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

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OSU-CHS News > 2016

Jan. 28, 2016

Applications open for Native Explorers college summer research expedition

Native Explorers

American Indian college students interested in medicine or science can apply to participate in a scientific expedition this summer offered by the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.

“Native Explorers offers American Indian college students the opportunity to explore how Native culture and the natural world complement one another while developing lifelong professional and personal relationships,” said Kent Smith, Ph.D., associate dean for the Office for the Advancement of American Indians in Medicine and Science and founder of Native Explorers. “Students will have hands-on experiences outside the classroom that will strengthen their knowledge of science, medicine and Native cultures.”

During the expedition, which runs May 23-June 3, participants will work side-by-side with Native research scientists from OSU-CHS, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and other natural history museums to learn about vertebrate paleontology and natural history. Archeologists, geologists and biologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will introduce participants to natural resource management and the protection of historic sites.

At the OSU-CHS campus, students will explore anatomy by comparing diseased and normal organs, such as hearts, brains, lungs and bones. Participants also will learn how to identify fossil remains and be introduced to tools used by vertebrate paleontologists. In addition, physicians and medical students will teach participants about healthful lifestyles and medicine. Native traditions and culture will be an integral part of the program.

Participants then will visit famous fossil vertebrate sites in the Chihuahuan, Great Basin and Mojave deserts of western North America to collect 16-million-year-old vertebrate fossil remains of camels, horses, rhinos, bone-crushing dogs and other mammals. Students will learn about modern plants and animals in the deserts and the history and culture of the Native people who inhabited the regions over the past 10,000 years.

Native Explorers is part of an OSU-CHS initiative to increase the number of American Indians in medicine or science. The summer research expedition is open to American Indians age 18 and older who are enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe. A limited number of spots are open for the scientific expedition.

Application materials and a letter of support must be received by March 15. Students selected to participate in the program will be notified by email by April 15.

The program is funded by OSU-CHS, the Chickasaw Nation, the Whitten-Burrage Law Firm and the Native Explorers Foundation.

For more information or to complete an application, visit the Native Explorers website.

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