Outreach to Native American Teachers and Students

Achievement date: 

University researchers are providing teachers at Native American schools with experience in a hands-on lab and in industry settings through eight-week summer program sponsored by the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at the University of Arizona.


The teachers, who either teach at reservation schools or at schools near tribal communities, come away with experiences that can help them to spur student interest in STEM-related fields. The program starts as CIAN wraps up three years providing similar, advanced-education experiences to Native American undergraduate students. 


Researchers hosted four teachers in the first year of its Optics Research Experience for Teachers in Native American Schools (O-RETINAS) program, and will host 10 teachers this year. The eight-week provides teachers a workshop with the Native Nations Institute, as well as opportunities to create an original STEM lesson plan relevant to Native American students, participate in the Optics Research Workshop, spend one day a week at an industry setting, and to participate in cutting-edge research under the mentorship of UA faculty.

Students who participated in CIAN’s Integrated Optics for Undergraduate Native Americans (IOU-NA) Research Experience for Undergraduates attended numerous professional and academic conferences, seven have graduated with Associate’s degrees, 11 were accepted to study for their Bachelor’s degrees, and seven prepared to graduate in the Spring of 2017 with their Bachelor’s degrees. One student participated in an international exchange program at Oxford. The same student also had a student/faculty patent application filed and approved. An additional three students have publications pending and three other students participated in one or more internships since their experience with the IOU-NA REU program.