Science Scholars: the Native American Path (SSNAP)


592 Dr. Gilbert John and SSNAP Scholar, Allison PottsScience Scholars: the Native American Path (SSNAP) is a student support program designed for undergraduate and graduate American Indian students pursuing degrees in science, technology, and engineering and mathematical (STEM) fields.  Launched in September of 2012 at Oklahoma State University (OSU), the SSNAP program aims to increase the number of American Indian students in STEM careers.


This year round program provides opportunities for students to participate in training sessions focused on academic success and professional development at their local institutions.  Thirty motivated American Indian students from multidisciplinary STEM backgrounds enrolled at both two and four year institutions are then supported to attend the annual SACNAS National Conference.  SACNAS’ goal is that SSNAP scholars will develop the skills needed to succeed in STEM careers and become leaders in their communities.



SSNAP Scholars receive the following: 

  • 593 Mentoring in ActionTraining workshops - Topics include: preparing effective scientific abstracts; networking effectively;       assistance with summer research program applications
  • Mentors - year round mentorship from SACNAS scientists’ or mentors at their home institutions guide students to identify their career options and degree programs, and share expertise on how to gain admission to such programs.

  • Professional Preparation - SSNAP students will participate in summer research internships, learn presentation skills, obtain graduate school application training and receive feedback from mentors.  

  • Role models - students will be introduced to American Indian scientists and will learn of their scientific achievements, how they overcame personal challenges and maintained connections to their communities.   

  • Social Network - the SSNAP cohort builds peer support for participants at their home institutions.



529 2012 SACNAS National Conference

Attending the SACNAS conference is significant component of the SSNAP program. The conference provides students the opportunity to increase their professional networks; connect with American Indian scientists; attend professional development workshops and graduate school preparedness programming.

  • First Year Scholars:    attend the SACNAS national conference to gain exposure to a scientific conference;

  • Second Year Scholars: participate in summer research programs and present their research either by a poster or oral presentation; 

  • Third Year Scholars:    pursue research opportunities, provide peer mentorship to incoming students and prepare for graduate school.



SACNAS continues to critically evaluate SSNAP program assessments to ensure that the program content is the most beneficial to the SSNAP scholars. Our successful collaboration with OSU has opened the doors to expanding the SSNAP program to other universities and tribal colleges across the country.



Support for SSNAP comes from National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding sources. SSNAP is made possible by collaboration between SACNAS and Dr. Gilbert John (Navajo), faculty at OSU, and longtime SACNAS supporter and former Board member. Dr. John guides the effort at the institutional level at OSU. SSNAP is also supported by Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, Associate Vice President of the Division of Institutional Diversity at OSU.

For further information on SSNAP, or to apply to the program, please contact Dr. David Wilson, Director of American Indian Affairs and Policy, [email protected].