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ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program is hosting 49 students from the Bering Strait School District this month for Middle School Academy at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Throughout the two-week, residential component, students learn about science, technology, engineering and math through various hands-on activities. The program is designed to motivate students and spark an early interest in higher education and STEM careers.
Following a collegiate-style application process, students wrote admission essays for the component. The 49 students from 12 Alaska communities chosen to participate include:
In addition to hands-on STEM activities like designing and constructing balsa wood bridges, competing in the “windmill challenge” and even building their own computer, students get a taste of the college lifestyle living in dorms on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. Through these educational and social experiences, ANSEP Middle School Academy encourages students to start making long-term plans to pursue higher education and STEM careers that positively impact Alaska communities.
“ANSEP exposes students from rural Alaska to the real-life opportunities available to them through STEM education,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “When they come to ANSEP and successfully complete challenging activities, these students are motivated to continue along that path towards academic and career success.”
The goal is to send students back to their schools across the Bering Strait School District, feeling a new level of confidence about their academic achievements and motivated to further pursue STEM education. An added incentive to continue meeting their educational goals is that students who successfully complete the component and remain on track to complete Algebra 1 before high school can keep the computers he or she built.