SAME Post members will meet with AI/AN community leaders to determine STEM needs in the community. From that initial community dialogue, the Post and community will identify and conduct at least one outreach event customized for the community’s local cultures and priorities. The events could be anything from a STEM Day at a community center to a five-day camp. Where appropriate, stipends will be provided to participating students to offset work commitments and the purchase of outreach materials to be used throughout the year. Additional funds will be used to develop mentor training modules to instruct SAME engineer volunteers on working with AI/AN communities. The lessons learned from pilot outreach activities will be aggregated into a Toolkit for STEM Engagement that can be promoted to other SAME Posts and members of the engineering outreach community at large.
To support development of the toolkit, in addition to research on existing outreach program examples, SAME will support four pilot sites to serve as opportunities for research and development. The sites were chosen to allow for geographic and cultural diversity:
The Albuquerque Post will build relations with the Navajo and Pueblo Nations. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Post conducted mini-STEM camps for disadvantaged middle schools throughout Albuquerque.
The Anchorage Post will build relations with the Ahtna Native Regional Corporation, members of which are primarily of the Athabaskan Nation. The Post has been active in STEM outreach during Engineers Week, sponsoring K-12 student competitions as well as event judges. They also support MATHCounts, an Architecture and Engineering Club, and a Robotics Club.
The Minot Post will work to establish and build relationships with the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. The close proximity to the Minot Post will allow outreach participants the ability to reach out on a regular basis and work with community leadership to determine the best approach for this location. This will be the Minot Post’s first outreach effort to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. The Minot Post currently conducts STEM activities on Minot Air Force Base, along with events associated with the City of Minot school system.
Panama City, FL
The American Indian population in Florida represents several different tribes. The Panama City Post has a history of working with the Florida Governors Council on Indian Affairs and has supported their STEM summer camp in the past. Ms. Newman, a member of the Post, taught the 2-week STEM program as a volunteer representing the Panama City Post. During the camp the students built and raced solar cars constructed from recycled materials.