University Success


Supported in part through the National Science Foundation LSAMP


Fostering an engaged learning community focused on academic success and professional development

Our goal is for each University Success student to:

  • Be effective at working in teams and understand the importance of a supportive community/study group
  • Earn the money they need for college through internships
  • Earn scholarship support
  • Develop a network of peer mentors
  • Develop a network of professional mentors
  • Complete a research project as an undergraduate
  •  Develop leadership skills by making presentations to students and professionals describing their summer internships and research projects
  • Develop leadership skills by leading recitation sessions and mentoring other students
  • Graduate with a B.S. in a STEM discipline

ANSEP was started in 1995 with one student. Since 1995 our university has graduated 304 Alaska Native scientists and engineers.  Approximately 400 bachelor’s degree-seeking students participate.

How the University Success component works:

Our retention rates are high because we have designed an academic community that focuses on those areas where students have traditionally had difficulties. ANSEP students understand the importance of community and teamwork. We help them find ways to work together to be successful.

Our University Success component academic community is composed of students, faculty, staff, and external partners who are focused on the academic success as well as the personal and professional development of each student. Students are teamed. They are co-enrolled in classes, participate in organized study groups, provided with opportunities for peer and professional mentoring, do undergraduate research projects, work summer internships, and participate in planned group social activities.


Alyeska wing in the UAA residence halls is where many of our students live.  On the wing all of the ANSEPers live and study together for success.  On the weekends our students have group activities like movie night, game night at the ANSEP Building, camping, go-karts and other things that the students choose to do.  College is hard work but we want everyone to have fun too.


The University Success component consists of the following:

Students are teamed in an academic community where students supported by peers and professionals, work together for success. Many students live and study together on campus. Others come to organized study groups. Building a supportive peer group is a big part of why we are successful.
  • Recitation Sessions are designed to strengthen skills in the gateway courses like calculus, chemistry, computer programming, and physics. Junior, Senior, and graduated students who have previously completed the course with a grade of ‘B’ or better lead the sessions. Students meet weekly. Students are required to get up and solve problems on the board and be able to explain what they are doing to the other students in the session. We have found this to be a very effective learning tool.
    Student building computer
  • The Master Student Class follows the very successful curriculum developed by Dr. Ray Landis at California State University of Los Angeles. The class is based on the premise that students will do better in engineering and science if they understand how to go about becoming a successful student. All new students take the class.
  • Summer internships are required so students earn the money they need for school, clarify their vision of a career in science or engineering, expand their professional network, and are provided additional mentoring opportunities. Internships are productive for the employer and educational for the student. Internship sites in town are structured with time each week for interns to make field trips to suppliers and 'brown bag' sessions where professionals explain important issues related to their profession.
  • Students can also live together in the UAA residence halls in the Alyeska wing where many of our students live.  On the wing all of the ANSEPers live and study together for success.  On the weekends our students have group activities like movie night, game night at the ANSEP Building, camping, go-karts and other things that the studnets choose to do.  College is hard work but we want everyone to have fun too.

  • Research opportunities are provided for the students through our graduate schools and industrial partner organizations. We work to connect each of our students with undergraduate research opportunities, and foster mentoring relationships with current PhD candidates and research faculty. We encourage students to have one of their summer internships involve working with research scientists. We work with National Science Foundation (NSF) research grantees to incorporate undergraduate research funding. The graduate students working on the various research projects make presentations at the weekly team building meetings.
  • Advising Sessions with faculty advisers are required twice each semester for first and second year students.
  • Students are co-enrolled in classes so that there is always another ANSEP student to work with on that tough coursework.
  • Students are required to attend weekly team building meetings where professionals from the community come to meet the students and explain their jobs and the opportunities available in engineering and science. We work to keep these sessions very informal and relaxed. Pizza is provided by the industrial partners. It is an opportunity for us to see the students each week. We use these sessions to identify and mitigate problems before they jeopardize the student’s academic success. The sessions also provide a networking opportunity for the students with professionals, faculty, staff, and the other students.
  • Merit based scholarships are provided by many of our industrial partners. Scholarships play an important role in retention. Many of our students would not be able to overcome the financial hurdle presented by educational costs without them. We are working to build an endowment so that the scholarship component will live in perpetuity.
  • Planned weekly activities deepen the team bond that is so important to their success. These include things like hiking, bowling, overnight camping trips, movies, laser tag, and other activities the students choose. AISES or other professional society membership is required for all of the students to help them develop a network beyond the university.


Requirements to be an active participant of the University Success component:

  • Students must be accepted to the University of Alaska within an approved 4-year science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree program.
  • Students must make full-time academic progress (12 credit hours per semester or a total of 24 credit hours in an academic year) towards their approved 4-year STEM degree.
  • Students must attend weekly ANSEP meetings.
  • Students must attend weekly ANSEP recitation/group study sessions.
  • Students must become a student member in a professional society.
  • Students must complete an 8-week summer internship related to their degree program.