Connecting Across Cultures
This summer Lower Brule interns are not only working on community centered science projects, but they are also each being supported by a college mentor from South Dakota State University. Because many of these SDSU mentors are non-native and may not be familiar with the history or culture of Lower Brule, we have been working with Lower Brule community members and others to build a cultural competency curriculum within our new mentoring program. This means part of the mentors' time is spent learning about historical and current topics of culture and race. They then use this knowledge to better connect and support their mentees. This is the first program in the nation that we are aware of to implement this type of curriculum, and we will be closely reviewing how well it works through our independent evaluator, Technology and Innovation in Education. We hope in the future that this program can be a model for others, showing how education can simultaneously help people learn the skills they need to be successful after high school, while also helping them learn how to build positive relationships with others across cultures.