students participate in six-week long STEM camp, preparing them
for high school, college, and future careers.
BLANDING, Utah - Native American students arrived at USU
Eastern Blanding on June 29, 2015, eager to begin a summer of hands-on
learning and self-discovery.
AIS PREP (American Indian Services Prefreshman Engineering Program)
is a six-week, academic summer program for students who have an
interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and
mathematics (STEM). The curriculum is modeled after similar summer
sessions presented by PREP-USA, a national program that emphasizes
increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in
AIS PREP focuses on minority students with a Native American
background. The majority of students are from the nearby Navajo
Nation that occupies portions of southeastern Utah, northeastern
Arizona, and northwestern New Mexico. According to the Navajo Nation's
economic development report, 32% of Navajos graduate high school,
and only 5% of Navajo people have a bachelor's degree. About 60%
of the people live below poverty, and unemployment averages 50%.
Summer 2015 is the first session of AIS Prep. All students enrolled
are preparing to enter the seventh grade. The program will be offered
every summer over the course of three years. Student will then leave
the program ready to enter high school with the equivalent of an
additional half a year of in-class math and science instruction.
AIS PREP instructors hope students will leave with a love of learning
and the determination to pursue higher education, thereby raising
standards across the board for future generations in the Navajo
American students use engineering principles to build popsicle
Students are transported from the various Indian reservations
to dorms at USU Eastern Blanding. They stay overnight on campus
Monday through Friday and return home on weekends. During the week
they attend classes in logic, problem solving, and engineering.
Local professionals speak to students each morning exposing students
to the many different career opportunities made available through
The unique overnight layout of AIS Prep allows additional time
for fun activities, leadership training, and field trips for the
students according to AIS PREP Director Dr. Sylvia McMillan.
"Our efforts and thoughts are always with the whole child in
mind as we seek to help them discover and strengthen their individual
interests and skills. We hope this will direct them in their paths
toward maturity and becoming active participants in society," Dr.
American students create logic maps to program miniature robots
American Indian Services (AIS) is a nonprofit organization that
assists Native Americans in developing their human and natural resources
in order to help them make a contribution to society without detracting
from the culture and background from which they have emerged. Over
the last forty years, AIS scholarships have made it possible for
thousands of Native Americans to attend college, obtain degrees,
and provide needed support in their communities.