Submitted by admin on Fri, 08/06/2021 - 15:44
Regional Science Education Center

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University has received grant funding from 3M that will provide two $5,000 STEM scholarships to Native American students.

The funding, which comes from the STEM or Skilled Trades Equity program, will help the university recruit more Native American students into its science programs – an underrepresented population in STEM fields.

The new 3M-funded scholarships are the most recent opportunity available to Native American students attending Northern. Other available scholarships include:

  • South Dakota Crazy Horse Scholarship, Native American Scholarship: Any student that self-identifies as Native American and has an enrollment number is eligible to receive both of these scholarships.
  • Off-campus scholarships: There are many non-NSU scholarships available (including here). Additionally, each tribe has funds available, depending on tribal affiliation and resolutions put into place. Enrolled members are encouraged to seek out their tribal Higher Education department to inquire about post-secondary education funding.
  • Other institutional scholarships: Northern has various scholarships available to all students, including the WolfPACT. More information can be found here

Support for Students

There are currently around 60 Native American students at Northern, said Lara Nelson, director of the NSU American Indian Circle Program. The Circle Program is one way those students are supported at Northern. This program uses a holistic model that serves to imitate the family-centered orientation of tribal life. This model provides student-centered planning and experiences that helps students cultivate a deeper cultural footprint during their college career while providing enhanced academic support.

As Circle Program Director, Nelson provides direct support to faculty and staff, serves as a campus to community liaison, and attends the Indian Education Summit and collaborates with other Board of Regents Indian Education Directors. NSU also has increased academic offerings with the new Native and Indigenous Studies minor, and Northern has an active Native American Student Association, which provides cultural education and event programming.  

Faculty Research Projects

NSU Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Pamela Monaghan-Geernaert has two projects focused on Native American students’ knowledge and experience of college. Monaghan-Geerneart’s Faculty Development Award (spring 2022) is designed to interview counselors at private, public and reservation high schools regarding messaging, guidance and preparedness to college entrance. She also received a Sanford grant entitled “American Indian College Retention and Program Review” (spring 2020), the goal of which is to provide a comprehensive review of Northern’s Circle Program, including a data review and extensive face-to-face interviews with current and previous students who identify as Native American.

For more information on support services for NSU Native American students, contact Circle Program Director Lara Nelson at

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a student-centered institution that provides an outstanding educational experience, preparing students through the liberal arts and professional education for their future endeavors. A regional university, Northern offers rigorous academics; diverse civic, social and cultural opportunities; and a commitment to building an inclusive environment for all points of view. Northern also offers a broad-based athletics program, sponsoring 15 NCAA Division II intercollegiate varsity sports that compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC). The university strives to enrich the community through partnerships such as its Educational Impact Campaign, which opened a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; new athletic and recreation fields; and, soon, an on-campus regional sports complex. With the $55 million campaign, NSU has been the recipient of more than $100 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions.