Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lt. Alex Allen, MIT Grad, Talks to AVID Classes

Submitted by Caitlin G, 9th grade AVID student

Recently, Lt. Alex Allen spoke to our class about his path to college. He started off speaking to us by asking questions such as "Why do you want to go to college?" and "How do you think it will help you?". Our class learned that he had lots of tips and advice for us future college graduates.

Lt. Allen grew up in Vermont on a family farm. He was a good student and participated in many sports. He became interested in engineering while watching robot competitions on PBS. Lt. Allen attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). On his way there, he applied early, became wait-listed, and improved his application a lot. He also interviewed with a professor at Dartmouth (who was an official interview for MIT) and contacted the MIT football coach about playing there. He told us it is important to make yourself stand out in your application and that colleges want diversity. He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.

Lt. Allen informed our class that college is more than just the education--it's about growing up, too. He said you learn a lot about relationships, internships, and becoming connected (networking). During his years at MIT, Lt. Allen married his high school sweetheart, Kathy, worked on the school's nuclear reactor, and participated in the robot competition.

When asked about financial aid, Lt. Allen said that he received scholarships and loans and then entered the Bachelor's Degree Completion Program with the Navy. The Navy paid him to go to school, and he had a job on the side.

Tenth-grade AVID student Nico L. asked if Lt. Allen thought college was more relaxed than high school. He replied saying he believed it was, and that he enjoyed his college experience.

Currently, Lt. Allen works at the top of a chain of many people. His future plans, after finishing the four years owed to the Navy, are to continue in a position where he helps other people. He said that with his degree, he could have unlimited options. There is definitely smooth sailing ahead for this MIT graduate.

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