Professional Chapters

AISES’ Professional Chapters provide members opportunity and support as they rise along their career path. AISES professional members complete the "circle of support" by serving as mentors, advisors, and role models to younger members. In their local communities, AISES professional chapter members provide a variety of activities on a local level that support STEM success for other American Indians and Alaska Natives. 

  • Providing role models for AI/AN students and professionals
  • Playing a support/mentorship role for students in the transition from student status to professional status
  • Organizing seminars and workshops that help develop management, communication, and other professional skills
  • Giving access to networking resources such as community relations, scholarships, and job-opportunity awareness
  • Serving as AISES-endorsed “Subject Matter Experts,” speaking in educational and media platforms and raising public awareness about AI/AN contributions in STEM
  • Supporting educational partnerships with our affiliate schools, and by serving as judges for NAISEF and at our other events
  • Encouraging participation in other technical societies.
  • Nominating and supporting individuals for AISES Board of Directors and AISES awards programs.

If you have any questions, contact us This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Professional Chapters

Starting a Professional Chapter

The following guidelines help Professional Chapters exist as strong, effective, and efficient bodies that function in cohesion with the AISES National Office.

Membership Requirements

Each AISES Professional Chapter must have a minimum of five General members in good standing with AISES National Office. The members listed on the petition to form a Professional Chapter (hereinafter referred to as the organizers or organizing committee) must be current with their AISES National membership

Documents and Forms

The following documents are required to apply to an AISES Professional Chapter:

Maintaining a Professional Chapter

Quarterly reports are required for Professional Chapters to remain in good standing.  The report will cover chapter officers, chapter members, chapter activites and chapter financials.  With each quarterly report, the following must also be sumitted:

  • Completed professional Chapter Quarterly Report.

  • Bank statements covering the period of the quarter

  • $50 quarterly professional chapter dues, made payabe to: AISES

  • Meeting minutes covering the period of the quarter

Please send your completed reports and chapter dues to:
AISES – Membership Department
2305 Renard Place, Suite 200
Albuquerque, NM 87106  

Professional Chapter Awards Program

AISES’ goal is to assist professional chapters in building and strengthening chapters to meet the AISES Mission and to encourage chapters to increase membership, build on current strengths and develop leadership among chapter members. The Professional Chapter Awards Program allows chapters to identify their strengths and recognize the accomplishments of their fellow chapters.

2015 Professional Chapter Award Recipients


To apply for the 2015 Professional Chapter of the Year awards please see the criteria and application here

Deadline extended to October 16, 2015

This year, ALL registered professional chapters are invited to apply.

AISES Professional Chapter Awards Program:

Professional Chapters may apply for one or both award categories:

  1. Outreach & Community Service
  2. Professional & Chapter Development

Application Process:

All application packets must adhere to the application guidelines:

  1. AISES Professional Chapter Awards Application;
  2. Cover letter summarizing qualifications of award written by Chapter President;
  3. Report highlighting criteria for selected Award Category;
  4. Multi-media presentation.

All information submitted in the application should be based on previous year’s activities.  No supplemental material will be accepted (i.e., newsletters, brochures, etc.).

Evaluation of Applications:

Criteria to keep in mind when completing the application process and compiling your summary of activities/events are:

  • How effective is your chapter’s program in which you are applying for recognition?
  • Who does it impact?
  • How unique are the strategies/plans your chapter has designed and implemented?
  • What is the percentage of improvement from previous years?
  • How can other chapters benefit from these strategies and ideas?

AISES Distinguished Professional Chapter of the Year Award:

The AISES Professional Chapter of the Year Award is presented for overall achievement by a professional chapter in the promotion of the principles and goals of the AISES.  One chapter is selected from among all Professional Chapter Category Awards applicants.  There is not a separate application process for the Professional Chapter of the Year Award.

Total Number of Awards:

(1) Distinguished Professional Chapter of the Year

(2) Category Awards

Category Awards Criteria:

Outreach & Community Service Chapter Award – One award will be given to the Chapter that has organized and conducted community service projects and developed outreach.  The Outreach & Community Service Award will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Community Service and Outreach Program and Activities;
  2. Chapter community service and outreach success story;
  3. Uniqueness of chapter’s community service and outreach;
  4. Adherence to AISES Principles.

Professional & Chapter Development Chapter Award – One award will be given to the chapter that offers programs and opportunities for professional and leadership development for their members through chapter activities, seminars, guest speakers, etc.  The Professional & Chapter Development Award will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Professional Development Program;
  2. Participation;
  3. Uniqueness of chapter’s professional and chapter development programs;
  4. Adherence to AISES Principles.

To apply for the 2015 Professional Chapter of the Year awards please see the criteria and application here

If you have any questions regarding the Professional Chapter of the Year awards you can contact Lisa Paz, Director of Membership & Communications, at 

AISES Professional Awards Program

In recognition of the significant contributions American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have made to the STEM disciplines, AISES conducts the Professional Awards Program. 2016 will be the thirteenth year recognizing the accomplishments of these individuals as leaders, innovators, and role models. AISES is currently seeking nominees for its Professional Awards, as described below.  The 2016 awards ceremony takes place during the AISES National Conference: November 10-12, 2016 in Minneapolis, MN.


2016 Nomination Form



Any American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, First Nations, and other indigenous peoples of North America are eligible for consideration of a AISES Professional Award based on their experience outlined under each award category.


Nomination applications must be postmarked by July 8, 2016.  Mail signed application form along with a nomination package (3 copies) to: AISES Professional Awards, 2305 Renard SE, Suite 200, Albuquerque, NM 87106

Award Categories and Definitions

Executive Excellence

The nominee must be an experienced upper-level manager or a well-established engineer, scientist, professional, or academician who has significant department and budget responsibilities.

The Executive Excellence nominee will be evaluated on the following criteria (100 points total):

  • Uniqueness of his/her obtained goal (20 points)
  • Level of responsibilities (20 points)
  • Degree of discipline for level of performance (20 points)
  • Ability to overcome obstacles facing minorities in his/her field (20 points)
  • Potential as a role model (10 points)
  • Demonstrated involvement with American Indian or Alaskan Native community (10 points)

Technical Excellence

The nominee must have made a significant contribution to science, engineering or technology by having designed, developed, managed or assisted in the development of a product, service, system or intellectual property.

The Technical Excellence nominee will be evaluated on the following criteria (100 points total):

  • Uniqueness of his/her research (20 points)
  • Degree of impact work has on humankind (20 points)
  • Patents or Published works (20 points)
  • Potential as a role model (20 points)
  • Demonstrated involvement with American Indian or Alaskan Native community (20 points)

Most Promising Engineer or Scientist

The nominee must be a professional engineer or scientist with less than five years experience after earning his/her last degree. The candidate’s early technical contributions should already indicate a promising career.

The Most Promising Engineer or Scientist will be evaluated on the following criteria (100 points total):

  • Uniqueness and or innovation of contributions to organization (20 points)
  • Leadership abilities and/or initiative (20 points)
  • Professional and technical achievement to date (20 points)
  • Potential for advancement (20 points)
  • Demonstrated involvement with American Indian or Alaskan Native community (20 points)

Blazing Flame

As embedded in the AISES logo, the Blazing Flame Award is presented to an individual who blazes a path for Native Americans in STEM careers.  This award recognizes individuals with 10+ years of professional experience with significant accomplishments in advancing STEM education and careers. The nominee may or may not have a technical background.

The Blazing Flame applicant will be evaluated on the following criteria (100 points total):

  • Potential as a Role Model (25 Points)
  • Impact of effecting change within their organization  (25 Points)
  • Advocacy and achievements of promoting Native Americans in STEM  (25 Points)
  • Supports and leads Diversity and Inclusion  (25 Points)

AISES Professional of the Year

The AISES Professional of the Year Award is presented for overall leadership and technical achievement.  This individual is selected from among the top candidates submitted in all categories; therefore, individual nominations are not accepted for this award.



For questions about the AISES Professional Awards Program contact Laurence Brown, Chair, AISES Corporate Advisory Council, at

The Professional of the Year: 

2015: Pat Gwin
2014: Dr. A. D. Cropper, Kalinago Carib
2013: Randall McKee, Cherokee
2012: Jeff Kinneeveauk, Inupiat Eskimo
2011: Jerry R. Roberson, D.V.M., Ph.D., Cherokee 
2010: David Daniel, Cherokee
2009: Kimberley Oldham, Musgogee Nation
2008: Jason Cummings, Ph.D., Lumbee/Coharie 
2007: Lorena Hegdal, Inupiaq Eskimo
2006: Frank Martinez, Navajo
2005: Nancy Jackson, Ph.D., Seneca Nation of New York
2004: Richard Kevin “Savik” Glenn, Inupiaq Eskimo 

Executive Excellence:

2015: Mel Yawakie
2014: Mike Laverdure, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa
2013: Robbie E. Hood, Cherokee
2012: Linda Benson Kusumoto, Tsimshian Nation, Annette Island, Metlakatla
2011: Terry-Lee Braun, Seneca Nation
2010: Not awarded
2009: Olav Kjono, Mohawk
2008: CAPT. Jeffrey Trussler, Cherokee
2007: Gary Bishop, White Earth Ojibway
2006: Ray Hanes, Ph.D., Cherokee
2005: Johnpaul Jones, Choctaw/Cherokee
2004: Richard Stephens, Pala Band of Mission Indians

Technical Excellence:

2015: Sarah Lauff
2014: Joe Connolly, Haudenosaunee of the Onondaga Nation-Wolf Clan from Six Nations Reserve of the Grand River
2013: Lawrence Short Bull, Rosebud Sioux
2012: Christopher "Scott" Nordahl Ph.D., Doyon Limited, Alleut Alaskan Native
2011: Tony Ferguson, Citizen Band of Potowatomi
2010: Karen McDaniel, Navajo
2009: Robert Harper, Ph.D., Mississippi Choctaw
2008: Jacklin Adams, Wyandot
2007: Stanley Atcitty, Ph.D., Navajo
2006: Chris J. Cornelius, Ph.D., Oneida
2005: Mark Hakey, Abanaki tribe, St. Francis-Sokoki Band
2004: Not awarded

Most Promising Engineer or Scientist:

2015: Franklin Dollar
2014: Mitchell Martin, Cherokee
2013: Kristina Halona, Navajo
2012: Lauren M. Wolf, Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma
2011: Benjamin Mar, Cherokee
2010: Karletta Chief, Ph.D., Navajo
2009: Not awarded
2008: Nathaniel Todea, Navajo
2007: Tara Astigarraga, Choctaw
2006: Bevan Baas, Ph.D., Navajo
2005: John DeBassige, Ojibwe
2004: Aaron Thomas, Ph.D., Navajo