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Opportunities for Native Americans

The college welcomes students interested in learning, creating and making positive contributions to the community. Engineers help students learn about cleaner and more efficient sources of energy; access to cleaner water and sanitation treatment; more efficient buildings and other structures; better roads and bridges; up-to-date computer and infrastructure applications and overall advances in technology and the latest in electrical and mechanical innovations. Specializations in engineering at SDSU include civil (including environmental, geotechnical, structural and transportation), computer science, electrical and mechanical. There are multiple STEM degrees offered by the College of Engineering including bachelors, masters and doctoral.

Students with engineering degrees have the potential to empower tribes to become more self-sufficient and to achieve higher standards of living on reservations across the country and can help the world to improve water security, climate change, economic growth and to meet so many other global challenges. The demands of the engineering profession have always risen to the challenge of meeting the demands of the world. 

Opportunities for Native Americans in the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering:

  • Work with multiple resources on campus to improve Native American student experiences, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
  • Pursue engineering degrees that have the potential to help build self-reliant tribal nations or to be successful anywhere in the world.
  • Become a role model for future students.

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On-campus Connections

  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society - AISES is a group that promotes Native American professionalism in presenting new ideas in science and engineering fields. AISES is a national society where SDSU falls within region 5 with its own AISES group on campus. The on-campus society is a way for students to get more involved with STEM activities while attending SDSU.
  • American Indian Student Center - The AISC is a great resource for Native American Students to create connections with other Native American students and faculty. The AISC is great for Native American students who would like help adjusting to college life and life away from home. SDSU is unique by offering such support and space for Native American and Alaskan/Hawaiian Natives.
  • Summer Bridge - Summer Bridge is a program that allows incoming freshman to attend college one month before other freshmen. Summer Bridge freshman will be allowed to move in towards the end of July and build relationships with other students and faculty on campus. This is a great program for students who would like to earn some credits before regular classes begin, as well as having a lot of time to adjust to your new college setting. Contact Jill VanDamme - Jump Start Adviser.
  • Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center - The Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center has a variety of support specific to South Dakota State University. The center helps students create program plans, find great tutors, learn about their majors and connect with peer mentors.

For Parents and Guardians

Involved parents can have a positive impact on their children and their schooling. The Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering is making a greater effort to involve Native American students in engineering, and here are some of the ways that parents or guardians can help:

  1. Encourage your child to value education and to do well in school.
  2. Explain to them the value of a college degree in improving their own lives and the quality of life in your community.
  3. Get your child involved in educational outreach programs.
  4. Involve your child in STEM fields by introducing their schools to the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering Native American student outreach program.

Students can attend multiple engineering-related camps throughout the summer on the SDSU campus, and most K-12 schools on reservations offer financial assistance for interested students. Camps allow students to explore different types of engineering, to gain a better understanding of STEM concepts, to get hands-on experience, to earn college credit if applicable and to meet other students with similar interests.


Native American Student Outreach for K-12 teachers

Help your students become more involved in STEM fields by introducing them to Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering Native American student outreach.

  • This program is for schools with a significant numbers of Native American students and for schools that would be willing to involve SDSU within the regular curriculum.
  • This program has its roots in the Oglala Lakota College, SDSU and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Pre-Engineering Education Collaborative (OSSPEEC), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
  • The outreach program is driven by engineering students who work with sixth through eleventh grades in eligible schools by integrating their regular courses with Engineering opportunities and assistance.

If you believe your child’s school would be interested, please have them contact Dr. Suzette Burckhard for more information.

STEM advocacy in K-12 schools is beneficial for students and their schools. Teachers can find online information on resources, support and training in STEM development. If you would like to attend a Teaching STEM workshop at SDSU, please contact Dr. Suzette Burckhard.

Teaching STEM information/awards sites: