Science takes flight at ANSEP’s STEM Career Exploration session focused on coding


ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Students from across Alaska learned how to code at the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program’s second STEM Career Exploration session of the summer. Throughout this summer, ANSEP will host a total of four STEM Career Exploration sessions, each designed to highlight a particular facet of science, technology, engineering or math. This week’s STEM Career Exploration focused on the importance of coding, through courses and activities like creating and flying unmanned aerial vehicles.

Throughout the week, students learned about constructive solid geometry and computer programming through NCLab’s Karel the Robot and 3D Modeling courses. On Thursday, led by NCLab’s professional staff, the students developed a drone frame prototype using their newly obtained coding skills. After successfully constructing their UAV prototypes, students learned to operate drones and tested their flight capabilities.

The 48 students chosen to participate from the Anchorage, Bering Straits, Juneau, Kashunamuit, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Lower Kuskokwim, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough and Southwest Regional school districts include: 

  • Ambler: Jessica Johnson
  • Anchorage: Daniel Calvin, Tiana Demientieff, Johnathon Duke, Allison Evans, Delaney Fagerstrom, Devin Ferdinand, Kiya Frey, Peter Griggs, Declan Herndon, Nizhoni Hiratsuka, Dev’yonne Jackson, Audrey Leonetti, River Middendorf, Ianna Morris, Mallory Morris, Kenneth Octuk, DeVon Smith, Nivek Thompson, Yilnazbah (Rosie) Wauneka- Yellowhorse, Khayla Whitney, Caralynn Wick, Audrey Williams, Declan Williams and Marcella Williams 
  • Chugiak: Seth Strange 
  • Eagle River: Jason Kyle, Jenessa Ross and Haven White 
  • Golovin: Zachary Moses and Landon Varga 
  • Houston: Hanna Davila 
  • Juneau: Kaden Jim and Krishna Sanguni 
  • Kenai: Koda Poulin 
  • Koliganek: Tyson Olsen 
  • Kotzebue: Irauraq Nay and Tina Shrader 
  • Napaskiak: AnnaLayne Ulroan 
  • Palmer: Malachi Mukaabya 
  • Shungnak: Summer Tickett 
  • Unalakleet: Mary Arca and Alukka Ivanoff 
  • Wasilla: Emily Earl, Samuel Lashlee and Glenda Root 

“Writing code to operate unmanned aerial vehicles or create video games excites students, and we see that even more in the students from rural Alaska who have limited access to advanced technology,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Illisaurri Schroeder. “ANSEP helps students realize the vast STEM career options available to them by teaching them that the technology used to fly drones and make games is the same technology used in land surveying, wildlife monitoring and even extreme rescues by unmanned aerial vehicles.”

ANSEP’s STEM Career Exploration component demonstrates the importance of STEM careers in Alaska’s communities through practical applications and first-hand interactions with industry professionals. Throughout the five-day, residential component, the students participate in hands-on, team-based STEM activities and excursions, and experience the college lifestyle on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.

This component is an opportunity for students who previously completed Middle School Academy to identify potential STEM career paths and explore professions in their field of interest. To learn more about ANSEP and its components, visit www.ANSEP.net.