The Rasmuson Foundation has contributed a $2 million challenge grant for ANSEP

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

The University of Alaska Anchorage is excited to announce that The Rasmuson Foundation has contributed a $2 million challenge grant to fund the creation of an Endowed Chair position for the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP).

Dr. Herb (Ilisaurri) Schroeder, founder and director of ANSEP, started the program in 1995 with one engineering student after noticing a lack of Native engineers during his career in the oil industry. The program aims to change the hiring patterns of Indigenous Americans in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics by increasing the number of students on a career path to leadership within these fields.

The $2 million award must be matched dollar-for-dollar through other donations. The endowed ANSEP Chair ensures a permanent advocate for Alaska Natives and other Indigenous Americans in higher education, and provides ongoing stability for the program. Dr. Schroeder's vision, dedication and leadership allow UAA to nominate him as the first ANSEP endowed chair. The Chair will be selected through a formal nomination process.

The creation of this endowed position guarantees that ANSEP will continue to recruit and retain the highest quality of leadership, despite uncertain state funding. Additionally, The Rasmuson Foundation's commitment to ANSEP celebrates and memorializes important community partnerships that are making a profound difference in the lives and futures of Alaska Native students.

The ANSEP Chair will oversee all aspects of the program, providing strategic direction for the Pre-College, Summer Bridge, University Retention and Engineering Jump Start components, in addition to developing and managing partnerships with other universities. The Chair will be the key individual identified with ANSEP, responsible for building awareness and support of the program both within Alaska and throughout the United States.

ANSEP has been proven to increase university recruitment and retention rates through hands-on high school outreach initiatives, rigorous summer bridging programs, focused academic learning communities, organized student cohorts, networks of peer and professional mentors, community-based learning, professional internships, undergraduate research projects and graduate school programs. The retention rate among ANSEP engineering students is an unprecedented 70 percent, compared with 50 percent nationwide.

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