On Thursday, October 19, 2017, Dr. Andrew Mattioda presented a talk covering the Ames’ NAI (NASA Astrobiology Institute) CAN 7 Team’s work supporting the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations’ STEM camps (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The talk was conducted for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate American Indian/Alaskan Native Working Group. The presentation discussed the history of the Ames’ CAN 7 teams Native American outreach efforts, the development of hands-on science activities for the high school aged youth as well as the support for the Choctaw and Chickasaw STEM camps. Since 2015, members of the Ames NAI CAN 7 team have travel to Oklahoma to participate in the Chickasaw an Choctaw STEM camps for Native American youth. At the camps, the team members discuss their backgrounds and how they arrived at their NASA careers, providing the students a glimpse of the diverse backgrounds of the team members. Team members also conduct hands-on
science activities with the youth demonstrating the scientific concepts behind their astrobiology research. Dr. Mattioda presented the talk alongside representatives from the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations.
During the presentations, Mr. Luke Kerr, program manager for the Chickasaw Nation STEM Academy, had this to say about their partnership with NASA Ames’ NAI CAN 7 tea “Oklahoma isn’t, especially the rural parts that we work with, generally considered to be a hub for STEM.
However, we’re doing our small part to change that! Without which most of the students in our program wouldn’t have access to this type of exposure. That’s a huge reason why partnerships like those with the NASA Ames Research Center are priceless. It may seem trivial to some,
but I can assure you that when our students hear that scientists from NASA Are making a special trip, for them, their eyes like up.”