Connection to Place, Belonging, & Security for Native Students in STEM: Meet Geoscientist Dr. Wendy F. Smythe, of the Alaska Native Xáadas (Haida)

Updated Nov 11, 2021


INTRODUCTION:


In this episode of In The Margins, we feature a lecture from the University of Alaska Southeast’s (UAS) fall 2021 lecture series—Evening at Egan. Tune in as geoscientist Dr. Wendy Smythe, a Haida woman, speaks about her personal journey in STEM and the importance of traditional knowledge systems in the development of K-12 curriculum.

KEY POINTS:

  • Dr. Wendy F. Smythe’s academic journey
  • How Dr. Smythe’s experiences as a Haida woman impact her work
  • Tying culture to curriculum - connecting traditional knowledge with science
  • How diversity in both ethnicity and discipline increases innovation
  • Turning the focus from recruitment to retention of diverse students
  • Reimagining science education - what is working and what is not
  • Engaging native students in science learning opportunities

QUOTABLES:


“I am the first generation removed from boarding schools. I did not have the experiences of those in my family. So, to them, education is trauma and pain and fear and the loss of culture and language. To me, it's something very different. And we have to acknowledge that when we work with our native students and with our native communities, that trauma is there. We have to acknowledge it, and we have to respect it.”

“That's how we all learn. If we can connect to it, we understand why we're learning it. So we started tying that to cultural and traditional use practices within the community."


GUEST RESOURCES:

Science in Our Stories: Connection To Place, Belonging, & Security For Native Students In STEM Ed.: youtube.com/watch?v=z0Lzs-7nAlc
Learn more about Dr. Wendy F. Smythe at cahss.d.umn.edu/faculty-staff/wendy-smythe
University of Alaska Southeast, Evening at Egan Fall 2021: uas.alaska.edu/eganlecture/index.html

PRODUCTS/RESOURCES:


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