Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program gives students opportunities of a lifetime through Summer Bridge internships across the state

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – This summer, 25 Alaskan students are participating in paid internships through the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) Summer Bridge component. To gain professional experience before beginning degree programs at a University of Alaska campus this fall, Summer Bridge students are getting hands-on experience working in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) career fields, in addition to completing a college math course.

Summer Bridge is just one component of ANSEP that strives to promote STEM while encouraging historically underrepresented students to pursue careers in science and engineering at an early age. This component was adopted in 1998, as a way to mitigate some of the problems Indigenous students were facing due to poor math preparation as well as issues related to career awareness and transitioning to university from rural communities.

“Completing Summer Bridge is crucial for developing students academically, socially and professionally for college and careers. It also plays a key role in providing Alaska with a sustainable workforce for years to come,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “We’re fortunate to live in a state that offers myriad opportunities in STEM fields and to partner with organizations that invite students to learn and grow early in their educational careers.”

Summer Bridge internships are spread throughout the state and are geared toward each student’s field of interest. Internships range from assisting with capital improvement projects for the North Slope Borough in Barrow to working for the United States Forest Service in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

The 25 high school graduates from 15 Alaska communities and are currently placed with one of ANSEP’s strategic partners across the state, including:

Bureau of Land Management
  • Jessica Mute of Bethel
  • Patrice DeAsis of Juneau
  • Jesse Puletau of Bethel
  • Mattias Hautala of Kwethluk
  • Trisha Jimmie of Northway
  • Walter Seeganna of Anchorage
  • Catherine Dunleavy of Wasilla
  • Steven Glasheen of Bethel
  • Frederick Coolidge of Aleknagik
  • Joseph Lopez of Wasilla
  • National Park Service
  • Tamija Woods of Anchorage
  • Tony Takak of Elim
  • Arctic Slope Native Association, with North Slope Borough
  • Antonio Dunbar of Barrow
Shell Oil
  • Cory Lepore of Bethel
  • Evelyn Oliver of Anchorage
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Flora Andrews of Anchorage 
  • Janelle Carl of Kipnuk
  • Janis Andrew of Kwigillingok
  • Taylor Hoffman of Bethel
  • Peyton Corbett of Bethel
U.S. Forest Service
  • Cody McIntyre of Tuntutuliak
  • Malachi Rhines of North Pole
U.S. Geological Survey
  • Jannelle Trowbridge of Nome
  • Nathaniel Doss of Wasilla
  • Tvetene Carlson of Cantwell 

“I like making a difference, and engineering is just one way I hope to do that in my life,” said ANSEP student Mattias Hautala. “After my first computer build, I was hooked on engineering and ANSEP. From there, I applied for Acceleration Academy, and now here I am. I have an awesome internship, I’m earning college credit and my degree is paid for.”

Hautala is from Kwethluk, Alaska. This summer he is working with corrosion engineers at BP Alaska, taking samples from walls inside the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. Using the samples, he will help determine whether any sections need to be replaced and how much longer they will last. Mattias and other BP interns will also visit the North Slope. In the fall, Hautala, who already has 30 college credits on his transcript through his time with ANSEP, will begin his first year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks working toward a degree in petroleum engineering.