Student Spotlight: Zoey Bigelow
Major: Electrical Engineering
Class Standing: Junior
Hometown: Anchorage, AK
What brought you to the UAA College of Engineering?
I was originally majoring in Elementary Education. When the program was cut, I was given the choice to transfer to UAS or UAF. During my semesters as an education major, I had taken a few physics classes and found out that I loved it. I decided to change majors completely and start over in Engineering. It is the greatest decision I've ever made.
Why did you choose Electrical Engineering?
In my previous physics classes, I was enchanted by the concept of electricity. It is one of those things that seem like magic if you don't understand how it works. In the past year, I've gotten involved in plasma research on campus and I find it very interesting. I would love to work on one of the few fusion energy projects that are being developed around the world.
Have you been involved with internships, research, study abroad, or any other experience you’d like to tell us about?
I am involved in research through the UAA Plasma Physics Lab. That has taught me about a complete field of physics that I never would have considered before and has opened the door for amazing academic and professional development.
What words of wisdom do you have for underclassmen or youth who are still considering their options after high school?
Don't be afraid to go out into the world and try different things! I tried to do college right out of high school and I just couldn't find the desire to care about it. After working some odd jobs and travelling, I was able to come back into the college experience with actual dedication. Now that I know what's out there, I can be confident in what I really want to do. I also am much more successful in college because I really want to be here. I'm not doing it because it's "what you're supposed to do". Go live! Come to college when you're excited about it and ready to commit.
What is your secret to college success?
I took a break after high school. I travelled all over the country and worked a bunch of different jobs. I found out my real passions (because let's be honest, very few teenagers know what they want to do for the rest of their lives). When I figured out what I was passionate about, I went to college for it. Since I really want to be here, I do fantastically in my classes, because I really care about them.
What was the best advice you were ever given by a professor, staff, or classmate while here at UAA?
Go to office hours! If you have a question, just go to your professor's office hours and ask them. They are the single most knowledgeable person about the material from your class, so why waste time trying to find the answers elsewhere? Every professor I've ever had has been so exceedingly helpful when I do this. It also has the added bonus of letting the professors get to know you. Building those types of connections is vital for future success (ie: research opportunities, letters of recommendation, etc).
What is a cause you care about?
Kids! I care so much about changing the way we approach education and the attention we give to school-age children. I think the majority of our world's problems would be solved if we just put our energy into giving kids a wonderful education, teaching them to be excited about science, and helping them to feel cared about.
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