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By Airman Ryan Prince, Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
/ Published December 03, 2020
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society Blazing Flame Award was given to Master Sgt. Frances Dupris virtually and sent through mail due to COVID-19 restrictions October 2020. The Blazing Flame Award is presented to an individual who blazes a path for Native Americans in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers. This award recognizes individuals with 10 or more years of professional experience with significant accomplishments in advancing STEM education and careers. (U.S. Space Force courtesy photo)
Master Sgt. Frances Dupris, Space Delta 7 operations superintendent, earned the 2020 American Indian Science and Engineering Society Blazing Flame Award on Oct. 17.
“The Blazing Flame Award is presented to an individual who blazes a path for Native Americans in STEM careers. This award recognizes individuals with 10+ years of professional experience with significant accomplishments in advancing STEM education and careers. The nominee may or may not have a technical background,”-according to the AISES website.
Dupris stood up Colorado Spring’s first National Security Agency K-12 Academic Outreach program by partnering with Colorado Military Academy for a 5-year educational agreement. The STEM and cryptologic-focused student program advances STEM field and career education. Dupris also led other vetted military members through interactive STEM talks in multiple classrooms.
Her efforts were deemed impactful in advancing the STEM career field, and in-turn, she was recognized with the Blazing Flame Award.
“There’s not a large percentage of minorities in STEM, to include Native Americans, which is an even smaller demographic,” said Dupris. “As a Native American, I continuously support Indigenous students and professionals, on their future endeavors.”
Dupris said she is passionate when it comes to spreading awareness about Native American and Alaskan Native culture, which is why winning this award meant so much to her.
Recently, the 70th ISR Wing Diversity & Inclusion team hosted a Native American Heritage Month virtual panel. Dupris orchestrated this event by reaching out to individuals, who identify as American Indian / Alaska Native, on social media platforms – asking if they would take part on the panel, retaining a moderator for the event, and providing a list of suggested questions.
“The panel included veterans and active duty personnel. The questions asked ranged from their input on why Diversity & Inclusion is important, their perspective on Indigenous Leadership, and the panelists shared some of their culture and spoke in their Native language” said Dupris.
The pre-recorded panel will be viewable on the 70th ISRW Diversity Facebook page on a future date.
Dupris said she’s been involved in Native American Heritage Month and the cultural events in the 19 years she’s been in the Air Force and has no plan to stop being an ambassador for the Native American community.
“I feel it's my duty to continue that throughout my career,” she said. “Whenever I retire, I will still take part in [these type of] events and help mentor those who are coming up after me.”