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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – The National Science Foundation has announced Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program as the recipient of a $3 million research grant through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program.
Receiving $600,000 a year over the next five years, ANSEP will use the funding to conduct research aimed at better understanding the barriers to broadening participation in the STEM workforce. The grant will also fund a programmatic expansion across all three University of Alaska campuses. The goal is to increase the number of students who earn a baccalaureate degree in a STEM field and become part of the STEM workforce.
“The partnership between NSF’s LSAMP and ANSEP couldn’t be a more natural fit,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “The mission of LSAMP is to help more minority students complete STEM degree programs and ultimately effect change in the representation of minorities in the workforce. This has been ANSEP’s mission since the program first started 22 years ago.”
ANSEP’s success in creating change in hiring patterns is evident at its own university where ANSEP alumni and co-investigators for the NSF grant application Drs. Michele Yatchmeneff and Matt Calhoun became the first tenure-track Alaska Native engineering professors in University of Alaska’s history.
“In Alaska, we are up against an enormous challenge when it comes to transitioning students from high school into college, but ANSEP has found a way to do that, even for students coming to the university from rural villages,” said Yatchmeneff, who grew up in False Pass and King Cove, villages of approximately 50 and 1,000 people, respectively.
From Middle School Academy, the first component in ANSEP’s longitudinal model, all the way through the doctorate level, ANSEP has more than 2,000 students in its pipeline. These students hail from more than 100 communities across Alaska, including everywhere from the smallest villages to the state’s largest city of Anchorage.
“ANSEP has proven that when the right people have access to the right resources, Alaska Native students can break down barriers and become valuable leaders in our workforce,” said Calhoun, who still works closely with ANSEP and mentors students in addition to being a professor at University of Alaska Anchorage College of Engineering.
To learn more about ANSEP and how it is effecting positive change in Alaska’s education system and workforce, visit www.ANSEP.net.