Seminole State College graduate Asa Samuels will begin his internship through the Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) program at the University of Kansas on June 6. The HERS program prepares tribal college students for graduate school and helps students meet the challenges of climate and environmental change. The paid internship spans eight weeks in Lawrence, Kansas. Students spend six weeks in the classroom learning about climate change and developing individual research projects. For the final two weeks, interns conduct independent research at the University of Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University or in the field. During the academic year, HERS interns will have several opportunities to present their research at professional meetings, workshops and symposia across the country.
Samuels, a resident of Shawnee, completed his associate’s degree in Biology at SSC in May. He is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma and a descendant of the Choctaw Nation. He plans to attend the University of Oklahoma in the fall, majoring in Biology and minoring in Native American Studies. Samuels is the co-youth pastor at First Indian Baptist Church in Shawnee, and he is a registered indigenous artist through Choctaw Nation.
Previously, Samuels was selected as an intern at the South-Central Climate Adaptation Science Center on the OU campus. There, he researched the impact of climate change on cultural plants.
“My future goals are to impact conservation of wildlife and the sovereignty of all tribal nations in sacred land by researching climate change, environmental sustainability, animal endangerment, habitat research and restoration, heritage, language and political recognition,” Samuels said.