http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgCherokee Nation citizen and Pryor High School student Halee Nichols works with a microscope on May 10 at PHS. CN officials signed a proclamation that day with hopes to get more Native female students involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematic fields. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen and Pryor High School student Halee Nichols works with a microscope on May 10 at PHS. CN officials signed a proclamation that day with hopes to get more Native female students involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematic fields. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CN works to get more females in STEM

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
05/15/2017 12:00 PM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
PRYOR, Okla. – Cherokee Nation officials on May 10 signed a proclamation at Pryor High School that they hope will interest more Native female students to venture into the science, technology, engineering and mathematic fields.

As part of a partnership with the Million Women Mentors, the tribe pledged to mentor at least 500 female students a year with their pursuits of STEM-related education and careers.

“These careers drive new innovations in health care and natural resource development and increases to safety and quality of life. These career paths require rigorous studies and preparation, and without adequate mentorship, many students give up on attaining the skills necessary to pursue these careers,” Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor, who is also a Million Women Mentors Native American Council advisory board member, said. “With only 29 percent of STEM careers being held by a woman and even less by minority women, it becomes more vital that our tribe step up and provide our young Cherokee ladies with the support and resources to pursue STEM academic studies and career opportunities.”

Taylor said the initiative resulted after she was approached about starting a Native American group to steer women toward STEM careers. She said the new group is under the Million Women Mentors and focuses on Native women.

The Million Women Mentors group mentors young women and encourages them to look into STEAM-related fields. STEAM includes arts along with the other fields.

Taylor said she hopes to get 50,000 pledges by March 2018 and is encouraging other tribes to get their respective female citizens interested in STEM fields.

“At the Intertribal Council back in April, Cherokee Nation sponsored legislation to draft a resolution to try and get those other tribes on board,” she said. “So the Oklahoma tribes are leading the march in getting Native American women mentored in STEM technology careers.”

Francis Head – a CN citizen who teaches biology, honors college preparatory anatomy and physiology at PHS, said the movement would allow Cherokee girls to have firsthand experiences.

“This is going to allow the Cherokee girls to get a valuable experience on hands-on activities, project-based learning using query-based activities. It’s going to give them the critical thinking skills that they’re going to need to solve world problems,” Head said.

Cheyenne Gardner, CN citizen and PHS junior, said the STEM program offered at the school has given her the experience she needs to continue her STEM-related education into college.

“I feel that the labs and that the dissections and things that we do in here has given me the knowledge I need to continue into college and that’ll come easier in college to me,” she said.

Feather Smith Trevino, a CN citizen and cultural biologist for the tribe, said although it’s not always a “glamorous” job, being in a field like she is, it raises “excitement.”

“Oftentimes, especially in a field like biology, it can be so hands-on and it’s not always a glamorous job, but it tends to be more popular among the men, but once women realize that women can do it, it is popular among the women,” she said. “Just the time that I’ve been doing this job, I regularly get approached by young college-age and high school-aged girls wanting to know more about how I ended up getting into this field and how I found this position.”

Thanks to her classes, Olivia Rains, a CN citizen and PHS sophomore, said she is considering a career in science.

“I just take my personal experiences from my labs and all the science classes that I have taken, and I believe that all of those experiences will help me in the future because I have had so many hands-on experiences, and I’ve had positive results and I personally love science and I love that everything about it, and so I feel like those positive experiences will lead to possibly a career in science,” she said.

For more information or to be a mentor, visit www.millionwomenmentors.org.
About the Author
Stacie Guthrie started working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2013 as an intern. After graduating from Northeastern State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications she was hired as a reporter.

Stacie not only writes for the Phoenix, but also produces videos and regularly hosts the Cherokee Phoenix radio broadcast.

She found her passion for video production while taking part in broadcast media classes at NSU. It was there she co-created a monthly video segment titled “Northeastern Gaming,” which included video game reviews, video game console reviews and discussions regarding influential video games.

While working at the Phoenix she has learned more about her Cherokee culture, saying she is grateful for the opportunity to work for and with the Cherokee people.

In 2014, Stacie won a NativeAmerican Journalists Association award for a video she created while working as an intern for the Phoenix. She was awarded first place in the “Best News Story-TV” category.

Stacie is a member of NAJA.
stacie-guthrie@cherokee.org • 918-453-5000 ext. 5903
Stacie Guthrie started working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2013 as an intern. After graduating from Northeastern State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications she was hired as a reporter. Stacie not only writes for the Phoenix, but also produces videos and regularly hosts the Cherokee Phoenix radio broadcast. She found her passion for video production while taking part in broadcast media classes at NSU. It was there she co-created a monthly video segment titled “Northeastern Gaming,” which included video game reviews, video game console reviews and discussions regarding influential video games. While working at the Phoenix she has learned more about her Cherokee culture, saying she is grateful for the opportunity to work for and with the Cherokee people. In 2014, Stacie won a NativeAmerican Journalists Association award for a video she created while working as an intern for the Phoenix. She was awarded first place in the “Best News Story-TV” category. Stacie is a member of NAJA.

Education

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/21/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A new cornerstone for capacity building was put into place June 14 at the United Keetoowah Band John Hair Cultural Center & Museum with the signing of a memorandum of understanding for cooperation between Northeastern State University and the UKB. “This memorandum solidifies the collaborative opportunities for both institutions. It will help to further our respective missions for developing learning opportunities and creating educational and economic success for the health and productive futures of our populations,” UKB Chief Joe Bunch. “Our tribe is honored to sign this MOU with the university. The alliance with NSU offers incredible resources, experiences and opportunities for both entities to forge new paths and grow together. The cooperative agreement with NSU, an outstanding regional university, represents new promise, hope and progress for enhancing and developing many of the important programs and services for the UKB going forward.” UKB Assistant Chief Jamie Thompson said the UKB Tribal Council unanimously endorsed the dedicated relationship, honoring NSU’s standards of excellence, quality teaching, challenging curricula, research and scholarly activities – particularly its goal to provide immersive learning opportunities for their faculty and students in service to the local community. “We envision the collaborative relationship to include capacity building areas of elder community services, sustainable language, kinesiology/recreation, Indian Child Welfare, child development, tribal libraries and technology and more. The tribe and university have also agreed to consider undertaking mutually beneficial, sanctioned research and grant-funded projects,” he said. After signing the agreement, NSU President Steve Turner cited the rich educational heritage of the Cherokee people and the university’s respect for the UKB as two key elements that led to the partnership. He also acknowledged the UKB’s commitment to higher education and deep roots with the university and the Cherokee Nation. “We seek collaborations such as this alliance with the UKB to advance or mission of helping all of our region to achieve professional and personal success in this multicultural and global society,” Turner said. “NSU continues to devote faculty and student services resources toward collaborative projects with the tribe and other American Indians that encourage, inspire and support tribal members to lead healthy and productive lives and to encourage the pursuit of post-secondary education at our institution.” The memorandum will be supported by a joint committee comprised of individuals from both the university and the tribe who will provide oversight for the activities and projects included in the alliance.
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
06/16/2017 09:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – It has been more than a year since the last cohort for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program was announced, giving several Cherokee recipients time to reflect on the scholarship’s legacy and impact it has made on their lives. “It was just a huge, huge blessing,” Felicia Manning said. Manning is one of 326 Cherokees who are citizens of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes to receive the scholarship during the program’s 16-year run, according to the American Indian Graduate Center, which oversees the GMSP. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation created the program in 2000. It funds any undergraduate study area and seven graduate study areas: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and science. A 2010 scholarship selection, Manning recently completed her first year of graduate study in marine science at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. The program also funded Manning’s 2016 study abroad trip to Mossel Bay, South Africa. While there she tagged sharks with Oceans Research, an organization dedicated to Southern African wildlife management and conservation via marine research. “That’s a group that I had been following for a long time,” Manning said. “The fact that they actually picked my school, and I’m partnered with them and I get to do my thesis work with them, that has just been so awesome. Gates (scholarship) definitely helped pave the way for me to do that.” The scholarship is also paving a better future for Wrighter Weavel, 20, a 2015 recipient. “I wasn’t even going to go to college, but when I found out that I got Gates, that opened so many opportunities for me to go anywhere I want, to experience any life, any culture in the entire United States,” he said. Weavel said he plans to transfer to the University of Oklahoma to complete his undergraduate studies in education or medicine, with an overall goal to obtain a doctorate. “I want to get my Ph.D. and I want to be called Dr. Weavel because I have a plan,” he said. “I want to have little ones, and I want them to look at me and see where I came from and to understand that it doesn’t matter the background you have, if you want to do something, you can do whatever you set your mind to.” Weavel said he has also benefited from the scholarship beyond financial assistance. “They offer mentors, which the mentors are a huge help,” he said. “They really help expand your mind on exactly what the scholarship can do for you.” Weavel’s mentor is Corey Still, 26, a United Keetoowah Band citizen who received the scholarship in 2009. Though initially interested in business and law, Still is now obtaining a doctorate in adult and higher education at OU. “I really began to fall in love with this idea of education and how we can help our communities through education,” he said. “I really wanted to be able to help other people and especially other students.” Still said he looks forward to joining the few Native American men with doctorates, which he decided to pursue because of the “faith” the GMSP puts into its scholars. “Whether they know it or not, that by selecting us as scholars and putting a little bit of faith into us, we’re going to go out and make something with those scholarships and with those degrees, that we’re going to make some type of impact within our community or greater society.” Still serves on the Gates Millennium Alumni Advisory Council as the American Indian Graduate Center liaison and said he appreciates the “communal and family ties” the GMSP creates. “You really see the impact this scholarship has, and not just within Indian Country, because the scholarship itself is for minority students in under-represented fields. And so you really see the connections that are created across cultural barriers and across the country and it really does become a family.” Of the Cherokee recipients, 313 are CN citizens, eight are UKB citizens and five are Eastern Band citizens. In its 16 years, the GMSP funded more than 20,000 scholars and awarded more than $934 million in scholarship funds. The program ended in 2016, but the Hispanic Scholarship Fund manages a new version. <strong>Editor’s Note: Reporter Brittney Bennett is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient.</strong>
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/14/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – More than 150 educators traveled June 7-8 to Northeastern State University for training in the latest science, technology, engineering and math teaching and learning techniques at the Cherokee Nation’s Teachers of Successful Students conference. For a fifth straight year, the CN funded the conference at no cost to teachers. To culminate the conference, the CN awarded a Creative Teaching Grant of $1,000 to 10 teachers to start STEM projects in their classrooms next fall. Angela Wall, who teaches preschool and kindergarten at Bluejacket Public Schools, said the $1,000 grant from the tribe would help the school in implementing a robotics lab for the lower elementary students. “This grant makes it possible for us to establish this lab. It’s not something covered in the daily material, and we will now be able to implement STEM projects in the lower grades,” Wall said. “I’m very appreciative of this grant.” Other teachers receiving $1,000 grants were: • Greasy Public School’s Maygen Clark for “To Infinity and Beyond,” • Maryetta Public School’s Tiffany Clawson for “Motivating Tiny Builders,” • Bluejacket Public Schools’ Amy Rogers for “Beginning Robotics and Coding for 4th-5th Grades,” • Afton Public Schools’ Jason Gibson for “Building Better Bridges,” • Cleora Public School’s Deanna Gordon for “STEM Activities with a Basis in Literature,” • Sallisaw Public Schools’ Christina Magie and Tara Mendrola for “Building Brains with a Maker’s Space,” • Justus-Tiawah Public School’s Desiree Matheson for “STEM in the Library,” • Wagoner Public Schools’ Stephanie Rexwinkle for “From Text to Film,” and • Cleora Public School’s Guy Matzenbacher for “Coding is Fun!”
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/09/2017 04:00 PM
NORMAN, Okla. – Two Cherokee Nation citizens are part of the 10 student journalists selected as members of the 2017 Native American Journalist Fellowship class by the Native American Journalists Association. CN citizens Kaitlin Boyse, a University of Central Oklahoma student, and Shea Smith, a University of Oklahoma student, will join eight other student journalists Sept. 4-10 at the National Native Media Conference as part of the Excellence In Journalism 17 Conference in Anaheim, California. According to a NAJA release, the NAJF is an opportunity for Native students to deepen their reporting and multimedia skills while learning from tribal journalists and industry professionals from across the country. “We are very excited for our incoming NAJF class and look forward to covering issues that matter to NAJA as well as Indian Country,” Victoria LaPoe, NAJA education chairwoman, said. “We look forward to our mentees learning not only from mentors, but from all members attending the conference.” The other student journalists selected are: • A.J. Earl, Portland State University, Comanche Nation, • Aliyah Chavez, Stanford University, Santo Domingo Pueblo, • Jaida Grey Eagle, Institute of American Indian Arts, Oglala Lakota Nation, • Jorge Martínez, Brown University, Jñatro/Ñuu Sau, • Kathleen Flynn, City University of New York, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, • Priestess Bearstops, Minneapolis, Oglala Lakota Nation, • Sarah Liese, University of Mississippi, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and • Tyler Jones, University of Kansas, Choctaw Nation. Under the direction of Val Hoeppner, digital media consultant, and LaPoe, students will work with mentors Tristan Ahtone, 2018 Nieman Fellow and Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma citizen; Graham Brewer, a journalist with The Oklahoman and CN citizen; Khloe Keeler, a reporter based in Colorado with KKTV 11 News and Ponca Tribe of Nebraska citizen; and Mark Fogarty, a correspondent with Indian Country Today Media Network. According to the release, NAJA serves and empowers Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native cultures. “NAJA’s most important role in Indian Country is to create the next generation of storytellers. This exemplary class of student fellows, mentored by our experienced professionals, will soon find their paths into tribal and mainstream newsrooms where they will have a voice in a more fair and accurate portrayal of our communities and cultures,” NAJA President and former Cherokee Phoenix Executive Editor Bryan Pollard said. “I look forward to meeting them at the conference and would encourage our members to stop by the student newsroom to offer encouragement.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/29/2017 03:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Northeastern State University’s Riverhawk Food Pantry is expanding into the newly named Rowdy’s Resource Room to offer students in need more assistance. In addition to food and hygiene items, the Rowdy’s Resource Room will provide clothes, school supplies and cleaning supplies at no cost. Student committee members Skye Boyce and Pate Thomas agreed they would like to see Rowdy’s Resource Room expand to benefit more students by bringing more awareness to the campus. “I would also like for us, in the future, to be able to partner with other community organizations to create bigger drives and to expand our efforts to be able to give back to the community that does so much for Northeastern (State University),” said Thomas. Accepted donations include food, hygiene items, school supplies, new or gently used clothing and business attire. “The resource room relies upon donations,” said Thomas. “It is the only way for us to acquire the items to provide to students in need.” Jacob Patrick, the center’s coordinator, said the two “major” motivations why people donate are “to help others that may be in need and to cut down on the waste that is produced when usable items are discarded.” Donations can be made at the Resource Room, located in the Leoser building by Pizza Hut Express. For more information, email Patrick at patric12@nsuok.edu.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/28/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Northeastern State University recently inducted Miss Cherokee 2016-17 Sky Wildcat into its Hall of Fame for bringing state and national recognition to the university in her role as a tribal ambassador. NSU recognizes students annually who have brought special recognition to the university or who have made contributions to the school. Wildcat, of Muskogee, was one of three 2017 NSU Hall of Fame inductees recognized at this year’s Hall of Fame Ovation Awards Ceremony. Dr. Christine Hallman, geography associate professor, nominated Wildcat, whose Miss Cherokee platform is environmental preservation. The Hall of Fame Selection Committee reviewed the nomination before recommending it to NSU President Dr. Steve Turner. “The nomination was humbling,” Wildcat said. “To be selected to NSU’s Hall of Fame, I never would have expected that. When I went into NSU, I got to know more of my community and I got to know more about my identity, and that really pushed me. My experiences at NSU led me to mentors and advisers and friends to depend on. I learned that we can’t do it all on our own.” Wildcat double-majored in geography and psychology at Northeastern State and is now enrolled in a master’s degree program there, which she’ll begin in the fall. She plans to work in higher education and hopes to one day obtain a doctorate. As Miss Cherokee, Wildcat has traveled to Washington, D.C., to represent the Cherokee Nation during Cherokee Days at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and has acted as an ambassador for the tribe at community meetings, at-large gatherings and during legislative events. She has also been involved in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, in which she served as vice president and secretary. She was a member of Alpha Pi Omega sorority and is a NSU RiverHawks Initiating Service and Engagement scholar, a former Miss Native American Student Association and CN Tribal Youth Councilor. Wildcat is expected to travel to Denver for the United National Indian Tribal Youth Conference in July. “I’ve watched Sky grow as a person and she always had these great qualities, but those qualities blossomed over the time I’ve known her,” Hallman said. “She’s definitely a leader and she’s strong. She has shared in class that we have unity through diversity and that we can all come together, whatever the cause, to find common ground. She has a way of pulling people together and she has these incredibly insightful moments. Her journey is incredible. She’s taught me a lot of things – like a role reversal.” Hallman said Wildcat is dedicated to environmental issues, especially water and how it relates to the CN. Wildcat has advocated for land preservation, recycling and awareness of environmental footprints both in her college studies and as Miss Cherokee. Wildcat’s photo will be included among other NSU Hall of Fame inductees inside the University Center on the Tahlequah campus. She was also honored this year as an NSU outstanding senior and graduated summa cum laude.