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ANSEP hosts 44 students from Northwest Arctic Borough School District at first Middle School Academy of the school year


ANSEP hosts 44 students from nine communities in the NWABSD for a Middle School Academy at the UAA campus in Anchorage.

Photos courtesy of ANSEP

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 live 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:


  • Buckland: Jason Ahkpuk, Jeanette Barr, Amy Curtis, Demaris Hadley, Ava Jones and Colt Ticket

  • Deering: Matthew Barr and Raymond Moto

  • Kiana: Shaedyn Barr

  • Kobuk: Jared Harvey, Ella Horner, Kaira McKay and Ashley Rexford 

  • Kotzebue: Zaida Baldwin, Frank Beecroft, Emmaline Eggleston, Sophia Eggleston, Shameka Geter, Emma Gregg, Johnathan Henry, Brylee Jones, Zaina McConnell, Chase Nelson, Jacey Schaeffer, Dawson Schaeffer, Hannah Sheldon and Kaila Short

  • Noatak: Jazzlyn Ballot, Steven Barger, Elicia Jones and Daisy-Mae Wesley

  • Noorvik: TeHana Baldwin, Lemau Bantatua, Eva Johnson, Melody Jones, Nicole Nazuruk and Madison Newlin

  • Selawik: Trista Foxglove and Bonnie Larkin

  • Shungnak: Mark Griest, Brennen Johnson, Jarred Lee, Shauna Penn and Sara Tickett

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.

The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP), 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 (STEM) career fields by placing its students on a path to leadership. Beginning at the middle school level, ANSEP’s longitudinal model continues through high school and into undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs, allowing students to succeed at rates far exceeding national numbers. In 2015, the organization launched ANSEP STEM Teacher to further remedy Alaska’s rural education issues by supporting students pursuing STEM-related teaching certificates. ANSEP plans to place one ANSEP STEM Teacher in every Alaska village by 2025.

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