Taking a Different Path

Students sing the Alma Mater at the conclusion of commencement.

At NC State, 2+2 is more than a mathematical equation — it is a formula for student success. 2+2 programs help students like Benjamin Tosto earn an undergraduate degree, even if they don’t live in the Raleigh area.

Students complete prerequisites at a local institution, like Craven Community College, where Tosto received his associate degree, then transfer to NC State.

Benjamin Tosto, Bachelor of Science in Engineering“In grade school, I was motivated and had good grades, but I lost that motivation and dropped out of high school,” said Tosto. “When I was 30 years old, I was working as the foreman for a local construction company but wanted more. That’s when an advisor at the community college told me about the 2+2 engineering program. I knew it would be a long commitment, but I knew it was for me.”

When Tosto started taking courses, fourteen years had passed since he had been in a math class. He spent his first year taking developmental math and science courses to get to where he needed to be. Some of the students in Tosto’s classes were just a few years older than his own children.

Tosto, however, was up to the challenge. He realized that a key to success was earning the respect of other students and working together throughout his courses. He also gained access to mentorship and feedback from engineers at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, a key benefit of the 2+2 program.
Throughout his time as a student, Tosto has also balanced family life, his construction job, and working at the Christian ministry, From The Pit To The Palace, a joint effort with his wife and a few of their friends. He arrives at work when the sun rises, goes to class and completes his homework, even if that means getting it done at a baseball game or the beach. Family is extremely important to Tosto, and he wants to make sure he makes time for his wife and children who have sacrificed so much to help him reach this point.
“Without their support, none of this would have been possible,” said Tosto. “I also could not have done this without being with an awesome employer who has supported me all the way. All these things are thanks to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who gave me the strength and ability to keep going, even when things seemed impossible.”

Thanks to everyone helping Tosto on his journey, he will be graduating from NC State with honors. He will then begin a position at Fleet Readiness Center East in Havelock, part of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

For other students who may be in his position of trying to take care of family, work and school, Tosto has these words of advice:

“Never give up, keep your focus on the finish line, and keep moving forward.”

That’s a true Think and Do attitude.

An excerpt of post was originally published in Provost’s Office News. Read the full story.