Native American STEM educational outreach initiatives

Join the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) Office of Education on November 29, 2022, 6-7:30 p.m. ET, as we celebrate and honor Native American Heritage Month.

Our K-12 webinar this month features Talia Martin, Program Director of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Department of Energy, and Melinda Higgins, Director of STEM Programs in the Office of Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Tribal STEM Advisor. They will discuss the educational outreach initiatives of the DOE Tribal STEM Subcommittee. In partnership with DOE, Indian Country, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, the subcommittee springs from a commitment by members to focus and build on DOE working group conversations related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

Talia Martin

Talia is a member of the DOE-chartered Nuclear Energy Tribal Working Group and the Tribal STEM Subcommittee of all three DOE Tribal Working Groups. She oversees the Energy Resources Program, which is responsible for developing a tribal energy strategy and implementing renewable energy technologies for the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. She also serves as a tribal liaison for government-to-government functions and the administrator of the Agreement in Principle, between the U.S. DOE – Idaho Operations and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Fort Hall, Idaho. She participates at the national, state, and local levels as a technical representative on Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ interest in nuclear energy and legacy waste environmental cleanup issues.

Melinda Higgins

Melinda supports all Tribal Working Group efforts and co-leads with Talia the 100Kin10/Beyond 100K Supporting STEM Education in Tribal Communities Project team. Melinda works to ensure all students have equal access to STEM opportunities, including Nuclear Energy STEM engagement and outreach efforts to expose, engage, and inspire underrepresented and underserved populations to STEM fields, especially nuclear energy. Melinda started as a former support contractor and Tribal STEM Advisor, working in collaboration with the Tribal Working Groups, at the DOE to support Tribal interests and efforts in STEM education.

The team is co-producing, with Tribal members' input, a resource titled “First Steps” for non-Native education professionals and others to engage with Tribal entities and support Tribal youth. This resource suggests ways to initiate engagement for a long-lasting partnership with Tribal communities in a new and innovative way.

Join now

The USPTO hosts monthly professional development webinars for K-12 educators interested in integrating intellectual property (IP), innovation, and invention activities into their STEM/STEAM curriculum. Whether you’re a school administrator, teacher, student, parent, or caregiver, you are welcome to join us every month to hear from educators and learn about different types of IP, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. These sessions can help inspire a classroom of problem solvers and shape career choices. Sessions are held by webinar on the last Tuesday of each month from 6-7:30 p.m. ET.

Visit the USPTO's Office of Education page or email to learn more.

Accessibility accommodation


If you are an individual with a disability and would like to request a reasonable accommodation, please submit your request to the contact information listed above.

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This event is part of a series: K-12 education