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Woksape Profile

Woksape Kici Woitinze - Support for Knowledge


A goal of the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) is to increase the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instructional and research capacities of specific institutions of higher education that serve the Nation's indigenous students. Expanding the STEM curricular offerings at these institutions expands the opportunities of their students to pursue challenging, rewarding careers in STEM fields, provides for research studies in areas that may be culturally significant, and encourages a community and generational appreciation for science and mathematics education. This project aligns directly with that goal, and moreover will inform the body of knowledge about the importance and conduct of pre-college and undergraduate research experiences in recruiting and retaining underrepresented individuals into STEM studies, and preparing the next generation of STEM professionals. The connection of students to research is an important step in retaining students who are more likely to pursue advanced degrees. For those students entering the workforce directly from a tribal college it is equally important that they have a well-defined skill set in mathematics, science, and technology for entry into the STEM workforce. The project also advances objectives of the STEM+Computing Partnerships program through its multidisciplinary STEM research on teaching and learning.

The specific activities are to: engage K-12 students through science fairs, bridge high school graduates through a shared research activity with a K-12 science teacher-mentor, develop decentralized mathematics and scientific-writing learning communities, continue high-quality undergraduate research, develop discovery-based physics and ethnomathematics enrichment activities for mathematics courses, and provide for student and faculty scientific dissemination of discipline specific and educational findings through publishing in peer-reviewed journals. The improvements in STEM recruiting, retention, persistence, and completion that will be realized through these strategies will be sustained through programmatic improvements and departmental alignment with Oglala Lakota's strategic plan and enrollment management plan. Woksapi Kici Woitinze strengthens STEM education and undergraduate research through: 1) design, adaptation and assessment of innovative educational strategies to increase the capacity and effectiveness of the college to attract, retain, and educate students in STEM, graduate students prepared to pursue further study at the baccalaureate or graduate level, or to join the STEM workforce; 2) dissemination of successful educational models and methods for STEM education in a primarily Native American, poverty level, female community within a decentralized Tribal College campus setting; and 3) advancing scientific understanding in areas relevant to the Oglala Tribal Nation including: the effects of climate variability on the ecology of midwestern rangeland steams, advances in sustainable housing, biofuels and medicinal plant extract processing, air and water quality analysis, the conservation status and genetics of box turtles and the health and behavior of bison, and descriptions of the stratigraphy Eocene and Miocene aged terrestrial deposits and fossils by researching and publishing on these items in peer-reviewed journals with academic and tribal program collaborators.