PNNL hosts tribal students to expose them to STEM careers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

PNNL hosts tribal students to expose them to STEM careers

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"All of the animals had to provide something and salmon was my flesh. Deer and elk was my food and my skin for clothing. Roots and berries were like sisters and they decided to feed us," concluded Atkins. "All of the animals had to provide something and salmon was my flesh. Deer and elk was my food and my skin for clothing. Roots and berries were like sisters and they decided to feed us," concluded Atkins.

RICHLAND, WA- You might remember back to grade school in science class where you first learned about the ecosystem and life cycles of animals. Maybe you took part in hands-on experiments, or just read about in a textbook.

Scientists at PNNL are bringing kids into the lab that may have never received the opportunity to look at fish in this way. This special field trip started with "My Brother's Keeper". It is an Obama administration call-to-action for national laboratories to bring under served or under represented students in to inspire them through learning about STEM careers.

The Yakama Nation Tribal School sent 40 students to the aquatic part of the lab on Thursday to see the fish they tell NBC Right Now are so important to their culture. "I have never seen them when they are baby fish. So it is really interesting to come here and see how they start out before we catch them," said Wiwnu Mills, a Senior at Yakama Nation Tribal School.

"Salmon is really important to us. On our table, there's salmon, roots, berries and deer and elk. Those are foods that are very sacred to us," explained Ida Atkins, a Senior at Yakama Nation Tribal School.

Mills and Atkins say they have been fishing since they can remember, yet the concept of dams and aquaponics are fairly new. "We come from such a diverse community and yet they are not exposed to the many vast careers that exist out there," Elizabeth Stephens said, a Research Scientist at PNNL.

A simple field trip is bringing new light to legends these students have been able to recite since they were born, "One I always remember is that fish don't make sound because the fish gave us our voice, so we could talk. That is the one I always remember," Mills explained.

"All of the animals had to provide something and salmon was my flesh. Deer and elk was my food and my skin for clothing. Roots and berries were like sisters and they decided to feed us," concluded Atkins.

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