HAMLET — Dakota Honeycutt is getting the best of both worlds. Not only is she getting the majority of her college education for free, she is also getting work experience in her area of study and getting paid for it.
Honeycutt is a Mechanical Engineering Technology student at Richmond Community College. She is a recipient of the RichmondCC Guarantee, which means she does not have to pay college tuition for two years. She is also completing a paid internship with Plastek in Hamlet, where she works several hours a day, three days a week.
The Guarantee was the key reason she chose to come to RichmondCC after graduating Richmond Senior High School in 2016, but Honeycutt said she also wasn’t ready to go off to a four-year university. As a resident of Hamlet, Honeycutt decided to go to her hometown community college for those first two years for free as she worked out her career plan. Her eligibility for the Guarantee has since run out, but she is now earning money as an intern.
“All the faculty and staff at Richmond Community College are amazing, and they’re there for you if you need them,” Honeycutt said. “Mrs. (Annie) Harden, my instructor for Mechanical Engineering, has made an impact on my education. She is always there when I need help, and she helped me get the internship at Plastek. I’m so grateful that she did, because this will really help me when I graduate.”
Earning While Learning
At Plastek, Honeycutt is working first-hand with robotics and assembly automation and assisting in the design, testing and production of many plastic consumer products that are in every home today. She is taking what she learns in the classroom and then experiencing cutting edge technology in the plastics processing, tool making and design industry.
“The Mechanical Engineering Technology program prepared me for this internship by teaching me all the basics that I would need to know,” Honeycutt said. “If it wasn’t for the program, I would have walked into Plastek blindly.”
About Mechanical Engineering
In the Mechanical Engineering Technology program, students learn about engineering graphics, engineering fundamentals, materials and manufacturing processes, mathematics and physics, computer applications, critical thinking and problem solving.
“The Mechanical Engineering Technology program prepares students for high-paying jobs in a variety of industries,” Mechanical Engineering instructor Annie Harden said. “Behind every product that is manufactured is a prototype that was designed and developed by a mechanical engineer. There are many companies in the bigger metropolis areas that need people with the skills learned in this program. By completing this internship at Plastek, Dakota is gaining real world job skills that will look good on her resume once she graduates and is ready to start her career.”
‘A Great School’
Honeycutt has faced obstacles like many students who are going to college, living on their own and balancing work with school, but she said she always gets her class work done “no matter what it takes.”
“The obstacle that hit me the hardest was the passing of my great-grandfather. When this happened, I had a hard time focusing on school, but I knew he would want me to do good,” Honeycutt said.
Honeycutt said going to RichmondCC has helped her build a better life, and she would recommend it to others, whether they’re planning to go straight into the workforce or transfer to a four-year university.
“The faculty and staff are amazingly helpful and nice. Plus, the class sizes are smaller, which makes it easier for students to get one-on-one help from their instructors,” she said. “It is a great school.”
For More Information
To learn more about the Mechanical Engineering Technology program or internships available through RichmondCC, call 910-410-1700. The College is now enrolling new students for the 2019 Spring Semester. To apply, visit www.richmondcc.edu/admissions.