Tuyuryaq (Togiak, Alaska): A Model for Alaska Native Youth Learning on College Campuses
This award supports Alaska Native student’s attendance at a workshop at Bates College focused on investigating new models for advancing academic achievement by Indigenous students on college campuses. As a Yup'ik scientist, PI Dr. Kristen Barnett, understands first-hand how college campuses are critical environments for providing Indigenous students with a pathway to science careers, yet Alaska Native youth have limited participation and face limited support at institutions of higher learning. Barnett points out that scientific research frequently focuses on topics that directly affect Indigenous communities, e.g., coastal erosion, permafrost, fisheries, the digital economy, and could benefit by incorporating Indigenous experiences and epistemologies into the science curricula at academic institutions. The vision for this workshop, Tuyyuryaq (Togiak, Alaska), is to develop new models for improving the learning environment for Indigenous students on college campuses, as well as ways in which faculty can re-envision academic institutions and the ways in which they impart knowledge to Indigenous students and communities. Creating opportunities for Alaska Native and Native American students is strongly in the national interest; these groups are highly underrepresented in higher education and in science disciplines in particular. Increasing the participation of these groups can provide leadership and economic opportunity in regions of the U.S. where opportunities for development are currently limited. This workshop seeks to overcome structural inequalities in higher education and for indigenous students, by developing and applying inclusive epistemologies derived from multiple cultures. The workshop provides a platform for collaborative participation accommodating a wide range of Indigenous communities, interdisciplinary scholars, students, administration and staff, and the general public. The workshop will consist of an opening plenary session, followed by multiple small group sessions that facilitate immersive and sensitive discussions among participants, and concludes with a larger group discussion that highlights conference experiences, ideas and future directions. Participants will access tools for curriculum development and deepen their understanding of impacts of the current (western) educational models. The long-term goals of this workshop is to advance awareness and support the incorporation of inclusive practices of research and teaching, to encourage student involvement in campus culture that is scalable to any institution.