SAIO 50 for 50: Dr. Aaron Thomas
This Week's Spotlight: Dr. Aaron Thomas ('96, B.S. Chemical Engineering)
Dr. Thomas (Diné) is an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and Director of Indigenous Research and STEM Education (IRSE) at the University of Montana. His research involves the study of gas separations on the macroscale and biological separations (DNA) on the microscale for lab-on-a-chip work, but his work has increasingly focused on Native STEM education and providing pathways for Native students in STEM fields. To that end, Dr. Thomas works closely with Native undergraduate and graduate students while establishing relationships with the tribal colleges and reservation communities to improve Native STEM education and STEM research collaborations. His efforts include establishing the Montana American Indians in Math and Science Program, which engages Native middle and high school students in STEM to prepare them for higher education.
Prior to his current role at the University of Montana, Dr. Thomas was an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Idaho and served as the Director of the Idaho Space Grant Consortium and Idaho NASA EPSCoR. He is a recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER and PbioECASE Award given to young faculty in science and engineering. In addition to his Stanford degree, Dr. Thomas holds a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in chemical engineering.
Dr. Aaron Thomas's Interview