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TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Diné College has launched the CONVOY program, aimed at supporting predominantly Navajo students in their pursuit of science education and careers.

The field of science has historically marginalized indigenous knowledge, creating barriers for Native American students pursuing careers in STEM.

Led by Dr. Shazia Tabassum Hakim, a professor of Biomedical Sciences and Microbiology at Diné College’s Tuba City center, CONVOY is a five-year education and professional development initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of General Medical Science’s Science Education Partnership Award program.

Starting in the summer of 2024, CONVOY will engage 20 students from local junior and high schools alongside four student mentors from Diné College in a 10-week summer internship program. Participants will gain hands-on experience in laboratory and field activities related to microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, and community health, aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Following the summer internship, students will commit to another 10 weeks in the fall, working on individual projects and contributing to the organization of local community Science Cafés and Health Fairs. Throughout the program’s duration, a total of 100 school students and 20 college students are expected to benefit from CONVOY, with opportunities for participants to earn college credit through dual enrollment at Diné College.

The program’s framework incorporates a near-peer mentoring model, pairing junior high school and high school students with undergraduate mentors from Diné College. This mentorship aims to foster academic excellence and career development, encouraging participants to showcase their research projects at state and national professional forums.

Aligned with the Diné Educational Philosophy, CONVOY seeks to instill principles of harmony with the natural world and the universe, incorporating Navajo cultural traditions into its mission. With the hope of equipping participants to address the health needs of their communities, CONVOY emphasizes the importance of understanding relevant cultural knowledge and philosophy.

For more information about the CONVOY program, interested parties are encouraged to contact Professor Dr. Shazia Tabassum Hakim at stabassum@dinecollege.edu.

Associated Project:
Convoy: A Cultural approach of Navajo Youth to Biomedical Sciences

News Contacts:
Hakim, Shazia T – PhD