Wind-STEP Program

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 so there is no cost to attend. UMN 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.

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, 4 teaching assistants and 3 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 Division 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).