ANSEP hosts Middle School Academy for students from Kenai Peninsula Borough and Lower Kuskokwim School Districts

24-Feb-2016 ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) is currently hosting 53 middle school students from 21 different schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough and Lower Kuskokwim School Districts for its Middle School Academy at the University of Alaska Anchorage. During the two-week, residential program, students are participating in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning activities designed to foster enthusiasm for education in these career areas.

Thanks to the generous support of ANSEP’s strategic partners, the February session is one of six Middle School Academies taking place during the 2015-2016 school year. Students’ applications were evaluated based on their academic records and essay responses, providing them a chance to get experience submitting a college-like application as early as sixth grade. The students chosen to participate in February’s all-expenses-paid Middle School Academy include:

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Chapman School, Anchor Point: Emily Charles and Fawna Johnson
  • Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School, Soldotna: Kaytlynn Walden
  • Kenai Middle School: Hermione Lanfear, Brianne Moore, Chelsea Plagge and Koda Poulin
  • Nanwalek School: Jada Moonin
  • Nikiski Middle/High School: Brendan Boehme, Griffin Gray, Vincent Hooper and Tatiyanna Murphy
  • Redoubt Elementary School, Soldotna: Zoticus Active
  • Skyview Middle School, Soldotna: Keira King and Gabriella Rogers
  • Sterling Elementary School: Brennus DeGross and Blaine Hayes

Lower Kuskokwim School District
  • Akula Elitnaurvik School, Kasigluk: Shannon Twitchell and Megan White
  • Anna Tobeluk Memorial School, Nunapitchuk: Sinka Enoch, Caden Sallison and Devonte Sallison
  • Ayagina’ar Elitnaurvik School, Kongiganak: Ryann Beaver, Lora Crosley, Lauren David, Eugene Ivon, Jonathan Otto and Elsa Tinker
  • Ayaprun Elitnaurvuk School, Bethel: Cadence Cedars, Kirsten Nick
  • Bethel Regional High School: Shantel Chung, Felicia Daniel, Randy Turner, Jr. and Alek Winkelman
  • Chief Paul Memorial School, Kipnuk: Anna Brown, Katie Attie, Caley Paul and Iris Paul
  • Gladys Jung Elementary School, Bethel: Kayla Beckham, Gracie Davis and Haley Sundown
  • Kwigillinok School: Kalila Brink, Jason Evon and Kacey Igkurak
  • Lewis Angapak Memorial School, Tuntutuliak: Andrew Bavilla
  • Negtemiut Elitnaurviat School, Nightmute: Blake Anthony
  • Nelson Island School, Toksook Bay: Nolan Charles
  • Kuinerramiut Elitnaurviat School, Quinhagak: Tristan Henry, Ronald Merritt, Daniel Pleasant and Nikki Teeluk
  • Rocky Mountain School, Goodnews Bay: Alexie Evan

Throughout the two-week component, students are taking part in a college-style learning experience at UAA while participating in team-based learning activities centered around real-world problem solving, such as field excursions and computer builds to earthquake engineering and science exploration sessions led by industry professionals and ANSEP staff. On Wednesday, Feb. 24, students conducted a hands-on engineering activity, during which they designed and constructed bridges that they will later test using the strength-to-weight ratio.

“The bridge build is a popular Middle School Academy activity that engages students in friendly competition while exposing them to the basics of engineering. Students are tasked with building a bridge that can perform best in a strength-to-weight ratio test,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “This is just one way we’re inspiring young Alaskans to pursue STEM careers and putting them on a path to higher education at an early age.”

The ANSEP model begins at the middle school level and continues through high school and into college undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs. A key component of the program, the Middle School Academy inspires young students to become involved in science and engineering early in their educational careers and keeps them on track to compete algebra 1 before high school. The ANSEP model has a proven track record: more than 77 percent of Middle School Academy students complete algebra 1 before entering high school. Nationally, that number is 26 percent.

To learn more about ANSEP and its components, visit www.ANSEP.net.