ANSEP partners with Lower Yukon and St. Mary’s City school districts for hands-on STEM learning


ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program is hosting 29 students from the Lower Yukon School District and St. Mary’s City School District at its joint Middle School Academy. Aimed at developing an early interest in science, engineering, technology and math, Middle School Academies create hands-on learning opportunities for students such as a windmill challenge that demonstrates the power of renewable energy. Led by industry professionals, students will construct windmills using an assortment of limited materials to learn how turbines work to harness wind energy. This interactive design and engineering activity brings science to life through real-world applications.

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 fifth grade. The students chosen to participate in the all-expenses-paid academy include:

  • Alakanuk: Castor Demers-Isidore, Shatelin Phillip, Regina Sage, John Sheldon and Conrad Stanislaus
  • Hooper Bay: Avryl Bell, Mekhi Bell, Trinity Black, Cimiun Bunyan, Fay Echo and Rachael Imgalrea
  • Kotlik: BevAnne Akaran, Solveigh Ellison, Jadey Hendrickson, Taryn Okitkun, Kristen Prince, Darian Whitebear
  • Marshall: Emma Duny and Jerek One
  • Russian Mission: Agnes Changsak
  • Scammon Bay: Yaxya Mohamed, Liliauna Simon and Josiah Sundown
  • St Mary’s: Teresa Alexie, Makenna Beans, Cameron Jenkins, Svenson Paukan, Andie Prince and Walter Sipary Jr.

Throughout the two-week, residential component, Middle School Academy students live on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus and participate in team-based learning activities such as field excursions, earthquake engineering sessions and a computer build. As an incentive to further pursue STEM education, students can keep the computers they build, provided they stay on track to complete algebra 1 before high school. Middle School Academies are designed to foster enthusiasm for education and careers in STEM to students from across the state.

“Our Middle School Academies create real-world learning opportunities for students and help them realized that science and math are much more than subjects in school,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “By exposing students to the many exciting STEM careers available at an early age, we hope to spark a life-long interest.”

Through its proven model of success, ANSEP is opening the doors to college education and successful STEM careers for Alaska’s students. With more than 2,000 students in its pipeline, ANSEP is fundamentally improving education across the state starting in middle school and continuing through college and doctorate programs.

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