One area of focus for Grounding Science is to broaden the knowledge and teaching practices of USD’s STEM faculty.

“Like me, most STEM faculty members were only trained in Western science, and through Grounding Science, we plan to broaden their training so that our STEM faculty are better able to serve our students,” said Meghann Jarchow, Ph.D., principal investigator and Department of Sustainability & Environment chair.

Another area of focus for Grounding Science is on increasing enrollment and persistence of Native American students in sustainability focused STEM education.

“USD already has strong and holistic support for Native American students, and a goal of Grounding Science is to develop that same level of academic support to Native American students pursuing STEM degrees,” Jarchow said.

Through Grounding Science, the university seeks to formalize more paths for students from tribal colleges to continue their education at USD. USD is currently the only school in the region to offer sustainability degrees at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. Most tribal colleges in the region offer environmental and sustainability-related degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s levels.

“Although Grounding Science is a five-year project, we see this funding as an opportunity to establish systems that can continue even after the NSF funding ends,” Jarchow said.
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