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T3 Alaska Program

Each summer, the Upward Bound and T3 programs host an epic adventure during the month of June. Most programs are 5-6 weeks long and focus on many of the problems that Alaska encounters. During these events students will explore campus life, help solve real world problems, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

University of Alaska campus

Students in technology classroomFifty students from Rural Alaska and North Pole joined together and tackle problems related to Renewable Energy, Ocean Science, Earth Observation, and Climate Science. The program began in Anchorage at UAA on May 30. From there, students split into their academic focus teams and head out on a field trip to Juneau, Denali, Kotzebue, or Valdez. Each trip was designed to introduce students to the sticky problems faced in each community. The last two weeks of the program was spent in Fairbanks living on the UAF campus and finishing student projects.

Week One: Students arrived in Anchorage and met staff and students from around Alaska. The first week of the program was designed for team and skill building. During this time students met their team members in their academic houses and was introduced to new technology that helped them in the field. Students learned computer coding skills, drone flying, storytelling, and Makerspace tech skills.

Week Two: Students departed on a week-long fact-finding mission field experience designed to expose them to some of the critical problems Alaska is Facing. Each cohort of 12-14 students and 4 staff visited experts in their related fields and learned about issues they are passionate about. Students in the Renewable Energy house traveled to Kotzebue to learn about efforts to move their electric grid to 100% renewables. The Earth Observation house spent a week in Denali National Park and studied earth in motion and how it impacts the park. The Ocean Science journeyed to majestic Prince William where they learned why salmon are struggling and if kelp farming is the way of the future. The Climate Science group traveled to the Juneau to work with the Juneau Icefield Research program and climbed glaciers to study the impacts of climate change on our local environment.

After these epic field trips, students convened in Fairbanks and shared some of the lessons learned on their adventure. The group moved into the campus dorms and experience college life. Each day was spent diving deeper into the questions raised during the field trips. The goal for the end of the program was to create solutions to the that truly help the partners visited early in the summer.

In the past students have worked on projects including:

  • Creating Podcasts sharing stories of life in Rural AK
  • Installing a raspberry pi based seismometer in Denali National Park
  • Creating apps designed to optimize energy consumption at times of crisis
  • Installing raspberry pi based air quality meter in Chugach National Forest
  • Creating 3d maps of river drainages to help plan for erosion control
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