The QEM INCLUDES REU Research Expedition reached its destination, Bismarck, ND in the Northern Plains late in the afternoon of July 19. In the footsteps but not the discomfort of Lewis and Clark, REU explorers journeyed from East, West, and South to join fellow REU explorers in Bismarck for a three-day Gathering.
Hosted by United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) in Bismarck, the six REU students and research mentors with QEM consultants and staff as expedition guides, spun their tales of research and zeal for discovery. UTTC President, Dr. Russ McDonald, and staff welcomed them and. QEM Consultants Drs. Costello Brown and Gerald “Carty” Monette, guided them through the history of the Tribal College movement and the NSF Tribal College and Universities Program (TCUP). At UTTC, students and mentors explored the story of the UTTC site from frontier fort to World War Two internment camp to a thriving Tribal College.
On July 20, the REU explorers set out, with Guide Dr. Jeremy Guinn, for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where Tribal leaders told the story of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest and their concern about the impact of the pipeline on surrounding environmental and sacred sites on their land. As the group gathered for the evening meal, Dr. Sean Chandler, Aaniiih Nakoda College, and Dr. Costello Brown challenged the REU team to consider ways to use their research to meet the needs of their communities and Tribes.
On the final day of the Gathering, The REU discoverers focused on practicing and presenting their summer research findings and reviewed their QEM INCLUDES journey with QEM staff and Consultants to mark the trail for future discoverers. The day ended at Raging Rivers, a popular water park in Bismarck as students tested their skills on the water slides. The next morning, these 21st Century discoverers retraced the path to their REU sites to complete their summer research and to prepare to pursue their STEM path in the academic year ahead.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant # 161649195.