Welcome to the NAISC

Native American and Indigenous Scholars Collaborative

Image: Native American medicine wheel with feathersThe Native American and Indigenous Scholars Collaborative (NAISC) is designed to help reduce the profound gap in the numbers of school counselors and school psychologists appropriately trained to serve Native American and other Indigenous youth and communities.

The NAISC Project provides a cross-level cohort model, Native American mentors, models, readings, ongoing specialty seminar, and supervised specialized field placements.

We emphasize strength and resilience-based interventions that affirm the culture of the child and recognize the influences of historical trauma and colonization.

Combined with graduate studies and coursework, we learn and use specialized knowledge to differentiate difference from disability, and to help design and deliver culturally appropriate pedagogical and psychological services. 

NAISC is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

Photo: Group of NAISC women laughingly pose for photo in front of Ship Rock


Program Features

  • NAISC provides a cross-level cohort model, Native American mentors and models, readings, ongoing speciality seminar, and supervised specialized field placements.
  • Financial incentives offset the costs of tuition, and help support scholars with supplies, professional development, mileage to rural placements, and involvement in Native American educational activities and professional programs.
  • Our 2 rural partner school districts provide access to work with Native American students, parent groups, and tribal communities.
  • NAISC supports the preparation of fully qualified School Psychologists and School Counselors to serve a diverse range of youth, and to specialize in service with Native American youth.

All project students are accepted to one of 2 graduate programs in School Psychology or School Counseling.

Photo: NAISC scholar mentoring youth with small drum at table near window.

NAISC scholars:

  • Begin each year with an Institute on Traditional Knowledge, building a base of personal and cultural values and connecting deeply as a cohort
  • Meet together a weekly in seminar to read and discuss issues relevant to Native American education, and travel to partner field sites to work with Indigenous youth and leadership teams.
  • Attend 2 professional conferences each year, and most go on summer immersion experiences. This augments their graduate programs in school counseling or school psychology. 

Contact Information

Carol Robinson-ZaƱartu, Ph.D.
Director, Native American and Indigenous Scholars Collaborative
Department of Counseling & School Psychology
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-1179