Jules Mermelstein

    Wednesday, August 03, 2016

    Manley Hot Springs, Alaska

    While some might cringe at the thought of pulling data and solving calculus problems, numbers are what make Jules Mermelstein tick. Inupiaq from Manley Hot Springs, Alaska, Jules first attended ANSEP as a sixth-grader. Since then, he’s completed four ANSEP components, and, at age 16, is now a high school graduate with 43 credits toward his college degree.

    It all began when Jules’ sixth-grade teacher encouraged him to attend a Middle School Academy, which accelerated his learning by offering an incentive to do well in school.

    “It started with the Middle School Academy when I did the computer build. They told me I could keep the computer if I completed algebra 1 by eighth grade. So I did. That mindset continued until I was doing trigonometry, calculus - and last summer I completed calculus 3. I just love math. It’s so straight forward because it’s all logic and pure numbers. It’s like a fun mind game,” said Jules. “ANSEP is the reason I graduated in three years. It gave me direction, got my eye on engineering and math, and before I knew it I was an honor student in high school.”

    Jules is one of 22 students who completed a college course and paid internship through ANSEP’s 2016 Summer Bridge component. Last week, Jules wrapped up his first paid internship at ConocoPhillips, which provided him the opportunity to work alongside engineers to help find solutions for problems within the company’s production wells. The internship required him to sift through data spreadsheets, and that was right up Jules’ alley.

    “This internship really solidified my personal goal to become an energy engineer. Energy is a finite resource, and learning about Alaska’s natural resources really interests me,” said Jules. “I think my favorite part of the internship was playing around with all the data and doing research on matrix bypass events.”

    This fall, Jules will be a full-time student at University of Alaska Anchorage, where he will continue working toward his mechanical and electrical engineering degrees. With 43 credits under his belt, though, he said he feels more than ready to take on the challenges that college can present.

    “I’m really ready for college and looking forward to it a lot. I’ve been with ANSEP so long and developed close friendships that I didn’t have growing up in a small town of 60. They’ve become some of my closest friends, and we all push each other to be successful,” said Jules. “Without ANSEP, I honestly don’t know where I’d be. ANSEP has given me the direction for where and who I want to be in life.”

    As for Jules’ advice to younger ANSEP students? Just stick with it!

    “This program offers endless opportunities, you just have to reach out and get it! Remember that endurance, willingness, friends and family are the key to staying on track. However, you'll probably pick up all those pieces here anyway!”