Middle school students from 22 Alaska communities return to ANSEP to explore marine biology with hands-on learning

30-Jun-2017 ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – This week, the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program welcomed more than 50 middle school students to its third STEM Career Exploration component of the summer. During this five-day residential camp on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus, students explored the field of marine biology by participating in several hands-on activities led by industry professionals.

STEM Career Exploration is designed to help students focus on a particular STEM field that interests them. It also gives them a chance to renew their dedication to and enthusiasm for the ANSEP community and pursuit of a degree and career in STEM. With Alaska having more coastline than the rest of the United States combined and its waters being home to an abundance of marine life, the field of marine biology is of particular importance in the state. Students who participated in the marine biology STEM Career Exploration this week took part in a variety of activities, from a sea otter necropsy to a shark dissection, all with the help of industry professional and ANSEP staff.

To be eligible for STEM Career Exploration, 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. In addition to the educational benefits, STEM Career Exploration gives students a chance to continue familiarizing themselves with the UAA campus and the rigors of college life as well as interact with like-minded peers from around Alaska.

Students from 22 communities across Alaska were chosen to participate in ANSEP’s third STEM Career Exploration component of 2017, including:

  • Anchorage: Madison Bebey, Malcolm Bosse, Dionisy Mitchel Bourdukofsky, Winter Angifak C. Anaruk, Emily Charles, Leilani Courtright, Clayton Gellerman, Raquel George, Dakota Jensen, Leif Midvag, Robert Morgan, Kenneth Octuk, Kaitlyn Odman, Holten Reid, Victoria Shein, Deya Tallman, Maya Vinson, Taylor Weiss, Aeryn Werning and Austin Woods
  • Atqasuk: Arlene Kanayurak
  • Bethel: Annie Rose Coggins, Charlee Korthuis, Haley Sundown and Alek Winkelman
  • Eagle River: Brock Miller
  • Iliamna: Gabriel Olympic
  • Kasilof: Miya Mae Clark Hassenfratz
  • Kenai: Koda Poulin
  • Kiana: Shaedyn Barr
  • Kipnuk: Miranda Paul
  • Koliganek: Tyson Olsen
  • Kongiganak: Shandon Igkurak
  • Kotzebue: Kaila Short
  • Koyuk: Edward Charles and Harley Huntington
  • Newhalen: Aileen Lester
  • Noorvik: Lindsay Schuerch
  • Palmer: Presley Allen, Nicole Bell and Trevor Kroening
  • Scammon Bay: Bryce Jimmie and Shyanne Kopanuk
  • Soldotna: Sorin Sorensen
  • St. Michael: Aiden Alfred Peter Lockwood
  • Tyonek: Alicia Smoke
  • Wasilla: Chevy Hicks, Glenda Root, Kiara Shane and Peyton Van Buskirk
  • White Mountain: Shayla Titus

“STEM Career Exploration is an important piece of ANSEP’s educational model because it not only provides students with top-notch learning opportunities alongside industry professionals but it also allows students to build on their support network of friends and mentors from ANSEP’s Middle School Academy,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder.

To learn more about ANSEP and its components, visit