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Microsoft gives Alaska program $1 million software grant

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The UAA Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program recently announced that Microsoft contributed a Large Strategic Software Grant valued at just over $1 million. The Microsoft contribution will provide Windows 7 and Microsoft Office software for ANSEP’s Pre-College component, benefiting high school students across nine states including Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona. The announcement of this generous software grant was made at ANSEP’s 15th Anniversary Celebration at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in downtown Anchorage.

ANSEP and the Indigenous Alliance for Engineering and Science Education serve communities long disconnected from the nation’s technological and economic growth. These communities have not, until recently, had the advantage of teaming with universities and key industrial firms to launch strategic outreach initiatives in their respective regions.

ANSEP’s Pre-College Program is aimed at preparing students with the coursework they need to be successful in engineering and Bachelor of Science degrees at participating universities. More than 1,000 minority students have participated in the pre-college component. Of the more than 600 students who have graduated thus far, more than 60 percent have successfully completed physics, chemistry and trigonometry prior to graduation from high school.

Using and enhancing the links the program has developed among indigenous communities, academia, industry and government agencies, ANSEP established computer laboratories in isolated communities. Industrial partners provide cash for computer parts and high schools provide space, utilities, Internet access and a site coordinator to manage the lab. High school students assemble and network the machines, teach others how to assemble and use the machines, and complete science and engineering projects.

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“Together with Microsoft, we are making a profound and positive impact on the lives of our students, their families, their communities, their states and within our partner organizations that will endure for generations,” explained ANSEP Founder and Executive Director Dr. Herb Schroeder.

In a letter announcing the gift, Microsoft recognizes the importance of being engaged in supporting communities around the world. The Microsoft Unlimited Potential – Community Technology Skills program focuses on improving IT skills for underserved individuals and communities through community technology centers or telecenters. By offering grants of cash, software and curriculum, Microsoft creates social and economic opportunities that can change peoples’ lives and transform communities.

Visit the Web site for more information about ANSEP; contact Dr. Herb (Ilisaurri) Schroeder at (907) 786-1860 or with questions.