The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program is bringing over 100 students from all over the state to the University of Alaska Anchorage for a five-day program that allows students to participate in hands-on math and science related exercises. Two of the students chosen to participate are from the Dillingham area.
ANSEP’s goal is to create a system in which Alaska Native students will strive for professions in the science and engineering fields. Students in sixth grade through high school and are interested in science and engineering undergraduate degrees enter this program, which now offers two summer sessions of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM.
ANSEP chief operations officer Michael Bourdukofsy says to attend STEM a candidate must have attended ANSEP’s Middle School Academy and maintained excellent grades.
“The STEM career explorations, this is our second summer running that, it’s basically a follow up opportunity for students who have participated in our ANSEP middle school academy to come back and continue to be exposed to science and engineering career opportunities and activities that relate to those careers.”
Bourdukofsy says STEM is incredibly competitive. Of the over 500 applications from the ANSEP Middle School Academy, only 20% were accepted into the summer program. After the students are accepted, they must then maintain very high grades.
But education isn’t the only thing these students will gain.
“Well there’s a social aspect, I think they develop a lot of confidence socially because they are away from home, living on campus, engaging with other students from across the state. They learn to navigate campus and feel comfortable around campus. I think it also helps them to continue to be motivated and excited about their math and science education and if they continue to set high goals and reach those goals they will have a lot of opportunities to reach those goals.”
Bourdukofsky says over 80% of the students that participate in ANSEP complete algebra one by the end of eighth grade. ANSEP has 1,200 middle school, high school and university student alumni.