Grants & Project Management

Current Projects

Pathways to Indigenous STEM (PI/PD, NSF $2.5M) 2018-2023.

The goal of “Pathways to Indigenous STEM (Ma:cidag wo:g STEM Wui)”, a $2.5M National Science Foundation (NSF) award allocated $0.5M each year for 5 years to increase the instructional and research capacity in STEM at Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC) by improving expanding curricular offerings, Indigenizing the science curriculum, and strengthening culturally responsive academic support for students. Expanding the STEM curricular offerings and improving the academic environment to better meet the needs of Native students encourages students to pursue challenging and rewarding STEM degrees and careers, thus diversifying the nation’s workforce and contributing to our country’s prosperity and security.
The Man in the Maze Education (MiME) Model developed at TOCC will serve as a culturally-based framework for curriculum development and program assessment and will provide an intentional and systematic approach to Indigenizing our curriculum and programs. By implementing a comprehensive approach to student success based on our MiME Model, our goal is to produce culturally competent, self-directed learners equipped to succeed in an increasingly complex and globalized society. The knowledge gained from studying the efficacy of the project will contribute to our understanding of best practices for recruiting and retaining underrepresented students in STEM and preparing the next generation of STEM professionals.

  • Innovative, culturally-centered instruction to promote student success and retention.
  • An associate’s degree in Physical Science, to be supported by new full-time faculty in physics and chemistry.
  • Distance education courses.
  • Scholarships for students enrolling in STEM majors.
  • A pre-college Summer Bridge Program and a Summer Science Institute for college science majors.
  • A Tohono Field Studies Center for an outdoor lab for students to engage in hands-on learning and course-based research.

NSF Website (TCUP Stem Grant)
Text of NSF TCUP STEM Grant


Building A Community-Based Research Plan (PI, USDA-NIFA $60K) 2017-2019

The goal of this project is to develop a Research Development Plan for TOCC based on community consultation, institutional partnership, and participation of students. The plan will serve as a blueprint to guide the development of future projects and grant proposals for responding to community needs in the areas of food, natural resources, and environmental health. This project supports creation of an Indigenous Research class, which will include training in CBPR, decolonizing methodologies and case studies that incorporate both TEK and Western Science. This project incorporates an innovative approach by applying the “Man in the Maze” model to research design and evaluation.


Past Projects

Creating a Vision and Strategic Plan for increasing STEM Capacity at Tohono O’odham Community College (PI/PD, NSF Pre-TI STEM grant, $95K), 2017-2018.

This grant supported an extensive institutional assessment of Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC) STEM programs and the creation of a five-year strategic plan to strengthen and expand the college’s STEM programs and to increase the participation of Tohono O’odham professionals in the STEM disciplines.


Life In Balance: Using a Problem-based Learning Model to Promote Sustainability and Improve Learning in Math and Science (PD, NSF AIHEC WIDER Grant, $28K), 2015-2016.

Created the Man in the Maze indigenous education model and piloted the model with problem-based learning units in science and math classes. (Newberry, et al. 2016)


A Community-based Model for Sustainable Energy (PI/PD, USDA-NIFA Research, $200K), 2010-2013.

The goal of this project was to design and test a culturally appropriate community-based model on appropriate forms of sustainable energy for a remote, low-income community on the Tohono O’odham Nation. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/11/26/nifa-grant-brings-power-sun-remote-arizona-community


Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change on the Tohono O’odham Nation (PI/PD, NASA AIHEC Climate Change Enrichment Grant, $15K), 2009.

This project was a community-based participatory project to investigate and document impacts and adaptations to climate change on the Tohono O’odham Nation.