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03-09-2005

Clarkson University American Indian Science And Engineering Society Chapter Celebrates 25 Years - University To Host Regional Conference In April

More than 150 of America’s brightest American Indian college students, educators, professionals and high school students from Canada and a dozen North Eastern states will ascend on the Adirondack community of Potsdam, New York, April 8 and 9, for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) regional conference.

AISES was formed in 1977 by American Indian scientists, engineers and educators in response to unacceptable high school dropout rates, low college enrollment and graduation, and the under-representation of American Indians in the science and engineering professions. 

Through a variety of educational programs, the AISES National Office offers financial, academic and cultural support to American Indians and Alaskan Natives from middle school through graduate school in an effort to remove the barriers to academic success for Native students.

AISES is made up of seven regions, including Hawaii, Alaska and Canada. There is a national conference held each year during which a chapter from every region volunteers or is selected to host a regional conference. Clarkson University was selected to host this year’s regional conference in honor of its AISES Chapter’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. Clarkson was the first collegiate chapter in the country. The University is also recognized for its outstanding support infrastructure for underrepresented students. This infrastructure is evidenced in the University’s high retention rates of minority students.

Delegates representing colleges and universities in Canada, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont will attend the conference. Organizers also expect approximately 25 local Native American high school students. Potsdam and the surrounding St. Lawrence Valley is home to the Mohawks at Akwesasnee. AISES Region 7 (Mid-Atlantic and Southern states) have been invited to attend the Region 6 conference. 

The role of the regional conference is to provide educational workshops along with an opportunity for college chapters, area high schools, and professionals to receive updates on AISES programs, activities and upcoming events. The conference also affords the opportunity for students from different chapters within the region to network and share ideas.

The theme of the Region 6 conference is “Seven Generations: Past, Present & Future,” and is based on the Great Law of the six nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. This oral tradition is codified in a series of wampum belts and held by the Onondaga Nation. The law states in part, “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decision on the next seven generations.”

The opening ceremony on Friday, April 8, will feature remarks by Sean Bennett, associate vice president of Institutional Diversity Initiatives and Pipeline Programs. The past and current executive directors of the AISES National Office will be on hand to discuss the history of the National Office as well as the Clarkson Chapter. The Chapter will also welcome back many of its alumni. Saturday, April 9, the conference will open with a welcome from University President Tony Collins, followed by a traditional blessing of the conference proceedings. Teresa Gomez, Deputy Director, AIS National will welcome Region 6.  Breakout sessions will explore past, present and future trends in health, environmental/land resources and education. The conference will close with a keynote address by A. D. Cropper, Technology Development Manager for the Electronic & Sensor Products (E&SP) Center of Excellence (COE) at ITT Corporation.  Dr. Cropper (Kalinago, Carib) is a member of the Board of Directors for AISES. For registration materials and details about the weekend activities visit http://www.clarkson.eduaises25.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is an independent university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business and the arts and sciences. Its academically rigorous, collaborative culture involves 2,700 undergraduates and 400 graduate students in hands-on team projects, multidisciplinary research, and real-world challenges. Many faculty members achieve international recognition for their scholarship and research, and teaching is a priority at every level.  For more information, visit http://www.clarkson.edu.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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