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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Cara Cowan Watts Wins Engineering Award
by Indian Country Staff

ST JOSEPH, MI – The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has named Cara Cowan Watts, of Claremore, Okla., winner of the 2010 Robert E. Stewart Engineering – Humanities Award. The award, which honors outstanding contributions of agricultural engineering students to the advancement of the interaction of the profession and the humanities, was presented June 23, at the ASABE 2010 Annual International Meeting, held in Pittsburgh, Penn.

A member of the Cherokee National Tribal Council, Watts was selected for the award in recognition of her outstanding efforts toward the integration of Cherokee culture with engineering research and outreach. Throughout her career, she has displayed an enormous commitment to the social and technological concerns of the Cherokee Nation, and to the well-being of others. She has applied her engineering, communication, leadership, organizational, and interpersonal skills to improving the lives of those around her. She chose to write her Ph.D. dissertation research on developing numerical nutrient criteria to support rivers and streams designated Culturally Significant Waters of the Cherokee Nation.

As a national leader within the American Indian community, Watts has approached her engineering education as something to be integrated with and applied to the issues of her culture. One of 17 elected members of the Cherokee Tribal Council (2003 – 2011), whose primary function is to initiate and amend legislation that furthers the interests of approximately 300,000 Cherokee Nation citizens, Watts also serves more than 13,000 constituents in District 7 of Rogers County. As a council member, she works actively for new and expanded educational programs within the Cherokee Nation supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics for the K-12 programs.

Watts has numerous other achievements to her credit. She was elected by peers to serve as Deputy Speaker of the Cherokee Tribal Council 2007 – 2011; elected vice president to the Executive Board of the National Congress of American Indians (2009 – 2011); was co-chair of the Cherokee Nation Executive and Finance Committee, with oversight of an annual budget of approximately $450 million; was an Oklahoma State University Louis Stokes National Science Foundation Fellow; and received a gubernatorial appointment to the Governors’ Interstate Indian Council as representative of the State of Oklahoma.

Watts recently received her Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from Oklahoma State University, where she also earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an M.S. in telecommunications management. A five-year member of ASABE, she is also a member of the American Water Resources Association, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Oklahoma chapter of the National American Indian Science and Engineering Society, of which she is a founding member. She is a member of two engineering honorary societies.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. Its 9,000 members, from more than 100 countries, are consultants, managers, researchers, and others who have the training and experience to understand the interrelationships between technology and living systems. Further information on the society can be obtained by contacting ASABE at (269) 429-0300 or Details can also be found online.

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