Last man to walk on the moon Capt. Eugene Cernan joins ANSEP at 20th anniversary celebration


ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) kicked off its annual celebration Friday, Jan. 30 with a midday presentation for students led by renowned NASA astronaut Capt. Eugene Cernan.

Among his many notable accomplishments, Cernan remains the last man to walk on the moon, a highlight of his Apollo 17 mission. With his message of inspiration, guidance and opportunity told through extraordinary stories about his adventures as an astronaut, Capt. Cernan motivated ANSEP students to continue working to reach their educational and professional goals.

“I consider myself extremely fortunate because I know someone else could have been in my place, but it was me, and now I get to share my experiences with you,” said NASA astronaut Capt. Eugene Cernan. “Don’t ever stop dreaming because dreaming is what the future is made of. Dream the impossible and go make it happen.”

On Friday evening, ANSEP and its partners gathered to celebrate the program’s 20th year. In 1995, Herb Ilisaurri Shroeder, Ph.D., founded ANSEP as a scholarship program for a single student. Today, there are more than 1,500 middle school, high school, university students and alumni.

“We’re thrilled Capt. Cernan could join us in celebrating this exciting milestone and relay his inspirational message to our students,” said Founder and Vice Provost Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder, Ph.D. “We’re so proud of the exceptional progress we’ve made the past 20 years, and excited to double our reach in the next five years.”

Throughout the past two decades, ANSEP has made great progress toward improving the hiring patterns of Alaska Natives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by providing students with the tools they need to be successful. Beginning with students in middle school, ANSEP’s longitudinal model continues through high school into undergraduate degree programs and even through graduate school to the doctorate level.

Since 2010, more than 75 percent of ANSEP students who have begun a University of Alaska undergraduate program in a STEM field are still enrolled and on track to earn their degree or have graduated. By year 2020, more than 4,000 ANSEP students will be on track for science and engineering degrees. To learn more about ANSEP and its components, visit www.ANSEP.net.