Colorado fifth grader plans to become a Seawolf one day

It all started when the UAA Welding & Nondestructive Testing Technology program received a somewhat unconventional inquiry letter from a prospective student.

Fifth grader Angel Nunez is already thinking about attending UAA to study welding.
Fifth grader Angel Nunez is already thinking about
attending UAA to study welding.
Photo courtesy of Jordan Chacon/Twombly Elementary School
Dear Sir/Madam

Hello, my name is Angel Nunez and I am a 5th grader at Twombly Elementary School in Ft. Lupton, Colorado. I hope to one day attend your wonderful trade school for welding and one day get my welding license. Could you please send me two posters and two pennants to hang up in my bedroom and classroom to remind me how hard I need to work to achieve this goal.

Thanks,
Angel Nunez

View a copy of Angel’s original letter

Welding faculty and staff members along with a student helped put together a goodie box for Angel. From L to R: Christine Van Valkenburg, Ashley Rylander and Kelly Smith
Welding faculty and staff members along with a student helped
put together a goodie box for Angel. From L to R:
Christine Van Valkenburg, Ashley Rylander and Kelly Smith
As one might imagine, the faculty and staff in the welding program eagerly welcomed the interest shown by this aspiring Seawolf. Administrative assistant Christine Van Valkenburg and Transportation & Power Division Director Kelly Smith packaged up a box of UAA goodies to send along to Nunez courtesy of the Office of New Student Recruitment and the Community & Technical College, which houses the program.

Welding student Ashley Rylander also joined in the fun and sported her protective welding gear, complete with leathers and helmet, for a photo.

Smith also included a personalized letter informing Nunez of career opportunities available to welders and invited him to visit the program if he and his family visit Alaska.

“The welding industry holds many opportunities for people who are willing to work hard and learn new things,” wrote Smith. “A career in welding can take you anywhere in the world. Welders are important for building roads, bridges, airplanes, ships, and many other things.”

We think Angel was just a little excited about receiving a package from UAA.
We think Angel was just a little excited about
receiving a package from UAA.
Photo courtesy of Jordan Chacon/
Twombly Elementary School
How did Nunez respond when he received the UAA package? We think the picture says it all.

The moral of the story – it’s never too early to start thinking about college. We’ll be looking for your admission application, Angel (in another seven years or so)!

Note: The letter-writing assignment is part of the curriculum teacher Jordan Chacon uses in his class at Twombly Elementary School to help students begin thinking about college at an early age. Chacon shared that Nunez has a family member who works in the welding industry, which sparked (pun intended) his interest in this field.

UAA’s College & Career Pathways program serves Alaska’s students in a similar way. By partnering with schools to provide learning and mentoring support, the program helps high school students seamlessly transition to college.

Story by Kirstin Olmstead, Communications Coordinator, UAA Community & Technical College
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Colorado fifth grader plans to become a Seawolf one day
Colorado fifth grader plans to become a Seawolf one day
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