Tiffany Smith, PhD

Advancing Indigenous People in STEM

Dr. Tiffany Smith (she/her/hers) is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and is also a descendent of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Dr. Smith serves as the Director of Research and Career Support for the Advancing Indigeneous People in STEM (AISES). In this role, Dr. Smith manages several grant-supported research related projects, and conducts research related to Indigenous students and professionals in STEM disciplines. She provides oversight, strategic leadership, management, and overall direction of AISES’ research and related projects as an integral part of the Programs Department.

Prior to coming to AISES in July 2021, Dr. Smith had worked for 16 years in various aspects of student affairs, including career development, diversity and inclusion efforts, student engagement, and as adjunct faculty. Dr. Smith has presented nationally on Indigenous higher education topics for NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education), NIEA (National Indian Education Association), NASAI (NativeAmerican Student Advocacy Institute), and ASHE (Association for the Study ofHigher Education). Additionally, she serves as the National Chair for NASPA’s Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community and has served on the NASPA Conference Leadership Committee for the 2021 and 2022 conferences. Her scholarship focuses on utilizing Indigenous methodologies and her own Tsalagi (Cherokee) epistemology in seeking to decolonize academic spaces, particularly in STEM fields. Her dissertation, entitled Indigenizing the Academy: A Storytelling Journey to Native Student Success in Engineering was awarded the 2021 NASPA Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year award. She hopes her work will contribute to dismantling of the deficit narrative and hold institutions accountable for providing culturally relevant support and space for Indigenous students.

Dr. Smith completed a B.A. inPublic Relations/Sociology, and an M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Adult & Higher Education/Student Affairs, all from the University of Oklahoma. While working at the OU Gallogly College of Engineering for 11 years, she served as the founding Women in Engineering Program Director and as the SWE and AISES chapter advisor.