ANSEP gives students opportunities of a lifetime through Summer Bridge internships


ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – This summer, 25 Alaskan students participated in hands-on internships through the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program’s Summer Bridge component. To gain professional experience before they enroll in the University of Alaska in the fall, ANSEP Summer Bridge students had a rare opportunity to experience a career in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) field, including engineering for an oil and gas company or wildlife biology with a state or federal agency.

Summer Bridge is just one component of ANSEP, which strives to promote STEM while encouraging historically underrepresented students to pursue careers in science and engineering at an early age. This component was adopted in 1998 from the University of Washington as a way to mitigate some of the problems Indigenous students were facing due to poor math preparation as well as issues related to career awareness and transitioning to the University from rural communities.

“Participation in the Summer Bridge component is one of the most important steps in our students’ educational development. This component plays a key role in providing Alaska a sustainable workforce for years to come,” said Founder and Executive Director of ANSEP Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “We’re fortunate to live in a state that has a myriad of opportunities in STEM fields where students can learn and grow early in their educational careers.”

“ANSEP helped me learn to work with others, manage time and be away from home. ANSEP accelerates students and motivates them so they believe they can do it,” said ANSEP student Randall Friendly, who was placed this summer with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service researching brown bears and invasive species at Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge.

Summer Bridge internships are spread throughout the state and are specific to each student’s field of interest. Internships range from working on managing capital improvement projects with the North Slope Borough in Barrow to working with the United States Forest Service in the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. Through Summer Bridge, ANSEP offers internships with Shell, BP Exploration, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Bureau of Land Management, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Geological Survey, North Slope Borough, Kuskokwim Native Association, LGL, National Park Service and United States Forest Service – Chugach National Forest.