North Dakota EPSCoR Educational Programs



A university summer camp participant conducts research with NDSU and UND faculty in the STEM fields. Credit: NDSU Publication Services, August 2012.

Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE)


NATURE is an educational outreach program sponsored by the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ND EPSCoR). It builds new pathways for Native American students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as strengthens existing ones. Participants are students and faculty from all five tribal colleges in North Dakota:  Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC), Fort Berthold Community College (FBCC), Sitting Bull College (SBC), Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC) and United Tribes Technical College (UTTC), as well as high schools students and teachers from the four North Dakota Indian reservations, and faculty from research universities of North Dakota, North Dakota State University (NDSU) and University of North Dakota (UND).


NATURE focuses on cultural relevance in that it encourages respect for American Indian practices within the context of scientific methods and theories and discusses how science and technology may have evolved from such practices. Such a philosophy encourages participation of American Indian staff and faculty. 


The goals of NATURE are:

  • Attract North Dakota Native American high school students into STEM disciplines.
  • Increase the retention rate of ND Native American students in STEM programs at high school and college levels by incorporating Native culture into STEM.
  • Build research capacity in tribal colleges that will benefit students, faculty, programs, and community.
  • Build a STEM pathway for Native American students that incorporates Native knowledge.
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    NATURE programs include:

  • University Summer Camps for College Students
  • Tribal College Summer Camps for High School Students
  • Sunday Academies for High School Students
  • Research Mentoring Program

  • Advanced Undergraduate Research Awards (AURA)


    AURA provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to participate in faculty-mentored research projects. The goal of AURA is to encourage undergraduate students to consider a research career in Science, Engineering, or Mathematics.


    Graduate Student Research Assistantships (GSRA)


    This program provides opportunities for students from North Dakota’s baccalaureate universities and ND tribal colleges to pursue graduate degrees at North Dakota’s two research universities in the areas of science, engineering and mathematics.


    Doctoral Dissertation Assistantships (DDA)


    The DDA program is designed to increase the completion rate of Ph.D. students enrolled in the science, engineering, and mathematics disciplines at North Dakota’s two research-intensive universities; and increase the number of competitive proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation.

    Support is available for up to 24 months to enable students to dedicate their time exclusively to dissertation research.