The University of Montana’s Indigenous Women in Science Network (IWSN)
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The University of Montana’s Indigenous Women in Science Network (IWSN) Penny Kukuk, Iris HeavyRunner-PrettyPaint, and Amy Fowler Kinch. Other PACE Outreach Activities for Native Women Scientists. Proposed Goals of the IWSN . The Indigenous Women in Science Network (IWSN).

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The university of montana s indigenous women in science network iwsn

The University of Montana’s Indigenous Women in Science Network (IWSN)

Penny Kukuk, Iris HeavyRunner-PrettyPaint, and Amy Fowler Kinch

Other PACE Outreach Activities for Native Women Scientists

Proposed Goals of the IWSN

The Indigenous Women in Science Network (IWSN)

The IWSN is a national network of native women scientists. It will be a self sustaining entity that extends the University of Montana’s Partnership for Comprehensive Equity’s (PACE) model of support and networking to native women scientists across the country. The IWSN is developing from within, with participants taking leadership roles and shaping the content and structure of the network. It is being designed to connect traditional knowledge keepers, tribal communities, universities, and tribal colleges with academic, professional and community scientists.

  • Allow members to meet mentors and role models

  • Create a directory of indigenous women scientists who might serve as mentors, advisors, and collaborators

  • Enhance current web site by adding a notice board, job postings,

  • profiles of members, and contact information for members

  • Continue to have face-to-face meetings annually linked with national conferences for the AISES, AIHEC or SACNAS

  • Provide a forum for discussing issues such as family-work life balance, stress in the workplace, and leadership

  • Hold workshops on career development topics such as: time management, cost-benefit analysis, leadership, public speaking, writing, management skills, and mentoring

  • Offer outreach to students and other native female scientists

  • Develop a speakers bureau

  • Produce a quarterly newsletter

  • Eventually host international meetings of indigenous women scientists

  • Talking Circles

  • Talking Circles are meetings of American Indian women from different tribes who have science backgrounds. During the meetings, women scientists tell their stories and speak about the course of their lives and careers. PACE held four talking circles in Lethbridge, Canada; Great Falls, Montana; Billings, Montana; and Pablo, Montana.

  • Workshops

  • Outreach workshops aimed to identify barriers to engaging American Indian women in science. Discussions at two workshops included a brainstorming session on strategies for improving native women’s access to science, opportunities for collaboration with UM scientists, and critical supports for American Indian women to become or remain engaged in science at the undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. levels.

  • The American Indian Visiting Scholars Program

  • This programs brought tribal scientists to UM as resident scholars to pursue their research with UM scientists.

  • Electronic Resource Library

  • A set of electronic tools and links including resources for indigenous students, profiles of native women scientists, organizations for female researchers, indigenous women’s organizations, and indigenous journals were distributed on flash drives to IWSN members and will be included on the IWSN website.


The Indigenous Women in Science Network (IWSN) creates a community of mutual support for women scientists from all places. Honoring the wisdom of our elders, IWSN promotes the integration of cultural values with science to achieve harmony and balance for all generations. IWSN members are committed to empowering emerging scientists and celebrating women making contributions to science and community.

  • IWSN will support indigenous women as we flourish as scientists, as individuals and as women with our own values and styles. We want to support women to be happy, comfortable, successful, and deeply satisfied with that part of ourselves that is a scientist while not giving up our core values. IWSN will support women bringing traditional core values to our roles as scientists.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. SBE-0245094. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

PACE Outreach efforts are now institutionalized at the University of Montana through the permanent Research Opportunities in Science for Native Americans (ROSNA) Office.