Mission and Vision


ESIL's Mission

The mission of the ESIL program is to broaden participation of Indigenous students in STEM through education and community partnerships that promote healing and stewardship of Native land.

The ESIL certificate is available to current CU Denver undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree students. While the certificate is open to students from all educational backgrounds, ESIL targets students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), with special emphasis on biology, civil engineering, and environmental sciences.  Accordingly, the ESIL certificate includes a broad and rigorous selection of STEM coursework as shown under Certificate Requirements. 

Professional training, including extracurricular activities and internships, is what makes the ESIL certificate unique.  The extracurricular activities provide students with culturally-relevant training in topics such as tribal sovereignty, environmental law, transcultural compentency, and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK).  Both the STEM curriculum and these professional skills are brought to bear during internships in which students practice facilitation as tribal liaisons with our tribal and non-tribal government partners.

Housed on CU Denver's downtown campus, students in the ESIL certificate will enjoy opportunities to participate in the vibrant Indigenous student communities at CU Denver, including the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), the Native American Student Organization (NASO), the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).  CU Denver has the most diverse student body in the Univeristy of Colorado system, with strong representation across races, cultures, religions, and identities.  


ESIL's Vision

Our vision is that academic, career, and mentorship pathways have been created to honor and center Indigenous ways of knowing, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous relationships to land, and anti-racist methodologies. These pathways empower Indigenous Peoples to lead and promote the return, healing, and stewardship of Indigenous lands.