ALPINE, Calif. – 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 2018 AISES Leadership Summit held recently in Alpine, Calif. included representatives from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians including: Michael Thompson, Kayla Johnson, Shana Lambert, Tonya Carroll, Tara McCoy, Savannah Hicks, and Cherokee Nation member Alicia Jacobs.
Jacobs, Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program leadership specialist and AISES Board of Directors 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.”
Hicks, Carroll, McCoy, and Jacobs conducted a leadership presentation “Defining, Developing, and Driving Towards the Future: The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian’s Approach to Leadership and Community Development” which focused on the Tribe’s holistic and multi-generational approach to leadership development within their tribal community, through the work of the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute.
Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program Fellow Kayla Johnson attended as the AISES Region 7 Representative serving in a capacity that strengthens this region and representation of the EBCI.
Hicks, Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program mentor, said, “The AISES Leadership Summit provides an opportunity to learn from other professionals in STEM fields along with allowing me to share the work I am doing here in the Eastern Band community to support our students. I appreciate the opportunity to continue learning leadership skills and how to apply them in my community.”
Thompson noted, “It was a pretty cool conference. A lot of educated natives in one place and, of course, a lot of joking around. The sessions I attended were interesting but only lasted about an hour. There were a couple I could’ve stayed in all day. This was my first time visiting an AISES event and it would be nice to go to another at some point.”
Lambert, a Jones-Bowman Fellow, said, “After attending many sessions throughout the course of the Summit, I feel that my understanding of leadership and my ability to apply leadership skills to my life have been strengthened. The cultural components of several of the sessions made the lessons I learned especially applicable to my practice as a future nurse.”
Jacobs, a Jones-Bowman leadership specialist, 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. Providing leadership opportunities and growth for EBCI native youth is my passion and when our students are being recognized on a national level it is very exciting.”
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, Jones-Bowman Leadership Specialist