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Honda Partners with Oglala Lakota College to Fund STEM Education to Reservation Schools

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Honda often aims its philanthropic efforts at helping fund education for historically disenfranchised groups. The Japanese automaker has a long-running tradition of supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities through its Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, and today the brand announced efforts to address the issue of low science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) proficiency at a Native American reservation in South Dakota.

Today Honda announced a partnership between the American Honda Foundation and Oglala Lakota College to form the Lakota Star Knowledge Project, a program designed to provide STEM education to kindergarten through twelfth-grade Native American youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A new Honda Community Partners Spotlight video profiles the efforts:

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The Lakota Star Knowledge Project looks to increase students’ STEM knowledge while also helping to preserve their native history and culture. With an emphasis on astronomy, the program uses a portable Starlab planetarium as a backdrop for learning the Lakota cosmology, with community elders delivering oral tradition.

“By combining the Lakota culture with Western science, we’ve developed a curriculum that brings STEM education and activities to reservation schools,” said Michelle Salvatore, the Science Engineering Mathematics Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) Director at Oglala Lakota College. “It’s important that we introduce students to STEM at an early age to stimulate interest, encourage career aspirations and open their minds to possibilities in higher education.”

“The Lakota Star Knowledge Project is an essential part of the educational development of Pine Ridge youth,” said Alexandra Warnier, manager of American Honda Foundation. “Due to the limited resources on the reservation, these students would have little exposure to STEM concepts without this program.”

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