The Lake Erie Professional Chapter (LEPC) of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) was founded in the fall of 2005, with official recognition granted in December 2005. This chapter is serving Region 6 of AISES, from southeastern Michigan to western New York. The chapter is based in Cleveland, Ohio at the NASA Glenn Research Center.
The LEPC was originally conceived over a six month period prior to the establishment of the chapter. The initial efforts in founding the chapter were focused on a determination of the level of interest and support that an operational chapter would receive. The chapter was then established after a critical number of members had been identified from across our service area and had committed to support the efforts of this chapter. These people became the founding members of the LEPC.
The purpose behind the establishment of this chapter was to fill an identified need in Region 6 for an active professional chapter. Prior to the formation of this chapter, no professional chapter was active in Region 6. It was also observed that there lacked a real connection between the established AISES chapters in this region. Therefore, by establishing this chapter, the idea was to provide a bridge between the AISES chapters and affiliated schools in the Region 6 area as well as bring Native professionals together. The chapter has sought additional means of promoting Native participation in scientific, engineering, medical, and technical fields. In order to achieve this, the chapter adopted the following goals to achieve through the first five years of operation:
- Increase membership in AISES – The chapter must continually increase the number of members in this chapter. The goal is to realize, at a minimum, a 20% increase in membership per year. As an additional aspect of these recruiting efforts, the chapter seeks to increase the number of Sequoyah Fellows represented by this chapter.
- Develop and promote outreach activities in our communities – The chapter seeks to establish and maintain strong ties to the communities that we serve in the Lake Erie area. The goal is to promote Native participation in higher education, generally, and scientific, technical, engineering, and medical fields, specifically. This includes working with the younger members of our communities and encouraging them to pursue higher education degrees in these fields. It also includes working with the community members to find ways to assist with the education process.
- Serve as mentors for college students and new professionals – The chapter has begun to establish ties with colleges and universities in the region in order to share our experience and knowledge in order to act as mentors for students throughout their academic careers. It is the intent of this chapter to continue the mentorship of these students as they transition from an academic to a professional environment.
- Establish a scholarship program for the region – As the chapter matures; the longer term goals include conducting fundraising events to support students in this region by offering scholarships for college. In addition, these funds will be used to support local community activities.
- Establish a greater presence at the national level of AISES – The chapter members will strive to be more involved with the direction of AISES at the national level by seeking out positions that support AISES and its Board of Directors. Our members will also seek to identify candidates for the AISES Professional Awards each year.