Eighteen-year-old Jeremy Chung, Yup’ik from Bethel, Alaska, recently graduated high school and enrolled as an ANSEP Summer Bridge student. It was not a difficult decision for Jeremy to choose to spend his summer learning and getting real-world work experience – he has had his sights set on becoming a computer engineer for some time and knows this summer with ANSEP will give him a leg up. A first-generation college attendee at the University of Alaska Anchorage this fall, Jeremy says his computer engineering dreams are finally on the horizon, thanks to his drive for success as well as financial and academic support from ANSEP. We caught up with Jeremy this week to get to know this future Alaska engineer and learn what he’s been up to this summer.
ANSEP: As a pre-college student interested in computer engineering, has Summer Bridge given you a good sneak-peek at what your career will be like?
JEREMY: Definitely. This summer I’m completing a paid internship with the Bureau of Land Management in the IT department and doing just about everything a typical IT support technician would do – troubleshooting computers, updating software, replacing hardware – I’m loving it. It’s really been helpful in furthering my knowledge of the industry and what my career will be like.
ANSEP: How did you get involved with ANSEP?
JEREMY: I’ve wanted to become a computer engineer since I was in 10th grade at Bethel Regional High School. I took a computer programming class, and it was the first class that really clicked in my brain. My teachers noticed a difference in my interest level right away and told me to get involved with ANSEP. Now I’m a paid computer engineering intern, I’m earning college math credit and I have financial support that will help me earn my college degree. And, I’m the first person in my family to do so.
ANSEP: What’s the greatest obstacle you’ve had to overcome on the path to college?
JEREMY: I’ve had several – finances, family members passing, living in a remote area. Honestly, without ANSEP I wouldn’t be here. The people, mentors and friends I’ve made have helped me a lot and have encouraged me to continue pursuing my dream of becoming a computer engineer.
ANSEP: What are your goals as you become a full-time college student?
JEREMY: I’d like to stay involved with ANSEP as much as possible and continue earning scholarships until I complete my degree. I also want to maintain a strong GPA and take on as many internships as possible during the summer months.
ANSEP: What has been your favorite part of ANSEP so far?
JEREMY: It’s not all work – we get to do so many fun things on the weekends like paintballing, cruising in Seward, zip lining and more. We do tons of team-building activities like this, and I’ve made lots of friends as a result. Everyone is super friendly and willing to help with homework, classes, etc. It’s a lot of fun.
ANSEP: Do you have any advice for other students pursuing STEM degrees?
JEREMY: Be cool, stay in school, don’t procrastinate, study hard and work hard. Oh, and definitely get involved with ANSEP – they offer endless programs that will keep you headed in the right direction.
Thanks to generous support from the Association of Village Council Presidents, more students from the Yukon-Kuskowim Delta like Jeremy are being exposed to ANSEP’s proven educational methods. AVCP joined ANSEP last year as a strategic partner. AVCP’s three-year, $1.5 million grant is allowing ANSEP to expand its reach in the YK Delta and for more students from the area to arrive academically and socially prepared for college and their careers.