Indige-FEWSS Seminar Library

Native Voices in STEM
and Professional Seminar recordings

Rooted in the Desert – Farming and Seed Saving in Arid Lands

Dr. Andrea Carter // Powhatan Renape

February 1, 2023

Dr. Andrea Yasmeen Carter is the Outreach Agronomist at Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson, AZ. She works with farmers and community producers throughout the Southwest in support of seed saving, seed banking, and arid land crop production. Andrea is a member of the Powhatan Renape Nation. On her maternal side she is a descendant of Tunisian Amazigh (Berber) and spent time in North Africa including an internship with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) which seeks to improve the livelihood resilience of rural dryland communities. Inspired by this experience she moved to Arizona to pursue studies in arid land agriculture after completing her B.S. at Cornell University in International Agriculture and Rural Development. She received her PhD in Plant Science from the University of Arizona where she specialized in the physiology of drought tolerance in small grains, specifically barley, with an emphasis on water use, rooting depth, and root tip traits. She believes elevating traditional agriculture, land use, and crop selection practices will be one of the fundamental strategies to meeting the food production challenges of Indigenous communities now and in the future.

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Food Sovereignty for the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara People

Dr. Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills // Hidatsa, Mandan, Nakota, and Dakota

March 1, 2023 

Dr. Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills is an enrolled citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. She is also descended from the Fort Peck Sioux and Assiniboine. She earned an associate degree in Environmental Science; bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education; master’s degree in Organismal Biology and Ecology; and PhD in Forest and Conservation Sciences. She has gardened and gathered traditional foods and medicines with her family her entire life. Currently, she serves as the Food Sovereignty Director at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College and is senior research personnel for the University of Montana on a project to develop and test a model for better supporting the professional success and satisfaction of Native faculty in STEM. Other projects she also works on include digitizing her tribal college’s special collections, developing the college’s traditional seed cache, and developing a consortium of Indigenous-led research along the Missouri River Watershed.

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An Indigenous Hydrogeochemist's Career Trajectory through Academia and Industry 

Kato Dee // Diné

November 30, 2022

Dr. Kato Tsosie Dee is a member of the Navajo Nation and is an Assistant Professor in the School of Geosciences at the University of Oklahoma with expertise in the areas of hydrology and environmental geochemistry. Dr. Dee obtained his B.S. and M.S. in Geology from the University of Kansas and Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Dee started off his professional career in environmental consulting as a hydrogeochemist then became the Program Director of the Colorado Mountain College Natural Resource Management program in Leadville, Colorado. Outside of his love of geoscience and hydrology, Dr. Dee enjoys trail running, skiing, and catching a good live show with his wife and boys.

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Groundwater to Snow Science: My Research and Teaching Path to Becoming a "Jack(lyn)- Of-All-Trades"

Melissa Clutter // Cherokee

October 26, 2022

Dr. Melissa Clutter is an Assistant Professor in the Geosciences Department at Fort Lewis College. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as member of Cherokee Nation, she traveled west for college. She received her B.A. in Geosciences from Fort Lewis College, and during this time fell in love with Durango and the Four Corners region. After college, she worked at Chesapeake Energy Corporation for three years as an Engineering Technician. Determined to change career paths and seek higher education, she went to the University of Arizona for graduate school as a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Hydrology and her M.Sc. in Soil, Water, and Environmental Science. Her research interests stem from her passion for undergraduate teaching and communicating science to the public. She strives not just to further the field of hydrologic modelling, but also to help non-profits, government agencies, and private landowners make science-informed management decisions.

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Dr. Clutter is also the co-author of the textbook The Basics of Groundwater along with Dr. Chloé Fandel and Dr. Ty Ferré. 

Book description: Hydrogeology is a branch of geology that studies water, both underground and on the surface of the Earth. The goal of this book is to help understand hydrogeologic systems on a practical level. If you end up working in a field related to hydrogeology, there is a good chance that you will be asked to predict the outcome of a water-related scenario. Through this book, we want to introduce you to the field of study (hydrogeology) that can give you the specialized knowledge to address these scenarios. Click below for more information on the book and where to buy it!

The Basics of Groundwater Flyer 

Collaborative Hydrology Research with the Navajo Nation

Lani Tsinnajinnie // Diné

September 28, 2022

Dr. Lani Tsinnajinnie is an Assistant Professor in Community and Regional Planning. Lani is Diné and Filipino and was born and raised in New Mexico. Her home community of Na’Neelzhiin lies in the eastern-most area (also known as “Checkerboard area”) of the Navajo Nation. Lani received a B.S. in Environmental Science, a B.A. in Native American Studies, and a Master of Water Resources degree from the University of New Mexico. Following her studies at UNM, she received her PhD in Earth and Environmental Science with a dissertation in Hydrology from New Mexico Tech. Lani’s expertise is on mountain and watershed hydrology. Her research focuses on groundwater and surface water interactions in semiarid mountainous watersheds and impacts of climate change on mountainous watersheds. She has had previous experience collaborating with the Navajo Nation and other tribes and communities in New Mexico in the various environmental work she has done and hopes to further collaborate with more Indigenous communities and New Mexican communities.

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Environmental Justice and Indigenous Rights in Eastern North Carolina

Ryan Emanuel // Lumbee

August 31, 2022

Dr. Ryan E. Emanuel is an associate professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and was formerly a professor in the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University. He is a hydrologist who also studies environmental justice issues facing tribal communities in North Carolina. One side of his research focuses on the status and movement of water in the environment using models, geospatial analyses, and field studies. Another side focuses on the historical and cultural importance of water, and on the burdens and barriers faced by tribes and other vulnerable communities who seek to have a voice in decisions about water and watery places. Dr. Emanuel teaches courses on hydrology, environmental science, Indigenous knowledges, and environmental justice. He is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe.


Environmental Justice  

Tommy Rock // Diné

April 11, 2022

Tommy Rock is a member of the Navajo Nation from Monument Valley, Utah, and currently is the first person in his family to ern a a doctoral degree. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in Environmental Geography and Recreational Management in 2002 and received his Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in 2008. Tommy was funded under the National Institute of Environmental Health Supplement Grant. He worked at Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency- Public Water Systems Supervision Program before returning to Northern Arizona University to receive his Ph.D. in Earth Science and Environmental Sustainability in December of 2017. Tommy is a post-doctoral research associate in the department of Geosciences studying in the Higgins Laboratory at Princeton University. 

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International water rights and environmental justice  

Janene Yazzie // Diné

March 21, 2022

Janene is a Diné entrepreneur, community organizer and human rights advocate from the Navajo Nation. She works on climate change, water security, food security, energy development, and nation building with indigenous communities. She is program manager of Sustainable Community Development with the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC). She also represents IITC as the co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group (IPMG) to the United Nations High Level Political Forum on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Co- founder of Sixth World Solutions LLP., and co-founder of the Navajo Nation Little Colorado River Watershed Chapters Association (LCRWCA), she has built expertise in infrastructure policy, integrated land and water management, and restoration and protection of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). Janene Yazzie is a community organizer and human rights advocate that has worked on development and energy issues with Indigenous communities across the United States for over 12 years.

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Wastewater based epidemiology in Tribal Communities  

Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben // Oglala Lakota

March 14, 2022

Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben is an Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. Conroy-Ben received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Arizona, and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on the biological effects of polluted water. Her research interests include environmental endocrine disruption, metal and antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and wastewater epidemiology.

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Mining and wildfire driven changes alter metals mobilization: Restorative and mechanistic insights

Dr. Cherie DeVore // Diné

February 14, 2022

Dr. Cherie DeVore, Diné, is from Tsinyaanalk’id near Crownpoint, NM in eastern Navajo Nation. Her clans are Red Bottom People, Atop the Mountain Towering House, Salt People and Tangle People. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar in Earth System Science at Stanford University. She received her Ph.D. in civil & environmental engineering at the University of New Mexico under the mentorship of Professor Jose Cerrato. Cherie was awarded an NSF Earth Science Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research under the guidance of Professor Scott Fendorf. Her current research is related to better understanding biogeochemical mechanisms affecting the mobilization and bioavailability of metals in soils and plants near Indigenous communities.


Utilizing Diné Science and Innovation to Tackle Long-Standing Water Challenges in Diné Communities

Dr. Ranalda Tsosie // Diné

January 24, 2022

Dr. Ranalda Tsosie (Diné) is a post-doctoral scholar at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. She is currently working on a point of use filter optimization project and continuing to work with Indigenous communities and water challenges. Dr. Tsosie completed Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a subject emphasis in the fields of Chemistry, Geosciences and Environmental Science/Studies from the University of Montana. Her graduate research brought together Diné and western scientific perspectives to address water contamination in her home community of Tółikan, AZ and the surrounding communities. She has experience working within Indigenous communities, implementing and practicing Indigenous Research Methodologies. In her free time, she enjoys beading, sewing, practicing traditional Diné arts and baking.


Amplifying Indigenous Voices in Invasive Species and Forest Adaptation Management 

Danielle Ignace // Coeur d'Alene

November 15, 2021

Dr. Danielle Ignace is an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe, an ecophysiologist, and science communication, enthusiast. She recently started a new faculty position in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Prior to this position, she was an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and the Environmental Science & Policy Program at Smith College for several years and then became a Research Associate at Harvard Forest while serving as Associate Editor for the journal, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. From desert systems to temperate forests, she studies how climate change, landscape disturbance, and invasions impact ecosystem function and communities of color. Dr. Ignace was recently selected as a Science for Social Equity Fellow (funded by fair Count) to create community-driven solutions to climate change and pollution in Houston. Always seeking new ways to be an advocate for underrepresented groups in STEM, she joined the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the American Society of Plant Biology. Fostering distinctive collaborations with faculty and students to understand and communicate pressing global change problems is the hallmark of her research, teaching, YouTube channel, podcast, and ArtSci projects. As an indigenous woman in STEM, Dr. Ignace is deeply committed to developing an Indigenous curriculum.


Soil Science in First Nations Land Management

Melissa Arcand // Muskeg Lake Cree

October 18, 2021

Melissa Arcand is a soil biogeochemist with research interests focused on optimizing plant-soil synergies for the design of nutrient and energy-efficient cropping systems. She received her Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Saskatchewan and conducted her post-doctoral research with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Melissa grew up on a farm on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in central Saskatchewan. She teaches and is the academic advisor for students in the Kanawayihetaytan Askiy program, designed to train students to work in resource management and land governance in Indigenous communities across Canada.


Native STEM Education: Native Science and Natural Laws of Interdependence 

Gregory Cajete // Tewa 

September 13, 2021

Dr. Gregory Cajete's work is dedicated to honoring the foundations of Indigenous knowledge in education. He is a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. Dr. Cajete is also a scholar of herbalism and holistic health. He also designs culturally-responsive curricula geared to the special needs and learning styles of Native American students. He worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 21 years. While at the Institute, he served as Dean of the Center for Research and Cultural Exchange, Chair of Native American Studies and Professor of Ethno-Science. He is the former Director of Native American Studies (18 years) and is Professor Emeritus in the Division of Language, Literacy, and Socio-Cultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico.

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Hopi Farming, Food Sovereignty and Indigenous STEM Education

Michael Kotutwa Johnson // Hopi

April 21, 2021

Michael Kotutwa Johnson, PhD, a member of the Hopi Tribe in Northern Arizona, serves as NAAF’s Research Associate. As a traditional Hopi farmer and practitioner, Dr. Johnson has given extensive lectures throughout his professional career on the topic of Hopi dryland farming, a practice of his people for over two millennia. Some of Dr. Johnson’s previous work experience involved agriculture and land related issues at First Nations Development Institute (FNDI) and the Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ITLF). He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Pepperdine University and Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Arizona where he was an Alford P. Sloan Foundation scholar and American Indian Graduate Center STEM awardee. Dr. Johnson was a Natural Resource District Conservationist assigned to the Hopi Reservation for the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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Indigenous and Interdisciplinary STEM Education

Daniel Wildcat // Yuchi Member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma

March 17, 2021

Daniel R. Wildcat, PhD, is a professor at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, where he has been teaching for over 30 years. Dr. Wildcat is an accomplished scholar who write on indigenous knowledge, technology, environment, and education. He is also co-director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center, which he founded with colleagues from the Center for Hazardous Substance Research at Kansas State University. Dr. Wildcat is the co-author with Vine Deloria, Jr. of “Powers and Places: Indian Education in America (published by Fulcrum, 2001), and co-editor with Steve Pavilik of “Destroying Dogmas: Vine Deloria, Jr., and his influence on American Society” (published by Fulcrum, 2006). Known for his commitment to environmental defense and cultural diversity, Dr. Wildcat has been honored with the Heart Peace Award by the Kansas City-based organization The Future Is Now.

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Tohono O'odham Climate Adaptation and Water Resources

Selso Villegas // Tohono O'odham

February 17, 2021

Dr. Selso Villegas (Tohono O'odham) serves as the Executive Director of the Tohono O'odham Department of Water Resources. His leadership and passion have been instrumental in developing a climate change adaptation plan for the Nation. Dr. Villegas, along with researchers from the IE and several graduate students, crafted a plan to address how climate change is likely to affect the Nation and which strategies could be used most effectively to reduce the negative impacts. The plan was approved by the Tohono O’odham Legislative Council in 2018, allowing for implementation by departments and agencies. Read Dr. Villegas' dissertation: Dynamics of Selenium in Cibola Lake, Arizona

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DigDeep Navajo Water Project: Long Term + Relief Projects

Emma Robbins // Diné

January 20, 2021

Emma Robbins is a Diné artist, activist, and environmentalist with a passion for empowering Indigenous women. As Director of the Navajo Water Project, part of the DigDeep Right to Water Project, she is working to create infrastructure that brings clean running water to the one in three Navajo families without it. Through her artwork, she strives to raise awareness about the lack of clean water in Native American nations. Robbins is also a 2020 Aspen Institute Healthy Communities Fellow.

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Navajo Ethno-Agriculture and Community Empowerment
Nonabah Lane // Navajo

December 2, 2020

Nonabah Lane is the co-founder of Navajo Ethno-Agriculture, a community non-profit she operates with her family to sustain Navajo culture by teaching traditional farming. Ms. Lane also co-founded Navajo Power, a public benefit corporation that develops utility scale clean energy projects on tribal lands.

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Studying Those Who Study Us: Anthropologists, Geneticists, and Indigenous Peoples
Kim TallBear // Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

November 18, 2020

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Rethinking Tribal Resource Governance in an Era of Climate Change
Dr. Andrew Curley // Diné

October 21, 2020

Dr. Andrew Curley is Assistant Professor in the School of Geography, Development & Environment at the University of Arizona. Contact Dr. Curley at

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Indigenous Ecosystem Stewardship
Dr. Joseph Brewer // Cherokee Nation & Oglala Lakota

September 16, 2020

Dr. Joseph Brewer is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and the Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Kansas. He received his PhD in Arid Lands Resources Sciences from the University of Arizona, where he was a Sloan Scholar.

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My American Journey

Dr. Martín Ahumada 

May 6, 2020

Dr. Martín Ahumada is the President of San Carlos Apache College. 

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Working with Tribal Nations in Natural Resources & Climate Change
Dr. Casey Thornbrugh // Mashpee Wampanoag

April 28, 2020

Dr. Casey Thornbrugh (Mashpee Wampanoag) is the Tribal Climate Science Liaison for United South & Eastern Tribes, Inc., and Northeast/Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Centers.

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Trees, Water, & People
Mr. James Calabaza // Kewa Pueblo 

March 4, 2020

Mr. James Calabaza is the National Program Coordinator for Trees Water & People. He spoke about the mission of empowering Native communities to move toward a renewable and cleaner world.

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Engineering with Leadership in the Indian Health Service-SFC Program
Part of the Alumni Lunch Series
Dr. Peter Littlehat // Diné

February 21, 2020

Dr. Peter Littlehat is the District Engineer for the Indian Health Services Sanitation Facilities Construction program. His primary responsibility is to provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to Navajo homes.

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Dr. Tommy Jones: Native Voices in STEM Seminar
Dr. Tommy Jones // Cherokee Nation & Naknek Native Village

February 5, 2020

Dr. Tommy Jones is an environmental engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. His focus is on developing renewable energy projects on tribal lands.

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Endocrine Disrupting Pollutants in Wastewater
Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben // Oglala Lakota

October 22, 2019

Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben is Assistant Professor at the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University (ASU).

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Outdoor Industry and the Food, Energy, Water Nexus
Len Necefer, PhD // Diné

September 3, 2019

Len Necefer, PhD, American Indian Studies and the Udall Center for Public Policy.

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Prioritization of potable water infrastructure investments on the Navajo Nation
Ronson Chee, PhD, PE // Diné

April 17, 2019

Ronson Chee, PhD, PE; Principle Water Resources Engineer, Riley Engineering

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Conducting Business In Indian Country
Joan Timeche // Hopi 

March 13, 2019

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Food-Energy-Water Challenges in a Solar and Wind Powered, Off-Grid School
Mark Sorensen 

February 13, 2019

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A Navajo Engineer’s Perspective on Walking in Beauty on an Ever-changing Path
Sandra Begay // Diné

January 16, 2019

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Cultural Humility and Supporting Native Students

Dr. Iris PrettyPaint // Blackfeet & Crow Nations

February 17, 2021

Dr. Iris PrettyPaint (Blackfeet/Crow Nations) is a leading authority on Native student achievement and recognition; cultural resilience and health realization; Indigenous evaluation; community prevention; and community and family engagement with rural and urban American Indian/Alaska Native communities. She guided the development of the Family Education Model, which integrates family-centered strategies for evaluation, networking, cultural activities, counseling, life skills, and mentoring. Dr. PrettyPaint spoke to over 125 University of Arizona and Dine' College students, staff and faculty about engaging with Native American students from a place of cultural humility. View the presentation slides, connect to resources and read the glossary and bibliography of suggested readings. Dr. PrettyPaint supplied a Resiliency personal assessment tool.

This workshop was not recorded. If you have any questions, please contact Cara Duncan Shopa at




Arizona Tribal Extension: Supporting Tribal Communities and Extension in Indian Country
Trent Teegerstrom

November 7, 2018

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Indigenous Rights to Water and State Responsibility Under International Law
James Hopkins, PhD // Algonquin & Métis

October 10, 2018

Jim Hopkins, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor, Indigenous People's Law and Policy Program, Affiliated Professor of American Indian Studies & Latin American Studies

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Nexus Thinking, Nexus Tools, Nexus Solutions: Origins and Prospects for Food-Energy-Water Systems
Christopher Scott, PhD

September 12, 2018

Christopher Scott, PhD, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy; Professor – School of Geography & Development; University Distinguished Scholar