AIISP is a CALS-based unit that provides Indigenous-related academic, student support and outreach services to Cornell University.
The American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) actively expands its community of scholars every year. We would like to acknowledge all of our alumni, thus if you were affiliated with AIISP or the former American Indian Program (AIP) or received a minor in American Indian Studies (AIS/AIIS) we want to hear from you! Please aiisp [at] cornell.edu (contact us) by emailing a headshot and brief biography of yourself so we can feature you on our website.
Abraham Francis (Mohawk) B.S. ’14, M.S. ‘19
Abraham was the recipient of many awards and when asked what interests him, he said that he find great joy in learning about Mohawk history and traditions. His master’s thesis in Natural Resources was on Haudenosaunee forest stewardship.
Alice Te Punga Somerville (Māori) Ph.D. ‘06
Alice is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Waikato. The heart of her research is about locating, contextualizing, and analyzing texts written by Māori, Pacific, and Indigenous people. Her education focused on the written literatures of her Māori community.
Alyssa Mt. Pleasant (Tuscarora Descendant) Ph.D. ‘07
Alyssa is currently an Assistant Professor of Transnational Studies at the University at Buffalo. She specializes in Native American and Indigenous Studies, with a focus on Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) history during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Andrew Curley (Diné) Ph.D. ‘16
Andrew is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Geography, Development & Environment at the University of Arizona. A member of the Navajo Nation, Andrew received his Ph.D. in the Department of Development Sociology. His primary research has been on coal development, climate change, and sovereignty in the Navajo Nation.
Barbara Abrams (Tonawanda Seneca) M.A. ‘84
Barb Abrams formerly was the Associate Director of Financial Aid & Student Employment at Cornell from May 1985 through April 2004. She is currently an education management professional.
Benjamin Oster (Mohawk) B.S. ‘17 M.Eng ‘18
Ben received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Aerospace Engineering, as well as a minor in American Indian Studies. During his time at Cornell, he was heavily involved in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). Ben was also a member of Native American Students at Cornell (NASAC), a tutor for the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, and a lead author of Cornell's Indigenous Peoples' Day Resolution. Ben works at The Boeing Company, where he is a Guidance and Control Engineer for the novel Cargo Air Vehicle.
Evelyn Galban (Washoe and Paiute) B.S. ‘98 M.S. ‘02 D.V.M. ‘06
A graduate of the Cornell Veterinary School, Evelyn is currently Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed a rotating small animal internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital and a residency in Neurology and Neurosurgery at the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, achieving Diplomat status in 2012.
Heather Williams (Diné) B.S. ‘16
Heather is from Lukachukai, Arizona. At Cornell, Heather majored in Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). She participated in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Sigma Alpha-Alpha Psi Chapter, and the Meinig Family Cornell National Scholars. Heather also engaged in intramural basketball and volunteered at the YMCA in Ithaca. She enjoys playing basketball, riding horses, and participating in rodeos.
Jane Mt. Pleasant (Tuscarora) B.A/B.S. ‘80 M.S. ‘82
Considered a national expert in Haudenosaunee agriculture, Jane retired from her position as Associate Professor in Cornell’s Department of Horticulture in 2018. Her research focuses on Haudenosaunee agriculture, knowledge, and the productivity of Indigenous cropping systems. Jane also served several terms as the Director of what was then known as the American Indian Program.
Jason Corwin (Seneca) M.S. ‘10 PhD ‘16
During his time at Cornell, Jason did participatory action research with a multimedia narrative-based environmental and social justice program for teenagers who were at risk for criminalization and incarceration. Currently Jason is the Executive Director of the Seneca Media and Communications Center, a department within the Seneca Nation that provides internal and external communications and media production services including graphic design, photography, and video production.
Marvin Jack (Tuscarora), B.S. 1909
Marvin Jack was the first Native American student to earn a bachelor’s degree at Cornell. He later became a horticulturist and advocate for Native American education and success in agriculture.
Mia McKie (Tuscarora) ‘13
Mia graduated from Cornell in 2013. She is currently a doctoral student in History at the University of Toronto, and also received a master’s degree in the Indigenous Governance program at the University of Victoria. She is a consulting scholar for the American Philosophical Society's Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR).
Michelle Schenandoah (Oneida) B.A. ‘99
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University in American Studies and American Indian Studies, a JD and LL.M. in Taxation from New York Law School, and is a MS Candidate in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. Michelle was a founding member and Chief Operating Officer for Pervasive Learning Solutions (PLS), a global project management and leadership training company in New York, NY. She is also the founder of Rematriation Magazine, taking her expertise to create an Indigenous women’s online media platform. She is focused on community development and leadership for Indigenous women and their communities. For over four years, Michelle has also served as President of the Board of Directors for the Seven Dancers Coalition, a sanctioned 501(c)(3) by the Department of Justice and the Office on Violence Against Women, focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault through empowerment in Indigenous communities.
Meredith Palmer (Tuscarora) B.S. ‘11
Meredith received her Cornell bachelor’s degree in Development Sociology. She received her PhD in Geography from UC Berkeley in 2020, and a MPH from UC Berkeley's School of Public Health in 2015. Meredith currently is a postdoctoral associate in Cornell’s Department of Science & Technology Studies and AIISP. Her postdoctoral work explores notions of consent and refusal in the biomedical context, and Indigenous data sovereignty, informed by Indigenous feminist and Haudenosaunee perspectives
Nadine Thornton (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) J.D./M.B.A. ‘16
Nadine Thornton's path to law school began on and around her father's farm on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. Working with nearby Native American communities, she witnessed the challenges of unemployment and poverty they faced, and was motivated to help find solutions. Nadine served as president of Cornell Law’s NALSA chapter for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Natani Notah (Diné) B.F.A. ‘14
Natani Notah is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. She is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation (Diné) on her father’s side and part Lakota and Cherokee on her mother’s. Her work has been exhibited at the Tucson Desert Art Museum, Tucson; Gas Gallery, Los Angeles; The Holland Project, Reno; Mana Contemporary, Chicago and SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco. Natani has been published in Sculpture Magazine and has had artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Grounds for Sculpture, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. She holds a BFA with a minor in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies from Cornell University and an MFA from Stanford University.
Richard LaRose (Métis Nation of Alberta) MFA Poetry ‘15
Richard is a poet from Buffalo Lake/Stettler, Alberta, Canada. His work involves attachments to place and identity, as well as Métis and First Nations histories, fictions, politics, and poetics. He has an MFA in poetry from the Department of English with a graduate minor in American Indian Studies. He taught Freshman Writing Seminars and Creative Writing while at Cornell.
Dr. Solomon Cook (Akwesasne Mohawk) B.A. ’38, M.S. ‘42, Ph.D. ‘50
Solomon was first Native American to earn a Ph.D. from Cornell, in 1950. Dr. Cook taught and conducted agricultural research at South Dakota State University, taught at Barker and Salmon River High Schools, and established Marian Farms in Akwesasne. Solomon also He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II was a St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Chief from 1977-1980.
Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) J.D. ‘10
U.S.. Representative Davids did her undergraduate degree at Johnson County Community College and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, then went on to earn her J.D. from Cornell Law School. When she was sworn into the 116th Congress to represent the 3rd district of Kansas, Rep. Davids became one of the first two Native American women to serve in Congress.
T’hohahoken Michael Doxtater (Mohawk) Ph.D. ‘00
Michael is currently the Queen’s National Scholar and an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University. His research focuses specifically on Indigenous knowledge recovery, international development, and organizational development. He has taught and written about conflict resolution based on his expertise as a mediator at Oka, Red Hill Valley, Tutelo Heights, Eagles Nest, Brantford, and the Six Nations Reserve.