Tvetene Carlson of Cantwell, Alaska, graduated high school in 2015 as a junior. He not only graduated a year early, but did so with 37 college credits, including all the math needed for his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. A longtime ANSEP student, Tvetene says one reason he was able to get ahead in his studies was through participation in the Middle School Academy, Acceleration Academy and Summer Bridge components.
Now a full-time student at the University of Alaska Anchorage and part of ANSEP’s University Success component, Tvetene is on track to graduate with his civil engineering degree in the fall of 2018. When he moved from the small community of Cantwell, which is home to only about 220 people, to the large city of Anchorage, Tvetene says it was definitely a bit of a culture shock.
“While it was tough at first, I was definitely prepared thanks to ANSEP,” Tvetene said. “I was completely prepared for college-level coursework, I was familiar with the campus and I had a bunch of credits. But, it still took some adjusting to go from my small, conservative hometown to a very large, diverse college campus.”
With the help of ANSEP and friends made through the program over the years, Tvetene broke out of his shell and already has his sights set on a master’s degree and a career.
“I know for sure I want to get my master’s degree after I finish my bachelor’s,” Tvetene said. “As for a dream job, I want to work in an industry where my degree applies – I’m thinking structural or water – but all that can change in one semester.”
For now, Tvetene is staying involved with the ANSEP community through University Success, and he has some advice for those who recently joined the program or just began their journey toward a STEM degree:
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find a community of people that allow you to ask them,” he said. “People understand if you don’t know the material right off the bat, so if something is confusing or doesn’t make sense, ask. The great thing about ANSEP is that we’ve all been there at some point, and it’s better to ask for help than be on your own trying to break through the barrier.”