Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

Educating Future American Indian Engineers, One Engineer at a Time!

NASA TCU ELO Program & SIPI I.C.MARS Project

Education and Outreach

The NASA TCU ELO Program and the I-C-MARS Project has developed a website for the purpose of Educational Outreach to partnering institutions.

We are providing an opportunity for partnering institutions to utilize curriculum developed by curriculum specialists and professionals from the fields of Engineering, Education, Computer Science, Science and Technical Education.

SIPI offers excellent associate degree programs in Engineering and Engineering Technology for Native Americans.

News & Updates

2019 AIHEC NCAS Victory

SIPI's NASA Robotics team took first place at the 2019 AIHEC conference in Billings Montana. There were 7 tribal colleges competing to build an autonomous Lego EV3 rover capable of performing 5 lunar missions to set up a Moon base.

The tasks involved locating water, setting up supplies and habitation units near the water, and activating a satellite array and communications center.

Dr. Nader Vadiee Hall

SIPI leadership scheduled a ceremony to dedicate the SIPI Engineering Program hall as the Dr. Nader Vadiee Hall , as a recognition to his lifetime achievements as the founder of the SIPI engineering Programs. Recognition plaques, official letters of recognition, and honors for the past ten years of the program were displayed for public viewing.

Dr. Vadiee's STIx Presentation

Dr. Nader Vadiee was invited to give a talk at the inaugural STIx conference, organized by the DoD Office of Assistant Secretary in Research and Engineering, Directorate of Basic Research.

The Science, Technology, and Innovation exchange – STIx – is a two day event that will showcase the extensive S&T investments, outcomes, and innovations from across the Defense enterprise. STIx takes its cues from TED and TEDx series of talks and seeks to showcase and connect our brightest minds, communicate new ideas, and share novel approaches to confronting challenges facing the Defense community.

SIPI's team won the grand prize!

Grand Prize: Gold Mars Trophy and a check for $5,000.00 from NASA!

Dr. Nader Vadiee, SIPI Engineering faculty and a team of four SIPI students won the grand prize at the 2017 NASA Swarmathon in Orlando, FL. April 17-21, 2017. SIPI’s team competed against 20 colleges who developed new algorithms or computer programs used by small robotic vehicles to autonomously find and collect the most resources in an arena without human supervision or maps. These algorithms used by robot swarms have other applications such as cleaning up hazardous waste.

Dr. Nader Vadiee and Dr. Jonathan West both served as the SIPI NASA Swarmathon team faculty advisors.

Emery Sutherland – Navajo Nation, Computer Aided Design / Drafting and Network Management

Ty Shurley – Navajo Nation, Pre-Engineering and Computer Aided Design / Drafting

Christian Martinez - Pueblo of Laguna, Network Management

Nader Vadiee, Ph.D., SIPI Engineering Professor, Team Faculty Advisor, SIPI-NASA I-CMARS Program PI

Schulte Cooke – Navajo Nation, Liberal Arts & Geospatial Information Technology

SIPI Pre-engineering program won the 2017 Toyota TCU STEM Grand Prize!

SIPI Pre-engineering program was selected as the GRAND PRIZE winner for the Toyota STEM Award, sponsored by the American Indian College Fund and Toyota. SIPI’s application demonstrated the most innovative and established STEM program of all Tribal Colleges and Universities.

SIPI will be awarded a brand new Toyota vehicle and $5,000!

We recognize the successful efforts of the hardworking and dedicated SIPI TEAM who made this award possible. Dr. Nader Vadiee, Faculty and Coordinator, Engineering Program—a longtime Instructor at SIPI, who has given many, many years to the students of SIPI. Under his leadership SIPI is the MIT of all Tribal Colleges.

Faculty members:

  • Dr. Massoud Ahghar, Faculty, Engineering
  • Dr. Bill Schaedla, Faculty, Environmental Science
  • Dr. Todd Nimms, Faculty, Natural Resources
  • Mr. Sandy McMahon, Director/Adjunct, Board of Regents

SIPI and NTU launched their First Joint TCU Advanced Manufacturing Technology Summer Institute.

SIPI and NTU , in collaboration with Sandia National Labs, using a grant by NNSA through AIHEC, are hosting the First TCU Advanced Manufacturing Technology Summer Institute (TCU AMTSI) . Seventeen students and 10 faculty from five TCU’s will attend the SIPI-NTU Summer Institute .

The participants will learn Advanced Manufacturing skills and concepts, and explore how they can pursue a high-paying career in a wide range of technology and manufacturing areas. Each tribal college team will construct an educational ROV-S rover as well as a small unmanned aerial vehicle to take back to their schools.

A nicely framed "Certificate of Recognition", from the New Mexico Public Education Department, to Professor Nader Vadiee, for his services to New Mexico Math and Science Advisory Council​

Digital Inclusion Award Winner

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Nader Vadiee. He was awarded with the first Digital Inclusion Award.

There were several high caliber entries. Judges were impressed with Dr. Vadiee's work with SIPI students. The WICHE (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education), the award sponsor, gave their 2017 " Digital Inclusion" inaugural award to SIPI! They will visit SIPI to invite SIPI to join WICHE. There was a lot of applaud and fanfare!

Dr. Nader Vadiee has been a part of SIPI's Advanced Technical Education (ATE) department since 2004. Dr. Vadiee is one of the lead faculty members in charge of the engineering program as well as the director of several grants and projects taking place at SIPI.

Nader Vadiee's Bio

Below are links to some of Professor Nader Vadiee’s published work:

National Awards and Recognitions

1994 - 2019

We are celebrating our twenty five years of “ Innovative STEM Education for Native American Students and Communities!”


  • Carnegie Foundation: NM Professor of The Year - Dr. Nader Vadiee
  • Indian Energy Program: National Championship


  • Indian Energy Program: National Championship
  • Dream Catcher Science Program: Recognition by Sandia National Labs


  • Wendi Cole (Crow Creek Sioux), SIPI Pre-engineering student and Phi Theta Kappa member, selected as 1 of 20 members of the 2013 All Usa Community College Academic Team


  • American Indian College Fund: Faculty Of The Year - Dr. Nader Vadiee
  • NASA Swarmathon: Bronze Award - Third Place


  • NASA Swarmathon: Gold Award - First Place
  • New Mexico Math and Science Advisory Board Recognition: New Mexico Public Education Department
  • WCET and GlobalMindED: Inaugural Digital Inclusion Award - Dr. Nader Vadiee
  • AICF: Toyota TCU STEM Award - Grand Prize


  • NASA Swarmathon: Silver Award - Second Place
  • NASA Robotics Competition at AIHEC Conference - Second Place
  • Dedication of the “ Dr. Nader Vadiee Hall” in recognition of more than twenty years of serving SIPI community


  • NASA Robotics Competition at AIHEC Student Conference - First Place
  • Donation of more than $100K by the NextEra Energy company in recognition of our twenty five years of “ Innovative STEM Education for Native American Students”
  • SIPI Team was invited to visit MIT Beaverworks Summer Institute and present our engineering projects
  • NASA accepted SIPI's proposal to compete in the 2020 NASA SUITS national competition
  • Albuquerque Community Foundation presented a check for $25,000 to Explora, Albuquerque's children science museum, in support of the SIPI-Explora-NACA collaborative project "Mentors Matter"

Partnering Institutions

Zuni High School

Zuni, New Mexico

Walatowa Charter High School

Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico

Bernalillo High School

Bernalillo, New Mexico

Native American Comunity Academy

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Upcoming Events and Meetings