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Center for Native Peoples and the Environment
Frequently Asked Questions

Interested in the Sloan Foundation Indigenous Graduate Partnership at SUNY ESF? Here are answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Questions? Interested in learning more? Please email us at CNPE staff will respond as quickly as possible.

The Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership (SIGP) is a scholarship program funded by the A.P. Sloan Foundation to support Indigenous (Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian) graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) with the intent of increasing the number of Indigenous Americans earning master's and doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines. For more information, click here.

You will become part of a prestigious nationwide network of Indigenous scholars, with the benefits of mentoring and community connection, in support of higher education in STEM. The benefits of participation in the SIGP include: tuition waiver from SUNY ESF, a stipend, health insurance, research experience, professional development opportunities, faculty mentorship, and networking with a community of current and former SIGP awardees.

Enrollment in an approved STEM field program, submission of an annual spending plan and expenditure report, submission of an academic report at the conclusion of every semester of enrollment, and timely completion of the graduate degree. SIGP scholars at SUNY ESF participate in a weekly seminar offering academic and professional development and enjoy a supportive mentoring environment with a lively cohort of other Sloan scholars.

Students of Native American, Alaskan Native or Native Hawaiian descent who meet SUNY ESF's graduate admissions criteria and want to pursue an M.S. or Ph.D. in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field. Please reach out to CNPE staff with additional questions.

Yes. Masters students will receive a tuition waiver and a stipend of $18,000 per year of enrollment up to three years. PhD students receive the tuition waiver, a full Graduate Assistantship (teaching or research) at SUNY ESF during every semester of enrollment up to four years, and a total of $40,000 over the course of their program.

SUNY ESF accepts applications for both fall and spring semester matriculation. The official SUNY ESF deadline for fall semester applications is January 15, and November 1 for spring semester applicants. However, the deadline for the SIGP is more flexible. We encourage potential applicants to reach out to the CNPE in advance of submitting their completed applications.

Application information for all SUNY ESF graduate programs is available here. Please indicate on your application that you're interested in the SIGP. Additionally, please reach out to Dr. Robin Kimmerer at and cc so we can also discuss your specific areas of interest and guide you to the most appropriate graduate advisor.

The first criteria for selection is acceptance to the SUNY ESF Graduate School. Acceptance to ESF is based upon a number of factors, including undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, and relevant professional and life experience. While there is a minimum GPA for admission, the graduate dean can exercise discretion with respect to individual applicants, and the GRE requirement can be waived upon request. SUNY ESF considers the whole person in making admissions decisions! Additionally, all prospective applicants to the SIGP qualify for an application fee waiver. We strongly advise prospective applications to reach out to Dr. Robin Kimmerer with questions

Yes. Once you have been accepted to the Graduate School, you will be asked to complete a supplemental essay question. This essay, in addition to a phone interview with Dr. Kimmerer, will inform the selection process for Sloan scholars.

As a SIGP scholar at SUNY ESF, you will work closely with the staff and faculty affiliated with the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment (CNPE). The CNPE brings together a strong and diverse team of STEM faculty with experience in mentorship, research and teaching with Indigenous students. Affiliated faculty members contribute to the CNPE under the direction of indigenous scholars Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer (Citizen Potawatomi; SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor) and Assistant Director Neil Patterson (Tuscarora; Scientific Co-chair, Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force)

Students entering the program may select from any of the 40 graduate STEM programs at ESF. Upon matriculation, they will participate in all of the Graduate Student Orientation programs offered by the College. In addition, all SIGP students will become part of the CNPE mentoring group, including faculty and staff mentors, peer mentors and Indigenous community partners. Sloan students will also enroll in a weekly Sloan seminar that provides social and cultural support, integration of Indigenous and scientific knowledges, leadership opportunities, academic skills support, and professional development experiences. The cohort experience will begin with a retreat at one of SUNY-ESF’s Adirondack field stations to provide an initial cohesive experience for students and mentors. This retreat will introduce the ecological and cultural landscape which students will inhabit during the graduate program, and begin to cultivate a sense of place and belonging which supports student success. Finally, the SIGP program will facilitate ongoing cultural connection between students and the Onondaga Nation, located just a few miles from campus.

SUNY ESF is the nation's leading STEM institution devoted entirely to the science of the environment, from conservation biology, forest management, ecology, and conservation biotechnology to bioprocess engineering and sustainable energy solutions. Graduate students may enroll in one of 40 different programs of study (see next question for more details). In addition to the wide array of STEM courses available, the CNPE has developed a suite of courses specifically designed to meet our goal of attracting and supporting Indigenous students. ESF students also have free access to the entire course catalog at Syracuse University, which includes an Indigenous Studies program.

SUNY ESF offers more than 40 M.S. and Ph.D. programs in STEM fields. Eligible departments include: Chemistry, Environmental Biology (formerly known as Environmental and Forest Biology), Environmental Resource Engineering, Environmental Science, Sustainable Resources Management (formerly known as Forest and Natural Resources Management), and Chemical Engineering (formerly known as Paper and Bioprocess Engineering). For a complete listing of degree programs, please see The Graduate School website.

The mission of SUNY ESF's Center for Native Peoples and the Environment is to become a national leader in education, research and outreach that integrate the wisdom of indigenous knowledge and the tools of scientific knowledge, in service to sustainability. Building upon a decade of collaboration with indigenous groups for research and educational outreach, the CNPE was officially established eleven years ago. Since that time, the CNPE has grown considerably. We now offer a College-wide minor, eight courses, a graduate curriculum and have attracted more than $2 million in extramural grant support from both federal and philanthropic sources. We are actively involved in research, education and outreach. In 2018, the CNPE received a NYS legislative appropriation to serve as an environmental liaison between the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Indigenous Nations in NY, creating additional opportunities for our students and collaborators.

Because Sloan Scholars are admitted in annual cohorts of 4-5 students, the community ranges from first year graduate students to those nearing degree completion. Students associated with the CNPE also come from ally communities and represent a wide range of interests and perspectives. We’re proud of their achievements and career success. Among our Indigenous alumni are the manager of a tribal nursery, environmental educator for the National Park Service and tribes, a PhD student in forest management, a hydrologic engineer, coordinator for the Northeast Climate Science Center, an intern at the former White House Council on Environmental Quality, a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow, and a member of the EPA Tribal Science Forum.

In addition to SUNY ESF, other university members of the SIGP include: UNC-Asheville, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of Alaska-Anchorage, University of Arizona, University of Montana, Montana State University, Montana Tech, and Purdue University.

Founded in 1934 by industrialist Alfred P. Sloan Jr., the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a not-for-profit grantmaking institution that supports high quality, impartial scientific research; fosters a robust, diverse scientific workforce; strengthens public understanding and engagement with science; and promotes the health of the institutions of scientific endeavor.