Bridge to STEAM

Bridge to STEAM 

This USDA-NIFA program "Advancing Post-Secondary Attainment and Research in STEAM for Tribal Students" aims to create a supportive pathway from Diné College to University of Arizona and beyond. 

Bridge to STEAM was recently awarded USDA-NIFA supplemental funding
which further supports the Diné College Scholars in their undergraduate research and STEAM educational pursuits!


Diné College Scholars

Are you looking to explore STEAM subjects and real-life applications?

Learn more and apply

UArizona Mentors

Are you a Native graduate student in STEAM? Looking to support other Indigenous scholars in research, academics and career pursuits?

Learn more and apply

Bridge to STEAM was recently awarded USDA-NIFA supplemental funding that will further allow the program to support the Diné College Scholars in their undergraduate research and STEAM educational pursuits!

About Bridge to STEAM

Bridge to STEAM aims to develop and nurture an authentic, lasting partnership that will create sustained opportunities for Tribal students at Diné College to matriculate into post-secondary education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics (STEAM) majors at the University of Arizona and to increase the persistence and graduation of Tribal students throughout their undergraduate careers and into graduate school and/or a high demand workforce.

The mentoring relationships will help increase Tribal students' sense of belonging in STEAM and higher education through a bridged community between Diné College and the University of Arizona, will improve academic achievement among participating Tribal students by providing individualized support, research opportunities, academic and financial guidance, early career planning, and engagement in relevant experiential learning opportunities. Student Scholars and Mentors will conduct outreach at Navajo high schools to increase awareness and interest in STEAM study and careers among Tribal high school students.

Brought together by

University of Arizona

Diné College

United States Department of Agriculture- National Institute of Food and Agriculture

We acknowledge the generous support from the Agnese Helms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice

Bridge to STEAM Personnel

Karen Francis-Begay

Principal Investigator

University of Arizona Office of the Provost Assistant Vice Provost for Native American Initiatives

Benita Litson

Principal Investigator

Diné College, Director of the Land Grant Office

Kimberly Sierra-Cajas

Co-Principal Investigator

University of Arizona, Director of Undergraduate Research & Inquiry 

Demetra Skaltsas

Co-Principal Investigator

Diné College, Professor in STEM,

Teresa Cortéz

Mentor Liaison

Student Success Specialist, University of Arizona ASEMS, 

Karletta Chief

Senior Personnel

Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, University of Arizona Department of Environmental Science

Cara Shopa

Program Coordinator

University of Arizona, Program Manager for the Office of Societal Impact

Jennifer Fields


University of Arizona, Director of the Office of Societal Impact

Martha Lee

Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator, Native American Initiatives

Michelle Higgins

External Evaluator

Associate Director, Office of Societal Impact



News about Bridge to STEAM

Building Bridges: Diné College and UArizona support students in STEAM

In partnership with Diné College, the University of Arizona established the “Advancing Postsecondary Attainment and Research in STEAM for Tribal Students” program in fall 2021. The program "Bridge to STEAM” works to provide Native American undergraduate students with a clear and culturally responsive pathway for transfer to UArizona. Indige-FEWSS Trainees participate in establishing the program’s bridge to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics) as mentors to Diné College undergraduates.

Read more

Supporting Native American Students in STEAM Fields

In partnership with UArizona and Diné College, the collaborative program Bridge to STEAM aims to provide Native American students with skills, knowledge and confidence to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math (STEAM) fields.

Read More About The Project

STEAM Scholars and Students Share Their Experience

Hear from Diné College Scholars and UArizona Mentors about their experience with the program.




Watch the video

Dr. Iris PrettyPaint Cultural Humility Workshop

Dr. Iris PrettyPaint of the Crow and Blackfeet Nations hosted an interactive workshop on Cultural Humility and Supporting Native Students. She spoke to over 125 University of Arizona and Dine' College students, staff and faculty about engaging with Native American students from a place of cultural humility.

View the Presentation