Alaska natives, more than any other demographic in the state, have historically been less likely to pass standardized tests and more likely to drop out of school. In 2014, only five percent of Alaska native graduating seniors met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. As a result, a majority of Alaska natives are unable to pursue careers reliant on a college education and, specifically, are underrepresented in the science and engineering professions.
The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) works with indigenous youth in some of the most remote areas of the country to encourage the development of STEM skills to prepare them for future job opportunities. The program starts working with students as early as kindergarten and engages with them every year all the way through PhD programs. Program components include a residential science and engineering experience for middle school students and a full-time ANSEP Acceleration High School where students learn from university faculty and STEM practitioners to earn high school and university credits simultaneously.