Bristol Bay college students explore marine biology careers at ANSEP camp


Three students from Bristol Bay traveled to Anchorage at the end of June to attend a camp organized by the Alaska Native Science and Engineering program.

In late June, the Alaska Native Science and Engineering program hosted a camp in Anchorage for students from across the state to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Tyson Olsen from Koliganek is one of three Bristol Bay students who have been selected to attend the ANSEP Marine Biology Career Camp. He and 51 college students from across the state spent five days on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus to learn about marine biology research. For Olsen, the highlight was a trip to Jakolof Bay in Homer.

“The tide was low, so we saw everything that lived between low tide and high tide. There were fish that could stay out of the water for a while. In this bay, too, there were people looking for clams, ”Olsen explains.

Another popular activity for Olsen was performing an autopsy on an otter.

“The people there with the otters studied how they died,” says Olsen. “They did this with us, so they looked outside. Then we dissected them. The liver was a little blackish inside.

ANSEP exists to provide educational opportunities and financial support to Alaska Native science and engineering students. The objective of this camp was to give their youngest students a vision of careers in marine biology.

“The idea behind it was just to expose them to the different things someone could do in marine biology,” says Yosty Storms, regional director of ANSEP. “We want to serve and engage those who have been historically underserved or under-represented. “

Olsen isn’t sure he’s considering a career in marine biology just yet, but he’s interested in STEM.

“I’m just trying to make it look as good as possible, so when I choose what I want to do, I’m going to have a good chance of getting it. It will probably be something in the realm of science, technology, math, or engineering. These are just my best subjects, ”says Olsen.

Two other students from the Bristol Bay area also attended the ANSEP career exploration camp. Aileen Lester from Newhalen and Gabriel Olympic from Iliamna also participated.

Contact the author at [email protected] or 907-842-5281.

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