Plant Genome Research Outreach Program For Native Americans

Although involvement of Native American students and researchers in plant genome research is scarce, many Native Americans are beginning to take steps into graduate programs. In a continuing effort to increase their representation in the research community, a summer program to mentor Native American/American Indian undergraduates in plant genomics research was started in Ames, Iowa on the Iowa State University campus in 2006.

This program has been funded primarily by the National Science Foundation. Beginning in 2011, funding from the Monsanto Company, USDA-ARS, and Iowa State University departments of Entomology and Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology also supported the program. Funding from these sources covers participating studentsí travel, health care, room and board, activities, and stipend. This 2 month program is a part of the Iowa State University, George Washington Carver Summer Research Program.

As in past years, an advisory council made up of Tribal Elders also helped to guide interns in their studies. Within the 2 months, a week was set aside for interns to invite a parent or other role model to the Iowa State University campus to share and demonstrate their summer experiences. Travel expenses for Elders were paid for by the outreach program. This website was created by Irene Bitsoi, the 2011 intern supported by Monsanto Company, mentored by Ethy Cannon.