The CIRCLES Alliance is a collaboration between six EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) jurisdictions [Idaho (ID), Montana (MT - prime institution), New Mexico (NM), North Dakota (ND), South Dakota (SD), and Wyoming (WY)] to address the underrepresentation of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in the STEM disciplines and within the STEM workforce of those states. The CIRCLES Alliance states are home to 19 tribal colleges/universities (TCUs) and span 49 tribes/nations. The shared vision for the Alliance is to increase the number of AI/AN students who enter and persist in STEM-related fields and to become a leader in advancing AI/AN preparation and success.
American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students are severely underrepresented in STEM disciplines and within the STEM workforce. Advances have been made with other underrepresented minorities, but AI/AN have not seen the same increases. Consequently, a different framework is needed for AI/AN students that recognizes and incorporates the unique traditional knowledge, sense of place, rights of sovereignty, and culture of Indigenous peoples. ND EPSCoR is currently connecting with tribal community members in ND to gain a better understanding regarding each community's definition and perspective of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Initially, we were planning to visit each community in person, but with COVID-19 continuing, we have decided to connect virtually. Using a common set of questions across the six-state CIRCLES Alliance, virtual interviews over Zoom or an online survey will be conducted with tribal community stakeholders to gain their perspective on how indigenous based STEM education is currently being incorporated or might be incorporated in the future, to support student STEM learning. To participate, you must be 18 years or older.
To learn more about participating in a survey or interview, view the below video that tells you more about these efforts to foster better connections with tribal communities and support STEM educational programming. The anonymous online survey is available at this link. If you would prefer to participate in an individual interview, please email Scott Hanson, ND EPSCoR Tribal Colleges/Universities Liaison Manager, or call 701-231-8606.