Facility for Innovative Atmospheric Research and Education

at Sitting Bull College

Welcome to FIARE

Sitting Bull College (SBC) in Ft. Yates, ND has received a grant award from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under the Minority Institutional Research Opportunity (MIRO) program. The award of 1.3 million dollars will be spread out over a period of three years. SBC will work cooperatively with NASA to develop an atmospheric monitoring station in Ft. Yates. SBC students in our science and engineering programs will be trained by NASA in the use of instrumentation for monitoring atmospheric gases and pollutants. Students will also be trained to obtain and analyze data on ambient air quality from NASA satellites that are monitoring the earth’s atmosphere.

Dr. Gary Halvorson, instructor in Environmental Science at SBC, will be the Principal Investigator of the award. The science students at SBC are required to complete a research project for their AS and BS degree programs and will be able to use scientific data acquired from the monitoring station for their research projects. Students in the MS degree program at SBC will be able to complete their thesis research on atmospheric science topics.

The monitoring station will be known as the SBC Facility for Innovative Atmospheric Research and Education (FIARE). NASA is interested in having a monitoring station at this site, because we are in the middle of a large area of the United States without such a ground based monitoring station. Both NASA and SBC will benefit from the data obtained from the FIARE.

We will be working closely with personnel from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. They will provide training for our students in data acquisition and analyses of atmospheric data. Our students will have opportunities for 10-16 week internships at Langley or Goddard for more extensive training. We will also be working closely with the Atmospheric Science Department at the University of North Dakota. UND will help us with setting up the FIARE and maintenance of the equipment. We also hope to work closely with UND faculty and graduate students to help with teaching atmospheric science courses and help in data analyses. Our Standing Rock EPA will work closely with us and will benefit from increased capabilities in monitoring atmospheric pollutants and other gases.

This program is a NASA pilot program that will, hopefully, lead to further funding not only for SBC, but also other Tribal Colleges. SBC is actively recruiting local students and students from other Tribal Colleges for our MS degree in Environmental Science. Our next cohort of MS students will begin in the fall of 2020. Training our students in these skills will prepare them for jobs locally and for positions with NASA.

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Sitting Bull College Research

The Sitting Bull College Environmental Science Program requires original research projects at all levels. To see select examples of Sitting Bull College student and faculty research projects, click here.

Institutional Review Board

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe/Sitting Bull College Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB ensures that:

“Research at, or sponsored by Sitting Bull College will be well designed and properly executed. All researchers will abide by ethical principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. All researchers will respect the culture of the residents of the Standing Rock Reservation when designing and carrying out proposed research. All researchers will follow the guidelines and procedures for protection of human subjects outlined by SBC and carried out by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Data collection cannot begin without IRB approval. Research results will be shared with Sitting Bull College.

To learn more about the SRST/SBC IRB, click here.


To contact FIARE, please call (701)854-8071 or email gary . halvorson @ (remove spaces).

To learn more about Sitting Bull College’s Environmental Science Programs, visit:

SBC Environmental Science Program