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Washington State University

Suwyn Family Lecture Series in Education

Oct. 23: Indigenous STEAM expert to address education and mentoring

An expert in Indigenous education and mentorship will speak at WSU on how STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts, Math) education can bring about a just, sustainable, and thriving future for Indigenous communities.

Megan Bang is an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, and affiliated faculty in American Indian Studies. Her visit will take place Oct. 23 and will be part of the Suwyn Family Lecture Series in Education.

The first component of the visit will be an informal conversation about mentoring. That will take place at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center from 2:30-3:30 p.m.  The more formal lecture will take place between 4:00-5:30 p.m., also at the ESF Cultural Center.

Kelly Ward, WSU’s vice provost for faculty development and recognition, and professor of higher eduction, is the chair of the Suwyn committee, and said Bang’s lecture will be sure to include the “Art” with the STEM education.

“We hear lots about STEM and often talk about why students drop out of STEM fields,” Ward said. “Dr. Bang adds the ‘A’ for ‘Arts’ and her perspective helps inform more about the culture of STEM fields and doesn’t just focus on the student.”

Particularly interesting about Bang’s lecture will be how that culture in STEM intersects with Indigenous culture.

“Indigenous peoples ways of knowing are based in relations with our home, lands, waters and the relational responsibilities we have,” Bang said. “While historically, science and science education had been tools of colonialism and empire, decolonial landwater-based education can transform the pedagogical paradigms we utilize in educational spaces and do it in ways that support thriving and resurgent Indigenous youth.”

As part of the lecture, Bang said she would share STEAM work she’s already done with K-12 Indigenous youth, often called ISTEAM, as in Indigenous STEAM. It’s work that, quite frankly, Bang said is working.

“It is ensuring that Indigenous youth have the opportunity to learn and continue Indigenous science – something Indigenous peoples have always done,” she said. “But it also helps achieve and appropriately utilize western science toward generative ends.”

WSU alumni Mark and Patt Suwyn endowed the annual lecture series to promote informed discussion about matters of vital importance in the field of education. Longtime WSU donors, the Suwyns are passionate about ensuring that all children receive the transformative opportunities provided through education.

The Suwyn Family Lecture Series was inaugurated in 2013.

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Contact: Kelly Ward at or 509-335-5581.