Alaska Native Science, Engineering Program named finalist in Harvard competition

Vincent Schilling

ANSEP’s work providing critical STEM education for Alaskan natives impressed the awards’ judges

News Release

Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

Cambridge, MA  The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recently recognized the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) as one of seven finalists in this years Innovations in American Government Awards competition. ANSEP will compete for a $50,000 grand prize this fall in Cambridge.

ANSEP was selected by the Innovations Award evaluators based on its novelty, effectiveness, significance, and transferability, as well as its impact on economic and social mobility, inequity, and stratification.  In honor of its achievement as a finalist, ANSEP will receive a monetary grant.

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 Alaskan Native Science and Engineering Program 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.

ANSEP 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.

Since its inception, ANSEP has built an impressive track of providing critical job skills training for Alaskan natives. The program has the potential to be replicated in communities across the country, said Stephen Goldsmith, Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the Director of the Innovations in American Government Program. 

Representatives from ANSEP will present to the National Selection Committee of the Innovations in American Government Awards onThursday, September 27, with the winner to be announced later this year.

Please visit the Government Innovators Network at for the full list of finalists, and for more information regarding the Innovations in American Government Awards.