Karletta Daané Chief was born in Black Mesa, Arizona to the Diné, or Navajo, people. She grew up in a house with five siblings and no electricity or running water.
No one in Chief’s immediate family had attended college, but her parents valued education and encouraged her to pursue her degree. Having grown up in a population heavily affected by environmental changes, Chief decided to pursue a degree in environmental engineering.
After high school, she completed a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1998 and a master’s degree in 2000, both from Stanford University.
She didn’t forget her heritage, returning home to participate in cultural obligations, she won Miss Navajo Nation in 2000. Unlike beauty pageants, the Miss Navajo Nation competition is a celebration of the Navajo culture and includes answering quiz-like questions about the Navajo way of life, demonstrating the proper way to butcher a sheep, and speaking the Navajo language, all while wearing traditional Navajo dress.
Chief returned to academia and completed her doctorate in hydrology and water resources from the University of Arizona in 2007. She spent three years in Las Vegas as a post doctorate fellow with the Desert Research Institute.
In 2011, Chief took a faculty position at the University of Arizona, where she continues to work today. She is currently an assistant professor and specialist in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. She focuses on watershed hydrology, unsaturated flow in arid environments, and the effects of both natural and human changes on soil hydrology.
Chief continues to work closes with the Navajo Nation, using her knowledge of the environment to study the risks climate change poses for indigenous people, and acting as an ambassador between the Navajo and science communities.
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.