Thursday, December 20, 2012

"I don't want to be a mining engineer because you have to work in remote locations..."

My very first major at the Colorado School of Mines was Mining Engineering. I said the above quote about 10 years ago as I decided to switch my major to Civil Engineering. I decided that city life was the way to go, and so Civil Engineering gave me a good chance of living in a populated setting.

What a difference 10 years can make! After 3 months of interviews, phone calls, skype, and a week-long visit/interview process, we are excited to say that we will be heading to Alaska! We wanted to start this blog so that we could keep everyone updated as we begin the fundraising process that will allow us to work with the amazing students at Alaska Christian College.

ACC is unique in that it focuses specifically on providing educational opportunities for Alaskan natives. ACC is a non-profit school, and operates largely on donations from individuals that share the same passion for education as the staff of ACC.

While every student that comes to ACC has their high school diploma, many are still missing some very basic educational tools that they will need in order to succeed- whether in the working world or at a 4 year University. My passion, and that of ACC, is to bridge that gap between what the students were taught in the high school in their village, and what they will need to know for a successful future.

We had the amazing opportunity to visit ACC in November, and meet some of these incredible students. They have all overcome so much to be where they are today, pursuing an education and trying to heal wounds from the past. One of the things that these students really respond to is a teacher that genuinely cares about what they are struggling with, and what they need.

We really connected with many of the students in the short time that we were there, and we are so excited to continue developing those relationships with my role as a faculty member at ACC. We wanted to post a few videos and photos to help you get a better feel for ACC and Soldotna Alaska (the city where the school is located.)

  Students play broomball on the flooded field in the winter

Basketball is taken very seriously in Ak! Steve got to spend some quality time shooting hoops with some of the students during the week we were up there

If you visit AK, save money on a bald eagle tour and simply visit the dump instead! There were probably close to 40 eagles roosting in these pines near the Soldotna dump.

The beautiful (but cold!) beaches of Kenai, AK- 10 minutes from ACC

A village near the campus. Most Native villages are only accessible by airplane

Lindsay near Homer, AK, 30 minutes from the school. Halibut fishing capital of the world! Those are glaciers in the background in between the mountains.

The beautiful volunteer-built conference center at ACC where the girls dorms, dining hall, and some offices are located.

We got a little too close tot his mama's baby and she gave us this look. We later found out that yes, Moose will trample you.

I can't imagine what she had to worry about...I mean, if you saw THIS GUY coming at your baby would you worry? ;)

This video shows what the campus looks like when driving through:

 This video talks a little bit about ACC and what it is doing for Ak Natives

A Walking tour of the Classrooms

And finally, a video slideshow from the campus