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The gift of education: Alumni continue supporting ANSEP long after graduation

December 3, 2019

Because of generous support from alumni, friends and strategic partners, ANSEP provides all of its components at no cost to students or their families. For many components in the sequential model, this includes all meals, transportation and lodging.

Through components like Summer Bridge, the students not only participate for free but even have the opportunity to earn money to put towards their college tuition by working a paid internship in the field of their choice.

Through full-time and summer Acceleration Academies, students earn free college credit, and this ultimately means they can graduate early, spend less time and money on college and enter the workforce sooner.

Once in college, ANSEP University Success students receive mentorship and daily support in addition to being eligible for financial support towards undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.

After college graduation, these students are returning to their communities with STEM degrees. Their careers critically support the city infrastructure, healthcare system, education and more. ANSEP has helped students achieve their dreams of becoming doctors, biologists, engineers and other STEM professionals.

Right now, close to 2,000 students are engaged in the program at some level, and ANSEP wants to increase the number of Alaskans who benefit from its proven educational components.

ANSEP alum Dr. Michele Yatchmeneff became involved with ANSEP as a University Success then Graduate Success student at the University of Alaska Anchorage. After earning a doctorate in engineering, she returned to Alaska and became the first female Alaska Native engineering professor.

She is actively involved with the ANSEP community where she serves as a mentor to University Success students in addition to being their engineering professor.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without ANSEP’s support,” said Yatchmeneff. “I wholeheartedly believe in giving back to the program that has given so much to me. I have contributed money to ANSEP every year since I graduated.”

In addition to providing academic support and career development, ANSEP creates a family culture and many students become lifelong friends. On top of regular informal alumni reunions, ANSEP hosts an annual fundraising dinner in partnership with strategic partner ConocoPhillips.

ConocoPhillips generously matched individual donations from the evening, bringing the total raised to $104,500 this year. An incentive to donors was the opportunity to win a new Polaris XCR 600 Snow Machine donated by Hatcher Pass Polaris Wasilla and Willow.

ANSEP alum and Alyeska Pipeline Operations Director Klinton Van Wingerden took home the grand prize and shared why he is so passionate about continuously supporting ANSEP.

“ANSEP supplemented my career path in many ways. The program provided needed funding for educational expenses I was unable to cover alone. It facilitated working groups to better study and learn the course material. Most importantly, though, it provided opportunities to connect with potential employers around the state,” said Van Wingerden. “ANSEP participation ultimately lead to me being hired at Alyeska Pipeline in 2008. I’ve enjoyed being part of the Alyeska family for over 10 years and have ANSEP to thank.”

In addition to supporting ANSEP financially, as a manager for Alyeska Pipeline, Klinton has helped recent ANSEP graduates land their first job out of college. Investing in education means investing in Alaska’s future.

To support ANSEP this Giving Tuesday, visit