• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: DIRECTV Customers. Tell DIRECTV to bring back KTVA. Call 800-531-5000. - Read More
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 37s

Bethel-area students journey to Anchorage for intensive science camp

By Heather Hintze 8:38 PM January 22, 2015

Students from Gladys Jung Middle School in Bethel and other rural communities have taken off for a special science and math program in Anchorage.

Sixth-graders Susanna Pitka and Hunter Wright are just two kids out of about 50 students chosen to attend the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program’s Middle School Academy.

“I wanted to go because I wanted to have a good career and be a state trooper when I grow up, and probably after that become an engineer,” Pitka said.

Wright also has aspirations of becoming an engineer. His family moved to Bethel from Georgia two years ago. Even though he’s not from the area, he says he knows how important it is to have two weeks to focus on math and science.

“I think it’s great because some kids from the Bethel region and other villages, they don’t get the same learning of science as other kids do,” Wright said.

His teacher Beverly Chmielarczyk chaperoned the trip last year. She’s been teaching in Bethel for 17 years and said science plays an important role for students in the Lower Kuskokwim Delta.

“The kids out here, I think they live in science,” Chmielarczyk explained. “They’re out at fish camps every summer. There’s a lot of Native knowledge that relates to science that has been handed down for generations.”

In Anchorage on Thursday morning, the students met at the ANSEP Academy building at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Their first task was to build a computer. Students will be able to keep the computers they build if they complete an Algebra I math class by the time they’re in eighth grade.

“It’s cool because my sister always plays mine. So it will be cool to have my own computer,” Wright said.

Herb Shroeder started ANSEP 20 years ago. He says he’s passionate about getting kids involved in the classroom to prepare them for careers that will help their community.

“There’s nothing more important than preparing Alaska Native people in science and engineering so they have a seat at the table when decisions are made about the land that they’ve lived on for 10,000 years,” Shroeder said.

In addition to constructing computers, the students will also take a field trip down to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward to dissect squid. They’ll also build bridges out of balsa wood to test their earthquake engineering skills.

The Middle School Academy also teaches many lessons outside the classroom by exposing students to a new social setting. They stay in dorms on the UAA campus to get a little taste of what pursuing higher education will be like.

“It’s kind of preparing you for college and it’s really cool to have the experience so you’re not clueless when you get into college,” Wright said.

The program is a way to not only get kids thinking about their future, but also giving them the tools to make it happen.

This is the first of eight middle school academies in 2015. Over the next three years, ANSEP will bring about 2,000 kids to Anchorage for the same kind of program, made possible by a $1 million grant from Alaska Airlines.

Latest Stories

  • DayBreak

    Workforce Wednesday: Engineering in Alaska

    by Daybreak Staff on Feb 22, 16:11

    Alaska is home to dozens of engineering specialties, ranging from civil to mechanical, aerospace to ship building. If there’s a big infrastructure project, chances are there was an engineer involved. Engineers also make a broad salary, averaging anywhere from $46 to $73 per hour, according to Cassie Ostrander, a spokesperson for the Alaska Process Industry […]

  • Lifestyle

    Public asked to help count Anchorage moose

    by Heather Hintze on Feb 22, 15:54

    Biologists at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game need your help to count moose around the Anchorage Bowl. They haven’t been able to do their annual aerial surveys for the past few years because of bad weather and low snow. For the first time, the department is asking for the public’s help to track moose […]

  • News

    Coast Guard awards polar icebreaker design study contracts

    by KTVA / AP on Feb 22, 15:41

    The U.S. Coast Guard has awarded five fixed-price contracts for design studies and analysis of new heavy polar icebreakers. Coast Guard and Navy personnel will use the studies to refine heavy polar icebreaker specifications. “These contracts will provide invaluable data and insight as we seek to meet schedule and affordability objectives,” Rear Adm. Michael Haycock, […]

  • Politics

    Trump administration reverses Obama-era policies on transgender bathrooms

    by Emily Schultheis / CBS News on Feb 22, 15:41

    President Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday reversed Obama-era policies requiring that public schools allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. It will now be up to states and school districts to interpret whether federal sex discrimination law applies to gender identity. A letter sent to schools nationwide Wednesday by […]

  • Running with the reindeer at Fur Rondy

    by Daybreak Staff on Feb 22, 15:03

    The Fur Rendezvous tradition, the Running of the Reindeer is entering its 10th year.  According to the event page, it’s a mellower version of running with the bulls in Pamploma, Spain, and pits person against reindeer. There are four different groups, or “herds,” people can join — one each for women and men, couples and tourists, […]

  • Politics

    Murkowski vows ‘no’ vote on repealing Medicaid expansion, defunding Planned Parenthood

    by Liz Raines on Feb 22, 14:45

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski addressed the Alaska Legislature Wednesday morning for the 15th time since taking office in 2002. It’s an annual speech that she and the rest of Alaska’s congressional delegation deliver to update members of the Legislature on work in Washington, D.C. Beyond laying out her priorities on energy and land management, Murkowski also addressed […]

  • Celebrating Black History Month and the members of the military

    by Daybreak Staff on Feb 22, 13:42

    Because of the Brave is a photography project that recognizes military members, and celebrates Black History Month. The founder and person behind the project, Victoria Baldwin, said she got the idea while she was deployed to Kuwait in 2014. She’d snap a portrait of different service members, and ask them why they chose to join the […]

  • News

    AST: Deaths of 2 Soldotna people found dead in Bronco an accident

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 22, 13:31

    The deaths of two people, found dead in a burned Bronco last year, have been ruled accidental, according to Alaska State Troopers. In an online dispatch, the agency wrote that impairment and carbon monoxide inhalation were factors in Daniel Duck and Joni Pearcy’s deaths. On Nov. 20, Soldotna troopers received a missing persons for Duck […]