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NASA Partners in American Indian Science and Engineering Education


June 7, 2006

NASA and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) announced the launch of the NASA AIHEC Summer Research Experience Program. The program is a strategic approach to inspire young American Indians to pursue careers in science and engineering.

“We welcome Tribal College and University student and faculty teams to join NASA scientists and engineers in conducting hands on research at our centers as we implement the Vision for Space Exploration,” said Angela Phillips Diaz, NASA acting assistant administrator for Education. “We look upon this summer as the beginning of a long-standing partnership with the Tribal colleges to inspire the next generation of innovators and explorers in science and engineering career fields.”

Sixty participants representing 14 Tribal Colleges and Universities will take part in the programs at seven NASA centers this summer. Participants will be assigned to research and engineering teams exploring robotics, 3-D design, geospatial data analysis, and astrobiology while fostering long-term relationships with their research mentors at the field centers.

“American Indians are very under-represented in the fields of science and engineering,” said Gerald Gipp, Ph.D., executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. “The program is a critical step toward changing that equation by encouraging young American Indians to pursue careers in science and engineering while also building a welcoming environment that nurtures their career path.”

Tribal Colleges with students and faculty participating in SRE include: Blackfeet Community College, Browning, Mont.; College of the Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wis.; Crownpoint Institute of Technology, Crownpoint, N.M.; Dine College, Tsaile, Ariz; Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, Kan.; Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, Baraga, Mich.; Leech Lake Tribal College, Cass Lake, Minn.; Little Priest Tribal College, Winnebago, Neb.; Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, Wash.; Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, S.D.; Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Mont.; Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Albuquerque, N.M.; and United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, N.D.

For information about NASA’s education programs, visit:

For information about the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, visit:

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