Alaska high school graduates complete paid STEM internships, earn college credit through Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program’s Summer Bridge

10-Aug-2017 ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – This summer, 26 recent high school graduates from across Alaska had the opportunity to gain professional experience and earn college credit through Summer Bridge, a 10-week component of the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program. With paid internships this summer before becoming full-time students at University of Alaska campuses this fall, Summer Bridge students got hands-on experience working in science, technology, engineering or mathematics career fields and also completed a college math course.

Like all ANSEP components, Summer Bridge strives to promote STEM learning while encouraging historically underrepresented students to pursue careers in science and engineering. Summer Bridge began in 1998 as a way to mitigate problems indigenous students face due to poor math preparation in many rural communities as well as issues related to lack of career awareness and difficulty transitioning to the university. ANSEP Summer Bridge student Kaelyn Stalker of Kiana, Alaska, says the program helped motivate her to take her education seriously starting at the middle school level and kept her on track to graduate throughout high school.

“ANSEP has guided me to academic success and provided me with endless opportunities from the start,” said Stalker, an incoming freshman at the University of Alaska. “Being involved in ANSEP components since middle school got me interested in science and helped me learn all the different areas I could apply that passion to a career. Now I’m a paid intern working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I already have several credits toward my undergrad degree and I’m starting school at UAA in just over a month – I couldn’t have done it without ANSEP.”

Working with strategic partners to provide internships geared toward each student’s interest, ANSEP exposes students to real-world challenges like protecting wildlife in national parks or helping solve engineering problems faced by oil and gas companies around the state. This year’s 26 Summer Bridge students were placed with ANSEP’s strategic partners, including:
  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium: Andrew Akelok (Dillingham)
  • Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.: Elizabeth Castillo (Anchorage)
  • Bristol Bay Native Association: Athena Borstad (Anchorage)
  • Bureau of Land Management: Jeremy Chung (Bethel)
  • BP Alaska: Devun Dioguardi (Anchorage), Justis Geerdts (Bethel), Kane Gillilan (Anchorage), Augustine Hamner (Anchorage), Patrick Johnson (Chugiak), Cameron Westlake (Anchorage)
  • ConocoPhillips: Matthew Minium (Nikiski), Daren Warnke (Unalakleet)
  • ExxonMobil Corporation: Kristopher Hill-McLaughlin (Kodiak), Luke Meiwes (Anchorage)
  • Kawerak: Victoria Ramirez (Anchorage)
  • National Park Service: Heather Werning (Anchorage)
  • U.S. Forest Service: Emory Johnson (Bethel), Naasha Tallman (Anchorage), Shawn Wilson (Palmer)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Evangeline Dooc (Anchorage), Kelsy Panruk (Chefornak), Kaelyn Stalker (Kiana), Jaden Ulroan (Chevak)
  • U.S. Geological Service: Steven Armstrong (North Pole), Joseph Demientieff (Anchorage), Elizabeth Ramirez (Anchorage)
“Providing educational and professional development opportunities that better prepare students for college and STEM careers is crucial. Seeing the growth and development of students who are involved with ANSEP year after year is inspiring – it motivates us to continue expanding the program so we can expose more students to our proven model,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “We’re grateful for our strategic partners across the state that are helping us develop next generation of STEM industry professionals.”

Since ANSEP began in 1995, nearly 400 Alaska Native students have graduated from the University of Alaska system with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. With nearly 2,000 students in the ANSEP pipeline, the program’s proven model is systematically improving the hiring patterns of Alaska Natives in STEM fields in Alaska. To learn more about ANSEP and its components, visit www.ANSEP.net.