This graduation year marks the first milestone of the Craven Community College (CCC) Scholars in Engineering and Science (SEAS) program. Three students in the first SEAS cohort are earning their associate in science (A.S.) degree. Toni Fishel is receiving an A.S. degree in biology. Soban Saaed and Joel Sain are receiving their A.S. degrees in engineering. All three plan to transfer to a four-year university in North Carolina.
“Craven is an excellent starting place for students who want to pursue careers in science, engineering or math. We’re proud of our SEAS students and encourage more students to apply to the program,” said Betty Hatcher, CCC dean of liberal arts and university transfer.
The main goal of the SEAS scholarship program is to promote education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The program is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM). The scholarship covers tuition and fees for the two-year associate degree.
In addition to scholarship assistance, SEAS offers seminars, internship opportunities, and other activities. These activities allow students to explore STEM careers, prepare for college transfer through university campus visits, and enjoy college experiences beyond the classroom. SEAS seminars include presentations by engineers, scientists, doctors and other professionals.
“The SEAS program gave me a complete college experience,” said Fishel, who feels every high school student interested in a STEM education should apply for the SEAS program. “I don’t know why any student wouldn’t apply,” she added. Fishel graduated from The Epiphany School of Global Studies and she began taking classes at CCC in the fall of 2012. She is transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall to study biology and chemistry, and plans on pursuing a physical therapy career.
According to Jessica Cofield, biology instructor and SEAS program director, “The SEAS cohort model is a great way to prepare students for a STEM degree, and it also creates a very supportive environment for students.” Cofield says that, traditionally, STEM student retention is low, so participation within the SEAS cohort promotes community among the students. Which helps them overcome academic challenges to achieve success.
The upcoming SEAS cohort is accepting 16 students. To apply, high school students must have a 3.0 grade point average and meet financial aid requirements. The application deadline is June 15 for the fall semester. For more information and to apply, contact Cofield at 252- 633-2157, or visit the college’s web page: http://www.cravencc.edu/seas/.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.