Haskell Environmental Research Studies Institute (HERS)
The Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) program aims to prepare future Native American Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals to understand the myriad impacts of environmental and climate change and to develop strategies for sustainable responses that combine Indigenous ecological knowledge with scientific approaches. The eight-week summer internship provides instruction and field research experiences for up to fifteen interns in wetland, prairie, and mountain ecosystems.
The HERS program is unique in its design and curriculum and aimed at preparing American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander undergraduate students for graduate study. The HERS program curriculum is dedicated to the promotion of Indigenous research and methodologies, and is comprised of five major areas: research and Indigenous communities, information literacy, critical thinking and writing, GIS and fieldwork, and professional development. Interns work closely with KU graduate student mentors and choose individual research topics at the intersection of Indigenous and environmental sciences.
The HERS program was established in 2008 as a collaborative project between Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) and the University of Kansas (KU), and was funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (Kansas NSF EPSCoR). From 2008-2014, there were five cohorts, totaling 71 interns. HERS was reestablished in 2017 through a new grant from NSF EPSCoR. Since its reestablishment in 2017, there have been four cohorts with 53 interns, bringing the grand total of HERS interns to 124.