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Dr Maria Pontes Ferreira

Convergence of Indigenous science and Western science impacts overall students’ interest in STEM and minority students' identity as a scientist 


Dr Ferreira Team 3


Dr. Maria Pontes Ferreira travelled to Saskatchewan, Canada to study the impact of Indigenous Science (IS) and IS educators upon university student interest in STEM and identity as a scientist. Using a community-based participatory research orientation to a pedagogical quasi-experiment, Dr. Ferreira sought to demonstrate that Traditional Elders and Indigenous Science positively impact both mainstream and minority STEM students.

This project was a collaboration in scope, both internationally (USA and Canada) and interculturally (Indigenous Science and Western Science). A major pan-Indian tribal college in the prairie regions of the USA and Canada each, were encouraged to participate. First Nations University of Canada participated, and their Elders served as co-educators of Indigenous Science in an online STEM course delivered concurrently across three institutions, including Wayne State University in the USA.  


- Dr. Maria Pontes Ferreira and her collaborators were granted a "President's Teaching and Learning" award from the University of Regina, for developing an online course, under the topic "Synergistic application of Western and Indigenous knowledge to understanding medicinal plants." The MWIRC award allowed Dr. Ferreira to conduct research upon the online STEM course and to train a mentee.

- The mentee Sarah Omar Alkholy had the opportunity to deliver the online STEM course associated with the research project.  She also participated in the co-educated events both in Canada (medicine walk in Moosejaw, SK with Elder Betty; Anishinabe First Nation) and in the USA  (Great Lakes Botanical Garden tour with Dr. David Michener; botanist at the University of Michigan).  She presented preliminary findings at the SACNAS national conferences and at the University of British Columbia, in Canada.  She is first author of several manuscripts detailing the related study findings.  

As a result of this AAAS MWIRC supported work, Dr Alkholy was invited to apply to an NIH IRACDA postdoctoral fellowship at Haskell Indian Nations University/University of Kansas.  

Medicine Walk by Elder Betty McKenna and Nellie Ironquill

This video was produced for Medicinal Plants and Culture class at the University of Regina and First Nation's University of Canada.


You may find more information on Dr. Maria Pontes Ferreira's ResearchGate contributions page here.

Search Dr. Maria Pontes Ferreira scholarly publications