ANSEP hosts students for Middle School Academy

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The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program is currently hosting 47 middle school students from more than 20 schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough and Lower Kuskokwim school districts for its February Middle School Academy at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

During the two-week component, students live like college students while participating in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math activities designed to foster enthusiasm for pursing an education and career in these areas.

Thanks to the generous support of ANSEP’s strategic partners, the February session is one of eight Middle School Academies planned for 2017.

On Friday, Feb. 17, students received a special visit from Vivian Korthuis, CEO of Association of Village Council Presidents. AVCP joined ANSEP last year as a strategic partner, by way of a three-year $1.5 million grant. AVCP supports students from the region through ANSEP’s suite of components. Korthuis stopped by as students were finishing up the computers they built this week as part of an innovative curriculum designed immerse students in hands-on STEM learning activities.

“It was an honor to have Vivian on campus to experience an integral part of our program – the computer build – and visit with students who are directly benefiting from AVCP’s generosity. The funds awarded last year allowed us to expand our reach in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, meaning more students from this area will arrive academically and socially prepared for college and for their careers,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder.

Throughout Middle School Academy, students participate in a number of team-based STEM learning activities centered around real-world problem solving, such as Arctic wall and bridge builds as well as earthquake engineering and science exploration sessions led by industry professionals and ANSEP staff. The students chosen to participate in the all-expenses-paid, residential component include:

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Homer Middle School: Hannah Hatfield

McNeil Cangon Elementary (Homer): Jenna Lapp

Nanwalek School: Lavenya Hetrick and Abigail Kvasnikoff

Nikiski Middle/High School: Dwyght Mullins

Skyview Middle School (Soldotna): Rhys Cannava, Harley Johnson and Ayden See

Tebughna School (Tyonek): Alicia Smoke

Tustumena Elementary School (Soldotna): Trinity Donovan and Evan Veihdeffer

Lower Kuskokwim School District

Akiuk Memorial School (Kasigluk): Katie Dementieff

Akula Elitnaurvik School (Kasigluk): Victoria Beaver, Kaylila Johnston and Korben Martin

Anna Tobeluk Memorial School (Nunapitchuk): Eliza Enoch, Wassilie Tobeluk and Alexandra Watson

Ayaprun Elitnaurvik School (Bethel): Atsaruaq Bill, Hayden Carlson, Anson Jimmie and Alyssa Motgin

Gladys Jung (Bethel): Hannah Colvin, Rosey Chakuchin, and one more

Bethel Regional High School: Cheyenne Murphy and Carmen Wasuli

Ket’acik Aapalluk Memorial School (Kwethluk): Bradley Jackson and Dustin Jackson

Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat: Kody Cleveland

Kwigillingok School: Jelsa Beaver, Reagan Evon, Kyra John, Jerome Paul and Sean Snyder

Nelson Island School (Toksook Bay): Summer Cartier

Nuniwarmiut School (Mekoryuk): Kaylee King

Kasigluk School: Daniel Slim

Z.J. Williams Memorial School (Napaskiak): John Amik

The ANSEP model begins at the middle school level and continues through high school and into college undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs. A recent study released by ANSEP in conjunction with the University of Alaska and State Department of Education and Early Development revealed that more than 60 percent of Alaska’s college-bound students require remediation upon entering the university. Students who start with ANSEP in middle school do not need remediation, and 77 percent complete algebra 1 before entering high school. Nationally, that number is 26 percent.  ANSEP saves families years of college tuition because high school students earn college credit, and ANSEP saves the state millions of dollars as students move through the education system faster. To learn more about ANSEP and its components, visit


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 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.