School is back in session, and, for University of Alaska mechanical engineering freshman Tristan Burkett, that means his first week as a full-time college student. For some 18-year-olds, this might be a scary experience. However, Tristan says he feels more prepared than ever thanks to a couple of summers well spent at ANSEP that exposed him to college life.
“I was always a shy student when it came to new experiences, but ANSEP helped me break out of my shell. Even having participated in Acceleration Academy, I was still nervous on my first day of Summer Bridge this year. My first few days were a little nerve wracking, with all the icebreakers and new people I had to meet, but a few days later I started developing new relationships and getting closer with other students. Once we got into the math and engineering portion of it, that’s when it really got fun. I think that’s what got me super into the program overall,” said Tristan.
Not only did ANSEP help Tristan open up and prepare for his college years, it helped solidify what he wanted to do with his future. According to Tristan, he didn’t fully decide to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering until he participated in different engineering projects at ANSEP and learned about all the options the career field had to offer. This summer, he was even able to work alongside oil and gas engineers at BP Alaska in Anchorage and on the North Slope as a paid intern through ANSEP Summer Bridge.
“My favorite part about the internship was the opportunity to go to the North Slope and see oil wells in production. It was so cool to know that everything I was researching had a real use for the company. I got to actually see my work in action,” said Tristan. “Overall, working with the BP engineers gave me a new perspective. Beforehand, the types of engineers I pictured were pretty basic. At BP, there are hundreds of different engineers – and that’s just in the oil and gas industry!”
Although becoming an engineer and staying in Alaska are part of his future, Tristan isn’t certain which industry he will end up in. However, he does hope to internship with BP again in the future and says he is grateful for the experience. For now, though, Tristan’s focus is on his schoolwork and making it to class on time.