Native Explorers summer program accepting applications

03/07/2014 09:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A group of Native American students look at Native American drawings on a side of a rock in a past Native Explorers program. The program is held each summer in which students learn more about anatomy, paleontology and medicine while also having the opportunity to earn college credit. NATIVEEXPLORERS.ORG
TULSA, Okla. – American Indian students have the opportunity to learn more about anatomy, paleontology and medicine while earning college credit during a special scientific expedition this summer.

Native Explorers places students with American Indian research scientists, educators and physicians for a unique cultural experience running from May 12-23.

“Students who participate in Native Explorers have the opportunity to go beyond the classroom to experience these different fields, receive career guidance and develop a deeper connection with their cultural background,” Dr. Kent Smith, Oklahoma State University-Center for Health Sciences associate professor of anatomy and cell biology, said. “Ultimately they will learn how American Indian cultures intersect with the natural world and create lifelong professional networks and friendships with leading researchers.”

Participants work side-by-side with researchers from OSU-CHS and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, as well as archeologists and biologists from the Bureau of the Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

The summer program begins at the OSU-CHS in Tulsa with an exploration of anatomy and paleontology before continuing to New Mexico and Utah for visits to museums, archeological sites and cliff dwellings to learn more about American Indian culture. The trip will culminate with a paleontological dig in Nevada.

“American Indian traditions and culture are an integral part of this program,” said Smith. “We learn about the Native people that inhabited these regions for more than 5,000 years and examine plant and animal fossils from volcanic sediment that are millions of years old.”

Native Explorers is open to American Indian college students age 18 and older who are enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe. A limited number of spots are open for the scientific expedition. Students must complete an application and submit a letter of reference from an instructor. The deadline to apply is March 15.

Participants may be eligible to earn three hours of college credit. The program is fully funded by the Chickasaw Nation, Whitten-Burrage Law Firm, Native Explorers Foundation and OSU.

For more information or to complete an application, visit


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