AISES – Approaching 40 Years and Stronger Than Ever

As a young tribal chairman, one of the compelling recommendations I was given was to rely on the counsel of my Elders and always keep a lawyer by my side. It was sound advice. Today, I would strongly recommend that all those who lead their band or tribe continue to rely on the advice of their Elders, keep their lawyer close, but I add, keep a Native STEM professional even closer.

Founded in 1977, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society is THE national, nonprofit organization focused on substantially increasing the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawai’ians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations, and other indigenous people of North America in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies and careers. Not a day goes by where we are not reminded of the important role we each have when it comes to decisions that are made about our world involving technology and its implications. AISES has long assumed — and continues to play — a vital role in ensuring that we are ready to respond and lead in STEM. And today’s stronger AISES is more prepared than ever to meet that need.

Our 2016 annual report highlights an outstanding year of leadership, engagement, involvement, passion, and financial stability. Your AISES CEO and staff have done a remarkable job in leading the organization, and you can be proud of those you selected to be on the Board of Directors.

In addition to increases in sponsors, supporters, programs, and revenue for the organization, there are more chapters, greater awareness of what AISES does, and stronger relationships across the organization. Further, AISES Publishing, Inc., an organization principally owned by AISES, has taken a more direct and engaged role as the full publisher of Winds of Change since The Pohly Company decided in late 2016 to no longer provide publishing services to AISES. The transition has gone smoothly, much to the credit of the Pohly leadership and the AISES leadership. The move readies AISES Publishing for a solid future.

Next year, 2017, marks the 40th Anniversary of AISES, and I am proud to be part of the AISES Board that helped position the organization for a strong future. Please enjoy what you read in our 2016 annual report because it’s about you, it’s about AISES, and it’s about the opportunities for our future.

Why STEM Matters

Available jobs in the field are set to increase 17% between 2014 and 2024, while non-STEM employment will grow just 12%. (Source: National Science Foundation)

8,650,000 - Estimated size of the STEM workforce in the U.S. by 2018. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The average wage for all STEM occupations is $85,570, nearly double the average for all occupations ($47,230). (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The prestigious World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. as No. 48 in quality of math and science education.

The U.S. has fallen behind the rest of the world at an alarming rate. U.S. students recently finished 27th in math and 20th
in science in the ranking of 34 countries. (Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development)

Why Diversity Matters

Companies reporting highest levels of racial diversity in their organizations bring in nearly 15 times more sales revenue than those with lowest levels of racial diversity. (Source: American Sociological Review)

In the U.S., for every 10% increase in diversity on the senior executive team, earnings rise 0.8%. (Source: McKinsey &

While more women than men are enrolled in all U.S. undergraduate programs, as recent as 2012, just 18% of women earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering. (Source: National Science Foundation)

Why STEM Matters to Indian Country

STEM is the key to ensuring that Native People have a voice in the workforce within (non-Native) companies, institutions, and agencies – providing Tribal Nations influence beyond their borders. 

Building STEM capability within Tribal Nations provides greater control over decision-making by avoiding or reducing non-Native outsourcing; and providing stronger control of Tribal assets.

A strong tribal STEM workforce helps generate entrepreneurial opportunities to create businesses to support tribal

Tribal STEM professionals are fundamental to the proactive management of tribal lands and resources; technical infrastructure, and health care (environmental scientists, IT professionals, medical doctors, geologists, etc.)

In short, Native STEM workforce
development is a key component of tribal sovereignty and self- determination.

The Landscape of Native STEM Education

According to the Office for Civil Rights, fewer than half of Native high school students have the full range of math and science courses available at their schools.

According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), in 2012, 66.7% of white freshmen intended to major in science and engineering fields, while only 2.5% of AI/AN freshmen declared the same. 33% of white students and 42% of Asian- American students who started college as STEM majors graduated with STEM degrees vs. 19% of Native American students.

According to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, of the 11,764 research doctorates awarded in engineering and scientific fields in 2012, only 48 were awarded to AI/AN (0.4%).

According to the U.S. Census, White NonHispanics hold 71% of STEM jobs vs. 0.4% held by AI/AN.

Dr. Daniel R. Howard (Cherokee/Shawnee) is from Tahlequah, Oklahoma and attended Northeastern State University for this BS (’02) and MS (’04) degrees. While enrolled at NSU he served as the AISES Chapter president, and then was instrumental in establishing a new AISES chapter at the University of Tulsa while working on his Ph.D. in the Biological Science there from 2004-2007. After completing a 3-year National Science Foundation (NSF) postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Toronto from 2007-10, he accepted a tenure-track faculty position at Augustana College (Sioux Falls, SD) where he started a new college chapter with which he served as faculty sponsor from 2010-15. He and his wife Carrie moved to the University of New Hampshire in 2015, where he now teaches Neurosciences and Behavior courses in the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Howard is an AISES Sequoyah Fellow, serves as a faculty mentor in the NSF-funded Lighting the Pathways to the Professorate Program, and is a board member on both the AISES Winds of Change Advisory Board and the AISES Academic Advisory Board. Dr. Howard is also co-owner, with spouse Dr. Carrie Hall, of Greyfeather Ecological Solutions LLC, a Native American and US Veteran-owned environmental consulting company based in Oklahoma.




The vision of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is for the next seven generations of Native people to be
successful, respected, influential and contributing members of our vast and ever changing global community.


Founded in 1977, The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is a national, nonprofit organization focused on substantially
increasing the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers.



We are committed
to the pursuit of
knowledge and
continuous growth in learning and teaching


We anticipate and
embrace change and strive to learn and improve by trying new approaches and forward- thinking solutions


We actively build and continually steward transparent, honest, and ethical relationships with our partners, members and all others who are part of our AISES family


We do what we say we are going to do and conduct our business with the highest standards of professional behavior and ethics


We embrace the power of our people by encouraging them to take initiative, lead and make decisions


We honor our ancestors by carrying forward our cultural traditions and values in all that we do


Educational and Professional Development for Membership and Constituencies

Public Policy, Education,
and Civic Engagement

Strategic Partnerships

Research on STEM Sector Trends and Educational Issues

Advocacy at Local, State and Federal Levels


Awareness and Retention

Awareness and Retention for Native Pre-College Students and Their Parents and Educators

Access and Success

Access and Success for Native Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Leadership and Change

Leadership and Change for Native STEM Professionals

Strategic Partnerships

Strategic Partnerships & Research for Native People in STEM

Four Programmatic Focus Areas

Pre-College: Awareness
& Retention

AISES creates and administers programs and events to provide Native K-12 students and educators exposure to quality curriculum and opportunities to interest and engage them in STEM.

College: Access & Success

AISES provides opportunities and financial support to Native college students to increase access to and boost success in STEM studies in higher education.

Professional: Leadership
& Change

AISES supports a network of Native STEM professionals through professional chapters, awards, career development resources; and research and mentoring opportunities.

Strategic Partnerships
& Research

AISES identifies and engages in strategic partnerships and conducts research to further our mission of substantially increasing the representation of Natives in STEM studies and careers.

The Structure of AISES

Organization, Chapters and Programming

AISES by the Numbers

  • Over 4,300 Members
  • $10.8 Million in Academic Scholarships
  • 15 Professional Chapters
  • 190 Chartered College and University Chapters 
  • 158 Affiliated Schools That Enroll More Than 55,000 K-12 Native Students

  • Membership: 4,000
  • Annual Revenue: $5,435,512
  • Academic and Travel Scholarships and Support: $4,586,149

How we spent our funding in 2016:

   Administration and Development = 15%
   Programmatic Support = 85%

  •  Membership: 3,289
  • Academic and Travel Scholarships and Support: $391,901
  • Annual Revenue: $2,740,432
  • Total Program Support Provided: $2,072,690

How we spent our funding in 2015:
   Administration and Development = 24%
   Programmatic Support = 76%

  • Membership: 2,819
  • Academic and Travel Scholarships and Support: $349,947
  • Annual Revenue: $2,581,298
  • Total Pogram Support Provided: $1,948,056
How we spent our funding in 2014:
   Administration and Development = 27%
   Programmatic Support = 73%

As a result of the help and support from my school district (Cloquet Public Schools), local AISES members such as Dr. Mark Bellcourt, Holly Pellerin, Dr. Diana Dalboten, and Dr. Emi Ito (University of MN), and the opportunities provided by the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair (NAISEF), hundreds of my American Indian students have chosen to participate in Science and Engineering Fairs. This participation has led to thirteen of my American Indian high school students to be awarded a Grand Award at NAISEF and resulted in them participating in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) thirty-two times.”

The first student to attend NAISEF from Cloquet Senior High School, Dr. Jillian (Beaufeaux) Zuzulka, has a Ph.D. in Pharmacy. Courtney Jackson, a four time NAISEF participant, who mapped Venus for her project, was chosen by AISES to attend the first White House Science Fair. She has a B.S. from Penn State and a M.S. from the University of North Dakota in GIS mapping. Jackson will be returning to Penn State this fall to work on a PhD in GIS disaster mapping. Logan Pallin, a three time NAISEF Grand award winner, has made two research trips studying hump back whales to Antarctica. Pallin has a B.S. in Marine Conservation Biology from Duke University, a M.S. from Oregon State studying Whale Genetics, and he has been awarded a NSF Fellowship and will begin to work on his Ph.D. and continue to study humpback whales while attending the University of California Santa Cruz.

Participation in science fairs such as NAISEF enhances life skills that serve students well in the adult world. They learn how to talk to adults, how to share and explain in simple terms what they are studying. They learn that failure often is the best road to success, to keep their eye on the next task at hand without getting overwhelmed by all that life asks of them. Essentially, they learn how to be successful at whatever they decide to do.

Council of Elders, Board of Directors and  Advisory Council Chairs

Council of Elders

Mary Kahn (Navajo)

Phil Lane Jr. (Yankton Dakota and Chickasaw)

Stan Lucero (Laguna Pueblo)

Cecelia Lucero (Acoma Pueblo)

Dr. Henrietta Mann (Southern Cheyenne)

Dr. James May (United Keetowah Band)

Faith Spotted Eagle (Ihanktonwan Band of the Dakota/Nakota/ Lakota Nation of South Dakota)

Dr. Bret R. Benally Thompson (White Earth Ojibwe) 

Antoinelle Benally Thompson (Navajo)

AISES Council of Elders Emeriti

Andrea Axtell (Nez Perce)

AISES Council of Elders in Memorium

Horace Axtell (Nez Perce)

Eddie Box, Sr. (Southern Ute)

Franklin Kahn (Navajo)

Bow Lane (Chickasaw)

Phil Lane, Sr. (Yankton Sioux)

Lee Piper, Ph.D. (Cherokee)

2016 Board of Directors

Richard Stephens, Chair (Pala Band of Mission Indians)

Dr. Twyla Baker-Demaray, ViceChair (Three Affiliated Tribes) 

Paul Kabotie, Treasurer (Hopi)

Amber Finley, Secretary (Three Affiliated Tribes)

Bill Black

John B. Herrington (Chickasaw)

Michael Laverdure (Turtle Mt. Chippewa)

Lisa Lone Fight (Mandan, Hidatsa, Sahnish)

Sheila Lopez (Navajo)

Kory Joe, Senior National Student Representative (Asa’carsarmiut)

Hannah Balderas, Junior National Student Representative (Three Affiliated Tribes, Santee
Sioux and Little Shell Ojibwa)

2016 Advisory Council Chairs

Academic Advisory Council
Dr. Mary Jo Ondrechen (Mohawk),
Northeastern University

Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) Co-Chairs
Laurence Brown (Navajo), Sandia National Labs

Chuck Ross (Choctaw), Raytheon

Government Relations Council (GRC) Co-Chairs
James Daugomah (Kiowa), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Noller Herbert (Navajo), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Amanda James (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe), Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Marcellus Proctor (PiscatawayConoy), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Professional Chapter Council (PC) Chair
Joseph W. Connolly (Haudenosaunee Onondaga Nation – Wolf Clan from Six Nations Reserve of the Grand River), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

2016 AISES Student Representatives

National Student Representative:
Crystal Tulley-Cordova (Navajo), University of Utah

Junior National Student Representative:
Kory Joe (Asa’carsarmiut), Northern Arizona University

Region 1- Jason Slats (Chevak Native Village), University

of Alaska, Anchorage 

Region 2- Raquel Kamalu (Native Hawaiian), University of Hawai’i, Manoa

Region 3- Nikki Tulley (Navajo), University of New Mexico 

Region 4- Ashleigh McIntosh (Caddo), University of Oklahoma

Region 5- Hannah Balderas (Three Affiliated Tribes), University of North Dakota

Region 6- Ben Oster (Mohawk), Cornell University

Region 7- Joi Owle (Eastern Band of Cherokee), Western Carolina University


Sarah Echohawk (Pawnee)
Chief Executive Officer

Amy Weinstein
Chief Operating Officer

Kyle Coulon (family from Onondaga)
Program and Development Officer

Emerald Craig (Navajo)
Membership and Communications Manager

Katherine Cristiano
Events Officer

Kathy DeerInWater (Cherokee)
Director of Special Projects & Research

Shayna Gutierrez (Oglala Lakota)
Business and Program Development Coordinator

Debbie Derryberry
Executive Assistant

Shayna Gutierrez (Oglala Lakota)
Tribal and Business Development Manager

Brianna Hall
Administrative Coordinator

Ruben Hernandez (Rosebud Sioux)
Chief Technology Officer

Kellie Jewett-Fernandez (Cheyenne River Sioux)
Director of Business and Program Development

Candace McDonough
National Sales Director

Bill McIntyre
Chief Finance Officer

Elsie Montoya
Finance Assistant

Lisa Paz (Pawnee/Comanche)
Director of Membership and Communications

Angelika Silva

Monique Tulley-Bahe (Navajo)
Administrative Coordinator

Monique Fredericks-Douville (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation)
Senior Curriculum Development and Implementation Officer

Montoya Whiteman (Cheyenne and Arapaho)
Director of Marketing and Communications

David Cournoyer (Lakota)
Visual Communications Consultant, Plain Depth Consulting

Brian Vermillion
Graphic Design Consultant, ver5design

API/Winds of Change

Karen English

Lead Editor

Kristen Goodfriend
Art Director

Amy Norcross
Managing Editor 


4263 Montgomery Blvd NE
Suite 200  
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Phone: (505) 765-1052
Fax: +1 (505) 765-5608