$45,000 Grant Awarded to Blended Humanities-STEM Youth Summer Program

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 | No Comments

The Arctic Slope Community Foundation Board approved a $45,000 grant to a collaboration of Ilisagvik College, American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Science (I-CHASS), the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), and the Climate, Adaptation, Mitigation, E-Learning (CAMEL) project to support a 2 week summer blended Humanities and Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) program at the Ilisagvik College, Barrow Alaska, for 12 high school aged Native youth from the North Slope Borough.

During this program, the participants will discover, investigate, and analyze the Barrow, Alaska permafrost.  Information gained from this experience will help them to develop and enhance their personal understanding of the permafrost’s significant relationship and impact on their local villages/communities. Additionally, they will learn how to share their insights on a broader national/international platform though the use of technological tools such as the iPod touch, websites, webcasting, and social media applications.

The program will seek to provide a fun, informal learning environment for students in grades 9-12 while exploring a serious climate change topic. The experience will motivate the students to continue monitoring their environment and sharing this data and to also consider future studies in the humanities and STEM fields.

The program will provide a forum to raise Alaskan Native youth awareness about permafrost’s role in climate change.  The program will enable them to think about ways to mitigate and adapt to the impending challenges while documenting and exchanging cultural knowledge and observations with Elders.  Additionally, the program will encourage youth to share this information on a national level and become engaged in the climate change dialog, while being exposed and trained in the use of various technologies for capturing and preserving data including scientific language and cultural data.

As noted by Mark Nuttall and his colleagues in the paper “Adaption to Climate Change in the Arctic,” climate change adaptation occurs at the local level, so it is important to develop programs that incorporate indigenous perspectives and knowledge and to facilitate indigenous societies’ ability to decide for themselves how to address climate change risks.  This summer program presents a step in this direction.


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