Baxter Bond Recruits Indigenous Students to UAF at AISES National Conference

Baxter Bond Recruits Indigenous Students to UAF at AISES National Conference

As of 2021, approximately 20 percent of UAF students identified as Indigenous, which ranks in the top five highest in the nation, yet there is a much smaller representation of Indigenous people among UAF staff and faculty.

“Indigenous people in research help produce more equitable and culturally sensitive research, which is something that we should strive for at UAF across all groups,” said Baxter Bond.

Bond recently traveled to Palm Springs, California, to attend the 45th annual American Indian Science and Engineering Society national conference. This unique three-day event focused on educational, professional and workforce development for Indigenous peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands in science, technology, engineering and math studies and careers.

Members of AISES included Indigenous high school and college students, educators and professionals, including representatives from tribal nations, tribal enterprises and Indigenous-owned businesses. The conference hosts the largest college and career fair in the U.S. for Indigenous students and professionals. 

Bond, who is Yup’ik, born in Bethel and raised in the western Alaska community of Tununak, attended conference representing UAF as both an alumnus and as a staff member. His goal while attending the conference was to help recruit undergraduates, graduates, staff and faculty for UAF.  

Bond’s presence at the conference allowed him to share with attendees, first hand, his perspective and experience going from high school to college and finally to being a university staff member. His story paves a way for others wanting to pursue a similar path.

In 2020, Bond was sponsored by Brian Rasley, a researcher with UAF’s Chemistry Department, to become a Sequoyah fellow. Bond received his medallion at this year’s conference. (Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was unable to receive it in 2020.) The fellowship includes a lifetime membership in the AISES national organization and affords an opportunity to continue leadership in the Native American community.

“I have known Bax since his undergraduate days and was aware of his extensive undergraduate involvement in the UAF AISES chapter,” said Rasley. “I think that Bax is a great example to other Native American students, and it was my pleasure to sponsor his fellowship.”

Bond’s trip to the AISES conference was generously funded by UAF’s College of Rural and Community Development.


Staff, faculty and students representing UAA and UAF pose with other Alaskans attending the 2022 AISES conference. Photo courtesy of Baxter Bond.