Portraits of Giving Back by Native Individuals in STEM (2022)
Native STEM Portraits: A Longitudinal, Mixed-Methods Study of the Intersectional Experiences of Native Learners and Professionals in STEM (NSP) is a four-year NSF-funded project that investigates the experiences of Native STEM students and professionals in order to make visible how they navigate, respond to, and are changed by the supports and barriers they encounter while trying to persist in STEM. Through surveys and photo elicitation interviews, the study found that the desire and opportunity to give back to their communities and contribute to Nation building through their STEM disciplines play a key role in motivating Native students and professionals to persist in STEM. Examples of giving back that we will share in this video include teaching, creating safe spaces, mentoring, and serving as role models in their communities. As Nayenezgani*, a geoscience student said, “My mom started this fry bread stand out of a period of poverty … And it reminds me that there’s reason for me to be in science. I can make a success out of my struggles … and that is a reasoning why I am in science, is to help my community.” We will also share examples of Nation building from the study’s data, including cultural preservation, such as translating science vocabulary into Native languages, and supporting technological sovereignty. As Lake, a biology student stated, “I want to start including Native terms into the lexicon of science so that people can refer to them and start adding a diverse tongue that isn’t just Latin and English.”
*Pseudonyms are used.
NSF Award: 2000619