Shaylyn “Yosty” Storms grew up in Unalakleet, Alaska, where she and her seven siblings lived a traditional Iñupiaq subsistence lifestyle. Passionate about protecting her family and community’s way of life, Yosty wanted to become a marine biologist. She took the first steps toward this career when she joined ANSEP in high school, and she has been passionate about STEM education ever since.
Through components like Acceleration Academy, Yosty discovered she was not only adequate at math, she excelled at it. With college credits already under her belt and the support of ANSEP, she started pursuing a degree at the University of Alaska Anchorage. As an ANSEP Summer Bridge and University Success Student, she gained hands-on, paid experience as a science technician for the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management and the U.S. Geological Survey during the summer months.
You may remember Yosty from a previous Student Success blog post, which shared her passion for education as she was working on her bachelor’s degree in natural sciences. After becoming the first in her family to graduate with a college degree, Yosty felt inspired to promote higher education for other Alaska Native students like herself. Since then, she has joined the ANSEP team, and she now shares her passion for education by teaching the next generation of Alaska’s future leaders.
We caught up with Yosty to see how, as ANSEP’s regional director, she is able to positively impact the lives of these bright, young students.
ANSEP: When we last checked in, you wanted to earn a graduate degree in marine biology. Does that field still interest you?
Yosty: I am very interested in marine biology and passionate about conservation, but my job with ANSEP has also shifted my interest toward education. With ANSEP, I can accomplish those same goals through educating others. I am now considering pursuing a master’s in education that would allow me to continue working with students and inspiring them to give back, too.
ANSEP: What inspired you to start working with ANSEP as part of the middle school program?
Yosty: I knew that I wanted to further my personal education, but also felt the need to give back to a program that had been so instrumental to my own success. ANSEP provided me with so many educational opportunities, and I want to share the experience with as many other students as I can.
ANSEP: Having been an ANSEP student, how does it feel to be on the other side of the program?
Yosty: You definitely appreciate how involved the program is having been on both sides. I understand how much hard work the staff dedicates to each and every student, and how important the support of our strategic partners is. It can be stressful ensuring each component goes off without a hitch, but it is also very rewarding to give back to the students and know we’re benefiting the future of our state.
ANSEP: What is your favorite part of working with students at the middle school level?
Yosty: I have so many favorite parts! I love watching them grow throughout the components. Many have never been away from home by themselves before coming to Middle School Academy. Watching students arrive shy and unsure then seeing them leave feeling empowered, confident and excited is truly uplifting. And, watching their enthusiasm for STEM grow as they learn more is remarkable. It’s amazing to see each student realize his or her own potential.
ANSEP: How do you inspire the next generation of STEM leaders?
Yosty: My job challenges me to promote enthusiasm for education and help students seek opportunities to learn. The possibilities are endless and I love helping bring those dreams to life!