Two Bering Strait School District students had the opportunity to show their smarts at the STEM Career Exploration Sessions in Anchorage last week. Middle school students Payton Commack and Lauryn Jones traveled to the University of Alaska Anchorage campus to meet with 100 other students from 16 other Alaskan schools.
Hosted by the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP), Commack and Jones represented BSSD. The career sessions focused on engineering and energy. The two participated in team activities testing solar-powered boats and creating complex machines for simple tasks, all the while receiving guidance from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) industry professionals.
Josephine Mattison, an ANSEP director, says the program plans on teaching students about careers in STEM-related fields — and encouraging educational growth and teamwork.
Getting into the program isn’t easy. Students need to complete an earlier, preparatory ANSEP program and maintain grades that satisfy ANSEP’s academic standards. ANSEP also has programs continuing through high school and into undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate programs. They hope to put an ANSEP STEM teacher in every Alaska village by 2025.