Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

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OSU-CHS News > 2014

Feb. 20, 2014

Native Explorers summer program accepting applications

A Native Explorers student participates in a dig during an expedition in 2013.

American Indian students have the opportunity to learn more about anatomy, paleontology and medicine and earn 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. The program is sponsored by the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, the Chickasaw Nation and Whitten-Burrage Law Firm.

"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," said Dr. Kent Smith, OSU-CHS associate professor of anatomy and cell biology. "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 Center for Health Sciences and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, and archeologists and biologists from the Bureau of the Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

The summer program begins at the OSU Center for Health Sciences 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 www.nativeexplorers.org.

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