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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) is hosting 44 students from nine rural communities within the Northwest Arctic Borough School District (NWABSD) at its first Middle School Academy of the 2016-17 school year. Last week, students arrived at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) campus, where they lived like college students for two weeks while participating in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) 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 students chosen to participate in the all-expenses-paid academy include:
Throughout the academy, students participate in team-based activities that focus on real-world problem solving, ranging from computer and bridge builds to earthquake engineering and biological science sessions. On Tuesday, Oct. 18, students participated in an interactive energy activity that required them to design and build a model Arctic wall with the goal of creating an energy-efficient building. The innovative activity teaches students the role insulation can play in rural Alaska housing.
“We are always looking for fun, innovative ways to get students excited about STEM learning and strive to expose them to real-world situations they may encounter if they choose to pursue a career in a STEM field,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “Our goal is to help students find their passion for math and science at a young age and keep them on track for academic success throughout their educational careers.”
The Middle School Academy is the first component in ANSEP’s longitudinal model, which strives to expose students early and often to STEM opportunities. ANSEP components continue to offer support to students through high school and into college undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs, shaping students into educated scientists and engineers who feed the growing demand for STEM leaders in Alaska. Learn more about ANSEP and its components at www.ANSEP.net.