Published: Nov. 3, 2020 By

CU Boulder has earned a place as a Winds of Change Top 200 College for Indigenous Students from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society

Based on statistical information, surveys and research data gathered from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education data system, AISES determines which institutions should be recognized as top colleges.

Mason Moran, president of AISES at CU Boulder, said he is delighted with this recognition. A senior Creative Technology and Design student, Moran has taken on the responsibility as president of AISES to grow the group's membership and provide a supportive community. 

Growing a community

Through the power of Instagram, AISES has been able to more than double its active membership this semester and provide more opportunities for members. 

"AISES at CU Boulder is a group of extraordinary students,” Moran said. “We want to provide excellent opportunities to them and a place for them to develop their characters and find kindred spirits in order to have a place that they can make a community out of."

Jillian Martinez, coordinator of BOLD programs & student engagement, said she sees the recognition as an honor that validates the work that AISES at CU has been doing.

"The leadership of AISES at CU Boulder has been at the heart of fostering community for our Indigenous students in STEM. They bring so much energy and excitement to the work they do. This awards validates it that work and their predecessors and serves as encouragement as they continue their progress." Martinez said.

More perspectives, more solutions

Moran said he hopes that more Indigenous students come to the College of Engineering at CU Boulder to provide their insights on the complex problems that engineering must confront.    

"The thing about diversity to me is that you bring a particular way of approaching a problem that isn't seen from another angle,” Moran said. “With complex problem-solving in general, the more ways you can approach the problem, the quicker you can solve it, and the more solutions you'll have.”

National Native American Heritage month is in November, the same month AISES publishes its listing of recognized universities in Winds of Change, its nationally distributed publication. AISES leads two November Power Hours held through the Broadening Opportunities through Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) Center. 

Honoring the past, embracing the future

Honoring the past and looking toward the future are important, Moran said.

"When I think about the legacy that my descent has given me, I like to think about the potential. There's such a piece of culture that was lost through the colonization of America. That potential is in all of us still. There's so much more we can be a part of yet. It gives me hope." Moran said. 

There are over 5,600 current AISES members around the country; the organization provides scholarships, research opportunities and national and regional conferences. The organization works to support members in engineering excellence as they pursue education and careers in STEM.  

"I'm proud of all of our AISES members. They're entering into fields where their particular skills are going to be in high demand in the coming years and their particular way to see that problem and approach it is what's going to be key to their success," Moran said.