Institute for New England Native American Studies

Empowering Native Communities through University Scholarship

Native American Faculty

Robyn Hannigan, PhD
Founding Dean, School for the Environment

Robyn is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Geological Society of America, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, and the 2007 American Chemical Society Medal awardee for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. Her research and student mentoring have been highlighted by Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, Advancing Science Serving Society, and the National Science Foundation.

Robyn began her circuitous route to a career in geochemistry at the College of New Jersey, where she earned her BS in biology and chemistry. After that she completed her doctoral degree in earth and environmental science at the University of Rochester, focusing on high and low temperature trace element geochemistry. During her post-doctoral fellowships at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and at Old Dominion University, she used her expertise in geochemistry to inform collaborative research projects with biologists, chemists, and oceanographers.

Robyn is considered an entrepreneurial scientist. This means that, in addition to basic scientific research, she and her students pursue direct applications of their work through the development of technology. Robyn is also the chief science officer of GeoMed Analytical, which uses geochemical methods to study human health and food resource issues such as food sourcing and metals in disease treatment and diagnosis. Many of her current and former students are actively involved in entrepreneurial science as well.

Phone: 617.287.4857

Sophia Natalia Cisneros, PhD
Adjunct Professor of Physics, College of Science and Mathematics

Sophia N. Cisneros is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians of Oregon. She is one of the co-founders of the Math, Culture, Environment  Academy, and is the first Native American woman to receive her PhD in Physics.

Sophia is a visiting scientist at the Laboratory for Nuclear Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to her research and teaching, she is actively involved in mentoring and internships for Native youth through the Native Education Science Initiative. She received her PhD in physics from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and her MA in physics from the City College of New York.

Phone: 617.287.6132