One America - American Indian Science Technology Education Consortium

Program: American Indian Science Technology Education Consortium, Las Vegas, NM
Contact(s): Jose C'de Baca, Project Director: (505) 454-3532
Purpose: To improve science, engineering and mathematics opportunities for American Indian students

Background Program Operations Outcomes


American Indian Science Technology Education Consortium (AISTEC) was established in 1994 to create a model for moving American Indian students from elementary school to Ph.D. programs, and to provide resources for tribal colleges. AISTEC is a consortium composed of four tribal colleges--Dine (Navajo) Community College, D-Q University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Salish Kootenai College--and six major universities--New Mexico Highlands University, Arizona State University, Oklahoma State University, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, the University of New Mexico and the University of Washington. The consortium operates under a NASA grant to New Mexico Highlands University, which serves as the lead institution for the program.

Program Operations

Each AISTEC consortium member is asked to develop a project that addresses a specific aspect of the overall objective. The consortium members meet semi-annually to disseminate results and discuss programmatic issues. The projects being carried out include such activities as pre-college outreach programs on Indian reservations, summer science camps, teacher training and college student support programs. Dine College, for example, designed a summer camp program in 1995 to encourage students to take a positive approach to course work in math and science, and to help Navajo students gain a deeper appreciation of the unique relationship between scientific fields and traditional Navajo teachings. Salish Kootenai College, another consortium member, created a peer-mentoring program in which mentors provided academic counseling and financial aid information, tutoring, encouragement for students to pursue opportunities such as scholarships and internships, and assistance in overcoming personal problems and staying in school. A total of 94 students received mentoring services throughout the school year as a result of this program. Currently, the AISTEC project is revising its goals to emphasize greater support for science, engineering and mathematics education at tribal colleges.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Since its inception, AISTEC has provided science, engineering and mathematics instruction to 1,200 students at reservation schools; SEM summer bridge experiences for 500 reservation and tribal college students; information about entering college and seeking financial aid to over 13,000 American Indian students; support leading to the development of 18 pre-engineering core classes at tribal colleges; 57,400 hours of mentoring and tutoring services to American Indian students at reservation schools, tribal colleges, and 4-year institutions; and teacher training at 62 reservation schools.

Promising Practices - West

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