Spring 5-13-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Jason Miller

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Courtney Kowalczak

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Elyse Carter Vosen


American Indian youth face many adversities. Suicide rates are among the highest in the country. High school graduation rates are the lowest in the country. Many American Indian youth grow up in foster care and some find themselves in juvenile detention centers or gangs. Furthermore, tribal communities are experiencing a shortage of American Indians in the workforce who are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to fill essential positions that sustain the natural resources that are important to the tribe. There are many efforts in Indian Country to be proactive with American Indian youth, providing them with supports to get on a positive path and pursue higher education. The Gidaakiimanaaniwigamig STEM camp is one such effort. This study takes a closer look at the structures of this camp which support Native American youth to be successful. A focus group is conducted with students who participate in the Gidaakiimanaaniwigamig STEM camp along with individual, structured interviews with parents, students and teachers. The qualitative study outlines six major benefits the youth get from attending the “Gidaa” camp. These benefits include supportive relationships, cultural ownership, development of 21st century skills, having access to new experiences, exposure to science, technology, engineering and math and having aspirations for the future.

Research Methodology

Focus Group, Interview, Observation


At-risk Students, Environmental Studies, Multicultural Education, Science

Included in

Education Commons