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CBPP Summer Academies Foster New Friendships and Future Leaders

by Mariah Oxford | June 30, 2023

“We were excited to hear about the success of the recent academies. The variety of experiences that the students received during their sessions will help them greatly in the future. Northrim is a proud sponsor of UAA and the College of Business and Public Policy. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the faculty and staff to enrich our youth and prepare them for the future.” - Katie Bender, Vice President for Community and Public Relations, Northrim Bank.

34 middle school and 34 high school students explored aspects of business programs and potential career paths during the 2023 College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP) summer academies, held May 31-June 8. Generously sponsored by Northrim Bank, the summer academies were designed and led by a team of CBPP professors. The full-day sessions were located at Rasmuson Hall on UAA’s campus, which gave students a taste of college life.

What Did Students Learn?

Students could pick and choose from certain academies or attend them all. All featured engaging activities to help students understand what it’s like to work in certain fields.


2023 Hospitality Academy

Professor Amy Green organized the Hospitality Academy. Over two days, students learned how restaurants and hotels function and operate in a busy, fast-paced environment. Local hospitality owners and operators shared their knowledge about what it takes to be successful. Students explored potential career options while learning about start-ups like food trucks and coffee carts. They also saw several hospitality operations firsthand in downtown Anchorage. Many students thought the highlight of the tour was the behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Hotel Captain Cook, topped off by a visit to their pastry shop.

Accounting/Personal Finance

2023 Accounting Academy

The Accounting Summer Academy held a one day camp for middle school students and a one day camp for high school students. Students attended the Get Real Financial Reality Fair, where they learn the importance of living within your means, saving for retirement and how your credit score impacts major financial decisions.

In the afternoon, students worked through a credit card fraud case and heard from an IRS Criminal Investigations Special Agent about money laundering and the importance of tracking criminals using accounting methods.

Their day closed out with a speed mentoring session, when they met with several different professionals, including accountants working for the state, business owners, and CFOs.

Stasia Straley, professor of accounting, organized the Accounting Summer Academy. She enjoys watching the students' understanding of accounting and basic finance transform throughout the day.

Data Analytics

2023 Data Analytics Academy

Students engaged in a series of economic experiments designed to provide real-world insights into human behavior. Led by two professors, the students explored topics such as pareto efficiency, the first and second welfare theorem of economics, externalities, and natural resource depletion. Through these experiments, the students gained a comprehensive understanding of how economic principles apply to everyday scenarios.

Then they had an opportunity to learn about statistical software and data analysis techniques. The students were guided through the process of visualizing data and extracting meaningful information to answer research questions that had been posed based on the morning experiments. Armed with newfound knowledge, they used the power of statistical software to identify patterns, draw conclusions, and present their findings in a visually appealing manner.

Dr. Brett Watson, assistant professor of economics and an academy organizer, emphasized the importance of early exposure to economic concepts. "Economics is a discipline that shapes our world in profound ways. By providing high school students with a solid foundation and practical skills, we are preparing them to make informed decisions and contribute to our society as future leaders."

“It's clear from the students’ and parents’ excitement regarding the Academies that this experience has really opened their eyes to many opportunities for their future. I want to give a big shout-out to the CBPP faculty and staff, who worked very hard to provide these outstanding experiences. Also, with a great supporter like Northrim Bank, next summer’s Academies will be even better!” - John Nofsinger, Dean of the College of Business and Public Policy

Leadership and Entrepreneurship

Leadership Academy

Dr. Terry Nelson, associate dean of the college and professor of leadership and business administration, and Dr. Kori Callison, associate professor of management, guided students through two days exploring what it means to be a leader and how to be an entrepreneur.

In the leadership academy, students evaluated a case study concerning ethical behavior. The recommendations for the case study varied across the students. To improve students’ critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills, they were placed on teams to debate their stances.

The entrepreneurship academy was a fast-paced day consisting of creating a feasible and viable idea that groups of students pitched to three judges. Groups had two minutes to present their idea. Some of the innovative ideas the students presented were a scholarship app, a local athletic store, a tumbler holster for hiking, and an online marketplace for small Alaskan businesses. This mini Shark Tank concept gave students opportunities to be creative and innovative.

“I was impressed by their ability to present their ideas and respond when challenged with spontaneous questions,” said Callison. “These are definitely the future leaders and idea generators of Alaska!”

Kudos From Students, Parents and Grandparents!

UAA's Mascot Spirit holding a sign

“Thank you for creating the leadership course and making it engaging,” said one parent. “My son really enjoyed it! It was wonderful to hear him enthusiastic about the activities he participated in.”

Another parent described how her daughter is talking about attending UAA after her experience at the academy. “My husband and I are both Seawolves. Our daughter may be our only Sea Puppy! How have you done this in only two days?”

“Learning about leadership, exercising ideas on entrepreneurship, and seeing how finances and budgeting work help students think about their future,” said Key Getty, a UAA alumna whose grandson attended the academies. “I could sense that he had been greatly enlightened, as he kept bringing up a few related topics. I am very thankful to CBPP faculty and staff, and to Northrim Bank, who sponsored the program.”

Karen Driscoll said her son attended most of the academies. “I was impressed with how much he took away from each session. I believe the combination of college professors, industry professionals and adding some fun games/challenges were great. Heartfelt thank you!”

Tia Davis attended all the academies, which gave her a better understanding of what she wants to do after high school. Until then, she can’t wait until next year to attend the academies again. “I got to meet so many people and make new friends. I am so thankful for the professors and guest speakers taking their time to teach us!”

Thank You!

Many thanks to Northrim Bank for helping make the College of Business and Public Policy's 2023 Summer Academies possible, and to everyone who participated.

Registration for the 2024 CBPP Summer Academies will open in spring 2024. Fill out this inquiry form to be notified when registration opens.