Thirteen-year-old ANSEP student Laureta Kochuten isn’t sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but she does know one thing – she loves math! Originally from King Cove, Alaska, she and her family moved to Palmer in 2009. Shortly after, she entered the ANSEP pipeline as a fifth-grade student and was known for doing extra math problems before morning sessions. Her first bridge build during ANSEP Middle School Academy exposed her to the excitement of team-building exercises. Since then, she’s completed three consecutive components.
“My favorite part about Middle School Academy was working together as a team, coming together to plan things out and building something great together,” Laureta said.
After Middle School Academy, Laureta continued to apply for ANSEP components and participated in two STEM Career Exploration sessions. Her love for team building continued to grow, and she found she enjoyed engineering structures more as she worked with her teammates to design working structures. This past summer, she worked with her team to build a Rube Goldberg Machine.
“My main focus was to pull my team together and build the longest machine as well as make the marble follow along a track. We had to construct the machine just right so the marble would knock over all the dominoes, fall into a bucket and lift a paper clip into the air,” Laureta said. “It was such a fun and exciting experience!”
Laureta hopes to participate in another STEM Career Explorations session during summer 2017 and says she will be happy with whatever topic she is placed in. She is currently attending ANSEP’s new Acceleration High School at Valley Pathways in Palmer, where she is already taking on college-level courses.