KYUK AM

Hundreds Of Alaska Native Middle Schoolers Camp Their Way Towards Science Careers

Aug 10, 2017

Audrey Alstrom, Regional Director of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program’s Middle School Academy
Credit Courtesy of Audrey Alstrom

A group of Alaska Native middle school students from around Alaska are on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage this week, studying engineering and science. Already they have built a computer and a model for a Mars landing craft. Today they're taking on robotics as teams of students design and build robotic fish.

Audrey Alstrom is the Regional Director of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program’s Middle School Academy, which organizes the two-week-long summer science camp. She says that the program is designed to help students move from middle school to high school and beyond: to colleges and careers in science.

ANSEP’s middle school programs are relatively new, and the students they worked with when the program was piloted are just now arriving at the University of Alaska. Alstrom points to those students as a sign of success.

“Last year we had one of our past participants be a youth peer mentor,” Alstrom said. “He is actually in his junior year as a civil engineering student here at UAA. And then this year we also have another youth peer mentor that was a student at Middle School Academy when she was in middle school. She’s entering college this fall, later this month, as a geology student.”

This summer, ANCEP is working with a total of 30 middle school students at its facilities in Anchorage and with another 50 at a program in Kotzebue. 

On Thursday, KYUK will be visiting with middle school students from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta who are attending this week’s Summer Science Camp in Anchorage.