Dr. Stephany RunningHawk Johnson, a member of the Oglala Lakota nation, focuses her research on recruiting, retaining and supporting Indigenous students attending universities and majoring in science fields, with a particular emphasis on how the philosophy behind the way science courses are taught creates barriers for Indigenous students, as well as other students of color. Stephany is interested in working with local Tribes to incorporate place-based education and Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledges in order to increase Indigenous students’ sense of identity and belonging in a university setting. She is also conducting research on how non-Indigenous instructors can begin to decolonize their curriculum and teaching practices. All of Stephany’s work is dedicated to supporting Nation building, Tribal sovereignty, and empowering Indigenous communities and students in working toward social justice.
Dr. RunningHawk Johnson enjoys working with students at all levels, and was a middle school math and science teacher before returning to a university setting. She appreciates talking with her students about how and why we teach, including ways the underlying assumptions in curriculum, pedagogy, and the institution of schools contribute to creating barriers for many students. Stephany intentionally works to prepare teachers to challenge colonialism and to create inclusive and welcoming learning environments for their students and colleagues. Her teaching and research is done through an Indigenous feminist lens, bringing both a criticality and hope to her work.