ANSEP teams up with strategic partners at Northwest Arctic Borough School District and Stantec to provide hands-on STEM education to 53 middle school students


ANCHORAGE, Alaska – This month 53 middle school students traveled from the Northwest Arctic Borough School District to engage in hands-on learning at the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program’s first Middle School Academy of the 2018-2019 school year.

For today’s lesson, ANSEP staff teamed up with strategic partners at Stantec, an industrial engineering company based in Anchorage. Stantec Senior Structural Engineer Bruce Hopper led today’s lesson on structural engineering and provided the foundation for the Balsa wood bridge the students will design then construct throughout the week. Hopper guided students through the importance of proper engineering designs and the role materials play in structural support with hands-on, group activities. From using the beam theory to calculate force to testing how certain materials buckle under tension, the lesson demonstrated the importance of engineering in everyday life.

This is only one of the interactive Middle School Academy activities that highlights the importance of science, technology, engineering and math careers in Alaska. Others include snug house demonstrations, earthquake engineering labs and computer builds. In addition to exposing students to a collaborative working environment and showcasing real-world applications for math and science, ANSEP’s Middle School Academy component sparks an early interest in higher education.

The 53 students chosen to participate in this month’s Northwest Arctic Borough School District Middle School Academy include:

  • Ambler: Trenton Alan Cleveland
  • Buckland: Adrian Ballot, Cadence Swan, Harold Curtis, Troy Geary, Nita Johnson, Ender Peacock, Boz Sheldon, Herbert Thomas, Nickolas Ticket and Nolan Ticket
  • Kiana: Braylin Gooden, Skyla Foster, Alec Mills and Fannie Williams
  • Kobuk: Mackenzie Gooden
  • Kotzebue: Kyle Agnus, Bron Baldwin, Roman Barr, Kyra Billings, Zebediah Bergan, Markitah Campbell, Alice Gregg, Finn Gregg, Bryana Harvey, Sammy Henry, Joseph Kenworthy, Bergman Nelson II, Drey Schaeffer, Savannah Tekker, Iris Wilson and Pearl Wood
  • Noatak: Cheryl Adams, Eunice Booth, James Mitchell and Kaitlyn Mitchell
  • Noorvik: Andrew Bantatua, Edmond Harvey, Aurora McCrary, Jace Pungalik, Andy Sampson, Conner Wells and Myrtle Williams
  • Selawik: Sally Brown, Casey Clark, Annabelle Douglas, Iva Foxglove, Mario Greist and Makairra Mitchell
  • Shungnak: Kendra Barr, Kelly Cleveland and Laci Lee

In addition to hands-on STEM activities, the students experience a college lifestyle by living in on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus in dorms. The two-week, residential component encourages students to start making long-term plans to pursue higher education and STEM careers that positively impact Alaska’s communities.

“We help students realize that college can be more than just libraries and books. At ANSEP, we create a community of likeminded individuals who share the common goal of earning a college degree and having a successful career,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder.

After Middle School Academy, students will return to their schools in the Northwest Arctic Borough School District feeling confident about their academic achievements and motivated to further pursue STEM education. An added incentive is that students who successfully complete the component and remain on track to complete algebra 1 before high school can keep the computers they built to study.

With more than 800 STEM degrees already complete and another 2,500 students in its pipeline from middle school through the doctoral level, ANSEP is helping students from across Alaska achieve their dreams of attending college, working in STEM career fields and positively impacting their communities.

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