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American Indian Science and Engineering Society

National nonprofit organization established with the goal of developing Native American professionals and leaders in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

American Indian Science & Engineering Society
4263 Montgomery Blvd. NE
Suite 200
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Fax: 505.765.5608
Today's Hours: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
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2019 AISES National Conference Wrap-up


2019 AISES National Conference: Workshops, Hackathons, and More!

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) chose the theme “Indigenizing the Future of STEM” for its 2019 National Conference, held October 10–12 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. Now in its 41st year, the AISES National Conference has grown into an amazing collaborative event that connects science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and career professionals to hundreds of industry leaders, scholars, researchers, and peer organizations.

The more than 1,900 conference participants were officially welcomed by Milwaukee civic and business leaders for three days of meetings, workshops, sessions, conference events, and networking opportunities with STEM leaders and professionals.

Over 230 event and program sponsors made this year’s annual conference successful. AISES is grateful to Turquoise Sponsors Intel Corporation and The Boeing Company for their substantial support of the National Conference. Throughout each conference day, participants found a myriad of opportunities to explore, experience, engage, and enjoy. AISES thanks every sponsor who made this conference truly memorable and appreciates all their contributions and the continuing partnerships that strengthen opportunities for Indigenous people in STEM.

Edgar Villanueva (Lumbee Tribe), the author of the book, Decolonizing Wealth, joined AISES CEO Sarah EchoHawk in a keynote conversation. Villanueva discussed his distinct outlook on philanthropy, which is informed by his experience as a racial equity specialist and Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education. His ideas, especially his views on barriers to accessing resources and how approaches to philanthropy impact people of color, resonated with the audience.

During the opening ceremony, Sarah EchoHawk moderated a panel of federal, foundation, and corporate leaders on the topic “Building a Stronger Workforce: The Value of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).” Each executive discussed their efforts to promote DEI to advance innovation and success within their organizations. Joining the panel were Cynthia Muller, director, Mission Investment, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; James E. Campos, director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, U.S. Department of Energy; Kathleen Jolivette, vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs and Senior Site Executive, The Boeing Company; Rhonda James, senior program manager, Global Diversity and Inclusion, Intel Corporation; and Rita Sampson, chief of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

 In addition to almost 100 educational sessions, workshops, and programs, the 2019 AISES National Conference offered team capacity-building resources for honing best practices, latest technology tools, and emerging trends in STEM. Conference-goers could also participate in events like a mini-hackathon sponsored by Wells Fargo, a Hackathon sponsored by Chevron, STEM Activity Day sponsored by The Boeing Company, a student lunch sponsored by 3M, and a Ride and Drive sponsored by Fiat Chrysler. Tours of Carthage College, Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and local businesses Data Holdings and UPS were also available.

The 2019 National Conference Wrap-Up digital edition of Winds of Change magazine will be available soon. You can help us improve the Winds of Change magazine by completing a reader surveySee images from the opening ceremony to the Social Powwow and numerous other conference events captured over three densely packed days on the AISES Flickr. To request permission to use an image, please contact Montoya Whiteman at Finally, you can access videos of the recipients of the prestigious Professional Awards at the AISES YouTube channel. Share the videos of these talented leaders widely!

 AISES looks forward to many more years of association with the partners, sponsors, friends, and members who joined us at the “Indigenizing the Future of STEM” themed 2019 National Conference in Milwaukee. We hope to see you at the 2020 Leadership Summit starting February 16-18 at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California or the 2020 AISES National Conference beginning October 15-17 in Spokane, Washington.

You can stay engaged with AISES by joining or renewing your AISES membership where you will automatically receive monthly Paths to Opportunities e-newsletters, e-announcements, and other news about AISES events and opportunities.


Our Mission

The mission of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is to substantially increase the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers. Founded in 1977, growing the AISES membership above our current 4,800 individual members is key to achieving our mission. AISES supports 150+ affiliated pre-college schools, 190 chartered college and university chapters, two tribal chapters, and 20 professional chapters in the U.S. and Canada. We promote the highest standards of education and professional excellence to widen the STEM workforce and grow sector support. We highlight the geographic, economic, and social aspects of STEM education and careers. We engage and advocate through scholarships, internships, and other diverse programming. AISES has awarded over $12 million in academic scholarships to American Indian STEM students. Learn more at

Our Programs

To accomplish its mission, AISES works with pre-college and college students, as well as professional members working in STEM fields. Many of the projects within our three core program areas overlap as AISES seeks to provide mentee opportunities for our pre-college and college members with professional member mentors.

Program Area One

Awareness and Retention for Native Pre-College Students, Students’ Parents and Educators

In order to increase the numbers of Indigenous North Americans seeking degrees and careers in STEM fields, students must be started on the STEM pathway early. One of the biggest challenges in reaching this goal is ensuring that students, educators and parents have access to information and resources related to STEM.

Far too often, because there is little, if any, access to these critical resources, students are unprepared to undertake a STEM major when they begin college. Many students lack the necessary high school classes required for entrance into a STEM major in college and are thus faced with the challenge and costs of taking additional pre-requisite college classes. Given this, many Native students opt-out of STEM majors for other majors.

AISES provides the following programming:

Energy Challenge Competition • Power Up Workshops • SPRK-ing Interest in Computer Science • Research and Poster Presentations and Competitions • College and Career Fair • College Tours • National Conference Sessions • K-12 Affiliate Chapter Membership to 158 Schools

Program Area Two

Access and Success for Native American Undergraduate and Graduate Students

AISES administers many programs, services, and events for undergraduate and graduate students designed to increase their access to college and support their success in STEM in preparation for career opportunities in STEM fields.

Native college students need professional mentorship and peer support in addition to scholarship support. Students are most successful when they have a network of other Native students, as well as professionals who can provide ongoing supports while they are pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies. AISES provides exactly this critically needed support through its programming.

AISES provides the following programming:

Scholarship Funds for STEM Majors • Internships in STEM Fields with Corporations and Government Agencies • Fellowships (Lighting the Pathway Program) • Research and Poster Presentations and Competitions • Professional Mentorship • 189 College Chapters Across North America • Regional Conferences • College and Career Fair • Leadership Development and Student Leadership Opportunities • National Conference Sessions

Program Area Three

Leadership and Change for Native STEM Professionals

AISES is dedicated to supporting early, mid and executive professionals in STEM fields through professional development, career opportunities, networking and research support to mentors who support professionals in STEM.

AISES’ support does not end once a student graduates from college and enters a STEM career, but rather provides ongoing career and professional development programming to help Native STEM professionals grow and succeed in their chosen career fields. Additionally, AISES offers a multitude of opportunities for professionals to “give back” through mentoring and supporting Native STEM students.

AISES provides the following programming:

Mentoring of Students • Scholarship Review and Scoring • Research and Science Fair Judging • Serving as Speakers and Trainers at AISES Events • Corporate Advisory Council Service • Government Relations Council Service • Professional Chapter Council Service • Academic Advisory Council Service • Canadian Indigenous Advisory Council Service • Tribal Nations Advisory Council Service • Winds of Change Ad Hoc Committee Service • Professional Development Programming • Career Fair • Professional Awards • 15 Professional Chapters Across North America • National Conference Sessions • Opportunities to Present Research

Program Area Four

Strategic Partnerships and Research for Native People in STEM

In addition to AISES’ three core programs – Pre-College, College and Professional – AISES also engages in strategic partnerships and conducts research to further our mission of substantially increasing the representation of North American Indigenous in STEM studies and careers.

AISES engages in the following partnerships, projects, and research*:

U.S. Department of Education • Cherokee Preservation Fund • Helen A. Powers Foundation • Salt River Project • Intel • General Motors • Motorola • The Boeing Company • Indigenous Education, Inc. • Comcast Universal • National Science Foundation • 50K Coalition • Chevron • U.S Department of Agriculture • Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway • America’s Navy • Navy Civilian • NextEra Energy • Raytheon • General Electric • Microsoft • IBM • AISES Publishing, Inc.

*This is not all inclusive.

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