Environmental Health Sciences Research for Indigenous Scholar Engagement (EHS-RISE) is a 5-year
summer research training program for Native American undergraduates at the University of Arizona
(UArizona). It is housed within the Undergraduate Biology Research Program, the Department of
Pharmacology and Toxicology, and the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center. The long-term goal
of this program is to increase the number of Native Americans in STEM fields. The short-term goal is to
develop and retain a stable cadre of Native American students who graduate from University of Arizona with
STEM degrees. These goals will be realized through the intentional construction of a research training
environment that supports and integrates Native values for Native students pursuing a science degree. The
specific objectives of this program are:
Objective 1: Identify, recruit, and retain nine Native American undergraduate students annually for five years.
Objective 2: Develop and expand trainees’ scientific skills and knowledge.
Objective 3: Foster and sustain trainees’ level of engagement.
Objective 4: Embed the program within a culturally relevant environment and learning community.
These objectives will be achieved by addressing each of the eight pillars of the American Indian Well Being
Model in Higher Education within the context of a rigorous environmental health research training program.
EHS-RISE approaches STEM diversity from a non-traditional mindset. Instead of recruiting Native students
into a program based on a Western scientific model, we have built a program that integrates Native values and
builds bridges between Indigenous and Western science and knowledge. It is a model which equally values the
contribution of both epistemologies. In this way, we are advancing STEM workforce diversity and inclusion by
honoring and integrating the impact and influence of Native perspectives and values in science.
A diverse workforce, in which the contributions of all members are valued, results in greater innovation,
creativity, engagement, and decision-making. Our model supports the development of culturally confident and
scientifically competent Native American scientists who will bring their values and knowledge into the STEM
workforce, thus advancing science and innovation.