Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs

DOE Joins American Indian Science and Engineering Society in Pledge to Encourage Native Representation in STEM

September 19, 2017

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Photo of a group of children learning about solar panels
Students learning about different types of solar panels and arrays during the July 2016 Ute Mountain Ute Youth Energy Day in Colorado, hosted by the DOE Office of Indian Energy as part of its efforts to promote STEM education in tribal communities.
Photo by Josh Bauer, NREL

This week, representatives from multiple U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offices and national laboratories will attend the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) 2017 National Conference in Denver, CO, Sept. 21–23, 2017. The three-day event focuses on educational, professional, and workforce development for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations, and other indigenous peoples of North America.

As part of this year's event, DOE has joined AISES in its campaign to #PledgeNativesInSTEM, an effort to raise awareness and facilitate dialogue around the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) studies and careers in Indian Country.

The DOE Office of Indian Energy is proud to support the #PledgeNativesInSTEM campaign by continuing to provide: targeted outreach to tribes and Native youth; a robust online energy resource library; and a college student internship program that offers Native students the opportunity to be immersed in energy project planning and development activities with experts in the field and at DOE's national laboratories. Investing in the future of Native communities through education and capacity building is part of our mission, and we are pleased to partner with AISES to increase Native representation in STEM studies and careers. 

U.S. Department of Energy
Pledge to AISES
DOE Tribal Internship Program: Cultivating Indian Energy Leaders
Watch a video to learn about DOE's college student internship program.

Why support Native participation in STEM studies and careers? STEM skills are required to be competitive in the global race for energy development, create and maintain healthy economies, and foster innovation and excellence. Despite representing 70% of all college students in the United States, minorities and women only represent 45% of undergraduate STEM degree holders. STEM education for Native youth is a means of creating hope for the future, developing resilient economies for tribal governments, and building strong, economically sovereign Native nations for future generations.

To promote STEM education in tribal communities, the DOE Office of Indian Energy engages Native youth in real-world, hands-on experiences designed to build leadership and advocacy skills with a focus on tribal energy and resiliency. From 2002 to 2017, 38 undergraduate and graduate interns participated in the Office of Indian Energy’s college student internship program, representing 21 different tribal affiliations and 19 different majors.

Join DOE at the AISES National Conference

Representatives from DOE offices and national laboratories will lead several sessions during the AISES 2017 National Conference this week at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Highlights include:

Networking Session

Thursday, September 21, 5–7 p.m., Room 210

This "buffet-style" networking event offers a series of simultaneous receptions. Visit the DOE networking suite to join conversations and meet others with common interests and careers—a great chance to build new relationships. Participants will have the opportunity to meet the sponsors and exhibitors, enjoy refreshments, and make connections and appointments for the Career Fair.

Want to Save the Planet? Learn about Indian Energy Planning, Projects and Protégés

Saturday, Sept. 23, 9:30–10:20 a.m., Room 103

Presenter: Sandra K. Begay, Indian Energy Program Lead, Sandia National Laboratories

Panelists: Teri Allery, Diana Fuller, and Kathryn Hall, former DOE interns

Learn about cutting-edge Indian renewable energy projects, strategic energy planning for tribes, and personal visioning for you! With U.S. tribes having only 2% of the land base, tribal lands have enough potential natural resources to power 5% of the total energy generation; therefore, renewable energy projects can help to save our planet for a clean energy future. After more than 15 years, Sandra K. Begay has supported the DOE Office of Indian Energy and created Sandia's Indian Energy Internship Program. While Sandia National Laboratories is part of the team, the tribal leaders drive their own strategic energy plans, and Sandra supports the tribes' planning processes. Sandra's past interns have made an impact through their STEM careers and continue seek of higher education endeavors; their research topics will be described along with Sandra's personal story to visioning a rewarding career and planning for an exciting future.

AISES – A Key to Success in My Career at a DOE National Laboratory

Saturday, Sept. 23, 10:30–11:20 a.m., Room 109

Presenter: Sandra One Feather, HR Talent Management Program Specialist, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Panelists: Michael Arviso, R&D S&E Mechanical Engineering, Sandia National Laboratories; Randolph E. Pico, Engineering Directorate Senior Superintendent, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Suzanne Singer, Energy Analyst, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Arlinda Huskey, Technical Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Michelle Bingham, Manager University Partnerships, Idaho National Laboratory; Sandra K. Begay, Indian Energy Program Lead, Sandia National Laboratories

This session will engage the panelists and audience in a general discussion on utilizing the relationship/partnership with AISES and the resources it offers to help one be successful in their career path. An additional goal is to educate and increase awareness of the audience on the STEM work that is conducted at the DOE national labs, and opportunities for internship and regular employment.

An Innovative Approach to STEM Engagement – Exploring the World Using a DOE Lens

Saturday, Sept. 23, 10:30–11:20 a.m., Room 107

Presenter: Melinda Higgins, Established Scientist/Science and Technology Policy Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy

Emerging science and technology has the power to excite teachers and their students. Couple increased content knowledge with access to diverse STEM professionals and low-cost relevant hands-on learning activities, and participants have the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research and technology while gaining exposure to the wonders of the DOE national laboratories. All participants will receive a device that turns any digital camera into a 100X microscope!

#PledgeNativesInSTEM

Saturday, Sept. 23, 1:30–2:20 p.m., Room 708

This session will highlight partners including DOE who have joined the AISES #PledgeNativesInSTEM campaign to promote Native representation in STEM studies and careers.

View the full AISES National Conference agenda.

Learn more about education and training resources offered by the Office of Indian Energy.