Thirteen-year-old Kadin Dayton may not know exactly what he wants to do when he grows up; but, thanks to the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, he knows he wants to pursue a STEM career. Kadin, a seventh-grade student from Fairbanks, first became involved with ANSEP as a Middle School Academy attendee last summer.
After building a computer and learning about other real-world applications for math and science, he returned to ANSEP for STEM Career Exploration this summer. At the health-focused component, Kadin gained valuable insight into the daily life of a health care professional while working alongside like-minded peers. Led by industry professionals, students from across Alaska participated in hands-on, interactive activities designed to spark an early interest in STEM education. Brain injury safety egg helmet labs, cardiopulmonary labs and mock patient diagnoses are some of the ways students learned about careers as a doctor or scientist.
At STEM Career Exploration, he talked to doctors, who explained how they diagnose patients, what symptoms they look for and how to provide a cure. The first-hand interaction helped Kadin realize that doctors are normal people, just like him, who worked hard in school and followed their dreams of becoming a health care professional.
“The best thing about ANSEP is how fun the activities are. We’re having such a good time doing the activities that we actually forget we are learning,” said Kadin. “My favorite activity was the prosthetic leg lab. It is really cool to see how science can actually help people.”
Although Kadin is only in middle school, he plans to stay involved with ANSEP and hopes to return for Acceleration Academy (Summer) next year. Summertime components like Middle School Academy and Acceleration Academy (Summer) provide students like Kadin with the opportunity to cultivate study skills and prepare for college both academically and socially. Kadin said the ANSEP instructors shared their study habits and provided encouragement that motivates him to study hard all year long.
“Math and science have always been my favorite subjects. Thanks to ANSEP, I’m gaining real-life experience in different areas so, by the time I go to college, I’ll have a better idea about if I want to study science or engineering,” said Kadin.