Daylynn Yenney of Homer, third from left; Garrett Cooper of Anchor Point, far right; and other participants of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program Middle School Academy observe the strength of a bridge built during the academy.

Daylynn Yenney of Homer, third from left; Garrett Cooper of Anchor Point, far right; and other participants of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program Middle School Academy observe the strength of a bridge built during the academy.

Area students attend academy on engineering

Staff report

Five students from the southern Kenai Peninsula were among 48 from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District chosen to participate in the two-week Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program Middle School Academy:

Ethan Anderson, Homer;

Garrett Cooper, Anchor Point;

Julianna Johnson, Anchor Point;

Scott Lapp, Homer;

Daylynn Yenney, Homer.

At the all-expenses-paid program, the students had an opportunity to participate in team-based learning activities in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — career fields. Activities ranged from computer and bridge builds to alternative energy and earthquake engineering sessions. 

The middle school academies are designed to immerse the students in learning opportunities existing in these career areas. This year’s academy began Nov. 12 at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

“Our Middle School Academies offer students from across the state an unparalleled opportunity to participate in hands-on STEM activities while learning from professionals in the industry,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilusari Schroeder, in a press release issued Nov. 17. “ANSEP prides itself in providing inspiration, guidance and opportunities for Alaska students in STEM career fields early in their educational careers, and our Middle School Academy is just one of many ways we achieve this.”

The November academy is one of eight to be held during the 2014-2015 school year. This is more than previous year academies, thanks to grants and in-kind support from the state of Alaska, Alaska Airlines and other sponsors.

The ANSEP program is part of the University of Alaska system and strives to effect change in the hiring patterns of Alaska Natives in science and engineering by placing students on a career path to leadership. 

The ANSEP model is developed to support students in sixth grade through high school, and into science and engineering undergraduate degree programs, and even through graduate school to the doctorate level. 

The middle school academy is a key component for ANSEP’s goal of continually exposing students to STEM opportunities throughout middle and high school and into their college years, in addition to providing them with the tools and support they need to succeed. 

Along with the educational benefits provided by ANSEP, students who participate in the program are exposed to a supportive network of like-minded peers as they familiarize themselves with educational expectations and the rigors of college life.

For more information on ANSEP, visit ansep.net.

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