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Montana Tech Part of Alliance to Help American Indian Students Succeed in STEM Graduate Programs


Montana Tech is part of a major new university alliance in the Pacific Northwest funded by a $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to increase the number of American Indian and Alaskan Native students succeeding in graduate programs in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

The Alliance, known as Pacific NorthWest Circle Of Success for Mentoring Opportunities in STEM (PNW-COSMOS), will develop, implement and study a model of culturally congruent STEM graduate education and career preparation. The leading institutions are Washington State University, the University of Idaho, Montana State University, and the University of Montana. Montana Tech, Salish Kootenai College, and Heritage University are affiliated partners. The alliance will reach out to other tribal communities and colleges. Montana Tech is a collaborator with the University of Montana on NSF grant HRD-1432694.

During the three and a half year grant period, the Montana universities will focus on developing an Indigenous mentoring model for American Indian graduate students in STEM degree programs. Attention will be paid to developing recruitment strategies, developing a mentoring program to improve student retention and success, and coordinating resources to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Social science research included in the project will discover and evaluate culturally attuned mentoring approaches that are effective for American Indian graduate students and will encourage American Indian STEM undergraduates to proceed into graduate school.

“At Montana Tech, faculty mentors and the Graduate School will work with both undergraduate and graduate American Indian STEM students to encourage them to consider and succeed in STEM graduate programs that would prepare them for careers valuable to their communities,” noted Dr. Beverly Hartline, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies at Montana Tech. Dr. Hartline, who is leading the effort on the Montana Tech campus added, “It is a great opportunity for us to contribute not only to the education of American Indians in STEM, but also to develop a model that will accelerate their success with advanced degrees and improve our approach to graduate education at the same time. We look forward to our students and faculty engaging with the mentoring model as it develops.” 

For more information, please contact Dr. Beverly Hartline, Montana Tech Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies, at bhartline@mtech.edu or 406-496-4456.