AISES National Conference 2009

JISAO attends AISES national conference

American Indian Science and Engineering Society
AISES closing night pow wowOctober 29-31, 2009

Scientist Laura Hinkelman represented JISAO at the annual conference of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) in Portland, Oregon. As its name implies, AISES is a national organization supporting Native American students and professionals working in various fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The conference had a large cultural component as well as research presentations, sessions on issues relevant to studying, educating, or working in the STEM fields, and a large career fair. Cultural aspects included the presentation of blankets rather than certificates to award recipients, several talking circles (for attendees to share about their experiences at the meeting), inclusion of Native values in presentations and discussions, and a celebratory pow-wow at the end of the meeting.

JISAO is pursuing collaboration with American Indian educators and is making efforts to recruit Native students to its summer undergraduate internship programs. The AISES meeting was a valuable opportunity to make connections in these areas and to Laura with student at AISES conferencelearn about the particular issues facing Native students and communities. Tribes are very concerned about the environmental effects of climate change and the need for improved energy sources on their reservations. Students face feelings of isolation while on college campuses as well as a lack of understanding from their peers and professors. JISAO will send a representative to the AISES conference in 2010 and continue to actively recruit American Indian applicants to its internship and post-doctoral programs.