More than 100 new Anchorage-area students enter Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program pipeline this summer through Middle School Academy


ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program has introduced 106 new students into its educational pipeline this summer through Middle School Academy thanks to support from ANSEP’s strategic partners. The hope is that exposure to real-world applications of STEM will spark an early interest in related careers and make higher education an achievable goal for these students.

Middle School Academy is the earliest chance students have to become involved with ANSEP. To be considered, students must go through a college-style application process, yet another way ANSEP challenges students while giving them a chance to discover their own capabilities. Once selected, students take part in an immersive experience that includes living in dorms on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus and participating in hands-on, team-based activities that bring the practical uses for STEM education to life.

After last year’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake centered near Anchorage and the 7.1-earthquake that recently rocked California, earthquake preparedness is top of mind not just for Alaskans but for everyone. During Middle School Academy students worked with STEM professionals to learn about earthquake engineering, design structurally sound buildings, test them on shake tables and assess their durability.

“The Last Frontier is filled with unique geographic and geophysical challenges. From extreme winters to the recent heat wave to being located on along the Denali Fault, we rely on the STEM professionals who build and maintain Alaska’s infrastructure,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “Kids and young adults are filled with passion and possess a special determination to help others and their community. At ANSEP, we help students realize how their academic strengths can translate to passionate careers as the engineers or other STEM professionals who make Alaska a better, safer place to live.”

The 106 students from 37 schools chosen to participate in this summer’s Anchorage-area Middle School Academy sessions include:

  • Academy Charter School: Jada Flavin
  • Airport Heights Elementary: Eli Amason, Jordyn Bussell, Isabella Iparraguirre, Laylani Ortiz and Sam Yang
  • Alaska Native Cultural Charter School: Abigail Hancock, Siriana Ferrell and Shannowa VanFleet
  • Alaska Neighborhood Charter School: Carl Moses-Inga
  • Anchorage STrEaM Academy: Stephen-Ray Bahner
  • Nicholas J. Begich Middle School: Tayven Baker, Daisy Carlson, Lavenda Mack, Kelsey Johnson, Jewel Selvester, Sienna So’oalo and Sophia Yates
  • Bayshore Elementary: Jennifer Bonilla and Lolajean Maki
  • Birchtree Charter School: Gunnar Kelley
  • Bowman Elementary: Adam Childress
  • Clark Middle School: Shaylee Andrew, Shanley Ekamrak, Michael Johnson, Lincoln Moses and Sione Vea
  • Campbell STEM Elementary School: Thomas Adams, Jason Greene and Broc Sledge
  • College Gate Elementary: Jade Bell, Jeshaiah Detweiler, Erick Leaf and Xander Rose
  • Colony Middle School: Patricia Dover
  • Fairview Elementary: Gabrial McKinnon and Destiny Warner-Hank
  • Gladys Wood Elementary: Michaela Muller-Christiansen and Talia Veldstra
  • Goldenview Middle School: Caleb Bailey, Keiveri Flannery-Schutt, Jasmin Griffith, Zoe Lewis, Roth Powers and Hailey Williams
  • Gruening Middle School: Henry Eberle
  • Hanshew Middle School: Kenyon Ahmaogak, Gavin Anderson, Shelby Brandon, Eric Duke, Azlin Gonzalez, Antonio Martinez-Higs, Charles Kim Jr., Yaedam Lee, Jayden Lopez, Paige Miller, Matthew Sorich and Jocelynn Sounthone
  • Klatt Elementary: Cole Block
  • Lake Otis Elementary: Marina Benton
  • Mears Middle School: Dash Dicang, Selina Chhantyal and Adelina Gularte
  • Mirror Lake Middle School: Bella Bohn, Schylar Inglet, Terriana Lewis and Landon Luebke
  • Northern Lights ABC School: Solomon Cooper
  • Ocean View Elementary: Joshua Swigart
  • O’Malley Elementary: Sasha Gust
  • Orion Elementary School: Gunnar Allen
  • Polaris K-12: Emily DuVall and Chazz Parton
  • Rabbit Creek Elementary: Paiyaq Phillip and Kate Weinberger
  • Ravenwood Elementary: Christopher Massey
  • Romig Middle School: Jack Beltzer, James Dyasuk, Vaishnavi Gornale, Magdalena Kelila, Mary Kim, Vanessa Kim, Aaron Hampton, Jonathan Moore, Iris Ostman, Destyond Simpson, Marissa Stam and Nicholai Tabbad
  • Sand Lake Elementary: Sage Boston, Geneva Evans and Madelyn Octuk
  • Springhill Elementary: Braden Beckner and Sara Demientieff
  • Stream Academy: Orson Shivley
  • Trailside Elementary: Liam Carr and Raylon Ulroan
  • Wendler Middle School: Kristanne Elliot, Aleania Jackson, Ibelas Ngiraingas, Isabelle Westdahl and Angelika Woods
  • Rilke Schule: Matthew “Ryan” Oliver Jr.
  • North Star Elementary: Litia Momoisea

In addition to the earthquake engineering activity, students built their own desktop computers, and constructed a Rube Goldberg machine and took a trip to the Alaska SeaLife Center. This innovative curriculum fosters creativity and teaches students to use critical thinking and deductive reasoning. An added incentive is that any student who stays on track to complete Algebra 1 before entering high school is eligible to keep the computer they built at Middle School Academy.

After attending Middle School Academy, ANSEP encourages students to stay involved with the program. Any Middle School Academy graduate can apply for STEM Career Explorations for a chance to take a deep dive into the STEM field of their choice. After that, they can be part of Acceleration Academy to earn college credit for free. Between high school and college, Summer Bridge students can get paid internships, and ANSEP then supports students throughout their undergraduate, graduate and even doctoral programs. Learn more at www.ANSEP.net.

# # #