The Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Science Careers for Native Americans Touted

Carol Berry
8/18/11

Among benefits for aspiring scientists at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) is the Native American Science Scholarship Program, with an annual application deadline of October 1.

The scholarship program is part of the Native American Science Initiative supported by DMNS’ Department of Anthropology and its advisory Native American Resource Group.

Chip Colwell Chanthaphonh

“Annual scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated leadership, academic achievement, and an interest in a science career,” said a DMNS statement. “Preference is given to Native American students who are college-bound high school seniors attending a Colorado high school or undergraduates who attend a Colorado college or university.”

Awards are presented to recipients at an annual reception in the fall. Two scholarships of $2,000 each were presented to John David, Laguna Pueblo, to study environmental engineering at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Tyler Starr, Navajo/Cherokee, Taos Pueblo (Red Willow Reservation), to study health care at Denver Academy.

In addition to the scholarship program, a Native American Science Career Day for middle school students “offers an opportunity for youngsters to hear the inspirational stories of these [science and health] professionals, expand their understanding of what it means to have a science career, and to explore the possibilities for achieving their own educational and career goals in science.”

The DMNS also partnered with the Institute for Indigenous Resource Management in an Indigenous Film and Art Festival in 2010 and conducts an Indigenous Fellowship Program, which allows visiting fellows—artists, elders, curators, scholars and others—to study the museum’s 60,000-piece anthropology collection. Applications for the program are accepted year-round.

“We’re a science museum, so if we can help Native youth to pursue science careers and encourage Native people to come to the museum and use the collections” it serves the core DMNS mission, Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, curator of anthropology, said when the programs were announced two years ago.

Application for the science scholarship due October 1 can be downloaded here.

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