Middle school students learn to fight pollution with innovation at Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program’s STEM Career Exploration focused on marine science


ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Students who previously attended ANSEP’s Middle School Academy returned to Anchorage for the program’s STEM Career Exploration focused on marine science. Today, Friday, July 13, the 47 middle school students worked alongside ANSEP professionals to create prototypes of devices that can eliminate ocean pollution using only household materials like pipe cleaners and toothpicks. While learning about ecology, the effects of humans on oceans and engineering through real-world applications, the students experienced a day in the life of engineers and marine scientists.

“From a young age Alaskans are engrained with a passion for protecting and preserving our environment for future generations. In Alaska, where our coastline is longer than those of all other 49 states combined, ocean pollution is a serious issue,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “Scientists estimate that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in our oceans. Through hands-on activities led by STEM professionals, ANSEP students are discovering how to make a career out of safeguarding the land they love.”

Focused on marine science, the innovative curriculum for ANSEP’s third STEM Career Exploration component of the summer included tidal demonstrations, oceanography exercises, field excursions to the Peterson Bay Field Station and other activities designed to spark an early interest in STEM education. Throughout the five-day, residential component, students live on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus and participate in hands-on STEM activities designed to expose them to a particular facet of science, technology, engineering or math.
The 47 students chosen to participate from the Anchorage, Bering Straits, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Lower Kuskokwim, Matanuska-Sustina Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough and Yukon Koyukuk school districts include:
  • Anchorage: Omar Adegbola, Raven Anaruk, Mariah Andrews, Marissa Crabtree, Amelia DeSentis, Ellenia Dommek, David Fetters, Quincy Gellerman, Andrew Gebert, Kahayla Green, Dejahn Hoover, Markayla Katchatag, Dalyn Macaraeg, Carmen Marrs, Marissa Marrs, Isaiah Mojin, Dustin Moses, Hallie Nelson, DeeDee Nevzoroff, A’Lante Owens-Player, Kayleigh Piscoya, Kaleb Robustellini, Elias Rodriguez, Victoria Shein, Marcus Sterling-Jerue, Kailene Vea-Spencer, Stephanie Tyson, Samuel “Sam” York and Sophia York
  • Bethel: Elliot Gill
  • Buckland: Judge Peacock
  • Huslia: Jordan David
  • Kenai: Taylor Huett
  • Kotzebue: Marysue Beck, Frank Beecroft, Emma Gregg and Eilana Hatch
  • Nome: Kellie Miller
  • Palmer: Jakob Harrison and Isaac Smith
  • Seward: Ethan Williams
  • Soldotna: Trinity Donovan, Morgan Lemm and Ayden See
  • Unalakleet: Carter Commack and Lauryn Jones
  • Wasilla: Alexandria Burks-Dakutak
By exposing students to real-world uses for STEM education at an early age, ANSEP is inspiring Alaska’s next generation of scientists, marine biologists and engineers. The four STEM Career Explorations this summer focus on health care, coding, marine science, and fisheries and wildlife. 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.