Spend just five minutes with Jordan Batac, and a couple of things will quickly become apparent – she has a true passion for life and is very grateful for her family, friends and others who have guided her along the path toward academic success.
Like many of her ANSEP peers, when Jordan earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering she became the first person in her family to finish college. What makes Jordan unique among her classmates is that her family came to Alaska from the Philippines so that she and her two siblings could have an opportunity to achieve their dreams. For Jordan, one of those dreams was realized on May 1, 2016, when she walked across stage at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Alaska Airlines Center to accept her engineering degree. This is a moment that Jordan says she’ll never forget.
“Graduating with my ANSEP friends is definitely one of my most memorable moments with the program. I was nostalgic the entire day,” Jordan said. “We all started off as strangers at what was this random summer camp to us at the time. We had no idea the impact it would have on our lives and that we would become lifelong friends. Looking back at all we’d accomplished together and how far we’d come on graduation day was a feeling like no other.”
Jordan was introduced to ANSEP after her junior year in high school when she participated in Acceleration Academy. Her mentor, UAA alumna and BP Alaska Engineer Jenny Jemison, was familiar with how ANSEP helped future engineers both academically and financially on the path to a degree. Jordan was skeptical about spending a summer with her nose in a book, but ANSEP had her at her first bridge build.
“At first, I was hesitant – who would want to spend their summer at school? Then I did my first bridge build, and then I took a college class – it was a blast! That’s what ANSEP taught me, that school could be productive and fun at the same time. Soon my friends there became an extension of my own family – the family I studied with and spent late nights analyzing problems with – and they were there with me through it all,” Jordan said.
After completing the Acceleration Academy component, Jordan returned to ANSEP the following year for Summer Bridge, a component that helps graduating high school students transition into their freshman year in college. Through Summer Bridge, Jordan got what she had always wanted – a hands-on, paid internship at BP.
“I worked on various projects with BP’s Activity Planning team as well as its Reliability and Maintenance team. Getting this hands-on experience and learning from professional engineers is what really solidified what I wanted to do with my future,” Jordan said. “Participating in Summer Bridge built my confidence in my future career and improved my professional communications. Not only that, it exposed me to what life would be like during college. Rather than being nervous on my first day of freshman year, I was excited to see my friends and dive into my college career.”
Today, Jordan holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering with a minor in electrical engineering, a feat she says she never could have accomplished without Dr. Herb Schroeder, Mike Bourdukofsky, Shirlee Willis-Haslip and her ANSEP friends behind her.
Words of encouragement she offers to others pursing STEM degrees:
“One of my friends at Acceleration Academy once told me, ‘Don’t ever underestimate yourself.’ Those words have stuck with me to this day. My advice is to always aim higher than what you think you can achieve. No matter what you think you’re capable of, you can do more. Don’t ever think, ‘I can’t.’ If you do, you’re not only depriving yourself of your future successes, you’re depriving the world of what you could offer it.”
With her strong will and endless determination, we are confident Jordan will accomplish great things and are excited to see what she brings to the world throughout her career.