Growing up in Tuntutuliak, a village with fewer than 400 people, Cody McIntyre didn’t initially think college was going to be part of his future. Now, at age 20, he is well on his way to earning an undergraduate degree in civil engineering and has his sights set on earning a doctorate.
In rural Alaska, finding and retaining qualified teachers for upper-level math courses is extremely challenging, and this meant that advanced curriculum was not available to Cody and his peers. That all changed when an ANSEP recruiter visited Cody’s high school to promote STEM education opportunities. After Cody was inspired to apply for ANSEP, he was accepted and attended Acceleration Academy in Anchorage the following summer. While taking college-level courses like algebra 2, calculus and trigonometry, Cody realized he could use basic engineering skills to improve his hometown.
Cody shared his dreams of bringing running water and advanced water treatment systems to his village of Tuntutuliak in his last Student Success Story, and we caught up with him to see where he is along the path of making those goals a reality.
Currently a junior at the University of Alaska Anchorage and an ANSEP University Success student, Cody still plans to earn a civil engineering degree to improve his community. However, he has a new way of approaching how he will do that. Through internships with ANSEP partner organizations and discussions with ANSEP alumni like Michelle Yatchmeneff, Cody’s dream has grown along with his education to bringing renewable energy to Tuntutuliak and other rural villages.
“I’m still in the research phase,” said Cody, “but my initial results show that a single wind turbine in a coastal town like Tuntutuliak could provide 45 percent of the community’s power. Through the combination of wind and solar power, I hope to provide renewable energy to rural communities across Alaska. From there, hopefully it will create a ripple effect resulting in Alaska relying entirely on renewable energy.”
As an ANSEP student, Cody enjoys working with other Alaska Natives who understand the challenges rural communities face. Cody believes together they can create real solutions that will positively impact their communities and the state as a whole.
“My favorite part about ANSEP is the community. When I thought about attending a school with a larger population than my hometown, it was intimidating. Having spent my summers at ANSEP, I knew I would be starting college with a network of friends, study partners and mentors. I met people who shared my goals and ambitions for a STEM education and were also passionate about celebrating and preserving our native culture. We are just one big family that is working toward the same goal – a STEM degree. We motivate each other, work together and share each other’s success. My relationships at ANSEP are simply lifelong friendships in the making.”
Cody, who plans to stay involved with ANSEP after earning his undergraduate degree, currently works as a Youth Peer Mentor for ANSEP Middle School Academy. In his role as YPM, Cody sets students’ sights on higher education from an early age, helps them understand what to expect and makes learning fun.
“Many of these students have never left home before,” said Cody. “At first they are shy and unsure of themselves. I comfort them by speaking Yup’ik, and we bond over our love of rural Alaska. By the end of the component, I am watching their faces light up as they build bridges, Arctic walls and complete other STEM challenges.”
Cody believes in ANSEP’s proven education model; and, in addition to helping his local community, he wants to help other students from rural Alaska gain access to STEM education.
“Herb Schroeder is my biggest inspiration. I hope to follow in his footsteps and earn my doctorate so I can help expand STEM education opportunities to students across the state, too,” said Cody. “ANSEP is changing the education landscape across Alaska, and I want to inspire more students to seek higher education like I did.”