American Indian Science and Engineering Society Annual Conference

Aises Conference
(L to R) Osage Nation Education Department Academic Advisor Robynn Rulo, AISES awardee Katherine McPherson, AISES awardee, Zipporah Hawkins, Osage Nation Education Department STEM Coordinator Shaina Smith

Two Osage college students from Oklahoma won a trip to the American Indian Science Engineering Society (AISES) conference in Spokane, Washington. Katherine McPherson from Norman and Zipporah Hawkins from Edmond entered an essay contest, held by the Osage Nation Education Department (ONED), in order to qualify for the opportunity. The Annual AISES National Conference is a unique, three-day event that focuses on educational, professional, and workforce development for Indigenous peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies and careers. The ONED STEAM program includes these subjects along with art in order to improve student knowledge and interest in these important concepts.

The students submitted essays to discuss how they would use their STEAM knowledge to helpimprove the Osage Nation. Katherine McPherson studies psychology at the University of Oklahoma. Her essay discussed genetics, chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and how substance use, to cope, will further increase the negative physiological/mental effects of stress on the body. Zipporah Hawkins studies psychology, with a minor in sociology, atthe University of Central Oklahoma. Her essay discussed factors that affect a family’s stability and success. Hawkins believes that helping families, specifically the children, reach their full potential also helps the future of the Osage Nation. 

During the AISES conference held October 19-21, 2023, the students toured Gonzaga University, University of Washington, Eastern Washington University, Amazon Fulfillment Center, and Albeni Falls Dam. They also networked with STEM professionals during the college and career fair, participated in talking circles, developed a resume, and attended a variety of workshops. The opportunity to attend the annual AISES conference is provided by the Osage Nation Education Department through the STEAM program which integrates science, technology, engineering, art, and math concepts through activities and resources.