BETHEL, Alaska — The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program’s full-time Acceleration Academy (Bethel) completed a successful first semester with 20 students from the Lower Kuskokwim School District earning a total of 216 college credits. Introduced in fall 2021, this component gives students the unique opportunity to get their high school diploma while simultaneously earning free college credits toward a bachelor’s degree in any field of study they choose.
What first started as a summer opportunity has blossomed into one of ANSEP’s most successful and impactful components, now available in Anchorage, Bethel and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Across all three campuses, just last semester 95 students earned 840 college credits. The success of ANSEP’s full-time Acceleration Academy component in Bethel semester shows the component’s scalability to other communities both in and outside of Alaska.
“ANSEP Acceleration Academy is a huge step in advancing educational opportunities for students in Southwest Alaska,” said Tad Lindley, ANSEP regional director of Acceleration Academy (Bethel). “Through Acceleration Academy, these students are getting on a path to success that makes a college degree more achievable and more affordable.”
Acceleration Academy students are going from eighth grade to earning bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields in five years. This saves students and their families up to $75,000 in college expenses while saving the State of Alaska $13,000 in education funding per student per year, a win-win for all Alaskans.
Students participating in Acceleration Academy (Bethel) last semester included Allie Alexie, Michelle Chris, Atsaruaq Bill, Emma Daniel, Isabella January, Anson Jimmie, Austin Kirby, Jordan Klejka, Maya Komulainen, Drini Pellumbi, Vjosa Pellumbi, Ned Peters, Corin Pike, Ethan Sparck, Kaylie St. Vincent, Marion Swope, Timothy Thompson, Laurel Tony, Annalayne Ulroan and Isabella Valcarce.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2022-2023 school year, and the deadline to submit applications is Friday, March 4. Any student enrolled in the Lower Kuskokwim School District and entering ninth, 10th, 11th or 12th grade in the fall of 2022 is eligible. There are even residential housing options in Bethel for students from surrounding villages who are interested in being part of Acceleration Academy (Bethel). Students and their families can learn more and submit an application online: http://www.ansepacceleration.com/.
The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program, founded by Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder, Ph.D., is part of the University of Alaska system. The program strives to effect systemic change in the hiring patterns of Alaska Natives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics career fields by placing its students on a path to leadership. Beginning in kindergarten , ANSEP’s sequential model continues through high school and into undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs, allowing students to succeed at rates far exceeding national numbers. More information is available at www.ANSEP.net.