Montana State University

MSU hosts Native American, minority students for summer of STEM

July 24, 2015 -- MSU News Service

Jeremiah Johnson, a doctoral student in applied mechanics at Montana State University, talks with Mya Harris, a high school senior from Prince George's County, Penn., during a research symposium Friday, July 24, for students at a summer program at MSU. Harris was one of nine students at MSU with the Montana Apprenticeship Program, a six-week summer immersion for underrepresented minority high school students which provides rising sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduating seniors their first taste of college life and hands-on science research experience with MSU faculty mentors. MSU Photo by Sepp Jannotta. Omar Perez Carrillo, a sophomore at Polson High School, holds a data card from a weather sensor he's been using for research during a summer program in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) at Montana State University. Carrillo, who was sharing his work Friday, July 24, 2015, during a research symposium on the MSU campus, has been studying with the Montana Apprenticeship Program. MSU Photo by Sepp Jannotta.

Jeremiah Johnson, a doctoral student in applied mechanics at Montana State University, talks with Mya Harris, a high school senior from Prince George's County, Penn., during a research symposium Friday, July 24, for students at a summer program at MSU. Harris was one of nine students at MSU with the Montana Apprenticeship Program, a six-week summer immersion for underrepresented minority high school students which provides rising sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduating seniors their first taste of college life and hands-on science research experience with MSU faculty mentors. MSU Photo by Sepp Jannotta.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN – Seven tribal college students and nine underrepresented minority high school students from across Montana and the country displayed their research Friday during a symposium at Montana State University.

MSU has hosted the students as part of two summer programs – the Montana Apprenticeship Program and Bridges to the Baccalaureate – that gives them a chance to learn in science and engineering laboratories on campus. 

These programs are founded on the principle that these students represent the future of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in Montana and the country, said Julian Collins, program coordinator of MSU’s EMPower program, which seeks to engage minority students in engineering fields.

Mary Noel, an instructor of science at Chief Dull Knife College on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, said it was clear the students had come a long way over their time at MSU.

“It’s inspiring to see how confident they’ve become in just six weeks,” Noel said. “In some cases, these are students who come here with almost no exposure to these scientific concepts.”

Joseph Mikkelsen, who is a sophomore at Brockton High School on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, said he was among those students who had come into his stay at MSU without much prior experience in the sciences.

“I think that some of those chemistry and biology classes should be much easier for me to understand now,” said Mikkelsen, who worked on a project to track the effect of nitrogen on the genetics of microorganisms in soil.

Contact: Amy Stix, (406) 994-5567, amy.stix@coe.montana.edu.