BHSU science student, inspired by heritage, receives Sanford Lab internship

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, April 14, 2015/Categories: 2015









           Black Hills State University student Ida Clarke, environmental science major from Oglala, presents research at the 2015 Black Hills Research Symposium. Clarke was awarded the Dave Bozied Internship, an 11-week internship at the Sanford Underground Research Facility where she will study water quality and environmental sciences.




Growing up, Ida Clarke was taught to respect the land around her.

An Oglala Lakota American Indian from Oglala, Ida kept her respect for Mother Nature and now is using it to learn the science behind the environment and find ways to create a sustainable Earth for future generations.

"My culture believes that water is sacred and our Earth is our mother," Ida said. "My beliefs drove me to learn more about how our planet works with nature."

Ida, who is studying environmental science at BHSU, was awarded the prestigious opportunity to expand her knowledge in water quality and environmental science at the Sanford Underground Research Facility through the Dave Bozied Internship. She will spend 11 weeks this summer completing work such as water quality tests and other water-related research. The internship is awarded to South Dakota students studying in the areas of physics, chemistry, geology, engineering, science education or communication related fields.

"I&rsquove never worked in a lab of this nature. I am really looking forward to it," Ida said. "BHSU really provides me with great opportunities to apply and earn scholarships that will provide excellent experience in my field."

Ida said she enjoys conducting research, something the BHSU science program allows her to do much of. In addition to Ida&rsquos upcoming internship at Sanford Lab, she has completed research at BHSU collecting and analyzing the DNA of rare plants as part of a summer science program on campus. Her most recent research was presented at the BH Research Symposium in March and will be showcased at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in Spokane, Wash. in April. The research is on the conditions of wild rice growth in Minnesota lakes and was conducted through a partnership with the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and the University of Minnesota.

Ida is actively involved in the Center for American Indian Studies (CAIS), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Physical Sciences Club on campus. Ida said the organizations allow her to network, gain support and learn from a cultural and non-cultural perspective.

Rosie Sprague, assistant director for the Center of American Indian Studies at BHSU, said that Ida possesses a unique drive that helps her succeed in her schoolwork and various research internships.

"Ida is very determined when it comes to what she is passionate about and she is very passionate about her field of study and the environment," Rosie said.

After earning a degree from BHSU, Ida aspires to continue her education and research through graduate school and eventually earn her doctorate degree. Ida said she would like to apply for a graduate program that will allow her to work with indigenous communities, American Indian policies or environmental studies.

"I&rsquod like to bring my research back to Oglala," Ida said. "If I can bring home what I&rsquove learned with environmental science, we can bring value back to the land."

Ida would like to educate her community on water purification methods and educate the community on environmental issues that relate to mining.

"Ida is very hopeful and willing to try new things, which makes her future bright," Rosie said. "She knows her background, she knows where she&rsquos from, who she is and where she is going."

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