The University of Minnesota, Morris American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Chapter was named Stelvio J. Zanin Distinguished Chapter of the Year at the 2012 AISES National Conference, held November 1-3 in Anchorage, Alaska. This honor recognizes overall excellence and is reserved for the premier chapter in the nation. The Morris chapter also received the 2012 Outreach & Community Service Award.
There were 26 Morris students present at the conference, along with Morris Healthy Eating Coordinator Mary Jo Forbord, Director of Equity, Diversity and Intercultural Programs Hilda Ladner, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Sandy Olson-Loy, and Associate Director of the Multi-Ethnic Student Program Tracy Peterson. Six students presented research throughout the conference, along with two students who presented during a breakout session. Alexandra Myhal ’14, Parma Heights, Ohio, took fourth place honors in the oral presentations category. Most of the students participating in the conference are members and descendants of Minnesota’s Indian tribes including the White Earth Nation, Red Lake Band of Ojibwe, and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. A number of students are from tribes in South Dakota including the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and Rosebud Sioux Tribe as well as the Ho-Chunk Nation and Oneida Indian Tribe (Wisconsin), the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Michigan), the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (New York), and the Native Tribe of Kanatak (Alaska).
“Our AISES chapter has grown in strength over the last seven years, and these awards are a symbol of students’ success within the national AISES community,” says Olson-Loy. “We are very proud of our talented students and their dedicated faculty and staff mentors in the sciences. This national recognition speaks highly of Morris’s contributions to local communities and our support of American Indian and Alaskan Native students.”
A national non-profit organization, AISES is dedicated to increasing the number of American Indian representatives in the physical sciences. Joseph Alia, associate professor of chemistry, serves as academic adviser of the Morris chapter. Student officers include co-chairs Myhal and Melissa Carnicle, ’13 Garretson, South Dakota, and secretary Kelsey Scareshawk ’14, Savage. Madison Anderson ’13, Circle Pines, is serving as the student representative for AISES Region V Upper Midwest.
Located at over 150 colleges, tribal colleges, and universities throughout North America, AISES college chapters provide professional and social peer support while serving as liaisons between students and the AISES National Office. Exemplary chapters are recognized during award ceremonies at the national conference. Held annually since 1978, the AISES National Conference is a one-of-a-kind, three-day event convening high school juniors and seniors, college and graduate students, teachers, workforce professionals, corporate partners, and all members of the “AISES family.”