Julian Melo- From an Army Supply Room to Columbia University!

Full Name: Julian Anderson Melo
Anticipated graduation year? 2023
Hometown: I was born in the touristic town of Joao Pessoa, Brazil, but moved to Salt Lake City, UT back in 2013.
Fun Fact About Yourself: I once stood in line for 7 hours just to pilot the Millennium Falcon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was so worth it! Oh, I also speak Portuguese fluently.
Intended Major: Major in Economics with a Minor in Computer Science.
What did you do in the military? My MOS was 92-Y, but I was assigned to a variety of tasks that involved property loss investigation, purchasing, and file storage.
What was your proudest accomplishment in the military? Being able to solve a decade long backlog issue, by using my hobby as a programmer to organize and manage a database of sensitive documents. My leadership had no idea that I knew how to program. They were pleasantly surprised when I offered a design timeline for feature implementation and followed through until completion.
How did you hear about S2S? When I was researching schools to apply to, I found an article within Yale’s website that mentioned S2S. I reached out and heard back in 24 hours. I was really impressed by how fast I was contacted.
What was the best part of S2S for you? Undoubtedly the fact that an ambassador was assigned just for me. Kenneth Meador was not only extremely competent and committed to helping me, but he understood my concerns and connected with me on a personal level. It really made all the difference and gave me the confidence I needed to push myself.
Why did you decide to pursue college? A few months before my military career ended, I started thinking about what I wanted to do next. Initially, I was considering attending a professional school or some sort of shorter program that would allow me to get a job faster and maintain an income stream. I also considered my interest in public policy and the role that technology will continue to have in our future. These two opportunities were at different ends of the spectrum, forcing myself to prioritize income or invest in education. After months of consideration, I decided to apply to college and obtain the education that I need to secure financial prosperity and have a fulfilling professional life.
How has the transition been from the military to civilian life? It has been challenging and rewarding. I sometimes miss the structured schedule and the sense of brotherhood that I felt everyday while in service. I also appreciate having more time for myself now and being allowed to plan my day the way I like. I wasn’t aware of most of the benefits that would be available to me as a veteran, and I’m incredibly humbled by how many services and opportunities were made available to me during my transition.
What are you most excited about in regards to starting college/ the school you are going to attend? I’m really excited about learning new things, making new friends, and really pushing myself to succeed.
What’s your favorite part about the school you chose to matriculate at (Columbia University)? The centuries-long tradition in academic excellence, the demanding curriculum, and the location are the most appealing aspects.
What advice would you give to future applicants? Be sincere in your essay and don’t be scared to tell your story. Authenticity connects well with people and may open doors you thought unreachable. Apply to a large variety of schools and be confident in your potential as a candidate. Your experiences in the military gives you an advantage over students coming straight out of high school. Use that maturity to tell a compelling story.
What are your goals post-graduation? I plan to attend law school and engage government opportunities that will allow me to shape policy. I’m particularly interested in the use of technology to enhance and protect our government and society. I’ll also volunteer in immigration related issues.

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