Middle school students return to ANSEP to explore health science career field

File photo: ANSEP students Randy Turner (at left) of Bethel and Dylan Westlake of Anchorage during the health science academy. Photo courtesy of ANSEP

This week (May 25th), the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program welcomed more than 50 middle school students to the University of Alaska Anchorage campus for its first STEM Career Exploration component of the summer. During this five-day residential camp, students explored the health sciences career field by participating in several hands-on activities led by industry professionals.

To be eligible, students must have previously completed ANSEP’s Middle School Academy component and maintained grades that adhere to ANSEP’s high academic standards, including being on track to complete algebra 1 before high school. In addition to the educational benefits, STEM Career Exploration gives students a chance to continue familiarizing themselves with the UAA campus and the rigors of college life as well as interact with like-minded peers from around Alaska. Students from 17 communities across Alaska were chosen to participate, including:

Akiachak: Tyler Charles

Anchorage: Chantell Adams, Omar Adegbola, Danaysia Craggette, Vernadette Fernandez-Alexie, Andrew Gebert, Courtney Hoelscher, Jessica Martinez, Puataunofo Ropati, Kaydence Sara, Dylan Westlake and Audrey Williams

Bethel: Hayden Carlson, Rosemary Chakuchin, Gracie Davis, Kallie Grace Qerrataralria Andrew, Anson Jimmie, Alyssa Motgin, Cheyenne Murphy, Randy Turner Jr. and Greta Rose Whitney

Brevig Mission: Laura Ann Kugzruk, Kelly Tocktoo and Shannon Tocktoo

Galena: Paytyn Cleaver and Ian Esmailka

Golovin: Landon Varga

Hooper Bay: Ravynn Condello

Kenai: Hermoine Lanfear

Kongiganak: Lora Crosley and Sarah Lupie

Kotlik: Amari Akaran

Kotzebue: Frank Beecroft and Leah Jameson-Hatch

Marshall: Melanie Landlord

Noatak: Steven Barger

Palmer: Nicole Bell, Michael Hill and Nathaniel Hill

Pilot Station: Emily Harry and Devon Heckman

Scammon Bay: Joseph Cholok and Madison Ramoth

St. Mary’s: Ana Joe

Stebbins: Jeri Dan and Cameron Pete

Unalakleet: Mary Arca and Emmanuel Mittelhoelzer

Wasilla: Gavynn Carle

STEM Career Explorations is designed to help students focus on a particular STEM field that interests them and renew their dedication to and enthusiasm for the ANSEP community and pursuit of a degree and career in STEM. Students who participated in the health sciences STEM Career Explorations this week experienced a variety of hands-on activities, from dental health simulations to a heart dissection.

“At ANSEP, our goal is to inspire students to pursue their dreams and ensure they have the educational tools needed to achieve them,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder. “In addition to providing outstanding learning opportunities, STEM Career Exploration is important for students as they build their support network. All of them have already participated in ANSEP’s Middle School Academy, and a big benefit of STEM Career Explorations is the chance for them to reconnect with friends and mentors who are part of the ANSEP community.”

This is the first of four STEM Career Exploration sessions that will take place this summer thanks to generous donations from ANSEP’s strategic partners, including its most recent $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. To learn more about ANSEP and its components, visit www.ansep.net.


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.