UAF AISES Chapter receives Cultural Practice Award
The UAF AISES Chapter received the Cultural Practice Award during the 46th annual American Indian Science and Engineering Society National Conference in Spokane, Washington. The award, the very first given this year, recognizes chapters that demonstrate the use of cultural practices that help students preserve their Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing through chapter meetings and activities.
Baxter Bond, a research engineer at the UAF Alaska Center for Energy and Power, is a co-staff advisor for the UAF AISES Chapter. He works often in the background, organizing bi-weekly chapter meetings and guiding officers.
Bond and three UAF students attended the 2023 AISES National Conference from Oct. 19-21. The three-day conference focused on educational, professional and workforce development for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and First Nation high school and college students, educators, professionals, tribal nations and tribal enterprises, universities, corporations and government agencies. With numerous sponsors, it also hosted the nation’s largest Indigenous college and career fair.
The three students were Kristen Reece, a fisheries major, and Asa Pitka and Karsten Sierra, both studying engineering. Pitka was offered an internship at the conference. Sierra worked as an ACEP intern this summer.
Over 3,000 attendees gathered from Canada and the United States for more than 200 sessions during this year’s conference.
Bond, who has given research presentations at the conference in the past, said that the conference offered many inspiring sessions.
Bond attended a number of sessions including “Equity-Centered Design: How the federal government centered Native voices in improving public services,” presented by 18F, a digital services agency within the Technology Transformation Services of the U.S. government, and “The Positives of failure: How failing fan lead to success” presented by RTX, formerly Raytheon Technologies Corporation.
As for the Cultural Practice Award, Bond was happy for the recognition.
“It is nice to be acknowledged the fact that our activities are more than doing science in the classroom,” he said.