From First Steps to Dream Jobs: Get to Know Our May 2018 Graduates

Working professionals in the Engineering Online program at NC State.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the College of Engineering’s distance learning program. What began in 1978 — when lessons were recorded and mailed to students on VHS tapes — has grown into one of the nation’s top ten online engineering graduate programs.

Over four decades, we’ve helped hundreds of students earn their degrees and advance their careers. And we are excited to add more than 50 graduating engineers to our ranks this May.

Find out how these three graduates are using their degrees earned through Engineering Online:

An Early-Career Accelerator

As an engineer at the beginning of her career, Stephanie Vargas had a unique opportunity to build her skill set while working for GE Power in Atlanta, Georgia.

Vargas is part of GE’s Edison Engineering Development Program, which works with early-career engineers to accelerate their professional development.

When offered the opportunity to earn her master’s degree during the three-year program, Vargas decided Engineering Online was her best option. NC State is one of several universities in partnership with GE to provide distance education for up-and-coming engineers like Vargas.

“I specifically chose NC State because it offered me the opportunity to study chemical engineering,” she says.

Through NC State’s online chemical engineering program, Vargas worked toward her degree while maintaining flexibility around her new career and her personal schedule. “Distance education allowed for me to take the same classes that I would on campus with equivalent support,” she says.

And even before graduation, she’s already seen her studies make an impact in her day-to-day work.

“My classes had real-world application and tied directly to what I am doing in my current role,” she says.

“The lessons I’ve learned and the knowledge I’ve gained over the last three years will make me a more effective engineer.”

A Dream Job Facilitator

Shawn Adams will graduate from his master’s program in May, but he’s already enjoying the benefits of his electrical engineering degree.

He says that his participation in the online electrical engineering program helped him land his dream job at Plexus, a product design consulting company in Cary, North Carolina.

“The job I started last July is pretty much my dream job, and I got it in large part because I was in this graduate program,” he says. “So my Engineering Online degree paid dividends even before I finished it.”

The job I started last July is pretty much my dream job, and I got it in large part because I was in this graduate program.

Shawn Adams, master's in electrical engineering, 2018

When choosing his master’s degree program, Adams says he was drawn to NC State for the variety of classes available.

NC State has the largest selection of online classes from schools I considered,” he says. “It offered the ability to get the degree remotely and take classes I was actually interested in, rather than taking what was available.”

Through his online classes, Adams picked up new skills in everything from power electronics to digital circuit design.

“Almost everything I do in my current job was greatly enhanced by this program,” he says.

A Source of Pride

When Daniel Horn, a design engineer with GE Power, began his degree program, he had some reservations about the challenges of distance learning.

“My biggest concern was being isolated in my studies,” Horn says. But he wanted to pursue a degree in chemical engineering and found that NC State’s program was a natural fit for his work schedule and lifestyle.

Completing his master’s degree in chemical engineering wasn’t always easy, but Horn says his experience with online learning taught him some important skills.

“During my time as an Engineering Online student, I have obviously learned the content required for my courses,” he says. “But I also learned how to strike a healthy balance between working full time, attending classes online and maintaining commitments in other aspects of life.”

In fact, his online coursework provided some particularly rewarding experiences. “My happiest moments were when a concept that I barely understood as an undergraduate finally ‘clicked’ and made perfect sense,” he says.

Graduating in May, Horn feels a sense of pride and accomplishment for completing a distance education program — and he believes his new master’s degree will help him stand out among his peers in the future.

Get to know our graduates

They’ve racked up some impressive statistics. Get to know Engineering Online’s latest graduates by the numbers.

ENGINEERING ONLINE GRADUATES BY THE NUMBERS: - 54 graduates in May 2018. - 19 states represented: Students from all over the U.S. will earn their degrees with Engineering Online this May. - More than 1,600 credit hours completed. - Graduate programs with the most graduating students: Mechanical Engineering (16), Civil Engineering (11) and Chemical Engineering (6).

Are you interested in earning a master’s degree through NC State Engineering Online? Explore online master’s degree programs and apply today.