Pre-College Programs

The focus of the Pre-College Program is “Awareness and Retention.” AISES engages in a multitude of programs and events that aim to ensure students are given exposure to first-rate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs and events. These experiences and opportunities support students in discovering, pursuing, and sustaining their interest in STEM as they prepare for their college careers and beyond.

The Pre-College Program supports early childhood through high school education and students in STEM studies through teacher training, regional science bowls, science fairs, leadership development, mentorship, scholarships, internships and other programming designed to support students and their families.

Pre-College Programs

The Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED), Division of Energy and Mineral Development (DEMD),  in partnership with the American Indian and Science and Engineering Society (AISES) hosts the annual Energy Challenge for American Indian and Alaska Native youth in grades 9-12. The Energy Challenge is an energy-specific science fair designed to engage and encourage high school students to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education through a creative, hands-on, engineering product development design process. The teams endure a rigorous scoring system and compete against a multitude of other impressive teams. The top two teams are awarded a trip to Washington, D.C. to receive their awards, present their projects to Indian Affairs leadership, and participate in educational activities during their stay in our nation’s capital. This year’s top two teams were one person teams. 

For more information visit:

2017 Energy Challenge Grand Prize Winners:


  • Jake Keli’I Uyechi (Native Hawaiian)
    Analyzing Bacteria in Microbial Fuel Cell Energy Generation
    11th Grade, HI

    His project focused on the problem of high electricity costs in Hawai’i. Energy costs in Hawai’i are more than twice that of the continental U.S. Jake designed and tested the best methods for taro farmers to use mud directly from the taro patches to provide a sustainable source of energy. He used Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) and found what design and conditions work best for generating electricity.

  • Kelly Charley (Navajo)
    Utilizing Solar Technologies to Heat a Traditional Home
    12th Grade, AZ

    Her project addresses the unique energy needs of the over 20,000 Navajo people over the age of 60 living on the reservation.  For this project, Kelly built upon 3 years of previous research and design. She set out to create a solar heating system that could generate the highest possible temperatures.  Her prototype design surpassed her initial goal, heating water to over 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.44 Celsius).  She continues to refine the design so it can be more practical for in-home use.    

Congratulations to this year’s teams for all their hard work and make sure to enter in next year’s Energy Challenge!

About Our Partner, the DEMD

The Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED), Division of Energy and Mineral Development (DEMD) office is the primary office responsible for fulfilling Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs' trust responsibility to Indian Tribes and allottees concerning the development of their conventional energy, renewable energy and mineral resources on Trust lands.  DEMD is the only office within the Federal government with the primary responsibility of assisting Indian mineral owners assess, identify, and promote their energy and mineral resources and insuring that the Indian communities and individual Indians realize a maximum revenue stream from the development of their vast Trust resources.  While other DOI agencies have some limited responsibilities in Indian energy and mineral development, the Tribe (or allottee) is not their main client as it is with DEMD.   DEMD takes a much stronger role as the lead agency providing advice and financial support to Indians.  

The development of energy resources on Indian lands has helped to place the United States on the path to a more secure energy future, while significantly impacting the economic health of many Indian communities.  While the progress has been substantial there remains much to do, as historically Indian lands still remain under-developed relative to surrounding non-Indian lands.  Recognizing the opportunities that exist for Indians, DEMD’s sole purpose is to provide technical advice, economic advice and support services to assist Tribes in achieving the maximum economic self-sufficiency by creating sustainable economic benefit through the environmentally sound development of their energy and mineral resources.  One portion of this effort is to develop tribal managerial, organization and technical capacity needed to maximize the economic impact of energy resource development on Indian land.

Visit the DEMD online at:

National American Indian Virtual Science and Engineering Fair

The National American Indian Virtual Science and Engineering Fair (NAIVSEF) is a Society for Science and the Public (SSP) affiliated science fair and as such is part of the larger SSP fair network. The NAIVSEF differs from other SSP-affiliated fairs in that it is a virtual science fair. Unlike live fairs, virtual fairs do not require travel as the fair and judging are conducted online and via teleconference calls. 

AISES awards cash prizes to senior and junior division winners and also pays the travel and registration fees for the Senior Division Grand Award winners and their sponsors to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

For more information on the 2017 NAIVSEF visit:

2017 NAIVSEF Winners

Grand Award Winners

  • 1st Place: Nizhoni Talles
  • Thin-panel, Cylinder Arrayed, Solar Water Heater
  • Navajo, 12th Grade, NM
  • 2nd Place: Anna Quinlan
  • A Technology Assisted Ketone Detecting Patch for the Noninvasive Detection of Type 1 Diabetes
  • Cherokee Nation, 10th Grade, CA 
  • Won a Special Award from the Qatar Foundation
  • Runner-up: Randa Shaw
  • Mitigating Ocean Noise Pollution
  • Choctaw, 10th Grade, FL

Senior Division – Life Sciences

  • 1st Place: Anna Quinlan ($350)
  • A Technology Assisted Ketone Detecting Patch for the Noninvasive Detection of Type 1 Diabetes
  • Cherokee Nation, 10th Grade, CA 
  • 2nd Place: Nolan Arkansas ($250)
  • How Many Crickets Does it Take to Change Modern Medicine?
  • 11th Grade, NC
  • 3rd Place: Lauren John, Ashton Taylor, & Kelly Cooke ($150)
  • A Study of Antiboitic Resistance in Residential Bacteria Extracted from Selected Human Body Sites 
  • 9th Grade, OK

Senior Division – Engineering and Mathematics

  • 1st Place: Nizhoni Talles ($350)
  • Thin-panel, Cylinder Arrayed, Solar Water Heater
  • Navajo, 12th Grade, NM
  • 2nd Place:  Randa Shaw ($250)
  • Mitigating Ocean Noise Pollution
  • Choctaw, 10th Grade, FL
  • 3rd Place:  Kelly Charley ($150)
  • Utilizing Solar Technologies to Heat a Traditional Home
  • Navajo, 12th Grade, NM

Junior Division Winners

  • 1st Place: Pery Affias and Maya Fairbanks ($200)
  • What Effect do Salinity Levels have on Romaine Lettuce Growth using Hydroponics?
  • 8th Grade, MN
  • 2nd Place: Ahna Anderson ($175)
  • What Effect Does DISC Peronsality Grouping have on Interactive Technology Learning Success?
  • 8th Grade, MN
  • 3rd Place: Marielle Gomez ($125)
  • River Water Impacts on Radish Seed Root Growth
  • Taos Pueblo, 6th Grade, NM 

AISES Power Up Workshops

What is a Power Up workshop?

AISES’ Power Up workshops are designed to boost student engagement in science fairs and to improve the quality and quantity of science fair research and projects entered at the local, national, and international level. At these workshops, students will understand the process behind developing a research question, engage in hands on scientific research, similar to what is expected of a science fair project, and learn about the importance of STEM research for Native communities. Educators will receive helpful and on-going AISES-developed resource aimed at supporting students through the science fair/STEM research process. Workshops are engaging, hands-on, grade/age appropriate, use technology and audio-visual aids, and encourage group interaction.

The target audience for these in-class workshops is middle and high school students (grades 5 through 12) and their educators. Attendance at Power Up workshops typically consists of students and educators, but may also include parents, families, and community members if conducted as an after-school activity. Workshops can accommodate from 25 to 100 plus individuals, depending upon interest, availability of AISES staff and budget.

AISES’ Power Up workshops are a great way to introduce your students to science fairs and STEM research. During the workshop, AISES will share information on the plethora of opportunities in STEM as well as all the AISES opportunities for K-12 students including AISES’ very own National American Indian Virtual Science and Engineering Fair (NAIVSEF) and Energy Challenge! More information about these AISES programs is available here:


In 2010, AISES staff and a select group of educators and subject matter experts were able to produce the first Power Up Science Fair Manual focusing on the scientific method, effective project presentations, proper research techniques, and information on how to complete the complicated paperwork required to produce successful science fair projects.

AISES has presented the manual over the years to hundreds of students with much success. Over 85% of the students reported that the Power Up Science Fair Manual and workshop were helpful. In addition, students reported that they plan to utilize what they had learned for the creation of their own science fair projects at the AISES National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair in addition to other community or state science fairs.

AISES is currently developing new educator resources to complement the Power Up Manual and, in addition to the Power Up workshop, will provide teacher professional development using these resources.

Let AISES host a Power Up workshop at your school!

We will come to your community! AISES staff are available to travel to your community and provide a Power Up workshop and teacher professional development. These site-visits are typically two-days, allowing AISES staff to work with multiple classrooms, grades, and teachers, maximizing resources and impact.

AISES often receives small sources of funding to provide Power Up workshops to schools at no cost. However, if these funds are unavailable, AISES can provide the Power Up workshop budget and is happy to work with schools to identify and secure funding.


AISES prioritizes working with schools serving a significant American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian student population to have the greatest impact. However, AISES is also happy to work with any school interested in further supporting their Native student population. We try to make it as easy and cost-free as possible. Schools or organizations can be on- or off-reservation communities, urban or rural. Schools/organizations will need to provide classroom or larger space for the Power Up workshop. Power Up workshops can be done without AV resources, including internet, however these resources would be helpful. AISES will tailor its programming to the resources available. AISES also requests the school facilitate outreach and recruitment of attendees, if there are activities occurring outside of the classroom or in-class time.

You can view the AISES Power Up Manual here:

If you are interested in this opportunity, please fill out the following form

SPRK-ing Interest in Computer Science

AISES is excited to announce a new K-12 program combining robotics and computer programming to increase awareness and interest in STEM and Computer Science (STEM+C) among Native American students. The program will engage students in hands-on STEM+C activities powered by Sphero technology, created by AISES and tailored to Native students. 

AISES has partnered with the toy company Sphero to bring their educational spherical robot, SPRK+, to Native American serving K-12 schools across the country. Sphero SPRK+ is easily integrated into STEM curricula, allowing even the youngest students to learn programming, engage in hands-on STEM+C activities, bridge technology and the arts, and enjoy creative discovery with their classmates.

The goal of this STEM+C program is to inspire young Native minds to pursue and excel in their STEM and Computer Science education. Additionally, AISES hopes to build capacity of educators and schools to provide cutting-edge technological STEM+C experiences for its students by providing teacher trainings, lesson plans, and all equipment necessary to incorporate Sphero in the classroom.

With funding from the General Motors Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation, and the Salt River Project, AISES will administer this program to a limited number of schools and classrooms across the country! The following resources will be made available to selected schools:

  • AISES staff to provide introductory lesson
  • AISES staff to provide on-site teacher training
  • On-going AISES-developed Sphero curriculum
  • Sphero SPRK+ Power Pack & bluetooth capable tablets

If you are interested in this opportunity, please fill out the following form:

AISES National Conference 

Held annually since 1978, the AISES National Conference is a one-of-a-kind, three-day event convening high school juniors and seniors, college and graduate students, teachers, workforce professionals, corporate partners, and all members of the “AISES family.”  The AISES National conference has become the premier event for Native American Science, Engineering & Math (STEM) professionals and students attracting over 1,600 attendees form across the country.

Here are nine reasons why this is a “must-do” event.

  1. Networking. Offering cutting-edge thought on important current STEM issues, excellent career resources, and traditional cultural activities, the AISES National Conference is unlike any other STEM conference you’ll attend.
  2. Community. With 1,800 participants in 2010, there is something of a "reunion" quality to the AISES National Conference, where even newcomers feel they are coming into a "family" setting, and where our deep-seated commitment to personal relationships can be bolstered.
  3. Deeper Discovery. The conference provides thought-provoking and illuminating learning through concurrent sessions and special professional development workshops.
  4. Employment.   AISES' National Conference offers the largest career fair in Indian Country, with many companies and agencies hiring on the spot, and others looking to identify talent for future recruitment.
  5. Educational Resources. In addition to the professional development tracks and workshops, AISES’ National Conference opportunities to showcase academic research and study as well as connections to graduate, internship, fellowship and career opportunity.
  6. Indigenous and Elder Wisdom. Offering blessings, insights, and wisdom throughout the event, AISES’ National Conference offers a unique perspective on ways tradition and STEM can be effectively bridged in the 21st century. Our Council of Elders helps remind us where we come from and what we need to hold onto in order to live a life that is not just meaningful, but full of meaning.
  7. Welcoming Atmosphere. The AISES conference offers a sense of community and "family" that can sustain your spirit as many of us venture far from our communities to navigate our educational and career paths.
  8. Real-Time. Nothing beats the face-to-face value of conference attendance, not only for networking and mentoring, but also when it comes to the fun and affirmation of the social events, awards ceremonies, and traditional events such as the Powwow.
  9. Nice Price. Take a look at other conference registration fees and you'll find that AISES' National Conference is a good deal.
  10. Inspiration. The presence of so many young Natives, educators, and professionals gathered for good purpose is uplifting, sustaining, and joyous.

AISES Regional Conferences 

AISES’ Regional Conferences take place every spring and provide an opportunity for AISES College and Professional Chapters to gather and share information, form partnerships, and to network with each other and with selected presenters and partners.

Each regional conference has a number of informative sessions and activities for both college and high school students. Among the activities provided are mini career fairs, poster presentations, and engineering competitions. AISES’ student representatives and the host chapters for the following year are selected at the regional conferences.

Local and national professionals within a variety of fields provide workshops, seminars, and discussion groups about a wide variety of topics. Generally, each Regional Conference host develops a theme or focus area for the Regional Conference (environmental, bridging native cultures with science, etc.).

The host chapter for the following spring’s regional conference is determined during the Regional Conference held each spring.

Chapters interested in hosting the regional conference indicate their interest in hosting and make a verbal presentation regarding their resources, planning, and ability to host the conference. Each college chapter in "Good Standing" is allowed one vote; the majority of votes determines the location of the regional conference.  

Visit the events section to find upcoming Regional Conferences near you. 



AISES offers a universe of opportunities to students! Our students choose to move fiercely forward in their educational journeys by learning and acquiring new skills that will help them in meeting the ever-changing STEM needs of our communities.

At AISES, we invest more than just scholarship support into our students; we invest confidence, trust and a large community of support and encouragement for our students. Year after year, our AISES scholars bring potential and limitless possibilities for the future of STEM, each working towards advancing his or her opportunities in STEM career fields.

Among our current and past scholarship programs, sponsors have included Chevron, Boeing, Intel, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Navy Civilian Careers and many others. Information for scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year is now available. View our current scholarships.


The AISES Internship Program provides students with applied work experience and an opportunity to explore career options. Placing students in 10-week summer positions with partner agencies, the program also promotes advanced study to the graduate level and assists students in developing professional networks. Interns are provided with round-trip airfare or mileage to internship site, a weekly stipend, dormitory lodging and a local transportation allowance.

In 2013, internship opportunities included: ASRC Federal Holding Company, USDA FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service), Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Census, U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

View our current internships.