Manley Hot Springs, Alaska
When Jules Mermelstein graduated from West Valley High School in Fairbanks, he did so with 43 college credits already earned toward his degree. Now a University of Alaska Anchorage student double majoring in electrical and mechanical engineering, Jules was more than ready for college after participating in such ANSEP components as Middle School Academy, Acceleration Academy and Summer Bridge.
We caught up with Jules, who you may remember from his first Student Success Story debut last summer, to find out how his first year at UAA is going:
ANSEP: How was your first semester at UAA?
JULES: My first semester was busy to say the least. I had a heavy course load with a hectic, non-uniform schedule, which kept my days interesting. I took Spanish, ordinary differential equations, engineering graphics and chemistry, where I learned both new and challenging information. Overall, it was enjoyable.
ANSEP: What degree are you working toward, and when is your expected graduation date?
JULES: I’m double majoring in mechanical and electrical engineering with a minor in Spanish. My expected graduation date is Fall 2021.
ANSEP: How did the 43 credits you had toward your degree help you in your first year?
JULES: Those initial 43 credits were key in allowing me to pursue a double major as intensive as mine. A majority of those credits were in either math or general education requirement courses, which expedited my ability to really dig into my true engineering and science courses right away.
ANSEP: Do you have a dream career in mind or plans after college?
JULES: Ever since my junior year of high school and my third summer in ANSEP’s Acceleration Academy, I’ve wanted to work as an energy engineer – hopefully working on large, federal projects similar to the Hoover Dam, but with renewables. After college, I would love to travel or live in Australia, Germany and/or Denmark for a while, and then return to Alaska to live and work.
ANSEP: In our last blog feature on your successes, you said you felt really prepared for college. Did that feeling stay with you throughout your first semester?
JULES: Yes, and I still do have that feeling. I think most former high school students aren’t used to the college classroom environment or the freedom we’re given, which can really hurt or help depending on how fast you can adjust. The freedom to take on a large course load with a hectic schedule was tough, but I still knew what I was doing because I was well prepared for it.
ANSEP: How did ANSEP help you feel prepared for the university?
JULES: ANSEP helped make me feel confident in the ability to get help if I needed it. Having a couple hundred other engineering and science ANSEP students to confide in also really helps relieve a lot of worry.
ANSEP: What’s the most useful tool/tip you have for incoming students?
JULES: As a new university student, you should really sit down with some upper classmen in your major(s) and work out a real schedule from your first semester to graduation. They have a lot more experience with professors, classes, offerings, scholarships, credit load, scheduling, etc. than you do.
ANSEP: What’s one thing you couldn’t live without in college?
JULES: I could not live without my own computer and shelving in my dorm room to organize my things – dorm rooms can get messy with work and scholarship/internship applications.
ANSEP: Where is your favorite study spot?
JULES: My favorite study spot is my usual seat in the ANSEP building – it’s usually vacant, near my friends, open to the floor and near the kitchen.
ANSEP: What advice do you have for incoming ANSEP students at the university?
JULES: As a new ANSEP student, be active at Friday meetings and get to know the other students. You will be able to call on those people for help, and it’s where you will make new friends. Secondly, be at the ANSEP building as much as possible. You will find a lot of resources, computers and fellow students to work with – it is also probably less distracting than being at home or in your dorm room.