Haywood Community College will offer a new associate in engineering program starting in the fall semester. This program is designed to prepare students for transfer into a Bachelor of Science program in the field of engineering. Students in the associate in engineering program will be on a pathway that may lead them toward a career as a professional engineer.                                           

HCC’s associate in engineering program provides courses that are equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program. Upon completing the program at HCC, students may choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree that includes numerous specialties such as mechanical, civil, electronic, computer, biological and more. The associate in engineering program is a ‘calculus ready’ program of study, meaning that Calculus I is the lowest level math course that will be accepted by the engineering programs for transfer as a math credit. Students who are not calculus-ready will need to take additional math courses.

HCC’s new engineering instructor Zuania Pacheco Del Rio has a simple answer when asked why she decided to study engineering. “Because it’s cool,” she says. “I like playing with stuff and making something work in different ways.”

As a child growing up in Puerto Rico, she always questioned what was in the shots given to her during her medical examinations and what made up the medicine she was swallowing. “I decided on chemical engineering because it relates the most to human health. I wanted to work in a medical-related field but did not want to be a doctor.”

Pacheco Del Rio attended the University of Puerto Rico where she received a bachelor’s degree in industrial biotechnology. She moved to Knoxville, Tennessee to continue her education at the University of Tennessee where she completed a master’s degree in chemical engineering.

Between these degrees, she worked in the field. First, she worked for Amgen, a company that makes human insulin, cancer medicine and an immune booster. She also worked for Pfizer as a quality analyst where she supervised employees and took samples of medicine to check things like weight and color.

“Engineering is an amazing and diverse field,” Pacheco Del Rio says. “Almost any field will use engineering at some point. This means students can choose from a wide variety of directions to specialize in.”

At HCC, Pacheco Del Rio wants to encourage students to perform community outreach and work with high school students.

The associate in engineering program offers courses that are part of an approved articulation agreement with the engineering programs at Eastern Carolina University, North Carolina A & T State University, North Carolina State University (including the Mechatronics program at UNC-Asheville), UNC-Charlotte and Western Carolina University. Admission to engineering programs is highly competitive and is not guaranteed.

HCC’s associate in engineering degree plan includes required general education and prerequisite courses that are acceptable to all state-funded Bachelor of Engineering programs. Students who follow the degree progression plan will meet the entrance requirements at all of the North Carolina public Bachelor of Science engineering programs.

To be eligible for the transfer credit under the associate in engineering to the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Articulation Agreement, HCC graduates must obtain a grade of “C” or better in each course and an overall GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

For more information about HCC’s new associate in engineering program, please call 828-627-4579 or visit haywood.edu.

Photo by Jack Snyder. Haywood Community College will offer a new associate in engineering program starting in the fall semester. “Engineering is an amazing and diverse field,” says new engineering instructor Zuania Pachero Del Rio. “This means students can choose from a wide variety of directions to specialize in.”