Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
( April 21, 1998)
NASA’S HIGHEST RANKING NATIVE AMERICAN TO SPEAK AT
SOUTH DAKOTA SPACE DAY
David Weston, the highest ranking Native American in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA), will participate in the 4th Annual South Dakota Space Day being held Friday, April 24, in Pierre. Weston is scheduled from 8: 30- 11: 30 a. m. for informal talks with students attending Space Day activities in the Discovery Center in Pierre. He also will speak to Pierre area schools on April 23.
Weston is the Director of the NASA Headquarters Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office in Washington, DC. Raised on reservations in South Dakota and Oklahoma, his tribal affiliations include the Oglala Lakota and Santee Sioux Tribes of South Dakota on his father’s side and the Ottawa Tribe ( Southern Band) of Oklahoma on his mother’s side.
Weston’s federal service as a manager at NASA has been devoted to diversity management issues and increasing Native American access to higher education through the use of telecommunications and information technology. He has been involved with NASA’s educational outreach activities that seek to increase Native American participation in the nation’s space program through grants to tribal colleges; mentoring and bridge programs; and other innovative efforts to provide Native Americans with educational opportunities to achieve professional degrees in the math, science, engineering and technology disciplines.
In June 1996 David Weston delivered the commencement address to the first graduating class of Native American pre- college students participating in the NASA- supported Scientific Knowledge for Indian Learning & Leadership ( SKILL) Honors Program at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology ( SDSM& T). Weston attended an October 1996 White House ceremony where SDSM& T officials and SKILL students presented President Clinton with the first copy of local Oglala Lakota artist Don Montileaux’s painting entitled “ Looking Beyond One’s Self”— the first painting to have flown on a NASA space shuttle. Last year Weston visited Oglala Lakota College ( OLC) as part of a NASA survey team to determine what assistance NASA could provide to expand opportunities for Native Americans to pursue careers in math and science.
Space Day is an outreach education project sponsored by the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium ( SDSGC), supported in part by a grant from NASA. SDSGC Outreach Coordinator Linda Allen, who is based on the SDSM& T campus, serves as general chair of Space Day. SDSU’s Space Grant Office and the Discovery Center are cohosting this year’s Space Day activities. SDSGC members include the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology ( SDSM& T), South Dakota State University, Augustana College, and the EROS Data Center. Dr. Sherry Farwell, SDSM& T Dean of Graduate Education and Sponsored Programs, is the director of the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium. For additional information, contact Linda Allen, 394- 1975.
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