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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Cloquet Students Receive Indian Education Awards
by Matthew Johnson - Duluth News Tribune
Trentin 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 adore her.

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 Cynthia Welsh.

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 this research.

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.

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