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More students study engineering at NCC

BOE-BOT winners.jpg

Winners of a recent BOE-BOT Robotics Competition at Nash Community College include students Lauren Israel, third place; John Battle first place; and Damariscotta Wynne, second place.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Monday, December 24, 2018

Nash Community College’s Associate in Engineering degree program, which began in August 2017, is gaining momentum.

“Last year, we only had about 10 students in the program, but interest in the program has grown quite a bit since then,” said Shilo Lawrence, coordinator of Associate in Engineering and Transfer at Nash Community College.

NCC now has 55 students pursuing an Associate in Engineering degree.

Since the program launched a little over a year ago, eight students have graduated with an Associate of Engineering degree. Graduates from the college’s first cohort are enrolled in engineering programs at N.C. State University, East Carolina University and UNC-Charlotte. Their majors include chemical, environmental, mechanical, electrical and bio-process engineering, Lawrence said.

Moreover, two of the college’s 2018 Associate in Engineering graduates are Goodnight Scholars studying in the highly competitive transfer program’s Class of 2021 at N.C. State University.

“Most students will go on to major in some branch of engineering, such as electrical, civil, biomedical or mechanical at one of our partner schools. But the Associate in Engineering degree is also a great option for anybody interested in majoring in physics or mathematics,” Lawrence said.

Preparing students for future careers is the intent of the program. Students who earn an Associate in Engineering at NCC are poised to transfer into four-year engineering programs at institutions of higher learning like East Carolina University, N.C. State University, N.C. A&T University, UNC-Charlotte or Western Carolina University.

Completing the first two years at NCC could save students more than $30,000 when compared to attending all four years at a university, Lawrence said.

Lawrence, who teaches courses in the program, said she also helps students navigate enrollment and transition into a four-year engineering program at partner colleges.

“The Associate in Engineering program is one of the most rigorous degrees that we offer, with a majority of the coursework concentrated in upper-level science, engineering and mathematics,” Lawrence said. “Our students not only save money on the first two years of their college education, but they also are preparing to enter a field that provides a starting salary of around $60,000 annually with a four-year degree.”

The program also involves some fun and games of the educational and competitive sort. This semester the Introduction to Engineering students designed robotic navigation systems and were judged on their performance against their peers in a BOE-BOT Robotics Competition.

Many of the Associate in Engineering students also participate in the High Altitude Balloon Club. These students will be designing the payload for a high altitude weather balloon and competing against eight other community colleges when they launch their balloon at the Gravity Games in April in Lenoir.

For more information about the Associate in Engineering program or to enroll for the spring semester, call 252-451-8398. Spring classes begin Jan. 14 at NCC.

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