HAMLET — Joel Dunn is in his first year at N.C. State University; however, he has the privileges of a junior due to the 80 college credits he earned at Richmond Community College that transferred with him to the university.
“The best part about having junior status is being able to get a parking pass and enrolling in classes early,” said Dunn, who is from Ellerbe.
Dunn graduated from RichmondCC in May with an Associate in Engineering degree. This degree includes the general education and prerequisite courses that meet the entrance requirements at all of the North Carolina public Bachelor of Science Engineering programs.
Dunn was in the Richmond Early College High School (REaCH) program, and his advisors, knowing his intention to study engineering, recommended the Associate in Engineering transfer degree program.
“They advised me to take calculus I through III, chemistry I and II, and physics I and II, which has given me a major advantage over many of my peers, and I am grateful for that,” Dunn said. “I did have to stay in the Early College program for a fifth year to take classes like physics and calculus III, but I think it was worth it in the end.”
At an early age, Dunn was drawn to subjects like math, science and technology, and he participated in the summer STEM camps at RichmondCC.
“I have always been interested in STEM work and what I would be able to do for the world in that field. So, acquiring an associate degree in engineering and science was a natural fit,” Dunn said.
At N.C. State, Dunn is working toward a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, but he also may double-up with an additional degree in electrical engineering.
“I couldn’t even imagine what it is like for people coming to NCSU for the first time without any college experience under their belt. I definitely recommend the transfer degree for people who want to take on engineering,” Dunn said. “RichmondCC provided smaller class sizes and just an overall better environment to learn a lot of the fundamental concepts I am currently using. You will not be successful in engineering if you don’t understand the fundamentals.”
At this point, Dunn is still working out his career plan.
“Half the reason I wanted to attend NCSU is because of the massive career fair they offer here every semester,” he said.
Whatever his plan turns out to be, Dunn said he definitely got a leg up in the “college game” by attending Early College and RichmondCC. While he has junior status at NCSU, he doesn’t have the normal college debt that a junior would have because he went to college for free through the REaCH program.
Dunn is grateful to his family who have encouraged him through his educational journey and for those who piqued his interest in engineering. He is also thankful for the many friends he made at RichmondCC, some who are also at N.C. State with him.
Registration for the 2023 Spring Semester at RichmondCC is now open. Current students should see their advisor about scheduling their classes. New students can complete a free application online at www.richmondcc.edu/admissions and meet with a career and college transfer advisor to register for classes. The 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid is now available. This is the required form to be eligible for financial aid or RichmondCC scholarships. Call 910-410-1700 for more information.