• victor koosh

Intern Spotlight - Tada Vargas


Tada Vargas is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and an Oglala Sioux Tribe descendent. She was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota and a senior at Oglala Lakota College, OLC.

She recently received an Associate degree in Lakota Studies and finished her certification in Lakota Language. She is pursuing a Bachelors’ degree in Natural Science

with a Conservation Biology emphasis, as well as a Bachelor’s in Native American Studies with an emphasis in Tribal Law.

Tada has been a research assistant for OLC through a majority of her college career. In her time there, she contributed to a variety of scientific projects ranging from validating cold pressure extraction of the bitter gourd melon using thin layer chromatography, to studying effects of cattle

introgression in bison on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

In the summer of 2017, she completed an internship at the National Institute of Health National Human Genome Research Institute, where she analyzed RNA, in vitamin B12 deficient mice.

Last summer, Tada interned at Black Hills State University There she identified unknown fungal species in the Sanford Underground Research Facility, SURF, from the one of the deepest underground laboratories in the world, using Sanger sequencing.

Tada has participated in a variety of opportunities ranging from scientific conferences, cultural workshops, to policy fellowships. Tada has spoken multiple times on Capitol Hill, regarding the importance of funding for higher education to Indigenous Tribal Nations.

Additionally, she uses her bison research to become a strong advocate for establishing food sovereignty and food equity

for reservation communities, as well as culture preservation.

More recently, Tada was selected to be a participant for “Future Leaders Connect”, a world-wide program with the British Council. This program was designed for emerging leaders, to discuss policy initiatives addressing social


Tada plans to be an advocate for First Nations people, using her education, skills, and background in areas of policy building, scientific research, and/or academia.

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