NSF INCLUDES DDLP: Wabanaki Youth in Science (WaYS) Program to Bridge inclusion in Post-Secondary Education Through the Sciences
The University of Maine will address the grand challenge of increasing Native American participation in the science,technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) enterprise in an NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot project addressing culturally relevant pedagogy, incorporating Community Elders, Cultural Knowledge Keepers, and mainstream secondary and higher education institutions in the development of STEM pedagogy that can be replicated to other underrepresented and underserved populations. Partners in the effort include the Wabanaki Youth in Science program (WaYS)(a non-profit organization), Salish Kootenai College (a Tribal College), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a research university), the National Indian Education Association (a non-profit membership organization) and the current NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot project at the University of Maine (the Stormwater Research Management Team (SMART)). This NSF INCLUDES partnership provides students with evidence-based STEM activities involving culturally relevant internships, mentoring, STEM professional development activities and other support. Non-native students will reciprocally participate in Native American learning environments.
The foundation for the project's activities is based on the WaYS program in science education that incorporates Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). The goals of the project are to: 1) create and integrate curriculum that embraces TEK and western science as equal partners; 2)develop and implement protocols to incorporate a continued mentorship program for WaYS and STREAM engineering students; 3)develop a framework to bridge the gap between high school and college; and 4) foster collaboration among Community Elders, Cultural Knowledge Keepers and University of Maine faculty in a model that could be transferred to other communities. Internal and external evaluation activities will add to the scholarly literature on educating Native Americans and non-native students in STEM disciplines. Dissemination of project results will include published peer-reviewed journal articles on newly developed pedagogy and conference presentations at the American Indian Science and Engineering (AISES) national conference, the National Diversity in STEM Conference, National Science Teachers Association, AAAS, ASEE and the National NSF INCLUDES Network.
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