STEM program guides Kodiak student from middle school to college

A science, technology, engineering, and math program geared towards Alaska Native students has guided one Kodiak local through both middle school and high school. And now, he’s off to college.

The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, or ANSEP, encourage its students to enter STEM careers.

Kris Hill-McLaughlin and 26 other recent high school graduates participated this summer in Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program's Bridge program on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. In ANSEP students are encouraged to enter science, technology, engineering and math careers. (Photo by Kayla Desroches/KMXT)

Kris Hill-McLaughlin and 26 other recent high school graduates participated this summer in Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program’s Bridge program on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. In ANSEP students are encouraged to enter science, technology, engineering and math careers. (Photo by Kayla Desroches/KMXT)

Kris Hill-McLaughlin says his own ambitions fall on the engineering side. He says he’s has been with ANSEP since 6th grade. He’s now 19.

This summer he participated alongside 26 other recent high school graduates in ANSEP’s Bridge program on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.

While there, he interned with the ExxonMobil Corporation and took a college-level trigonometry course.

“The classes themselves are pretty intense because they’re condensing a whole semester class into three weeks, so you have to be really motivated and focused to accomplish that class.”

He had the chance to talk with current UAA students said while in Anchorage.

“They’re youth mentors if you will. They help you out with classes, they help you out with college life in general,” he said. “You can also ask them questions, and you learn a lot from just talking to them.”

The program offers students the chance to live on campus and meet others with similar interests.

Hill-McLaughlin appreciated the chance to hang out and interact with other students, because he says he’s a little shy and not used to being social.

“Some of the other students in the program had that problem as well,” he said. “Because where they go they’re usually isolated too. There’s not a lot of people in a small area for some places around Alaska.”

Other students in the program come from communities such as Bethel, Palmer, Dillingham and Unalakleet.

The next time Hill-McLaughlin stays on the Anchorage campus, it’ll be as a student. He’s enrolling at UAA to study mechanical engineering.

ANSEP continues to offer its students support through their college years, he said.

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