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About Our Team

Tiffany Smith, PhD
Co-PI for the ARC Network
Director of Research and Career Support at AISES

Tiffany Smith, PhD

Dr. Tiffany Smith (she/her/hers) is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and is also a descendent of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Dr. Smith serves as the Director of Research and Career Support for AISES. In this role, Dr. Smith manages several grant-supported research related projects, and conducts research related to Indigenous students and professionals in STEM disciplines. She provides oversight, strategic leadership, management, and overall direction of AISES’ research and related projects as an integral part of the Programs Department.

Prior to coming to AISES in July 2021, Dr. Smith had worked for 16 years in various aspects of student affairs, including first-year experience and orientation, career development, diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, student engagement, and as adjunct faculty. Dr. Smith has presented nationally on Indigenous higher education topics for WEPAN (Women in Engineering ProActiv Network), NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education), NIEA (National Indian Education Association), NASAI (Native American Student Advocacy Institute), AERA (American Educational Research Association) and ASHE (Association for the Study of Higher Education). Additionally, she serves as the National Chair for NASPA’s Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community and has served on the NASPA Conference Leadership Committee for the 2021 and 2022 conferences. Recently, Dr. Smith served as a keynote speaker at WEPAN’s 2022 Equity in STEM Convening in Washington, DC, and their virtual Women in Engineering Programming Day.

Her scholarship focuses on utilizing Indigenous methodologies and her own Tsalagi (Cherokee) epistemology in seeking to decolonize academic spaces, particularly in STEM fields. Her dissertation, entitled Indigenizing the Academy: A Storytelling Journey to Native Student Success in Engineering was awarded the 2021 NASPA Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year award. She hopes her work will contribute to dismantling of the deficit narrative and hold institutions accountable for providing culturally relevant support and space for Indigenous students.

Dr. Smith completed a B.A. in Public Relations/Sociology, and an M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Adult & Higher Education/Student Affairs Administration, all from the University of Oklahoma. While working at the OU Gallogly College of Engineering for 11 years, she served as the founding Women in Engineering Program Director and as the proud AISES and SWE chapter advisor. Dr. Smith resides in Blanchard, Okla., with her husband Zach, and two children, Tytan (8) and Mya (3).