Red Lake Band of Chippewa
Terra, a student at Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC) in Minnesota, was selected as a Student Ambassador for NASA. A liberal education major with an emphasis in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), she was recognized as one of NASA’s highest-performing interns. Terra represented NASA at education and outreach events at schools and universities to inspire other students to pursue STEM careers. Terra was the only student from a Minnesota college or university to receive this honor for 2011.
Terra worked with the space agency in 2010 for 10 weeks, where she learned to use technologies that allowed her to work with the Leech Lake Heritage Sites program, mapping and recording burial sites to protect them from future construction and development.
Terra is the daughter of the former LLTC president Dr. Leah Carpenter and says that growing up around the college was a big help in terms of her incentive to go to college. She credits the college’s science faculty for giving her the self-confidence to apply for the internship.
Terra plans to attend the University of Washington after graduation from Leech Lake Tribal College to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science and environmental science and a minor in American Indian Studies.
Terra says, “With new challenges, I know there is uncertainty, however I believe that I will conquer those challenges and help others to thrive and prosper, too. As a motivated Native American student I also want to serve as a positive role model for my fellow tribal college students so they can envision themselves as a strong and engaged leader. I want to help my peers and get them excited about science, technology, engineering, and math, and inspire them to become better students and role models. I want to lead the way to show other Native American students how they can succeed in college and how to become a success.”