USD Inclusive Science Initiative


Peer Mentoring Program

"Wawokiya" is a Lakota term meaning "one who helps."

Our program provides support to first year or new transfer students who are Native Americans, African American or Hispanic American, as well as first-generation college students (neither parent graduated from college).

We match sophomore, junior, senior and graduate student Peer Mentors with new students to help with a smoother transition to college. Peer Mentors contact their mentees (the student being mentored) each week to assist them in getting acquainted with campus, helpful resources, and the community. We also offer several group activities, which will include both an academic/cultural component, such as guest lectures, as well as a social component, such as bowling or movies.

The Mentees are responsible to complete simple academic activities designed to help them become accustomed to campus and campus resources. The ISI Wawokiya Coordinator is also available to the mentees for advising and assistance.

If you are interested in joining us as either a mentor or mentee, please contact us at

Support for Student Science Organizations

The USD ISI will support professional development activities for under-represented students in science majors. These activities can include:

  • Travel to a science professional meeting
  • Invite a scientist to USD to meet with students and give a seminar
  • Hold a mini-symposium on given scientific topic (e.g., public health, the environment, chemistry, etc.)


The USD ISI supports the incorporation of Panopto lecture capture technology in large lecture rooms where science courses are taught. This technology helps students maintain contact with their courses when personal emergencies prevent them from attending lecture and is also a good way to review content when studying.

Campus Resources

Native American Cultural Center - At the Native American Cultural Center (NACC), you'll find a home that provides a culturally relevant environment for Native American students and others interested in Native American cultures. The NACC also houses Native Student Services (NSS), which provides student support services and culturally relevant programming throughout the year.

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