Educational, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Activities.
One of the most unique components of our NAU REU program lies in the sociocultural opportunities available to our interns. Northern Arizona enjoys a rich diversity of cultural, educational, social, and environmental opportunities for visitors, activities not only unique to our region but to most REU programs given our close proximity to particularly Latino and Native American cultural experiences and to 9 major national monuments. Such experiences may be a source of stimulating discussion, exchange of ideas and fellowship, and a source of material for possible future compassion research (e.g., the teaching, expression, and effects of compassion in native cultures). We will expose our students to many of these experiences every other weekend over the 8-week period, without detracting from their research training mission. These experiences will include cultural/spiritual tours of sacred sites led by a local medicine man, attendance at cultural festivals and events, such as Hopi and Navajo Arts and Crafts Shows, landmark tours and an exploration of the role of the Buffalo Soldiers in the Southwestern Indian Wars and in the colonization of the Southwest, a review of the early history and a tour of the residential community of Dr. Lincoln and Mrs. Eleanor Ragsdale, prominent African American pioneers of desegregation and racial equality in Phoenix, visits to Wupatki, Walnut Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, and other local ancient Anasazi Indian ruins, tours of local scientific landmarks and laboratories, including Lowell Observatory, the Museum of Northern Arizona, Gore Industries, and Biosphere 2, and trips to and hikes in the Grand Canyon, Sunset Volcanic Crater, and the inner basin/caldera of our local dormant volcano, Mt. Humphreys. Such experiences not only impress student interns with the sociocultural research opportunities available to them within diverse cultures, but show them how fun, healthy, and fascinating research and the lifestyle of researchers can be! In fact, a number of our interns last summer stated that they selected NAU over other REU programs to which they were accepted not only because of the quality and diversity of research experiences offered but also because of the sociocultural experiences available.