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NCC awards first engineering degree

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Omar Allen

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Monday, January 22, 2018

Even though Nash Community College only officially launched its associate in engineering degree program last fall, the college saw the first student earn the degree in December.

“Even though the degree has not been officially offered before this academic year, we have provided specialized advising over the past few years to help students who were planning to pursue college degrees in engineering,” said Dina Pitt, who chairs the mathematics department at Nash Community College.

This allowed students like Omar Allan of Rocky Mount to complete his associate degree in engineering just months after the degree was first offered. Omar Allan first graduated from NCC with an associate in applied science in computer engineering technology in 2014 and later earned associate degrees in arts and science in 2015.

However, he returned to school in the fall to take a few extra courses that would allow him to be the first student at Nash Community College to complete the associate in engineering degree in December 2017. Allan also has earned certificates in computer information technology/visual studio programming, computer engineering technology and computer engineering technology/computer programming.

Allan is currently enrolled at N.C. Wesleyan College, where he is studying computer information systems. Allan also serves as a computer technician for Nash Community College, a position he has held since 2015.

“The associate in science and associate in engineering degrees share some similarities,” Pitt said. “But students in the engineering program take more math courses as well as courses such as introduction to engineering, drafting and engineering statics that help prepare them to earn a college degree in engineering fields like civil engineering, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and other fields.”

Students who complete the Associate in Engineering at NCC have the opportunity to transfer to four-year engineering programs at East Carolina University, N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University, UNC-Charlotte and Western Carolina University, Pitt said. Completing the first two years at ​the community college could save students more than $30,000 when compared to attending all four years at a university.

Engineering Program Coordinator Shilo Lawrence said the degree works well for students pursuing other fields as well

“Most students will go on to major in some branch of engineering. But the associate in engineering degree is also a great option for anybody interested in majoring in physics or mathematics,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence was appointed last year to help launch the new program. As coordinator of associate in engineering and transfer, she helps students through enrollment and as they prepare to transition into a four-year engineering program.

“We currently have about 25 students working toward their associate in engineering degree. It is one of the most rigorous degrees that we offer,” Lawrence said.

College graduates with degrees in engineering can often earn a local starting salary of around $60,000 a year, Lawrence said.

Approximately 10 more students are on track to graduate from the​ NCC​ Associate in Engineering program in May, Lawrence said.

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