The current HOIST program is a continuation of the HOIST project founded in 1994 by Upward Bound and Idaho EPSCoR at the University of Idaho. This educational initiative, now funded by the State of Idaho, involves a partnership between tribes in Idaho, including the Nez Perce, Coeur d'Alene, Shoshone-Bannock, Shoshone-Paiute, and Kootenai, other tribes of the Greater Northwest, the school and community organizations affiliated with these tribes, and the University of Idaho. Since 2007, the University of Idaho's Native American Student Center (NASC) has been responsible for HOIST management and administration. The NASC works in coordination with university researchers and instructors, Native American leaders and educators, and professionals and organizations in the community of Moscow and surrounding areas. This network provides leadership and support for HOIST, influences decisions pertaining to the program, and assists in program growth and development.
The primary goal of HOIST is to increase the number of Native American students pursuing post-secondary studies and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). A major component of HOIST is the 6-week summer program for Native American high school students that operates from mid-June through mid-July. This camp focuses on STEM-related research and instruction and is held at the University of Idaho Moscow campus. The summer program exposes students to different options and opportunities available through secondary education and STEM studies.
The general goals of HOIST are:
- To increase the number of Native Americans pursuing STEM field careers
- To improve the quality of the high school math and science education received by Native American students
- To increase family and community knowledge of and involvement with student education
Objectives for achieving the HOIST goals include:
- Providing high school students with hands-on experience in STEM- related university research projects and programs
- Exposing students to various professional career options and opportunities in the STEM fields.
- Educating high school students and their parents about the college experience, university application process, financial aid opportunities, and university resources.
- Encouraging family and community participation in Native American student education through involvement with HOIST activities.
- Encouraging students to complete high school and pursue post-secondary studies.
- Encouraging students to enroll in science and mathematics courses beyond the basic requirements for high school graduation.
- Stimulating student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by relating these fields to Native American history and culture during HOIST classes, workshops, and other activities.
- Providing high school teachers with mini-grants to fund teaching materials.
- Initiating and maintaining cooperative ties between public, private and tribal agencies for the purpose of expanding the HOIST program.
Each spring, approximately 15-20 NA high school students from the Northwest, primarily Idaho, are selected to participate in research in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math in the HOIST summer program. The program includes project-based math, English, and science classes, as well as activities and presentations put on by researchers, instructors, professionals, and other experts. Students also go on field trips that are relevant to these fields of study and participate in internships with University of Idaho research groups and Moscow businesses.
Student participants in the program range from high school freshmen to graduated seniors. Students eligible for admittance include those who have completed the 9th, 10th, or 11th grade, as well as graduated seniors who have committed to attending the University of Idaho the following fall. Students apply by submitting a completed application either online or by mail. The program seeks high achieving students who have demonstrated interest in the STEM fields and who desire to continue their development of STEM interests, knowledge and skills. Selection criteria focuses on demonstrated interest and potential, as well as intent to pursue post-secondary studies. Student selections are made by HOIST staff. Students accepted into the HOIST program must meet certain established criteria.
These requirements include:
- 2.8 GPA*
- Demonstrated interest and ability in the STEM fields
- Three letters of recommendation
- A letter of interest and intent pertaining to their involvement in HOIST
- Demonstrated leadership
* Extenuating circumstances that prevent students from meeting this requirement are taken into consideration.
Resources for Teachers
HOIST supports teachers of Native American students by providing them with mini-grants for educational classroom materials and encouraging math and science teachers to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided by the McCall Outdoor Science School Teacher Institute and Language Arts teachers to earn graduate-level college credits through the Grace V. Nixon English Institute at the University of Idaho.