The Vermont Connection


Indigenous students are severely underrepresented in higher education, and in STEM disciplines in particular. There is a lack of research critiquing the hegemonic culture of STEM programs in the United States that may present challenges to students pursuing these degrees from Indigenous communities. Using Tribal Critical Race Theory and Native Student Identity Development Theory, I examine the ways in which STEM programs throughout the United States harms and excludes Indigenous students, and seek to uncover ways that we can build Engineering departments which are more inclusive of varying worldviews, with a particular emphasis on Indigenous epistemologies. Specifically, I offer Place-Based education as a particular liberatory praxis in education which is conducive to Indigenous paradigms and has transformative potential within STEM disciplines. Implications for the University of Vermont are discussed.

Keywords: Native Student Success, Place-Based Education, Indigenous Epistemology