Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Omar Perez Carrillo, a sophomore at Polson High School, holds a data card from a weather sensor he’s been using for research during a summer program in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) at Montana State University. Carrillo, who was sharing his work Friday, July 24, 2015, during a research symposium on the MSU campus, has been studying with the Montana Apprenticeship Program.

MSU hosts Native American, minority students for summer of STEM time

Seven tribal college students and nine underrepresented minority high school students from across Montana and the country displayed their research Friday during a symposium at Montana State University.
The participating high school students included Rebecca Cook of Busby; and the college students included Troy Bearcomesout and Jade Three Fingers of Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, and Michaela Pitts of Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency.
MSU hosted them as part of two summer programs – the Montana Apprenticeship Program for high school participants and Bridges to the Baccalaureate for those in college. The chosen students had a chance to learn in science and engineering laboratories on campus. 
These programs are founded on the principle that these students represent the future of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in Montana and the country, said Julian Collins, program coordinator of MSU’s EMPower program, which seeks to engage minority students in engineering fields.
Mary Noel, an instructor of science at Chief Dull Knife College on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, said it was clear the students had come a long way over their time at MSU.
“It’s inspiring to see how confident they’ve become in just six weeks,” Noel said. “In some cases, these are students who come here with almost no exposure to these scientific concepts.”
Joseph Mikkelsen, who is a sophomore at Brockton High School on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, said he was among those who had come into his stay at MSU without much prior experience in the sciences.
“I think that some of those chemistry and biology classes should be much easier for me to understand now,” said Mikkelsen, who worked on a project to track the effect of nitrogen on the genetics of microorganisms in soil.
Contact: Amy Stix, (406) 994-5567, amy.stix@coe.montana.edu.