5 Things I Learned

Alec Mercer '26

Welcome to our 5 Things I Learned blog series, where UNH students from all colleges and majors share the UNH experience that changed everything for them and what they learned from it. From studying abroad and summer internships, to research and leadership in student organizations, follow along to see what you can learn by stepping out of your comfort zone and saying "yes" to that new opportunity on our campus.

It all starts with an idea. Today, Alec '26 talks about finding the intersection between engineering and entrepreneurship and why the best things about UNH are the people and community. Read on for 5 things Alec learned through engaging with the UNH Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center (ECenter).

alec mercer '26, Engineering Physics & Sustainability Dual Major 
Alec Mercer, Brett Schultz following an ECenter Event.

Alec Mercer and Brett Schultz following an ECenter Event.

1. It all starts with an idea

Upon arriving at UNH, I was invited to the Idea and Innovation Society through the ECenter. This experience taught me the importance of exploring other opportunities and projects as they arise. The ECenter offers a wonderful opportunity, known as i2 Passport, which promotes innovation and has events that are great ideation exercises. Thinking of ideas, designs and how to market them is a fun hobby, but it can also lead to many more paths. Over the past year, my colleague Brett Schultz ’26 and I have applied to and advanced in multiple U.S. Department of Energy competitions to explore our passions.

2. Pursue your passions 

Segueing from the prior topic, college is the perfect time to explore and discover passions. For me, I believe that I have found an intersection between engineering and entrepreneurship. I recommend taking the chance to explore and innovate in college. UNH has all the resources to achieve whatever goals you may have. Engage with the world and community around and you'll learn a lot.

3. Make the most of every opportunity 

One of the most important skills I have gained from the ECenter is the importance of pitching myself and my skill set. Knowing how to approach an opportunity means I can then take it and grow. This past summer, I received a Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program (REAP) award from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research. Without having the ability or confidence to approach the world of research, I would never have had the opportunity to work with Professor Clemmons in the Space Science Center.

Alec tabling for Energy Club during University Day 2023

Alec tabling for Energy Club during University Day 2023.

4. Start building your network 

Professionally, the most important skill that I’ve learned is to build a network. From friends in classes, to professors, to industry professionals, it is important to build relationships as these individuals may have an impact on your future. Additionally, the UNH network is vast, and many opportunities can result from this network and your relationships from UNH. You never know what opportunities will present themselves or what the future holds, so having a strong network will always be beneficial.

5. Appreciate your community 

The best things about UNH are the people and the community that we have. Each and every person is an integral part of why UNH is incredible. As a Shaw Innovation Explorer and ECenter Ambassador, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to the entrepreneurship community on campus. Additionally, I’m the President of the UNH Energy Club, member of CORE (CEPS Organizations Resources and Engagement) and a member of a few more organizations. Each of these opportunities has given me the chance to share what I am passionate about with others who have the same interests as me.


learn more about the ecenter

learn more about alec

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The Benefits of a Paid Summer Internship

Laura talks about how taking an internship in an industry you might not expect to work in can result in stronger communication skills and experience that translates to future internships, student organizations and jobs. Read on to learn about getting a paid summer internship through the UNH ECenter.  read more about laura