Bridge to STEAM

Bridge to STEAM 

This USDA-NIFA program "Advancing Post-Secondary Attainment and Research in STEAM for Tribal Students" aims to create a supportive pathway from Diné College to University of Arizona and beyond. 


Diné College Scholars

Are you looking to explore STEAM subjects and real-life applications?



UArizona Mentors

Are you a Native graduate student in STEAM? Looking to support other Indigenous scholars in research, academics and career pursuits?

Bridge to STEAM has twice been awarded USDA-NIFA supplemental funding to further support our Diné College Scholars in their undergraduate research and STEAM educational pursuits! Additional funding from the Haury Foundation and from the Arizona TRIF SCALES and TRIF AWD initiative supported summer research immersion for the Scholars in 2021 - 2025!

About Bridge to STEAM

Bridge to STEAM aims to develop and nurture an authentic, lasting partnership that will create sustained opportunities for Tribal students at Diné College to matriculate into post-secondary education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics (STEAM) majors at the University of Arizona and to increase the persistence and graduation of Tribal students throughout their undergraduate careers and into graduate school and/or a high demand workforce.

The mentoring relationships will help increase Tribal students' sense of belonging in STEAM and higher education through a bridged community between Diné College and the University of Arizona, will improve academic achievement among participating Tribal students by providing individualized support, research opportunities, academic and financial guidance, early career planning, and engagement in relevant experiential learning opportunities. Student Scholars and Mentors will conduct outreach at Navajo high schools to increase awareness and interest in STEAM study and careers among Tribal high school students.

Bridge to STEAM Personnel

Kimberly Sierra-Cajas headshot

Kimberly Sierra-Cajas

Principal Investigator

University of Arizona, Director of Undergraduate Research & Inquiry 

Demetra Skaltsas headshot

Demetra Skaltsas

Principal Investigator

Diné College, Professor in STEM

Benita Litson headshot

Benita Litson

Co-Principal Investigator

Diné College, Director of the Land Grant Office

Martha Lee headshot

Martha Lee

Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator, Native American Initiatives

Karletta Chief headshot

Karletta Chief

Senior Personnel

Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, University of Arizona Department of Environmental Science

Cara Duncan Shopa headshot

Cara Shopa

Program Coordinator

University of Arizona, Program Manager for the Office of Societal Impact

Jennifer Fields headshot

Jennifer Fields


University of Arizona, Director of the Office of Societal Impact

Michelle Higgins headshot

Michelle Higgins

External Evaluator

Associate Director, Office of Societal Impact

Photo of B2S team with Navajo Nation VP and Second Lady

Navajo Tribal Leaders meet with B2S Team!

From the office of Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer:

University of Arizona's Bridge to STEAM official visit Navajo Nation 08/13/2022.

"Since we don't yet know what jobs will look like as we progress further into the 21st century, it makes sense to educate our children with the skills and capacity to think outside the box with creative solutions.... [B2S Scholars] are connecting their learning to their communities through projects that address the issues that affect their daily lives," stated Second Lady Lizer. 

Two Dine' College students presenting research poster

Building Bridges: Diné College and UArizona support students in STEAM

In partnership with Diné College the University of Arizona established the "Advancing Post-Secondary Attainment and Research in STEAM for Tribal Students" (APARSTS)

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

Diné College

Diné College

USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture

USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture

We acknowledge the generous support from the Agnese Helms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice

Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment & Social Justice logo