Summer Field Trip
In July, a group of scientists and engineers working on the Alaska LNG Project spent the afternoon with local young people from the Kenaitze Indian Tribe summer camp. The mentoring opportunity was designed to introduce the campers to careers related to science, technology, engineering and math, commonly called “STEM.”
“All it takes is one experience to spark an interest in a future career,” said Claire Joseph, an environmental engineer who helped plan the educational activities. “We asked our team to share with the kids not just what they do for their job, but why they do it, and why they enjoy it.”
The kids, who ranged in age from 10 to 15 years old, had a busy afternoon shadowing the mentors, who had specialties in areas such as hydrology, geology, surveying, and various types of engineering, and who have been collecting field data to inform the design of future facilities for the Alaska LNG Project.
The kids got their hands muddy in the soil lab, watched geotechnical drilling in action, and learned some tips for identifying rocks and minerals. They practiced their archaeology techniques by searching for artifacts, and donned reflective vests and safety glasses, helping the team spot ways to improve field work to be sure that nobody gets hurt.
The event was exciting for everyone involved. “It was fun getting to know the students. They were bright and energetic, and had fantastic questions,” said Josselyn O’Connor, a community stakeholder advisor for the project.
“Chiqinik, thank you, to everyone who took their time to introduce young tribal members to the Alaska LNG Project. Meeting a geologist, archaeologist, hydrologist, and other team members made a big impression on our kids,” said Brenda Trefon, Environmental Coordinator for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe. “I look forward to the day when someone asks one of our science camp graduates what they want to be when they grow up, and gets a response like ‘I want to be an exploratory hydrologist!’”
By the time the kids boarded the bus at the end of the day, the group had discussed lots of big ideas, such as what the Alaska LNG facilities would look like, why it’s important to go to college or technical trade school, and how much you can learn even in your own backyard.
“The STEM disciplines provide opportunities – not only for jobs, but for continuing to learn long after graduation,” said Joseph. “We know these kids are up for the challenge.”