Northland College Senior Excels at AISES Conference

AISES selected 70 undergraduate students including Northland College senior Stephanie Muise to present oral presentations at its November conference.

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) selected 70 undergraduate students including Northland College senior Stephanie Muise to present oral presentations in all areas of science, engineering and technology for its annual conference in November.

With help from the College’s Parsonage Fund, Muise flew from Ashland, Wisconsin to Orlando, Florida for the conference to talk about her research on the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. “I’m really interested in how invasive vegetation affects their breeding capabilities within the Middle Rio Grande riparian corridor in New Mexico,” she said.

AISES awarded her second place and $900 for her presentation.

“AISES is an organization that is held in extremely high regard, and those of us who have the honor of being part of this unique and outstanding group of professionals take what we do very seriously,” said Kat Werchouski, director of the Native American and Indigenous Culture Center. “Words cannot describe what this accomplishment means for Steph, for those of us who serve as her mentors, and for the greater Northland community.”

A natural resources major with a minor in biology, Muise worked with Katie Stumpf, assistant professor of biology, and Paula Anich, assistant professor of biology and natural resources, on this senior thesis project.

Muise, who grew up outside of Boston, is affiliated with the Mik Maq nation. She is co-president of the Native American Student Association and a member of the newly formed Northland College chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

AISES is a national organization for the promotion of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas in the Native American student body in high schools, colleges and graduate school.

“For us to start a new AISES chapter and have a student not only attend the national conference, make it through the initial screening stage for presentations, and then place second is something that I never imagined happening,” Werchouski said. “I want to shout my excitement from the rooftops in hopes that it will encourage others to follow.”

The annual AISES conference encourages Native American STEM students from across the country to converge for the sharing of research, professional development, cultural growth and professional networking opportunities for large corporations or agencies.