Project offers STEM opportunities for rural Alaska, Hawaii students
October 16, 2018
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has received federal funding to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning and cultural knowledge exchange between underserved schools in rural Alaska and Hawaii.
UAF's Teacher Ambassadors Sharing Knowledge project, or TASK, received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The three-year project seeks to increase Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian student interest and readiness in STEM careers by providing a place-based, culturally relevant curriculum.
“Other successful K-12 outreach programs strongly indicate that incorporating indigenous language and culture in STEM instruction greatly enhances students’ achievement,” said Glenda Findlay, K-12 Outreach program director and co-investigator of the TASK project. The K-12 Outreach program at UAF is part of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics.
TASK will also provide intensive teacher professional development workshops and online peer mentoring to increase the number of teachers delivering culturally relevant STEM instruction, including assisting non-Native teachers to incorporate indigenous language. UAF will work with the Lower Yukon School District in Alaska and the Nānākuli-Wai‘anae Complex Area in Oahu, Hawaii, on the project.
“This project emphasizes cultural exchange," said Sam Norlin, principal investigator of TASK. "We are excited about this unique aspect because we believe it will increase teachers’ connection with their communities."
A cultural exchange workshop in Alaska will give participating teachers an opportunity to collaborate with their online peer mentors in person, work with science and cultural experts, and incorporate culturally relevant science into their classroom teaching. A student cultural exchange academy will offer participating students a chance to learn about college expectations and campus living to help them with a smooth transition from high school to college life.
ADDITONAL CONTACTS: Sam Norlin, TASK principal investigator, UAF K-12 Outreach, 907-450-8360, firstname.lastname@example.org; Glenda Findlay, UAF K-12 Outreach director, TASK co-investigator, 907-450-8406, email@example.com.