Fifty-two Northwest Arctic Borough School District students build computers, stronger futures at ANSEP Middle School Academy


ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program is partnering with the Northwest Arctic Borough School District to host 52 students from eight rural communities at its first Middle School Academy of the 2017-18 school year. Students arrived at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus this week, where they will live like college students for two weeks while participating in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math learning activities designed to foster enthusiasm for pursing an education and career in these areas.

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 Northwest Arctic Borough School District students chosen to participate in the all-expenses-paid academy include:

  • Ambler: Jessica Johnson
  • Buckland: Alfred Ballot III, Cody Brown, Gloria Carter, Zayden Commack, Belle Hadley, Delani Hadley, Marlena Itta, Kiah Melton, Judge Peacock, Joan Swan, Shaun Thomas and Autumn Weber
  • Kiana: Thor Morris
  • Kotzebue: Adriana Arnold, Johnson Black, Devin Cragette, Eliana Hatch, Tracie Henry, Julianna Hernandez, Destiny Hoffman, Cody Kramer, Amber Lazarus, Tristan Lincoln, Irauraq Nay, Nabridius Nelson, Katelyn Piper, Zaryn Reich, Brenyn Scheffer, Tina Shrader and Finnian Sweeney
  • Noatak: Leo Luther, Shyla Walton, Lilly Walton and Hannah Wesley
  • Noorvik: Annie Downey, Evelyn Garfield, Jennie Jackson, Tyson Johnson, Darrel Johnson III, Ethel Nazuruk, Akpagin Nazuruk-Brown and Alex Tebbits
  • Selawik: Casey Clark, Zachariah Hingsbergen, Adam Jones, Janie Larkin, Taurasi Mitchell and Charis Sampson
  • Shungnak: Donovan Barr, Dominic Cleveland and Shaylene Sheldon 

Throughout the academy, students participate in team-based learning activities that focus on real-world problem solving, ranging from earthquake-safe towers and energy-efficient windmills to field excursions and biological science sessions. On Wednesday, Oct. 11, students participated in a hands-on computer build activity. The project challenged each student to build a computer while also providing an incentive to further their education – students can keep the brand new PC computer, provided they stay on track to complete algebra 1 before high school and maintain at least a C average in all math or science courses.

“By exposing students to the excitement of STEM at an early age, we hope to ignite a lifelong passion that turns into a successful career,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “Through hands-on learning, science and math come to life for these students. Our Middle School Academy component not only provides a glimpse into STEM careers, it promotes an attitude of college readiness and helps students become familiar with the rigors of college life 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. With more than 2,000 students in the ANSEP pipeline and more than 600 students already immersed in Alaska’s STEM workforce, ANSEP’s proven model is helping creating a brighter future for the state as well as its students. Learn more about ANSEP and its components at www.ANSEP.net.