Rebooting Our Approach to Increasing Indigenous STEM Participation: Lessons from Hawai`i

Saturday, 15 February 2014: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Columbus KL (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
As we look toward a future of ever increasing challenges, there is widespread consensus that solutions depend on expanding worldwide human capitol. While we contemplate pathways to increase STEM capacity across multinational settings, we are theoretically hindered by our failure to fully develop the capacity of ethnic and racial groups within our own borders. Indigenous peoples continue to be underrepresented in STEM at one-sixth of their share of the total U.S. population, despite investment of substantial resources from the public and private sectors. At the extreme, Native Hawaiians participate in STEM at rates that are almost incalculably low. An examination of K-12, informal science, and "broader impacts" settings in Hawai'i, suggests that national efforts (e.g. standards-based reform and agency-funded education and public outreach) have been, and are likely to continue to be, ineffective, as these efforts do not address the source of the problem. Instead, speakers suggest that the disparity is ultimately rooted in a failure of relationships. Research across these settings indicates that many current efforts fail to transmit across cultures, and that effective efforts must primarily foster authentic trust and respect between Western and Indigenous perspective-holders. With critical examination of best- and worst-practices, this session focuses on immediate actions that can be taken to positively impact diverse participation in STEM.
Timothy F. Slater, University of Wyoming
Ka`iu Kimura, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii
Transforming the Indigenous Experience in Science Centers
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