A student visits information booths in the North Classroom at CU Denver

CU Denver received attention from students attending the national American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) conference — both at a Graduate School booth and a tour of CU Denver campus on Friday.

About 1,500 high school and college students attended the Oct. 31-Nov. 2 conference at the Denver Convention Center. The CU Denver Graduate School had a booth set up in the middle of the Convention Center.

“The booth got flooded with high school and current college students from across the nation, many of whom didn’t know that CU Denver was a separate institution from CU-Boulder,” said Guyrene Ben, president of CU Denver’s chapter of AISES.

Ben, a Navajo from Cortez, Colo., earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental science from CU Denver in 2011 and is currently in an MPA program in environmental policy and management in the School of Public Affairs. She led a dozen students from the AISES on tours of CU Denver on Friday.

“We’re doing the tours so we can bring in more native students to the CU Denver campus,” Ben said.

The students walked through classrooms and buildings, watched laboratory demonstrations and, inside the North Classroom atrium, visited with representatives of CU Denver schools and colleges and services at various booths. The local cultural community was represented as well, as three Native American community groups had tables in the North Classroom.

Timberley Roane, faculty sponsor of CU Denver chapter of AISES, said the visitors listened to a panel made up of current STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Native American students and CU Denver alumni. “We had a vibrant panel discussion about how to get into college, what it’s like to go to college and what it takes to get a degree,” Roane said.

Ben said AISES was founded 35 years ago by scientists in Boulder who wanted to encourage more Native American students to go into STEM fields. The annual national AISES conference moves around the country every year, she said.

“This year, it’s kind of like coming back home, because it originated in this area,” Ben said.

(Photo: Guyrene Ben, president of CU Denver’s chapter of AISES, visits an information booth about a CU Denver program in North Classroom on Nov. 1).

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