Haywood Community College’s Academic Excellence Award winner Garrett Jones used his time at the College to find a career path he is passionate about. As a well-rounded student-athlete from Pisgah High School, Jones was unsure about his next step. He chose HCC to save money, stay close to home and decide his future.

This semester, Jones has the answers and is now an electrical engineering student at Western Carolina University.    

“At HCC, I took the introduction to engineering class and decided this is the path for me,” Jones explains. “I enjoy math and science and I have the mindset of an engineer. With a degree in this field, I can have a job wherever I go.”

HCC’s college transfer-associate in engineering program is designed to prepare students for transfer into a Bachelor of Science program in the field of engineering. The 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 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.

During his time at HCC, Jones pursued a very challenging and rigorous curriculum while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.

Jones says he enjoyed the small class sizes and great teachers at HCC. “HCC was a nice step from high school. I was able to have a flexible schedule and everyone was willing to do whatever they could to help me with anything I needed. I am now better prepared for a four-year school.”

Jones also took advantage of the Career and College Promise program where high school students can earn college credit tuition free while still working toward their high school credential. He took the college transfer pathway leading to the associate in science degree. By the time Jones started HCC as a full-time student, he already had credits under his belt that gave him a jump-start on his college education.  

During the winter season, Jones volunteered with the Canton Middle School wrestling team. “While I was in the wrestling program at Canton Middle School, it meant a lot to me. I enjoyed giving back to the kids who are there.”  

Jones says he was humbled to receive the Academic Excellence Award at HCC. “Out of all the students who go to HCC, I can’t believe I was selected.”

When time allows, Jones enjoys hanging out with his family and playing video games with his brother.

For more information about the HCC engineering program, please call 828-627-2821 or visit haywood.edu.