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Bringing STEM Experiences to North Dakota

NSF Award:

Strengthening Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Programs of Study  (Turtle Mountain Community College)

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Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC) on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in northern North Dakota, has focused its Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) award on improving their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) offerings, particularly those offered by distance education. They're also working to attract significantly higher numbers of Native American students in STEM studies and majors. Turtle Mountain is actively engaged in working with students already enrolled at the college, and also with outreach to local high-school students and teachers. 

The Sunday Academies, an NSF-supported program for high-school students, was offered for the reservation high-school students and the Youth Summer Camps, providing innovative day-long and two-week academies for 9th to 12th graders. The day-long Sunday Academies are offered on seven Sundays throughout the academic year and the two-week-long sessions are offered in the summer. TMCC faculty, high-school instructors from the reservation and North Dakota State University engineering faculty conduct the STEM standards-based academies. Through the program, students are exposed to hands-on laboratory activities and interactive learning. 

Two Math and Science Enrichment Camps were held in the summer of 2004, with 25 to 30 high-school students from the area participating in each of them. However, the principal focus of the project is at the college level.  During the project's three-year history, the numbers of TMCC students graduating in STEM majors has increased from 16 in the baseline year, to 35 in the second year. And, of the 35 students who graduated in STEM fields in 2004, 17 transferred to four-year programs.

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