First Annual Paiute Educational Access Camp Experience

Published: June 24, 2019 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 2 minutes

Students writing notes around a tableSouthern Utah University recently hosted ten high school students on campus for the first annual Paiute Educational Access Camp Experience (PEACE), facilitated by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. This four-day camp was created for local high school members of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.

“Our goal with this camp is for students to continue on to higher education, and do so proud of their cultural heritage and background,” said Director of Center for Diversity and Inclusion Maria Martinez. “We hope to inspire the youth to continue building strong futures for themselves and for their tribal community.”

The camp came about after discussions with the SUU Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah (PITU). The project was set into motion after receiving a monetary donation (which will also be used to provide scholarships for current PITU SUU students) from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The camp focused on helping prepare students for higher education through STEM and other academic courses. It was unique in that it also had an intentional cultural component with courses on PITU history and governance, PITU language and identity and Native American music.

SUU’s Associate Professor of Engineering, Dr. Ali Siahpush, taught a STEM lesson where he introduced the students to the 5,000-year-old history of Iran through problem solving with engineering and logic.

“We had great discussions about how close the culture of Iran is to the Native American culture,” said Siahpush.

STEM topics introduced at camp included trigonometry, space science, and the Archimedes principle. Students who attended this year's camp enjoyed Siahpush’s teaching style.

“I really enjoyed my time in this class,” said one student. “Ali gave us different perspectives and trains of thought about his culture. He helped everyone understand the course; no one was left out.”

“I love working with youth because they are so open-minded,” said Siahpush. “I learned a lot from them.”

Learn more about SUU’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Tags: Cedar City Center for Diversity and Inclusion

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