CHANDLER, Ariz. – Since 1977, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) has worked to substantially increase American Indian and Alaska Native representation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields — as students, professionals, mentors, and leaders.
The AISES Leadership Summit is a three-day event that provides Native higher education students and AISES Professional members with in-depth professional development workshops and networking opportunities. The focus of the summit is to build the skill and aptitude levels of AISES members in the realm of professional and career development – to better prepare them to attain and excel at jobs and careers in STEM fields.
The 2017 AISES Leadership Summit in Chandler, Ariz. included representatives from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians including Joseph Owle, Kelsey Standingdeer Owle, Summer Dakota Brown, Tonya Carroll, Chloe Blythe, Kayla Johnson, and Katherine Jacobs. Cherokee Nation member Alicia Jacobs and Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute staff member Ethan Clapsaddle represented the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program, Cherokee Youth Council, and the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute at the Leadership Summit as well.
Jacobs, Leadership Specialist of the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program said, “Attending the AISES Leadership Summit provides EBCI professionals and students with unsurmountable opportunities and guidance in the STEM fields creating an impact on local workforce development.”
AISES students broaden their support network by engaging and connecting with peers who are in similar fields of study who can share their experiences, strengthening and encouraging each other.
Joseph Owle, Kelsey Standingdeer Owle, Brown, and Carroll conducted a leadership presentation, “Cultivating a Community of Selfless Leaders Through Active Mentorship”. The session presenters discussed how the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program mentors are fostering a new generation of selfless leaders to support lifelong culture based learning for a modern tribal community.
Kelsey Standingdeer Owle, mentor and program alumna, said, “It was an honor to present at the AISES Leadership Summit as it provided me with the opportunity to give back as a professional member and mentor. We received numerous compliments on the presentation including accolades for all the work we are doing to grow leadership within the EBCI community. Most of the questions pertained to student attainment and participation and we were able to share the program’s success over the past 10 years stems from the commitment to leadership programming.”
Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program Fellow Chloe Blythe attended as the AISES Region 7 Representative. Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program Fellow Kayla Johnson attended the summit for the first time and due to her outstanding representation, inquisitive mind and participation, she was named as the overall Leadership Award Winner at the closing banquet.
Brown, mentor for the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program, commented, “Congratulations Kayla Johnson on receiving the leadership award at the 2017 AISES Leadership Summit. She is easy going, always positive, caring, and a true selfless leader.”
Johnson noted, “Throughout the summit, I participated in a morning ceremony with Native Americans from Arizona, many professional and higher educational information sessions, and a Navy Six Sigma training class where I obtained a white belt certification. Within the next two days, I met a recruitment official from the CIA, a Professional Engineer from Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community, and the Senior Engineer of Arizona Public Services. In addition to these cultural and professional opportunities, I had the honor of receiving the 2017 AISES Leadership Summit Award which was voted on by student and professional members of the conference. During this experience, I witnessed the love and support Native American students have throughout Indian country. I look forward to becoming more active within AISES to return the support that I have been given. This would not have been possible without the encouragement of the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program and mentorship.”
Jacobs said, “It is an honor and privilege to continue building the relationship between the EBCI community and the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute programs with national organizations such as AISES, who has a forty-year reputation. Providing leadership opportunity and growth for EBCI native youth on and off the Qualla Boundary is my passion and when our students are being recognized on a national level this is very exciting. The work we do today will greatly impact the lives of this community for generations to come and I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve the EBCI community of youth.”
Attending the AISES Leadership Summit was made possible through funding from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation for the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute, a department of the Cherokee Boys Club.
– Alicia Jacobs