NATURE (Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education)



The NATURE program is a North Dakota EPSCoR sponsored education outreach project. NATURE aims
to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education among North Dakota
tribal college and high school students and to build a pathway for the pursuit of careers in STEM
disciplines. NATURE builds on activities of a long-term collaboration between North Dakota tribal colleges,
North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota.

NATURE Programming Includes:

  • University Summer Camp: this is a two-week camp held at both the University of North Dakota
    and North Dakota State University and hosts North Dakota tribal high school students (includes
    students who have recently graduated).

  • Tribal College Summer Camp: this is a two-week camp held at the five tribal colleges in North
    Dakota where each tribal college hosts their local tribal high school students.

  • Sunday Academy: held throughout the academic year at the five tribal colleges in North Dakota.
    Each tribal college hosts their local tribal high school students.
NATURE programs are currently supported by the State of North Dakota and the National Science
Foundation under NSF ND EPSCoR Track 1 Grant Award OIA-1355466.
 

                   
    
                                   

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 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 wings
after the funding from ONR ended in 2005. Since then, the program assumed the new title NATURE.

Under NATURE,

  • the activities previously developed have been improved in terms of quality and expanded in terms of participation
  • ND EPSCoR has created a new Tribal College Liaison position to improve the effectiveness of the university-tribal
    college communication and collaboration
  • University of North Dakota joined the collaboration