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Education Briefs: 6-week STEM program sees success

Education Briefs: 6-week STEM program sees success


American Indian Services, a nonprofit organization, offered a six-week program for incoming seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-graders known as American Indian Services Pre-Freshman Engineering Program, or AIS PREP.

AIS PREP is a free educational preparatory program for Native American youth.

Courtesy photo | Hunter Warren, AIS PREP
AIS PREP students from the Utah and Arizona portions of the Navajo Nation include, first row, left to right, Robert John, Joshua Benally, Milkelah Kaye, Briyanna Yanito, Yanabah Smith, Charlie Bouchard, Bailey Moulton, Khianta Benally; second row, Dominic Dance, Zacharias Long, Coby Woody, Christian Dan, Dominique Long, Kaleil Benally, Latayra Benally, Alisha Sloan, Lakota Holliday, LaTeyah Stanley, Jataya Boone and Kaitlyn Redhorse; thrid row, Elijah Tohtsoni, Kalint Tohonnie, Shaiona Sheppard, Lamyah Fatt, Keliana Smith, Saylor Dandy, Jamiya High, Harmony Thomas, Gabrielle Dance, Elam Etsitty, Brayden John and Melshawna Jackson; and, last,row, Cadince Woody, Taliheje Edaakie, Wenona Denny, Nishoni Hernandez, Samarah Stanley, Tekowa Hernandez, Kiara Poyer, Kaylee Warren, Tzosliah Etsitty, Ryleigh Hanley, Santiago Davila, Ethan Begay, Staley Dandy, Murious Charley, DaVanna Herrera, Kaycen Black and Kayla Mitchell.

Studies show that Native Americans are least interested in the STEM field so the program hopes to change attitudes.

Students experience rigorous STEM instruction designed to prepare them for higher education as well as participating in hands-on projects, challenging homework, field trips, and daily career awareness.

Courtesy photo | Hunter Warren, AIS PREP
AIS PREP students visit the USU Blanding Career & Technical Education Department and explored heavy equipment and diesels.
Students are, left to right, Kiara Poyer, Tzosilah Etsitty, Kayla Mitchell and Khianta Benally.

The curriculum included classes in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM content has been proven to raise test scores and help students become ready to pursue advanced high school courses.

AIS PREP Blanding is one of six sites that offer this summer program located at Utah State University-Blanding campus led by Hunter Warren.

Blanding PREP started its program on June 28. Students stayed on campus from Monday through Thursdays in the residential halls taking classes and participating in daily activities.

Students went on Friday field trips to the Blanding Airport, the Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, and traveled to the UofA for AIS PREP’s Solar Celebration.

At the celebration, they met Alice Min Soo Chun, founder and CEO of Solight Designs Inc., who invented the Solar Puff, a portable, collapsible, self-inflating light powered by the sun.

They also attended seminars where speakers discussed careers in computer science, EMT, information technology, geology, food science, animal science, and more.

Blanding wrapped up the six-week program with a graduation/closing celebration on Friday, Aug. 6, at San Juan High School’s auditorium.

Fifty-one students completed the program from the Navajo Reservation in both Utah and Arizona.

Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren, Arizona state representative, was invited to speak. American Indian Services Board President Keith Buswell attended as well as AIS Board Vice President and Treasurer Ken Woolley, AIS Financial Manager Dori Stone, as well as other AIS staff.

SJC requires everyone to wear masks

FARMINGTON – In response to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health order, San Juan College requires everyone to wear masks at all indoor locations, regardless of vaccination status.

The requirement went into effect on Aug. 20.

This indoor mask requirement applies to faculty, staff, students and visitors. Individuals must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth when inside SJC buildings. The only exception is when an individual is eating or drinking.

“Our priority is to keep our students, employees and the community as safe as possible,” San Juan College Executive Vice President Edward DesPlas said. “Therefore, as the Delta variant continues to rise, requiring that masks be worn indoors by everyone is important to help minimize the spread.”

While the vaccine is strongly encouraged, San Juan College does not currently require that all employees and students be vaccinated.

The college will host a free vaccination clinic for students and employees today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby area located outside of the Tutoring Center.

All vaccine recipients will receive a $100 card from the New Mexico Department of Health. All students who receive the vaccine will get a $100 gift certificate to the San Juan College Bookstore, and will be entered into a drawing for scholarships and other prizes.

Another clinic is being organized for SJC students and employees in September. Event date, time and location will be announced at a later date.
This current public health order is in effect until at least Sept. 15.


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