Indigenous STEM Research and Graduate Education program
The University of Idaho (UI) is taking the lead in American Indian graduate-level science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by forming the Indigenous STEM Research and Graduate Education program, or ISTEM. The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded University of Idaho nearly $750,000 to create a national network of institutions collaborating to increase the number of Native students entering and completing masters and doctoral programs in STEM fields. ISTEM is a pilot program with the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program at NSF.
A Regional Native Network (RN2) brings together mentors at nine institutions — University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University, The College of Southern Idaho, North Idaho College, Salish Kootenai College, Haskell Indian Nations University, Utah State University and the University of Montana — to recruit students, provide them an environment for success and help them complete the classes they need to graduate.
“Indigenous Program for Stem Research and a Regional Native Network of Graduate Education: A National Research and Educational Model,” award #1348410, was funded through NSF’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement program.
A focus of ISTEM is “Two-Eyed Seeing” a phrase coined in 2004 by Albert Marshall, a Mi’kmaw Elder; “We often explain Etuaptmumk — Two-Eyed Seeing by saying it refers to learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of Western knowledges and ways of knowing…and learning to use both these eyes together, for the benefit of all.” The respective strength of Indigenous knowledge of each scholar is impacting his or her respective programs. Higher education faculty working with our scholars are “learning” of the importance of these strengths and how these strengths can generate “new” questions, pose new paths toward problem solutions, and generate understandings for the importance of the earth.