Alaska Airlines pledges $1 million to support STEM education in rural Alaska

Next year, as many as 650 middle school students from rural, native communities in Alaska will have the opportunity to dream a little bigger, thanks to a three-year partnership between Alaska...

ANCHORAGE, Ala., Oct. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Next year, as many as 650 middle school students from rural, native communities in Alaska will have the opportunity to dream a little bigger, thanks to a three-year partnership between Alaska Airlines and the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP).

A three-year, $1 million grant from Alaska Airlines will help transport Alaska students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades to Anchorage to attend ANSEP's award-winning Middle School Academy education program. Held at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the ANSEP Middle School Academy promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and supports Alaska's historically underserved and underrepresented students.

"It is our privilege to be able to help foster STEM education in the state of Alaska," said Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines' regional vice president – Alaska. "Our goal is to make sure that as many students as possible who want to attend this program have the opportunity. We know the skills these students gain by attending the ANSEP Middle School Academy will benefit their communities and the state of Alaska while preparing them for future success."

The ANSEP grant is one of the largest financial donations Alaska Airlines has made in the state in its more than 80 years of operating in Alaska. Last year Alaska donated $2.6 million in cash and in-kind contributions to support more than 300 different non-profit groups and organizations throughout the state.

Alaska Airlines will transport the first class of students in January of 2015.

ANSEP Student Scorecard at a Glance:

  • More than 75 percent of Middle School Academy students complete Algebra 1 before graduating from 8th grade, compared to 26 percent nationally.
  • 95 percent of ANSEP's High School Acceleration Academy students advance one full level in math or science after attending a five-week summer course.
  • Since the program's inception in 1995, more than 70 percent of ANSEP students who begin a collegiate bachelor's degree in STEM go on to graduate.

During the Academy students from Kotzebue to Wrangell attend classes that include problem solving, research and communication skills incorporated with biology, chemistry, physics, environmental sciences, earth sciences, engineering and design concepts, and field excursions. STEM professionals and university faculty teach the classes, giving students a university experience within a small structure. Learn about one ANSEP graduate's recent journey from St. Paul Island at

"This donation leverages funds provided in the Governor's education bill and will help us to bring the ANSEP Middle School Academy to hundreds of new students annually. We are planning to have 4,000 students in the ANSEP pipeline by 2020," said ANSEP Founder Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. "Alaska Airlines' contribution is helping us to effect a profound and positive impact for our students, their families, their communities, our state and within our partner organizations that will endure for generations."


In the last 20 years, ANSEP has evolved into a longitudinal education model that provides a continuous string of components beginning with students in sixth grade and on through high school, into science and engineering undergraduate degree programs and through graduate school to the PhD level. By successfully completing the ANSEP components, every student in Alaska can earn the Alaska Performance Scholarship regardless of where they live. ANSEP provides inspiration, guidance and opportunity for students from 95 communities. ANSEP arrived at this model after 20 years of effort and with the awareness that a fragmented approach that focuses on one academic level is not adequate to deal with the scope of the problem and ultimately falls short. ANSEP is based on the fundamental Native principle of working together in a community.

About Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK), together with its partner regional airlines, serves more than 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates for seven consecutive years from 2008 to 2014. Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan also ranked highest in the 2014 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report. For reservations, visit For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines Newsroom at

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SOURCE Alaska Airlines