Professor Athanasios Nenes Helps Bring STEM Education to American Indian Reservations

By Hannah Ackermann and Drake Lee-Patterson

Nicole Collins, a middle school science teacher at St. Francis Indian School in South Dakota, has joined up with the Georgia Tech College of Sciences to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education on American Indian reservations. With direct applications of biology, ecology and environmentalism to the Lakota peoples she works with, Collins hopes to bridge the gap between science and culture.

Collins completed a research fellowship at Georgia Tech this summer where she worked with both Christine Payne, associate professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Athanasios Nenes, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. As a part of the CoS Teach for America Native Alliance Initiative STEM Support Program, Collins will work with Georgia Tech faculty to develop lesson plans that will be available to teachers all across the country. “The people at Georgia Tech are so invested in their research, and committed to making it relevant,” Collins said.