Students From Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour To Visit Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

August 09, 2017 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
August 9, 2017 - Students representing tribes from Oregon, Washington and California are participating in a road trip across Oregon and California for the annual Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour. Today, students who've traveled since Monday morning are scheduled to arrive for a visit at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

For more than 60 years, LLNL has carried out a mission of strengthening the United States' security through development and application of world-class science and technology. Located in Livermore, California, the Livermore National Lab is what many refer to as "the smartest square mile on Earth". LLNL's mission involves national security, entry is strictly regulated. Students and chaperones will be required to make special arrangements, including background checks, to gain admittance to the Laboratory.

2017 Tour students will visit LLNL's National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) and the world renowned National Ignition Facility (NIF) which is home to the world's largest energy laser system. The laser has the ability to create extreme temperatures, pursue fusion ignition, and lay the groundwork for development of inertial fusion energy. The machine also served as the backdrop for Paramount Pictures' 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' movie. A diversity panel of LLNL staff members will share their stories and advice for how they came from similar backgrounds to work at one of the nation's most innovative organizations.

The Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour is produced each year by Redbridge Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 company based in Portland Oregon. Participating students are selected by application process. The Tour's mission is to raise awareness among Native American youth for opportunities in STEM-related careers and utilizes social media marketing posts to share student experiences with their communities via Twitter and Facebook. The National Science Foundation Science & Engineering Indicators 2016 Report states that "The proportion of U.S. S&E master's degrees earned by underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities increased from 14% to 19% between 2000 and 2013. American Indians and Alaska Natives accounted for 0.5%."

"The future is now.. it's data and innovation and the energy that powers it cloud computing, electric cars, and online schools are already happening. And, like so many rural areas around the globe, tribal communities face communication and economic barriers. STEM-related skills are needed to develop strong economies in this new digital age. And the numbers speak for themselves. There's a disparity." said Shannon Hulbert, Yurok Tribal Member and President of Redbridge Foundation. "But transformation is possible, and energy and technology savvy tribes are in a position to generate energy and jobs for their communities. With 567 tribes and 5% of the nation's natural resources in Indian Country, there's huge potential. And it starts with educating tribal youth about that potential for partnerships and collaboration. Get them inspired and asking questions and there's no limit to what they'll achieve. Who's to say the next digital advancement isn't in the mind of one of these students, and all they need is an opportunity and an idea. That's what this is all about."

According to the U.S. Census, 39% of the total American Indian population living on reservations are at or below the national poverty line. Seven of the 10 poorest counties in the US are located in tribal communities, where unemployment rates can reach as high as 35% and broadband penetration can be as low as 10%. "I think it's important for Indian tribes to learn about energy and technology so we can catch up to other places that already have these things in place and so our people can benefit from these resources," says a 13-year old student on the 2017 Tour, "I also think it's important because some Indian tribes can't afford some of the technology and so we can learn how to be more efficient with what limited recourses we have."

The 2017 Tour is focusing on a range of topics including; renewable energy, tribal energy, smart grid, microgrid, AR, AI, VR, IoT, datacenters and careers. In addition to LLNL, students will also visit:
  • Warm Springs Indian Reservation & Portland General Electric (PGE) Pelton Round Hydroelectric Project
  • Southern California Edison Grapeland Peaker Generating Station and 80 MW Mira Loma Peaker Generating Station with energy and EV company, Tesla.
  • Opus Interactive Sustainable Datacenters, Edge Computing, and Software Defined Networking using cloud computing technologies

  • The 2017 tour is funded with support from Portland General Electric (PGE), Redbridge, Inc., and Portland-based cloud and colocation company, Opus Interactive.

    About Redbridge Foundation
    Redbridge Foundation, a 501c3 in Oregon, is a non-profit organization that annually hosts the Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour. Founded by a member of the Yurok Tribe of California, the Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour is the nation's first summer camp dedicated to raising STEM awareness among Native American youth. Since its launch in 2013, the Tour has been received participation from over 30 tribes, and introduced students to over 20 native-owned projects throughout the country, including solar and wind energy, and data centers.

    For more information contact Shannon Hulbert, Redbridge Foundation, 503-381-4977

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