Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


WARTES, Denise, GeoFORCE Alaska, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 756305, 201 Brooks Building, Fairbanks, AK 99775,

RAHI, the Rural Alaska Honors Institute is a statewide, six-week, summer college-preparatory bridge program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for Alaska Native and rural high school juniors and seniors. A program of rigorous academic activity combines with social, cultural, and recreational activities. Students are purposely stretched beyond their comfort levels academically and socially to prepare for the big step from home or village to a large culturally western urban campus.

This summer the Rural Alaska Honors Institute launched a new program, GeoFORCE Alaska. This outreach initiative is designed to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing STEM degree programs and entering the future high-tech workforce. It uses Earth science to entice kids to get excited about dinosaurs, volcanoes and earthquakes, and includes physics, chemistry, math, biology and other sciences. Students were recruited from the Alaska’s Arctic North Slope schools, in 8th grade to begin the annual program of approximately 8 days, the summer before their 9th grade year and then remain in the program for all four years of high school. They must maintain a B or better grade average and participate in all GeoFORCE events. The culmination is an exciting field event each summer. Over the four-year period, events will include trips to Fairbanks and Anchorage, Arizona, Oregon and the Appalachians. All trips focus on Earth science and include a 100+ page guidebook, with tests every night culminating with a final exam.

GeoFORCE Alaska was begun by the University of Alaska Fairbanks in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin, which has had tremendous success with GeoFORCE Texas. GeoFORCE Alaska is managed by UAF’s long-standing Rural Alaska Honors Institute, that has been successfully providing intense STEM educational opportunities for Alaskan high school students for almost 30 years. The Texas program, with adjustments for differences in culture and environment, was replicated in Alaska. The program will add a new cohort of 9th graders each year for the next four years. By the summer of 2015, GeoFORCE Alaska is targeting a capacity of 160 students in grades 9th through 12th.

Join us to find out more about this exciting new initiative, which is helping entice young Alaska Native and minority students into the geosciences.