr. Paul Shipman,
an associate professor in the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences
at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He will be using the $45,000
grant to build a career placement model and a working group of students
who want to work in public interest technology in tribal communities.
Dr. Kristina Gonzales-Wartz was featured in a profile in the Navajo Times
for her work researching COVID-19 at the Antibody Biology Unit of the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National
Institutes of Health. She also participated in a panel on Native
American Tribes’ Response to COVID-19 organized by the American Indian
Activity Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. For more on
Dr. Gonzales-Wartz, see the Fall 2020 issue of Winds of Change.
Dr. Grace Bulltail, an assistant professor at the
University of Wisconsin–Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental
Studies, was quoted in an article about the California Alliance that
appeared in UC Berkeley News. Dr. Bulltail explained how she benefited
from the alliance, a model program increasing underrepresented
minorities in faculty ranks, when she did postdoc work at Stanford. Dr.
Bulltail is a member of the AISES Board of Directors.
Visual artist Kristin Gentry was named Emerging
Curator of Momentum 2021, an event that showcases Oklahoma artists 30
and younger. She earned her MS in Native leadership from Southeastern
Oklahoma State University in 2020.
AISES CEO Sarah EchoHawk participated last November
in It Takes a Village, a Native youth advocacy panel presented by the
Society of American Indian Government Employees.
Research by Robinson Tom, a recent graduate of
Navajo Technical University, and Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr.
Thiagarajan Soundappan was published in the prestigious Journal of Power Sources.
Their research, on eco-friendly technology for aqueous lithium-ion
batteries, was conducted over two summers under a faculty and student
fellowship with the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md. Tom
is a scholar in the AISES program, Lighting the Pathway to Faculty
Careers for Natives in STEM.
An article posted on the Harvard University Medical School website quoted Nathan Nakatsuka,
an MD/PhD student in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
Program, explaining how valuable the AISES National Conference has been
to him for connecting with prospective students and explaining how
studying at the medical school can help them contribute to their
communities. Nakatsuka is also active in the Harvard University Native
Intel software engineer Georgia Sandoval
participated last October in a virtual talking circle in observance of
Native Women’s Equal Pay Day. The discussion was co-hosted by the
California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and first partner
Jennifer Siebel Newsom (the governor’s spouse). Participating with
Sandoval were New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland and Chief Judge
Christine Williams, director of the Tribal Justice Project at UC Davis.
Sandoval was also recognized in the Fall 2020 issue of Professional Woman’s Magazine, which reprinted a profile of her from the Spring 2020 issue of Winds of Change. The advancement of diverse women in the workplace and beyond is the focus of Professional Woman’s Magazine.
NASA engineer Aaron Yazzie was featured in Diversity in STEAM
magazine in August 2020. Yazzie uses his skills as a mechanical
engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to design mechanisms for
retrieving geological samples from space, and serves as the lead
engineer for Mars 2020 drill bits. In the interview he described his
involvement with AISES, starting in high school, and the support he
received to advance his path academically, eventually connecting him
with NASA at a National Conference.
The connection of North Carolina’s tribes to the state’s water
resources is being explored and shared with state officials through a
collaboration led by Dr. Ryan Emanuel and his student Jocelyn Painter.
Their effort was showcased in the online publication of the College of
Natural Resources at North Carolina State University where Dr. Emanuel
is a professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
and Painter is a PhD student.