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UAS Awarded USDA NIFA Grant to Address Underrepresentation of Alaska Natives and American Indians in STEM Fields

The University of Alaska Southeast has been awarded $515,073 for its project “Alaska Native Knowledge: Experiences in Resources and Science” (ANKERS).

Ketchikan, Alaska

Date of Press Release: August 13, 2021

Kaasei Naomi Michalsen, Tlingit, is  Eagle/Wolf, of the Wooshkeetaan, Shark House, and teaches about traditional foods.
Kaasei Naomi Michalsen, Tlingit, is Eagle/Wolf, of the Wooshkeetaan, Shark House, and teaches about traditional foods.

The University of Alaska Southeast has been awarded $515,073 for its project “Alaska Native Knowledge: Experiences in Resources and Science” (ANKERS). This grant is one of five recently announced by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, according to its website, to “strengthen the ability of Alaska-Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (ANNH) to carry out education, applied research, and related community development programs.” The grant begins this month and extends through July 2024. It’s principal investigators are UAS Ketchikan campus director Dr. Priscilla Schulte, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology and Jen Brown, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, based at the Ketchikan Campus.

This project addresses the problems of the underrepresentation of Alaska Natives and American Indians in STEM fields and specifically the areas of food security and natural resource systems. This is critical because of the increasing need for food security as well as increasing challenges to maintaining healthy lifestyles based on traditional food resources.

Activities proposed in this program will enhance educational equity, prepare students for careers in food and natural resource careers, and enhance science and interdisciplinary education.

Grant activities will include experiential learning such as field trips, lab analysis, and presentations by Alaska Native elders and cultural teachers, as well as developing educational materials and holding community workshops. These activities should lead to improved food security and greater knowledge of healthy foods that are critical to a healthy lifestyle.

“This grant builds upon years of engaged community activity around intertidal ecosystems in Ketchikan and should provide fun and meaningful experiences for Alaska Native students and community members. We are encouraged by the USDA’s commitment to supporting Alaska Native supporting institutions and are excited to continue UAS-Ketchikan’s commitment to excellent community-based programming,” said Co-PI Jen Brown.

You can learn more about previous grant activities by visiting our prior USDA grant activity webpage.

Additional Resources

Press Release Contact

Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
(907) 796-6509
klcampbell4@alaska.edu