Utah State University in Logan is hosting some special guests from their sister campus in Blanding this month.
“We arrange different lab experiences for them throughout different departments on campus," said Beth Ogata. She is referring to Native American students that are visiting Logan to learn more about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics - STEM for short.
The students are visiting through the Native American STEM Mentorship Program, or NASMP. The student body at the Blanding campus, which offers two-year programs, is 70% Native American, while the student body at the Logan campus is only 0.3% Native American.
“The goal is to bring diversity to STEM fields, to expose these students to the opportunities on the Logan campus and to encourage them to pursue four-year degrees and explore different options in the STEM fields," she said.
The program has been in place since 2014. Since its inception, 60% of the program’s participants have transferred to a four-year university to pursue a degree. This is compared to 3% of students from the Blanding campus overall.
“It’s pretty cool to see the student go on college tours and they’ll come away with ‘Oh, I want to change my major, I didn’t even know this major existed.’ So it is pretty fun to watch,” Orgata said.
In addition to this program, last year USU was granted $1 million through a five-year grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This money will be used to provide mentoring and support for the students who decide to transfer to the main campus.
This year’s student participants will present the results of their work during their time in Logan at a symposium on June 4 at the USU main campus. The event is open to the public.