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Cherokee youth explore science careers at Wake Forest


July 6, 2009

Twenty-eight high school students from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will explore careers in the sciences during the College Careers and Technology program at Wake Forest University July 19-22. 

The program helps high school students prepare for college in the context of Cherokee culture, values, history and community.  The students will learn how to use technology-based research tools and develop problem-solving skills in the sciences, health education and information technology.  Students will practice those skills as they study American Indian role models and research how American Indians in the Southeast have used indigenous plants.  They will also engage in problem-solving activities to help them practice identifying a problem and explore possible solutions.  One such activity will be based on exhibits at Winston-Salem’s SciWorks Science Center.  They will try to solve a Sherlock Holmes mystery in another activity.

“This is the third year of developing culturally-based college career seminars with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” says Ulrike Wiethaus, professor of religion and American ethnic studies.  The past two summer sessions focused on medical and health science careers.  Wiethaus says the summer session at Wake Forest is part of an innovative and highly successful initiative to increase college attendance for tribal members through annual student group visits to nearby colleges and universities.

The program is a collaboration among the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Center of Excellence for Research, Teaching and Learning (CERTL); and the Religion and Public Engagement Initiative through the Wake Forest Department of Religion with support from the American ethnic studies program.

This Summer Research Experiences project was supported in part by a Science Education Partnership Award, Grant Number RR023270, from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and supplemental funding from the NIH distribution of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act monies.

Press Contacts:

Audrey Fannin
(336) 758-5237


Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


Ulrike Wiethaus
Ulrike Wiethaus
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