Where were you born?
What school did you attend?
San Diego State University, University of North Carolina
How can you help improve the composition of the STEM education pipeline for Native American students?
There are young, bright and creative Native students currently out there. Rethinking a STEM pipeline where the composition is inviting of non-Western values and methods to address Native American health issues and bridging the non-Western with Western can be particularly impactful.
How did you choose your career?
Currently, I am a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC. I chose epidemiology because it combines my passion for health related disparities research and my values of social justice and community engagement.
What types of community programs do you feel need to be more visible in Indian Country?
The disparity in health outcomes in Indian Country compared to the general US populations are many and stark. The types of community programs that should be more visible are those that promote knowledge construction and form conclusions from within the community using processes created by or valued by the community to measure how their own social, economic and health conditions impact community health. Indigenous-centered research is not the standard approach to health in Native communities, but it is critical for American Indian agency, community sustainability and more broadly advancing research.
What are ways to provide better STEM education for Native American students?
Cultural relevance, cultural competence and local orientation of STEM education are of high value. Having Native American mentors and intergenerational involvement are also ways to lend better STEM education specifically for Native students.
How can Tribal colleges build stronger partnerships with institutions like NIH?
Providing greater access for tribal college students to work at NIH is key. Fostering relationships with organizations that work with tribal colleges, like the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, as well as Native American scholarship and student organizations within national organizations, like the National Indian Education Association, will help build stronger partnerships and can increase access for Tribal College students.
What does success mean to you?
I believe that we are all born with a unique profile of talents. By devoting effort and sacrificing time, we can hone these innate talents and develop skills in order to help others. Both the process and product of this is what success means to me.