Blog Post - Kali Dale
Nov 4, 2019 12:00 PM
The Annual American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference is a one-of-kind, three-day event focusing on educational, professional, and workforce development. Attendees include American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and First Nation high school and college students, educators, professionals, tribal nations and tribal enterprises, universities, corporations, and government agencies. This conference has a career fair for students to find jobs, internships, scholarships, and graduate schools. I have personally attended this conference several times since joining AISES in 2010. I’ve made many connections because this conference allows for Indigenous students across STEM disciplines to learn and create together.
I was able to attend a workshop on increasing the number of American Indian faculty at colleges and universities. We discussed several topics, including working at Tribal Colleges and Universities, tips and tricks for applying for research funding, and overcoming barriers in research. This workshop also provided several opportunities to develop strong mentor-mentee relationships. I am fortunate to be paired with Dr. Linda Sealy, an Indigenous woman breast cancer researcher at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Sealy is the perfect mentor for me! She helps me with my thesis research questions in molecular biology. It’s enlightening to have an indigenous mentor in my field of cancer biology. I am studying the transcriptional regulation of MAP Kinase pathway gene targets. These genes are important in cancers that have mutations in this pathway, such as melanoma and lung cancer.
Here at the U, we have a chapter for students that was recently reactivated. Our small group of dedicated students focuses on recruitment for our group and community outreach. In the past, we have extracted DNA from strawberries with high school students and tutor our peers over soup at the American Indian Resource Center on campus. At the national conference, we were able to network with other university chapters in our region of the four corner states. This year the regional meeting will be hosted by Arizona State University to foster networking between college students and industry partners. We welcome anybody into our chapter!