Russell and Cassandra Roy
Each year, the Minnesota Indian Education Association sponsors
nine education awards at its professional conference. Two of the
awards are the Outstanding American Indian Postsecondary Student
and Minnesota Outstanding American Indian High School Student of
the Year. The purpose of MIEA is to establish and maintain communications
and the promotion of quality education and unity for American Indians
for the express purpose of continuity of communications and ongoing
awareness of local and statewide educational activities.
Cassandra Roy, a White Earth Ojibwe, was honored by the MIEA
as the Outstanding Minnesota American Indian Postsecondary Student
of the Year. Roy, a Cloquet Senior High School graduate, did science
research for six years with her science fair teacher and mentor
Cynthia Welsh. Her research efforts were greeted with great success
at the Minnesota Academy of Science State Science Fair; the International
Sustainable World Environment Project Olympiad; the Intel International
Science and Engineering Fair; the Minnesota Stockholm Junior Waterprize;
and the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair. Roy
was featured in the Winter 2014 issue of Winds of Change, the professional
journal for the American Indian Science and Engineering Association.
Currently a sophomore at the University of Minnesota Duluth,
Roy is pursuing a bachelor's degree in biology and is a Paige Scholar.
In this program, she mentors Cloquet Middle School students conducting
research projects in Welsh's seventh grade classroom. The Page Education
Foundation's programs help to financially support college students'
academic goals while fostering positive mentor relationships and
encouraging role models for children. The Cloquet seventh graders
Roy is very active in research and leadership initiatives at
UMD. She works part-time in John Pastor's UMD biology lab, where
he is studying the effects of sulfate and iron mining in wild rice
lakes. Roy is also the service chair for the sorority Beta Lambda
Psi. Their mission is to unite unique women and promote strong women
in the community. As the service chair she plans all of the service
events. She is currently organizing and planning a fundraising drive
for the battered women's shelter. She does all of this while working
as a food server at two local restaurants. Roy was nominated by
Trentin Russell, a Cloquet High School junior, was awarded the
MIEA Minnesota Outstanding High School Student of the Year.
Russell has participated in science fair research since seventh
grade. Under the guidance of Welsh, Russell worked for four years
with a research partner and their research focused on the study
of particle physics. Their ninth grade project was titled "Neutrino
Menageri: a comparison of student and expert analysis of visual
images from the Ash River neutrino detector classified by flavor."
Russell and his partner were given special assistance by Alec
Habig, a UMD physics professor and coordinator of the Ash River
and main injector neutrino oscillation search project. Habig is
a member of the team of scientists that just received a Nobel Prize
in Physics for their work studying neutrinos. Russell and his partner
performed analysis on the very neutrino scans used as a part of
At the regional science fair, this neutrino project received
a special award from ASM Materials Education Foundation and advanced
to the Minnesota Academy of Science State Science Fair and the Intel
International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles. At Intel
ISEF, more than 1,700 students from 70 countries competed for more
than $7 million dollars in scholarships and prizes. At the state
science fair they were presented with the Fermi National Accelerator
Laboratory Award. Last year, Russell continued to work in particle
physics studying cosmic rays. With some assistance from Richard
Gran and Habig, Russell and his partner built a small cosmic ray
detector. They were able to calibrate and measure cosmic rays, and
speculate on their origin.
Last year, Russell and his partner presented their research
project and paper titled "Cosmic Ray Conundrum: Using a cosmic
ray detector with varied scintillator configurations to determine
the origin of charged particles" at the Northeastern Minnesota
Regional; and Minnesota Academy of Science State Science and Engineering
Fairs; as well as at the Tri-State Junior and Humanities Symposium
and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh
This year while working with Matthew James, production coordinator
at Fraser Shipyards Inc. and with assistance from Habig, Russell
is again conducting research on cosmic rays. With James' help, he
plans to program a raspberry pi computer to communicate with a smartphone
application. This application will receive cosmic ray data while
ascending into the atmosphere from a weather balloon.
Last year, he allotted one weekend a month to participate in
the Manoomin Project, a weekend long science camp housed at the
Cloquet Forestry Center funded by the National Science Foundation.
The camp's focus was to investigate the past, present and future
of wild rice lakes on the reservation. Both this and last year,
he is attending the dagwaagin Native American NASA camp at the Forestry
Center where the focus is Global Climate Change.
Submitted by Cynthia Welsh.