Pebble Partners with University ANSEP

The Pebble Partnership continues its partnership with the University of Alaska’s, (UA), Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) with a $75,000 donation, the second installment of a five-year annual commitment. Presented by Pebble Partnership CEO, John Shively, during a spring student luncheon, the cooperative education program provides long-term career path opportunities for Alaska Native students in the fields of science and engineering.

There are more than 700 ANSEP students statewide. Specific elements of ANSEP supported by Pebble Partnership include a comprehensive suite of Pre-College, Summer Bridging, University Success and Graduate Success components, specifically targeting students from Southwest Alaska. The program offers a step-by-step, structured platform that leads participants through the education process beginning in middle school and continuing through undergraduate studies, graduate school and professional life. The goal at each level is to create an atmosphere of empowerment and achievement relative to engineering and science careers.

The Pebble Partnership’s annual commitment supports a combination of ANSEP staff travel, housing and instruction. Specific to the Summer Bridging section, support includes funding for Youth Program Mentors (YPM), program coordination, activities, transportation, instructional materials and meals.

“ANSEP is a strong education program that offers a great opportunity for students in Southwest Alaska, with the potential to have a profound and positive impact in the region for generations to come,” says John Shively, CEO, of the Pebble Partnership. “Under UAA’s excellent mentorship, the program has a proven track record for success.”

The program is currently hosting 10 students from the Bristol Bay region enrolled at UAA as part of the 2009/2010 academic session. Students range from freshman through junior levels, with half of the participants studying biological science and the other half engineering.

“The intent of the program is to effect a systemic change in the hiring patterns of Alaska Native students in the science and engineering professions,” says Herb Schroeder, Associate Dean and Professor of Engineering at UAA and Executive Director of ANSEP.

“Indigenous students have historically come to the University under prepared in math and science, which often creates serious problems academically. Developing early education curriculums that coincide with field-specific mentoring is a time-tested and proven combination for success.”

The Pre-College section targets middle school students and high school freshmen. Annually, up to 10 qualified students will be provided with the parts and software to assemble a top-of-the-line computer. Students who successfully complete high school, chemistry, physics and trigonometry prior to graduation will be allowed to keep the computer as they continue under-graduate studies at the University. The Pre-College component brings computer technology to remote communities; offers a career vision in science and engineering; connects students with industry and academic professionals; provides industrial partners with a technologically trained workforce; and provides the infrastructure necessary for long-term sustainability.

The Summer Bridging component is aimed at recent high school graduates attending class within the UAA system. The Summer Bridging program includes a nine week summer internship for up to three students at a partner organization, which includes work with Pebble, a Pebble sub-contractor, BP, Conoco-Phillips, Alyeska Pipeline, NANA/Colt, NANA/Dowl and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The course includes work pairing with a project engineer or biologist, four hours daily of precalculus, collaborative study, University housing, field trips and group activities.

The Pebble Project is located in Southwest Alaska on state land designated for mineral exploration and development. It is situated approximately 1,000 feet above sea-level and 65 miles from tidewater on Cook Inlet. The Pebble Partnership was established in July 2007 as a 50:50 partnership between Anglo American plc and Northern Dynasty Minerals.