By Rachel Bryan
Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) are beginning to offer their students professional development opportunities by partnering with companies, organizations, and communities that are willing to offer their resources, such as equipment, facilities, and internships. Here are six TCUs that have professional development opportunities via partnerships that range from NASA to the Altai Republic:
1) Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Students in Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College’s Geospatial Technologies program completed a three-year research project with NASA in 2014, entitled the Environmental Modeling and Research Experience (EMARE). This project allowed students to research “land cover in the St. Louis River watershed of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin” through satellite images, remote sensing, and computer applications.
2) Diné College and The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
In 2018, Diné College partnered with DHS to send two psychology students and a faculty member to research methods of mass violence prevention, specifically seeking to decrease school shootings. One of their tasks is to “code and analyze social media posts immediately following incidents of extreme violence in order to examine the relationship between potential mechanisms of social contagion, the spread and distribution of particular posts, and violent responses.”
3) Navajo Technical University and The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Navajo Technical University has a direct partnership with the USDA that provides agricultural internship opportunities to their students, as well as students from Diné College and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. Specifically, these internships are available in the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
4) Southwestern Indian Polytechnic University and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Through the NASA Minority University Research and Education Project, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic University and NASA partnered to improve STEM programs at the community college, in addition to getting younger students excited about STEM. This partnership helps students to apply theory to practice and led to the development of the Intelligent Cooperative Multi-Agent Robotic System program, which uses “NASA-inspired robotics” to help engage students in STEM course material.
5) Haskell Indian Nations University and the Altai Republic
Led by Dan Wildcat, chair of the American Indian Studies Program, students traveled to Siberia through an international partnership with the Altai Republic. Students from Haskell taught the Altai community water quality testing skills, and the Altai community, in turn, taught the students about their culture.
6) Fort Peck Community College and Europe, Argentina, and Puerto Rico
After Jodie Leland, the director of the Agriculture Department, conducted agricultural research in New Delhi, Fort Peck created international partnerships for students studying agriculture. Students can now study abroad and conduct fieldwork in Europe, Argentina, and Puerto Rico.