Cody McWilliams recently graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he earned a double major in computer systems engineering and computer science. Cody’s path through the ANSEP pipeline began during his junior year of high school when his teacher encouraged him to attend an ANSEP presentation. With little knowledge of STEM career fields, Cody applied for ANSEP’s computer build activity to learn more.
“Nobody in my family has a science or engineering background, so the extent of my knowledge was pretty slim in those areas. I knew how to use a keyboard and a mouse to get on the internet – that was about the extent of my computer science skills back then,” Cody recalled.
After piecing together a brand-new PC computer from start to finish, Cody was immediately inspired. He continued with ANSEP through the Junior Academy component, now known as Acceleration Academy, and later participated in Summer Bridge, all of which opened his eyes to the opportunities that existed for him in a STEM career.
“ANSEP exposed me to new areas I didn’t even know existed. Without them, I probably would have done something in biology because that’s all I knew,” said Cody. “As a University Success student, ANSEP helped me with just about everything class-related. There was never a lack of support from ANSEP as a student.”
Leaving biology behind, Cody now has a double major from UAA and is ready to take on the world around him with the help of ANSEP. With some of his best memories spent on the UAA campus during summer components with ANSEP, Cody says he hopes to return the favor by giving back to the next generation of students as a youth peer mentor for middle and high school students.