Wind STEP Program

Update 4/20/2020: Your health and wellbeing, and that of the community, are of the utmost importance to the University of Minnesota.

The University is following the recommendation of the State of Minnesota, effective immediately and until further notice. All major venues at the University, systemwide, are closed to the public, and events will be canceled, rescheduled, or moved online where possible. Further, all non-curricular events for May and June are cancelled (unless they can be offered remotely).

To that end, the University of Minnesota Morris is canceling the 2020 Wind-STEP program.

Stay tuned for more details and updates about events at the University of Minnesota Morris. Thank you for your partnership and patience as we work together to keep our community healthy.

The Wind-STEP program is a two-week summer experience. The program will introduce Native American high school students to careers in science, GIS (Geographical Information Science) and wind energy.


If you are a rising junior or senior and have done well in intermediate algebra and sophomore English and have an interest in science, this program is for you. Note: Some exceptions will be made for students younger than 10th grade.


This program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) so there is no cost to attend. Morris will provide room and board and meals will be provided in one of the campus dining spaces. The program also gives you access to labs and any research supplies needed. Additionally, in many cases, Wind-STEP can arrange transportation to and from the program.


You should be willing to work in groups and commit your entire day to the program. This program will keep you busy, but we make time for picnics, excursion and other fun activities. You will take field trips to Pipestone National Monument, the Prairie Coteau in South Dakota and the Minnesota River Valley.

Program Dates

Monday June 8 through Friday June 19, 2020.

Learning Outcomes

The Wind-STEP program will teach you how to use GIS software. GIS allows us to view, understand and interpret data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps. GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.

In the Wind-STEP program, you will take the GIS software and learn how to asses environmental concerns and then model a wind energy turbine system. Your research model will include data on:

  • Energy needs
  • Wind speed
  • Land ownership
  • Population distribution
  • Soils
  • Endangered species
  • Land elevation

Using this information you will determine the location, number and type of wind turbines to be emplaced.

You will also learn about alternative energy, environmental science, science careers and opportunities in wind generated power. You will also learn how to give a scientific presentation.

Who is Involved

Wind-STEP will include 10 to 12 participants, four teaching assistants and three faculty members. Participants and the teaching assistants will live in an on-campus residence hall along with one faculty member.


To apply please complete and submit the online application. We will accept applications until the program is full.

You must also have a letter of recommendation completed by a teacher or administrator. Please have them mail or email the letter to:

James Cotter
UMN Morris Div of Science and Math
Room 2550 Sci
600 E 4th St
Morris, MN 56267


Note: If you have been accepted to the program your parent or guardian will need to complete the “Medical Release” and “Waiver and Photo/Media Release” forms.  Links to these forms can be found on the left hand side of this page.

Medical Release Waiver and Photo/Media Release form


    This program is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundations Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Program (NSF / DUE-1432383).