Asee peer logo

Board # 57: Research Experience for Undergraduates: Integrated Optics for Undergraduate Native Americans (IOU-NA)

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Allison Jane Huff-Lohmeier University of Arizona

visit author page

Dr. Huff-Lohmeier is the Education Director for a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, Center for Integrated Access Networks, at the University of Arizona where she also teaches Technical Communication in the College of Optical Sciences. Prior to this, Dr. Huff-Lohmeier worked with the United States Embassy Association in Lima Peru, Central Michigan University, University of Maryland, College Park, and University of Oklahoma. She grew up in the Republic of Panama, Canal Zone and attended Department of Defense Dependent schools for her early education foundation. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of West Florida, Master of Education in Instructional Psychology and Technology from the University of Oklahoma, and Doctorate of Health Education from A.T. Still University. She has lived in four different countries and traveled extensively before establishing her roots in Tucson, Arizona. Besides her husband and four children, her passion is in empowering others through education by developing strengths-based programs that increase persistence in school and college programs.

visit author page


Amee Jeanette Hennig University of Arizona

visit author page

Amee Hennig has her B.S. in physics and creative writing from the University of Arkansas as well as her M.A. in professional writing from Northern Arizona University. She oversees the education and outreach activities for the Center for Integrated Access Networks based out of the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. At the University of Arizona she manages a number of summer programs for Native American students and educators.

visit author page


Daniel Lamoreaux M.A. University of Arizona

visit author page

Daniel Lamoreaux is a current doctoral candidate in the University of Arizona's School Psychology program. While working as a graduate assistant for the education office of the Center for Integrated Access Networks, he was directly involved in the coordination and evaluation of the center's summer research programs for Native American students and teachers. His primary interests lie in the education of students with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and in the effect of built space on school social and academic environments.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, entitled Integrated Optics for Undergraduate Native Americans (IOU-NA) (#EEC-1359163), is a multidisciplinary REU in the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), an NSF funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) at the University of Arizona. The IOU-NA supported up to 8 students in a 10-week summer research experience for three summers in labs across the College of Optical Sciences and the College of Science. This program was developed based on theories of student departure and persistence in college, as well as American Indian identity theories and serves as a catalyst for persistence in STEM undergraduate programs and as a recruitment pathway toward graduate studies in STEM. This program provided opportunities for students to incorporate themselves academically and socially into an engaging research project and to make informed decisions about their occupational goals through a series of presentations and workshops with the focus on Native American cultures. This IOU-NA provided Native American undergraduates (n=23), mostly from non-research institutions, an opportunity to engage in meaningful research and build positive academic experiences with peers and student and faculty mentors. Participants were from 10 different tribes: Navajo, Caddo, Comanche, Colorado River, Tohono O’odham, Port Gamble S’Klallam, San Carlos Apache, Blackfoot, and Assiniboine. Fifty two percent were freshmen or sophomores; 35% were female; 48% from community colleges or tribal colleges; 74% were from colleges with limited research/STEM research opportunities; and 48% were first generation college students. The IOU-NA occurred in concert with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium (UROC) at the University of Arizona, which provided graduate school information, application guidance, and GRE training. Further, participants engaged in professional skills workshops, such as, technical writing, oral communication skills, and presentations about industry options in optical sciences. Participant deliverables included presentation of a research poster, oral presentation of REU research, and an extended research abstract. Since the conclusion of the program, 61% of participants have presented at or attended professional conferences and one student was awarded a patent with his faculty mentor based on his REU research. Ten participants have thus far successfully graduated with their A.S. (3) or B.S. (7) degrees. Of the seven B.S. graduates, five were accepted to graduate school, one is in the process of applying to graduate school, and one is working in a STEM field. Each A.S. graduate is currently pursuing BS STEM degrees at research universities. Outcomes of this REU program support the importance of positive and meaningful academic experiences and relationship-building within the context of culture and identity on persistence in four-year STEM degrees and into STEM graduate programs.

Huff-Lohmeier, A. J., & Hennig, A. J., & Lamoreaux, D. (2017, June), Board # 57: Research Experience for Undergraduates: Integrated Optics for Undergraduate Native Americans (IOU-NA) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27883

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015