Posted June 1, 2018 In News

Students from Utah State University Eastern’s Blanding campus visited the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University this week as they participate in the Native American Student Mentorship Program (NASMP).

During the four-week summer program at Utah State’s Logan campus, NASMP students participate in lab rotations and research groups in various fields and colleges. Participants are assigned to work with USU professors who act as their mentor during their labs.

The program aims to offer students from USU Eastern’s Blanding Campus — many of whom are from the Navajo Nation — more opportunities to explore STEM and research-oriented careers.

Danielle Manybeads and Brianna Littlecrow, students at USU Eastern and members of the Navajo Nation, were assigned to work with Center for Growth and Opportunity staff and scholars for one of their lab rotations.

Manybeads, a psychology major who wants to pursue a career in social work, said she enjoyed getting involved in research about energy poverty in the United States. Energy poverty refers to a lack of access to modern energy amenities due to a combination of rising energy and housing costs, remote access to resources, and other environmental factors.

“I had never done any research like this. It was very interesting to me because I have some personal experience with the issue,” said Manybeads.

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Danielle Manybeads and Brianna Littlecrow
Danielle Manybeads and Brianna Littlecrow (left) join CGO student research fellows in a lab activity.

“Growing up on a reservation you can’t take things like that for granted. Life was hard,” said Manybeads. “There were times when our water or power would get turned off if we had missed a payment. Small cost differences in our bill sometimes meant the difference between having lights or not.”

Manybeads said because of her experiences, she wasn’t surprised to find evidence that energy poverty is a real problem for many in the U.S.

“Doing this helped me realize I actually like to study policy and want to do more,” said Manybeads. “If research can make people aware of these issues, it is definitely worth doing.”

At other points during the week, Manybeads and Littlecrow joined other student research fellows at the Center for Growth and Opportunity for lectures taught by USU business and economics professors.