written by Kristi Moore
Michael Andersen started 2020 with one goal clearly in mind—he was going to graduate.
After six years at The University of Baltimore, he knew he took his time, but he is proud, nonetheless, because of everything he learned and the opportunities he discovered along the way to his December graduation.
“Two years ago, I was on the verge of failing, had a terrible GPA, didn’t want to go to class, didn’t want to do anything and now here I am and it’s just incredible.”
As a first-generation college student, Michael had trouble transitioning to the pace of college in his first year at The University of Baltimore. He says he kept digging himself a hole without realizing its depth. Then he was put on academic probation and with support from staff and faculty, Michael started turning things around.
“I think, for me, digging myself out of that hole was a great experience for myself. I learned a lot about confidence and getting yourself back into it, but just getting out of it in the first place and being able to graduate at all has been incredible,” he says.
Changing his major to Applied Information Technology, the program from which he would eventually graduate, helped Michael find a passion he was excited to pursue. His father works in IT support and Michael decided to follow his example.
“He really helped me shape my love of technology,” Michael says. “He helped me build my first computer a couple of years ago and ever since then, it snowballed into this wanting to do more with it.”
In his last year of college, Michael joined the AstroBees, a team of students from the University’s design and technology programs invited to be part of a national competition called NASA S.U.I.T.S. (Spacesuit User Interface Technologies for Students). Participating students gain engineering design experience while imagining and creating technology that can support NASA’s astronauts.
“It’s just expanding on the classes, where if you weren’t participating in this project, you wouldn’t necessarily get that experience,” Michael says. “I think experience in today’s world is the biggest thing you can have on a resume. And getting the opportunity to get feedback from NASA engineers is incredible in and of itself.”