Maggie Anvil was always a quiet student growing up. Then she hit her stride as an eighth-grade student at ANSEP’s new Acceleration High School, offering her a comfortable environment with like-minded students and teachers who encouraged her to speak her mind. However, breaking out of her shell wasn’t quite so easy. After moving to Palmer from Bethel, she wasn’t used to group activities or working together to solve problems.
“ANSEP really helped me open up,” Maggie said. “People used to tell me I was quiet and that I didn’t talk to people. At Acceleration High School, I open up and talk more because the people are so nice and I really enjoy talking to them. They make me feel comfortable. It feels like I have a second family now, and I’m way more excited about going to school than I used to be.”
Maggie’s path through the ANSEP pipeline began when she participated in Middle School Academy in 2016. No stranger to STEM activities, Maggie’s dad is the one who helped her apply at ANSEP after some encouragement from her math teacher. Growing up, she always helped with at-home projects alongside her dad. They built bunk beds and even a loft, and these projects sparked her curiousity about engineering. Then she learned about DNA in school, and that piqued her interest in science and biology. So, after building a computer, balsa wood bridge and a Lego tower that could withstand an earthquake, Maggie immediately fell in love with ANSEP.
“Middle School Academy was an awesome experience,” Maggie said. “Living on a college campus was new to me so it was nice seeing how students actually live. My favorite activity was the Lego tower build because our team built the strongest structure and won the challenge.”
Today, Maggie is focusing on her high school classes while keeping her sights set on college. She is interested in pursuing a degree in journalism for her love of writing along with a degree in forensic science to become a pathologist. She says she most enjoys the team setting and family-like atmosphere that Acceleration High School offers.
“Everyone helps everyone else out,” Maggie said. “We all work together and have different strengths – my classmates know they can come to me for math help, and we know who to go to for science help. It’s nice because there is always someone to go to – I really love it.”