Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE)

The Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE) program is a North Dakota EPSCoR sponsored education outreach project. NATURE aims to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education among middle school, high school, and tribal college students, and to build a pathway for American Indians living in North Dakota who are interested in pursuing careers in STEM disciplines. NATURE builds on activities of a long-term collaboration between tribal colleges in North Dakota, North Dakota State University, and the University of North Dakota. NATURE programs are currently funded by the State of North Dakota and the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Track-1 Cooperative Agreement OIA #1946202.

If you are a student, teacher, or college/university faculty and want to participate in a NATURE activity, please contact Scott Hanson, ND EPSCoR Tribal Colleges Liaison and NATURE Manager, at

NATURE programming includes the Tribal College Summer Camps, Sunday Academy, Bridge Camp, and University Summer Camps.



The History of NATURE

The origin of the program Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE) can be traced to an informal collaboration between the North Dakota State University Colleges of Engineering and Architecture and Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt, North Dakota in 1998. A team of North Dakota State University (NDSU) science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) faculty worked with the five ND tribal colleges to develop a proposal to increase STEM educational opportunities for American Indian students. The effort paid off when Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC), in partnership with NDSU, was awarded a five year grant from the Office of Naval Research (An Adaptive Systemic Initiative of Tribal Collaboration for Increasing Native American Participation in Mathematics, Science and Engineering, 1999-2004), to support activities designed to stimulate the interest of Indian youth from North Dakota reservations in careers such as engineering and those involving higher level mathematics, science and technology skills. This project allowed the team to develop and implement activities such as summer camps, Sunday Academy, workshop for tribal college faculty, and a scholarship program to create new, and strengthen existing, pathways for American Indian students to pursue STEM education successfully and to seek careers in those fields. This project also received support from NASA PACE program (TMCC), 2002-2005, ND EPSCoR FLITE equipment funding, 2001-2004, and NSF BRIDGES program planning grant, 2004. Though it had provided partial support initially, ND EPSCoR took the program completely under its wing in 2006 after the funding from ONR had ended. At that time, the program assumed the new title NATURE. Since then,

  • ND EPSCoR has a Tribal Colleges Liaison and NATURE Manager who works to improve the effectiveness of the university-tribal college communication and collaboration,
  • the University of North Dakota joined the collaboration, and
  • the quality of activities previously developed has improved and participants numbers have increased.

    NATURE Institutions and Contacts

    Five Tribal colleges in North Dakota                                                                                                        
    Two research institutions in North Dakota

    Cankdeska Cikana
    Community College
           Nueta Hidatsa
        Sahnish College
      Sitting Bull
      Turtle Mountain
    Community College
       United Tribes
    Technical College
        North Dakota State
     University of
     North Dakota

    NATURE Coordinator: Scott Hanson, ND EPSCoR Tribal Colleges Liaison and NATURE Manager.