ANSEP students take on paid internships
When Barrow's Antonio Dunbar, 17, got the chance for a paid internship through the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program's Summer Bridge component, he knew right where he wanted to go.
He contacted the Arctic Slope Native Association about working in radiology at Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital.
"I'm having a lot of fun and learning a lot," Dunbar said on Monday. "I plan to be a radiologist."
Besides answering the phones and shuffling paperwork during the three-week internship, Dunbar gets to observe the ins and outs of his future profession.
He learned about ANSEP through his dad and both agreed it would be a good boost for the future.
"ANSEP is a great program to get people, especially Natives, engaged and prepared for the type of work that they want to do in engineering and science, " Dunbar said.
In total, 25 Alaska students are taking part in paid internships through the ANSEP Summer Bridge component to garner experience before starting college at a University of Alaska campus this fall.
"Summer Bridge students are getting hands-on experience working in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) career fields, in addition to completing a college math course, " according to a release from ANSEP.
"Summer Bridge is just one component of ANSEP that strives to promote STEM while encouraging historically underrepresented students to pursue careers in science and engineering at an early age."
This particular facet has been around since 1998 as a way to better prepare students for careers in math and science and help them transition from their rural communities to bigger college towns and cities.
"Completing Summer Bridge is crucial for developing students academically, socially and professionally for college and careers, " said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder in a statement. "It also plays a key role in providing Alaska with a sustainable workforce for years to come. We're fortunate to live in a state that offers myriad opportunities in STEM fields and to partner with organizations that invite students to learn and grow early in their educational careers."
Summer Bridge internships are geared toward each student's field of interest. Internships range from assisting with capital improvement projects for the North Slope Borough in Barrow to working for the United States Forest Service in Southeast Alaska's Tongass National Forest.
"I like making a difference, and engineering is just one way I hope to do that in my life, " said ANSEP student Mattias Hautala of Kwethluk. "After my first computer build, I was hooked on engineering and ANSEP. From there, I applied for Acceleration Academy, and now here I am. I have an awesome internship, I'm earning college credit and my degree is paid for."
This summer Hautala is working with corrosion engineers at BP Alaska, taking samples from walls inside the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. Using the samples, he will help determine whether any sections need to be replaced and how much longer they will last. Hautala and other BP interns will also visit the North Slope and in the fall, he will begin his first year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks working toward a degree in petroleum engineering?
The 25 high school graduates from 15 Alaska communities are currently placed with one of ANSEP's strategic partners across the state, including:
Bureau of Land Management: Jessica Mute, Bethel; Patrice DeAsis, Juneau
BP: Jesse Puletau, Bethel; Mattias Hautala, Kwethluk; Trisha Jimmie, Northway; Walter Seeganna, Anchorage
ConocoPhillips: Catherine Dunleavy, Wasilla; Steven Glasheen, Bethel
ExxonMobil: Frederick Coolidge, Aleknagik; Joseph Lopez, Wasilla
National Park Service: Tamija Woods, Anchorage; Tony Takak, Elim
Arctic Slope Native Association: Antonio Dunbar, Barrow
Shell Oil: Cory Lepore, Bethel; Evelyn Oliver, Anchorage
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Flora Andrews, Anchorage; Janelle Carl, Kipnuk; Janis Andrew, Kwigillingok; Peyton Corbett, Bethel
U.S. Forest Service: Cody McIntyre, Tuntutuliak; Malachi Rhines, North Pole
U.S. Geological Survey: Jannelle Trowbridge, Nome; Nathaniel Doss, Wasilla; Tvetene Carlson, Cantwel?.