Our deepest thanks and appreciation to all who made the 2018 AISES National Conference a soaring success. We are more than grateful that you attended the “Honor the Past. Be the Future.” conference on October 4 to 6 in Oklahoma City. Oklahomans’ hospitality started as soon as we arrived at the Will Rogers Airport and carried over to the Cox Convention Center, host hotels, and local businesses that made our attendees feel valued. The weather was perfect for walking in downtown OKC to Bricktown, or taking a ride in a Cinderella-themed, horse-drawn carriage.
Over 2,300 people from across the U.S. and Canada gave their time and resources to attend, contribute, and learn. Oklahoma tribes and educators showed their support of AISES in reaching out to pre-college and college STEM talent at the pre-conference STEM Day. Busloads of children, advisors, and parents arrived to learn, experience, and engage in STEM activities. It was amazing!
Thursday, the first official day, started with Posting of the Colors by the Riverside Indian School Color Guard. A highlight was the inspiring presentation by our keynote speaker, Dr. John Herrington. A native Oklahoman, John shared a video of his NASA career as the first enrolled American Indian astronaut. All eyes were on the screens as together they relived his historic role as a crew member on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. They cheered watching the launch and seeing him work on the International Space Station. He is positively our indigenous rocketman hero!
Sessions throughout the conference were facilitated by experts in STEM fields covering topics from climate change to computer science, energy to health, career planning to learning styles, defense to diversity in the workforce, and more. We believe that our diverse group of speakers are trendsetters who provide unique insights to emerging scientists and career professionals. They are extremely valuable to AISES for engaging and advancing STEM opportunities.
On the last day, talking circles were led by our wise AISES Council of Elders. Our efforts reached a crescendo at the closing AISES banquet with entertainment by Native American musical artist Kelly Jackson. Some participants — in ribbon shirts, jingle dresses, and other colorful regalia — stepped over to the powwow, which was in full celebration mode past midnight.
It feels like our time together was action-packed, positive, and complete. It was an incredible experience. It was a great pleasure to see many of you there! At the conclusion, one of our partners wrote, “The future is bright if we tap into the energy and talents of these wonderful young people.” Comments like this elicit feelings of accomplishment when we look back on the outstanding work of the AISES staff and others in organizing the event. Together we can accomplish anything!
We hope you had fun, and we look forward to seeing you at the next AISES event — the 2019 Leadership Summit in Cherokee, North Carolina, from March 12 to March 14. Meanwhile, please share with your friends the many ways to remain engaged with AISES through membership, monthly Paths to Opportunities newsletters, and recurring e-announcements. Stay tuned for the upcoming Winds of Change 2018 National Conference Wrap-Up and the 25th Annual Special College Issue 2018–2019. I know you too will have fun reliving the conference moments spent with the AISES family while also expanding your circle of friends and networks.
We truly appreciate your support.