Building STEM Identity in Rural Alaska

Revived two years ago as an afterschool club, the Cordova Tech Club—and now First Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics and Space Quest—involve one out of every five school-age children in Cordova, Alaska. This science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) based afterschool program is building more than just robots and science experiments—it is creating life-long learners and sparking STEM career interest among youth in this remote, rural community.  


Having received a STEM Afterschool Innovation Mini-grant last year, the Cordova School District used funding to boost Tech Club programming. Committed adult mentorship has also had a clear impact on student participation....

STEM Afterschool Innovation Mini-Grant Winners Announced

The Alaska Afterschool Network, Juneau Economic Development Council, and BP are proud to announce the recipients of the 2017-2018 STEM Afterschool Innovation Grants. These mini grants are designed to help afterschool programs implement or expand high-quality STEM learning. Grants ranged from $500 to $2,000.


We were pleased with the diversity of grant applicants, including programs from nonprofits, public schools, and community centers spanning the state. From offering new curriculum to purchasing new technology to expanding programming in rural Alaska, these STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math – programs will help provide youth with valuable skills to prepare them for success in college, career, and life. Thank you to all the grant applicants for your commitment to positive youth development and informal STEM education! We received a total of 23 applications requesting more than $35,000. There is a clear need for the support and expansion of STEM learning in afterschool.

How One Rural Town Is Investing in Alaska's Future Workforce

Nearly two-thirds of Alaska’s cities, towns, and villages are accessible only by plane or boat, which makes having a strong aviation workforce critical to having a strong state economy. Qualified and experienced employees in the aviation industry are in high demand throughout the state, especially in rural communities.


The 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Nenana is addressing this demand by preparing youth living in rural Alaska for this crucial industry.

Q&A: Iditarod Elementary Youth Talk About Their NASA STEM Challenge Experience

Students from five afterschool programs located in Mat-Su and Fairbanks participated in the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) NASA STEM Challenge earlier this year. This Challenge allowed students to demonstrate their engineering design skills and collaborate directly with NASA experts during out-of-school time to gain firsthand, real-world experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


Five youth from Iditarod Elementary School in Wasilla shared a little bit about their experience working on their challenge “Parachuting onto Mars,” where teams designed, built, and tested a drag device.

Science Action Club Builds STEM Identity Among Youth

Twenty youth at Bristol Bay 4-H Club stealthily maneuver in the outdoors, keeping their eyes to the sky – they’re on the lookout for birds. These youth are citizen scientists, actively counting birds and documenting their findings in an online platform where professional scientists and ornithologists use the submitted data for research.

Alaska 21st CCLC Youth Showcase Engineering Design Skills

After months of hard work, students at five afterschool programs located in Mat-Su and Fairbanks showcased their engineering design skills after completing the NASA STEM Challenge. Youth documented their hard work in videos, which were displayed during a webinar celebration that included students from around the state, families, and NASA engineers. Watch the students share about their experiences and learn how cargo is dropped onto Mars and how pressure suits protect astronauts!

Alaska 21st CCLC Programs Participate in NASA Challenege

For the past few months, students at five afterschool programs located in Mat-Su and Fairbanks have been hard at work mastering real-world engineering design challenges with NASA scientists as part of a NASA STEM Challenge. Through this program, participants have had the opportunity to collaborate directly with NASA experts during out-of-school time to gain firsthand experience in critically important science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skillsets.