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Glasheen Brothers

September 30, 2015

Bethel, Alaska

Becoming an engineer takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It also requires a true passion for building and improving things around you. Some might say that interests like that have to be in your blood. For the Glasheen brothers, it would appear that is the case. One engineer, two engineers, three engineers, four! There is definitely a pattern when it comes to the Glasheen family, and it is a pattern that has been built on motivation, intelligence, skill and good work ethic.

It all started with Brian Patrick Glasheen, currently 29 years old. Though his friends and family may call him by the nickname Pat, he prefers Brian at work. Brian is dedicated to his career at BP Alaska, where he’s been a production engineer for the past five years. He completed two internships prior to starting with BP, and a job at the oil and gas company was his first full-time position after graduating college. Brian attributes his decision to become an engineer to ANSEP and his classmate and close friend, fellow ANSEP student Jake Thompson.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in high school or which direction I wanted to go in my career. Back then, ANSEP wasn’t as developed as it is now,” Brian explained. “I sat down with my buddy Jake in chemistry class my freshman year at UAA, and he showed me that I was already on the path to becoming an engineer. Since I had already completed the computer build in high school, I knew about ANSEP and reached out. I roped Jake into ANSEP with me and the rest was history – we spent nearly all our time at ANSEP.”

Today, Jake works alongside Brian as a drilling engineer at BP. According to Brian, ANSEP provided him and Jake knowledge of the industry and outlined different opportunities that would be available to them with an engineering degree.

“I’m pretty driven, but I wouldn’t know a lot of things I do today if it weren’t for ANSEP. The program shed a lot of light on different opportunities available as well as provided funding for my college career. It was huge coming out of college without any debt.”

Little did Brian know, his path would soon be followed by his three younger brothers Sean, Joey and Steven, who have also decided on careers in mechanical engineering. In addition to having his lifelong friend working alongside him at BP, Brian’s brother Sean works just one floor below him. Sean was hired at BP in 2012, shortly after completing an internship there and graduating from UAA. However, Sean says that earning a mechanical engineering degree seemed a bit easier for him because he had a brother who had already been through the entire process.

“Brian graduated with his mechanical engineering degree a couple years before I was there,” Sean explained. “He went through all the hard stuff first, which made my life a lot easier! It was nice having a brother to guide me through my educational career – he told me what classes to take and which professors he liked best. It took the guessing out of it. I knew what I had to do, and I did it. We hope to do the same for Joey and Steven, too.”

Like his brother Brian, Sean spent much of his time at UAA at ANSEP while he was enrolled in the University Success component and working toward his undergraduate degree. To Sean, ANSEP was like home.

“The environment was awesome. They had a big table and a computer that had all the programs I needed for school. I could put my headphones in and get my work done with everything I needed in front of me. Plus, all my friends from Bethel and across the bush were there so it made the transition into a new school and new environment really easy,” said Sean. “Once I was immersed in college, I was at ANSEP from morning until midnight during the school year. Then, in the summer, I would go home and help my mom in Bethel while hunting, fishing and working construction.”

When they moved to Bethel in 1992, Brian and Sean were only six and three years old, respectively. While growing up in the rural village, which has a population of less than 5,000, the Glasheen family adopted a subsistence lifestyle. Sean says that is one of the reasons he chose to stay in the state and work.

“Growing up in Bethel, we did a lot of hunting and fishing. It’s just the culture and way of life out there. You’re on your own, living in the bush – it’s organic. My wife and I try to live like that today and want the same for our kids one day,” Sean said.

Brian and Sean’s plans for their careers and futures are solidified, and their two younger brothers are not far behind. Joey Glasheen, age 26, is currently pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at UAA and, like his siblings before him, spends much of his time at ANSEP.

“Pursuing a degree in engineering is extremely hard. If I were doing it on my own, I would have probably given up a long time ago,” Joey said lightheartedly. “When I first graduated from high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But over the years, I watched my brothers succeed and have a great time doing it – that’s what made me want to dive into engineering. Yes, it’s challenging. But, with every class I learn something new. And, if I ever feel stuck, there are tons of people around me who are willing to help.”

This summer, Joey hopes to complete his first internship with BP Alaska. He’s currently living with Brian – or Pat, as the brothers still call him – in Anchorage, which gives Joey someone to help with schoolwork from time to time.

“We’re all a team – Pat is the oldest and he’s kind of taken on the role of watching over all of us,” Joey said.

Steven, the youngest of the Glasheen brothers, is taking a slightly different, though parallel, route. With three brothers who are proud UAA Seawolves, 18-year-old Steven decided to head north and become the first Nanook in the family by enrolling at the University of Alaska Fairbanks this fall. Although he wants to branch out, being involved in ANSEP is something he always pictured for himself.

“Being around my brothers, I’ve always known what engineers do and how they approach problems. That and I was always interested in math and science growing up – it always came easy to me,” Steven said. “I just wanted to get out of their shadow and do my own thing. I’d like to work for ConocoPhillips one day, I think.”

Although he wants to branch out, being involved in ANSEP is something he always pictured for himself.

“After seeing Pat and Sean go through the whole system and become engineers for BP, I knew that was what I wanted,” Steven said. “I would go into Anchorage with my brothers while they were going to school. I remember going to ANSEP when I was 12 or 13 and just hanging out with them while they were doing schoolwork. Somehow I always pictured myself there.”

When asked who inspires them, the Glasheen brothers all summed it up to family and each other in a roundabout way. ANSEP couldn’t be more proud of each of the four brothers and can’t wait to see how each develops their own career. While ANSEP seeks to inspire students to pursue science and engineering degrees, for the Glasheen brothers it seems that they have all inspired one another to do great things in their lives, careers and beyond.