Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program’s STEM Career Exploration inspires 53 middle-school students with real-world, hands-on health science activities


ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Each summer the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program hosts four STEM Career Exploration sessions that expose students to a particular facet of science, technology, engineering or math. The first STEM Career Exploration of the summer demonstrated the importance of health safety through interactive activities like the brain injury safety egg helmet lab.

Throughout the five-day, residential STEM Career Exploration component, students live on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus and participate in hands-on, team-based STEM activities. Activities focusing on brain safety, heart health and cancer research are part of the innovative curriculum designed to spark an early interest in STEM education. Through hands- on, team-based activities, the students used problem solving to overcome real-world challenges. Led by industry professionals, the 53 students participating in the first session used household materials to construct helmets designed to protect eggs from traumatic falls. The egg drop challenge then tested the effectivity of the helmets from various drop points.

The 53 students chosen to participate from the Alaska Gateway, Anchorage, Bering Straits, Fairbanks North Star, Galena City, Kashunamuit, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Lower Yukon, Matanuska-Sustina Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough and Yukon Koyukuk school districts and Nome Public Schools include:

  • Anchorage: Winter Anaruk, Connor Bihag, Sarah Bowker, Dyani Brown-Buege, Tyler Camacho, Daniel Cho, Aliana Chopito, Jackson Church, Jayden Douglas, Meredith Duhrsen, Marcus Duruin, Joyce Greer, Katrina Halleran , Stephen Holmstock, Andrew Jones , Sydney Lewis, Isabella Maillet, Maria Maly, Sorjen Paul , Mason Paulsen, Achilles San Juan, Deya Tallman, Laela Welsh-Morel, Aeryn Werning and Kinsie Young
  • Chevak: Jada Jones and Ayva T. Matchian 
  • Chugiak: Bronson Bohn 
  • Deering: Robert Cleveland 
  • Eagle River: Brock Miller
  • Fairbanks: Kadin Dayton
  • Galena: Milo Huntington 
  • Hooper Bay: Trinity Black 
  • Kenai: Hermoine Lanfear 
  • Kiana: Shaedyn Barr 
  • Kotzebue: Katelyn Piper 
  • Koyuk: Harley Huntington 
  • Nome: Karis Evans 
  • Noorvik: Annie Downey 
  • Palmer: Kael Duffield 
  • Savoonga: Angel Butler and Trisha Waghiyi 
  • Tok: Hannah Ekada 
  • Unalakleet: Sarah Jones 
  • Wasilla: Sarah Grisby 

“Many students from rural Alaska don’t understand what STEM professionals do on a day-to- day basis,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “Our STEM Career Explorations allow students to learn more about a particular topic of interest, like health science, and interact doctors and other healthcare professionals who provide insight into the daily applications for STEM education.”

The remaining STEM Career Exploration sessions this summer will highlight coding, marine science, and fisheries and wildlife biology through career exploration activities, experiments, projects and field experiences. To be eligible, students must have previously completed ANSEP’s Middle School Academy component and maintained grades that adhere to ANSEP’s high academic standards, including being on track to complete Algebra 1 before high school. To learn more about ANSEP and its components, visit www.ANSEP.net.