STEM Higher Education
Education and Professional Advancement for Underrepresented Groups
The Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership (SIGP) program helps American Indian and Alaska Native students succeed in graduate study in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This partnership includes University of Alaska (Anchorage and Fairbanks), The University of Arizona, Montana University System (The University of Montana, Montana State University, Montana Tech), and Purdue University. The Sloan Foundation partners with these universities to fund Master’s and Doctoral degree scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Native students. These select universities aim to foster welcoming and supportive environments and to meet the professional development needs of students.
Though American Indians and Alaska Natives make up 1.2 percent of the U.S. population, they earned just 0.3 percent of all doctorates in 2012, which is less than the 0.5 percent share earned twenty years before. In engineering and the core science fields, only 48 research doctorates went to American Indian and Alaska Native students in 2012 among the 11,764 Ph.D.s awarded to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
This historically low level of participation is in part due to the unique challenges graduate study poses to American Indian and Alaska Native students, which often include feelings of cultural and social isolation and obstacles to meaningful participation in tribal life.
The goal of the SIGP program is to strengthen and expand successful initiatives at each of the four partner institutions to recruit, train, and graduate American Indian and Alaska Native students in STEM disciplines.
The SIGP program is administered by longtime Foundation partner the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).