Robeson Community College
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AISES Conference to include free powwow, drone & robot show

Faculty and staff at Robeson Community College are busy putting on the finishing touches for the upcoming AISES Conference.

“You can feel the excitement in the air,” RCC President Melissa Singler said. “We are looking forward to hosting the 2023 District 7 AISES Conference and we can’t wait for everyone to join us on our campus this Friday.”

Conference check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Friday morning, with opening ceremonies beginning at 9:00 am.

Reggie Brewer with the Lumbee Tribe will offer the blessing, followed by John Oxendine who will perform the Honor Song. The posting of colors will be done by Native American Veterans, with Liliana Locklear singing the National Anthem. President Singler will give remarks, followed by Veronica Kay Freeman who will introduce the Circle of Elders. Scottie Locklear will introduce the keynote speaker, Dr. Jada Brooks, a Carol Morde Ross Distinguished Term Scholar, Associate Professor and Lead Faculty member for the UNC School of Nursing.

Microsoft IT Executive Zach Oxendine, also a keynote speaker, will open ceremonies on Saturday morning.

Breakout sessions on Friday will include a special ‘Day in the Life’ Series featuring health sciences, mechatronics engineering and industrial systems, information technology; Leveraging LinkedIn for Professional Success; Trickster’s: An Escape Room; Explore the possibilities with NASA; Case of the Bloody Bumper – Bio Network.

Saturday breakout sessions will be more hands on with options to learn more about basket weaving, beadwork, pottery, ribbon skirts/shirts, and more.

“We are expecting a large number of visitors from across the Southeast to descend upon Robeson County” Singler stated. “We will have attendees from as far away as Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi and all points in between.”

The conference will provide opportunities for career exploration and opportunities to tour ETI as well as the Museum of the Southeast American Indian and the Curt and Catherine Locklear American Indian Heritage Center.

A banquet will be held on Friday night at Oakwood Farms, followed by a dance and social event.

The conference will conclude with AISES Fest on Saturday, which will include a powwow exhibition and cultural showcase, entertainment, arts and craft vendors, food trucks, and a drone and robot show.

“This will be the event of the year at Robeson Community College,” Singler said. “This is a great opportunity to learn, fellowship, and to unite and come together as one.”

If you haven’t registered, there is still time. The conference is open to dually enrolled students, college students and professionals. The cost is $10 for students and $20 for professionals.

To register, please visit

AISES Fest is free and open to the general public. The powwow will begin at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, in the center of campus, with all celebrations coming to a close at 3:00 p.m.

“We are extremely pleased with the overwhelming support of our businesses/organizations throughout the Southeast,” stated Dr. Kenneth Bowen, one of the organizers of the event. “It is evident that supporting Indigenous STEM through the work of AISES is on the hearts of many and we are very grateful to be able to support and promote this very important cause.”  

The AISES conference is presented by the RCC First Americans’ Pathway to STEM Success (FAPSS) grant and –

  • Eagle Sponsors: Lumbee Tribe Holding, Inc., Duke Energy, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the USDA, the United States Intelligence Community, NASA, Lumberton Visitors Bureau, Merck.\
  • Turtle Sponsors: Metcon, Dominion Energy, and Lumbee Tribal Council Members – Jody Bullard, Yvonne Dial, Josephine Doss, Bobby Emanuel, Homer Fields, Gerald Goolsby, Kathy Hunt, Kristie Hunt, Richard Jones, Rudy Locklear, Wendy Moore, Billy Oxendine, Chocajuana Oxendine, and Annie Taylor.
  • Bear Sponsors: Michael Locklear – MR Electric and Security Alarms, Inc, Primary Health Choice, USDA – Florence, Chemours, Freese and Nichols, Susan McNeill Concessions.\
  • Deer Sponsors: Kenneth Bowen, Sheriff Burnis Wilkins, Lumbee River EMS, Northeastern-Khoury College of Computer Science, Patterson’s Steak and Grill, Boles Funeral Home, Michael Jacobs, Triangle UXPA, Daniell Perez, MaDukes Sweets & Treats, Worriax Backhoe Service, Scott Lamm, Bio Pharma Professional Services LLC, Worriax Backhoe Service, NC Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NCLSAMP) grant at UNCP, State Farm – Corbin Eddings, Lumbee Outfitters, Hunt’s Tire, Jarrod Lowery – State Representative, Faline Dial – County Commissioner, Lumbee Regional Development Association (LRDA), Jody Bullard – Tribal Council, Judy Sampson – County Commissioner, Department of Agriculture – Florence, SC; The Luna Tree, LLC; NC Commission of Indian Affairs; Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center NC State; CQue Food/Vending, John Cummings – County Commisioner, Ginger Oxendine, Fran’s Favorites, Loretta Allen, Cisco, Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Lemonade Stand LLC, Phil Co Food Truck, Icebreakers Snowball

For more information on the conference, please contact Dr. Kenneth Bowen at, 910-272-3934 or Megan Locklear at, 910-272-3459.


To download a copy of the program with agenda and sponsorship information, please click here.