Hanson has a BS in zoology from Andrews University and a MS and PhD in biology from Notre Dame University. he did postdoctoral research on mosquitoes at Tokyo University and the University of Illinois. He taught science courses for 19 years at Turtle Mountain Community College, and in 2015, became the Tribal Colleges Liaison Manager for the North Dakota Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ND EPSCoR).
Austin Allard is a Pre-Engineering Instructor at Turtle Mountain Community College. He earned a doctorate degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University. His work deals with using manufactured drones to map ecological areas. He is dedicated to using engineering solutions to investigate environmental issues close to home.
Dr. Robert Pieri is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in
Fargo, ND. He has many conference publications on engineering education and design. His primary
interest areas include: Engineering Education, CADD, Design, Fracture Mechanics, Materials Science and
Alternative Energy Options. Prior to joining NDSU, he worked for Allied-Signal Corporation and in the
aircraft supply industry. Prior to his industrial experience he taught for 10 years at the US Air Force
Academy. Prior to his time at USAFA, Bob was a Research & Development Engineer with the US Air
Force, studying problems of pollution in the earth’s atmosphere. One of his dissertations involves the
environment and policy decisions that could affect it. Dr. Pieri has degrees from the University of
Massachusetts at Amherst, Thayer School at Dartmouth College and Carnegie – Mellon University in
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. For the academic year 2003- 2004, Bob was on the faculty at Turtle Mountain
Community College in Belcourt,N.D. where he taught Math and Engineering classes. This is the basis for
his current interest in Native Americans into Engineering. Bob, originally from the northeast area of the
USA, has been a resident of Fargo, ND since 1996.
Dr. Comeau is currently faculty at North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) and adjunct faculty at North Dakota State University (NDSU). In her current positions with the North Dakota University System, she teaches a variety of courses including upper-division writing for the NDSU English Department and is the lead Microbiology instructor NDSCS. In addition, she also teaches Anatomy and Physiology and non-major biology courses for NDSCS. In addition to her academic year responsibilities, she serves as an instructor of the NDSU Pre-Engineering Education Collaboration (PEEC) during their summer camps. Throughout her Ph.D. work and professional career she has focused on serving underrepresented populations through summer camps targeting Native American high school students, working with New American populations locally to engage them with the outdoors, and developing curriculum for summer camps at regional tribal colleges. In the future, she will be working with faculty and local hospitals to develop a distance education curriculum to better meeting the needs of the NDSCS Emergency Medical Services program as they look to better serve students abroad.
Dr. Ostrom-Blonigen serves as the Project Administrator (PA) for the North Dakota (ND) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) State Office and the co-PI on National Science Foundation (NSF) and ND State awards. As PA, Dr. Ostrom-Blonigen provides leadership to manage the daily operations of several programs that operate to: 1) improve ND’s scientific capacity through interdisciplinary STEM research and education, 2) promote STEM workforce development, and 3) encourage economic development along STEM pathways.
Kelly A. Rusch is the Executive Director of the North Dakota EPSCoR State Office and a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at North Dakota State University. Dr. Rusch has over 27 years of academic experience in environmental engineering, including more than 13 years of administrative experience in areas of STEM program development, implementation, and outreach.
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