Connections student invited to STEM congress

A Funny River Connections home-school student will travel to Massachusetts this summer as an Alaska delegate to the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders.

Cierra Brassfield-Thompson was nominated by Dr. John C. Mather, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and Science Director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists in Lowell, Massachusetts.

As a delegate, Cierra will “represent Alaska based on her academic achievement, leadership potential and passion for science and technology,” according to a release from the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technology.

During the three-day congress, students from across the country will be joined by leaders in the STEM fields to discuss leading scientific research, according to the release.

Cierra is homeschooled through the Connections Homeschool Program by her mother, Lois Brassfield. The 16-year-old is scheduled to graduate next year, two years ahead of schedule.

“She has a big hunger for learning,” Brassfield said. “I can’t keep keep enough information in the house.”

Cierra will be presented with a science and technology award for her good grades and her interest in science, particularly her interest in working in the forensic science field. Following her graduation, she said she hopes to study to become a crime scene investigator.

“They go to the crime scenes, gather the information and come back and analyze it,” Brassfield-Thompson said. “I like how even the smallest piece of trace evidence can solve a crime.”

Cierra said she is excited for the experience and the honor of accepting the award and hopes to push other kids to get involved in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathemetics.

“I actually learned something the other day — in the STEM programs, only 6.7 percent of women actually graduate and stick with that field,” Cierra said. “But if you want to do something, just go ahead and do it. Just because the odds are against you, don’t think that you’re not going to succeed. Just go ahead and do it.”

In addition to her passion for science, Cierra is a second-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and has been playing the flute for four years.

“We’ve always encouraged her to try everything,” Brassfield said. “If you like it, go for it and see from there.”

The Congress of Future Science and Technology is organized by the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, an organization “founded on the belief that science, technology, engineering and mathematics education plays a critical role in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at

More in News

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kenai Municipal Airport on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. A kiosk that will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is coming to the airport. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsua Clarion)
Wildlife refuge kiosk coming to airport

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stickers, T-shirts, magnets, travel stamps and enamel pins will be available.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
5 more COVID deaths reported

The total nationwide fatalities surpass population of Alaska.

Velda Geller fills goodie bags at the Kenai Senior Center on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 for next weekend’s drive-through trick-or-treat event. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘This has been a lifesaver’

Seniors seek human connection as pandemic continues.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A very slippery slope that we need to be careful of’

Approval of library grant postponed after Kenai council requests to preview book purchases

This undated photo released by the Alaska State Department of Public Safety shows Robin Pelkey just before her 18th birthday. The remains of a woman known for 37 years only as Horseshoe Harriet, one of 17 victims of a notorious Alaska serial killer, have been identified through DNA profiling as Robin Pelkey, authorities said Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Alaska State Department of Public Safety via AP)
DNA match IDs serial killer’s victim after 37 years

Robin Pelkey was 19 and living on the streets of Anchorage when she was killed by Robert Hansen in the early 1980s, investigators said.

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Most Read