UNC Asheville has become the first undergraduate institution in the nation to be part of the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership (SIGP). Funded by the Sloan Foundation, the program is designed to increase the number of Native American and Indigenous students attending graduate programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
UNC Asheville received a four-year sub-award from the Sloan Foundation’s $4.5 million dollar grant to Purdue University. UNC Asheville will use this funding to support undergraduate STEM students who identify as Native American and increase the number who continue their education at SIGP graduate programs. Funding will support faculty mentorship, undergraduate research opportunities, travel to associated conferences and internships.
This Sloan Foundation funding complements a series of UNC Asheville partnerships to benefit indigenous students, including memorandums of understanding with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and with the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET). The University’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program also supports the study and preservation of Cherokee language, and involves undergraduate students in studying, preserving and presenting knowledge of the history of Cherokee people.
To learn more about the SIGP program at UNC Asheville, please email Trey Adcock (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Susan Reiser (email@example.com) for a zoom invitation to a virtual lunch and information session Oct. 1 at noon.
The SIGP program has been successful in supporting the more than 200 graduate students who earned their advanced degrees as SIGP scholars. Many of them provide service to their tribal communities and contribute to diversity and inclusion efforts in their institutions and professions.
Other participating institutions are the University of Alaska Anchorage; the University of Alaska Fairbanks; the University of Arizona; the University of Montana; Montana State University; Montana Technological University; and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.