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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


July 12, 2003 - Issue 91


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Students Learn About Robotics, Web Design

by Darren Meritz El Paso Times

Wilmer Toya may not be sure about what he wants to do when he graduates from high school.

But he's getting the chance to find out while attending the Native American Computer Science Camp this month at New Mexico State University.

"It's pretty cool," said Toya, a high-school freshman from the Jemez Pueblo north of Albuquerque.

Toya is one of 21 students and faculty members from Native American tribes participating in the camp, which gives campers a chance to meet new people, get an introduction into college life and go on field trips to Southern New Mexico's sites.

All the while the campers, all high-school and junior-college transfer students, learn about mathematics, robotics and Web page design.

"Students will not only learn the importance of computer knowledge, but they will also realize the important role they play as computer programmers," said Sarah Tsosie, the camp's coordinator.

At NMSU, about 3 percent of the student body, or 404 students, come from American Indian backgrounds, although no Native American student has graduated with a doctorate from the university, said Cynthia Grajeda, an NMSU senior and camp counselor.

That's part of the reason why NMSU decided to put together the computer science camp, said Grajeda, a broadcast journalism major.

"It's going to be learning, and we want them to have fun as well," she said. "It's just like a first college experience for them."

For Shirleen Washburn, a Navajo attending Diné College in Shiprock, N.M., studying computer science is already decided for her.

But she's attending the camp to see if transferring to the NMSU program after attending the tribal college would be a good move.

"It's going good," Washburn said of the computer camp. "We just learned the basics of programming and how to develop Web pages."

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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