CONTACT: C. LINDON LARSON
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-9569; fax (319) 335-8034
UI summer program gives American Indian students experience in science
IOWA CITY, Iowa - American Indian high school students from across
the country are getting a glimpse of college life on the University of
Iowa campus. They are participants in an intensive three-week program that
focuses on the health, life and environmental sciences and offers students
from different tribes a chance to learn about each other's cultures.
For 10 years the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
Summer Program in the Life Sciences has blended college-level lectures,
laboratory work, computer experience, field trips and other activities
at the UI. It is one of several such programs sponsored by AISES on college
Joe Coulter, Ph.D., professor in the department of anatomy and cell
biology, UI associate provost and director of Opportunity at Iowa, is a
member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the camp director. He said
that former AISES program participants have gone on to success in their
college careers at the UI and other institutions throughout the United
"The AISES camps help students focus their educational and career
interests while introducing them to college," he said.
Program faculty members include American Indian teachers and role models
who come to the UI camp from across the country. This year's teachers are
John Brewer (Oglala Lakota) of Pine Ridge, S.D., and Carolyn Penning (Ojibway/Potawatomi)
of Saint Paul, Minn.
Brewer, head teacher for the program since its inception, said the experience
prepares students for work in the sciences, engineering, mathematics, business,
environmental and health fields. The program also addresses how to integrate
modern sciences with traditional knowledge and encourages students to work
in teams, sharing their beliefs, heritage, knowledge and skills.
This year students will be presenting their research projects using
computers and hope to make their work available on the UI/AISES Summer
Program Web site.
Some 37 students representing 18 tribes and 10 states are participating
in this year's UI program. They will be on campus through June 27. All
will enter 10th grade in the fall.
Though the program features extensive science work, it also provides
plenty of time for social activities like bowling, skating, and boating
and swimming at Lake Macbride. Students get a feel for the UI campus, including
life in Currier Residence Hall and educational opportunities available
in various UI colleges.
Coulter added that many students express interest in eventually returning
to their communities as scientists, health care providers, educators or
The program is funded by a grant from AISES, the DeWitt-Wallace Readers
Digest Fund and the UI.