JTCC Engineering Alumni Celebrate Success
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Released on August 01, 2013
Steven Easter and Jonathan Turman stand under their UAV.
CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – The road to becoming an engineer is challenging. You have to be determined and focused, and you have to have a strong educational foundation. That foundation can be built in many ways, but having a clear-cut path that outlines specific course requirements, while paving the way for continued education can help students stay on track, save time, and even more importantly, save money. That’s what brothers Steven Easter and Jonathan Turman discovered when they decided to enroll in what was then John Tyler Community College’s new Engineering program. They became members of the program’s first graduating class and then used a guaranteed transfer agreement to continue their education at the University of Virginia’s (U.Va.) School of Engineering and Applied Science. This spring, the brothers completed their bachelor’s degrees, and Easter received a very big honor. He was named the top academic graduate of U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Turman was finishing high school when he learned about Tyler’s Engineering program. The program, launched during the Fall 2009 semester, was designed in consultation with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at U.Va. to meet the transfer requirements of several four-year colleges and universities, some of which, like U.Va. and Virginia Tech, have guaranteed admissions agreements with John Tyler. Turman was immediately interested, so he talked to his brother about enrolling in the program. Easter, who was working in information technology at the time, had been thinking about making a career change, but he was unsure if college would be a good fit for him. With some encouragement from his wife, he decided to take the leap, and he joined his brother at Tyler.
John Tyler Community College proved to be a great fit for Easter and Turman. While at the College, they received scholarships, were inducted into the Beta Omicron Omicron Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and were named to the honors and dean’s lists. In 2011, they celebrated their graduation from Tyler and the completion of their associate degrees in engineering. Using the guaranteed admissions agreement between John Tyler Community College and the University of Virginia, the two transferred to U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and moved to Charlottesville.
Easter says when he first arrived at U.Va., he was worried that he and his brother might be at a disadvantage because they came from a community college. That concern was quickly proven to be unfounded. “I actually felt like we were as well prepared as the other students who we were working beside, and our grades showed that we had the stuff to make it,” said Easter. Turman agreed, saying “We were top of our class the first semester. The transition was very easy. We were very well prepared.”
During their time at U.Va., the two excelled in and out of the classroom. They also garnered lots of attention after building a fully functional plane using cutting-edge 3D printing technology. The two spent countless hours working on their unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, as part of an internship with MITRE Corporation – an organization that manages federally funded research. There were twists, turns and failures along the way, but when the time came to fly their creation in front of representatives from MITRE Corporation, Easter and Turman enjoyed success and praise. Their achievement led to media attention, an extension of their internships, and a new project – a second UAV.
In between classes, the two got back to work, refining their design. They also began writing a paper about their work, which they hope will be published. Their second UAV was completed in late spring and will undergo testing with MITRE. The brothers say the workload was intense but rewarding, and it has given them a real-world engineering experience that goes beyond textbooks.
Around the time they finished their second UAV, the two celebrated the completion of their bachelor’s degrees. Easter decided to continue his education and will be starting graduate school at U.Va. this fall, while Turman is excitedly making plans to enter the workforce.
Turman and Easter are just two examples of John Tyler Community College alumni who have found success by using guaranteed admissions agreements. These agreements give John Tyler students who graduate with an associate degree and who meet GPA and other criteria the opportunity to seamlessly transfer to more than 25 four-year colleges and universities where they can continue their work toward a bachelor’s degree. The agreements also give students the opportunity to save money while taking their core general education classes. That’s because pursuing a degree at John Tyler Community College costs just over one-third the tuition and fees of a Virginia four-year public institution.
Learn more about John Tyler Community College’s guaranteed transfer agreements by visiting www.jtcc.edu/transfer, and explore Tyler’s programs of study, including its transfer degrees, at www.jtcc.edu/academics.
Those interested in getting started at Tyler still have time to enroll for the Fall 2013 semester. For an admissions application, go to www.jtcc.edu, click on “Apply Now.” Step-by-step information about admission also may be found at www.jtcc.edu/admissions/steps-for-admission/. John Tyler Community College has an open door admissions policy, and there is no fee to apply. For a complete list of fall class offerings, visit www.jtcc.edu/schedule.
John Tyler Community College is a two-year, public institution of higher education and is the fifth largest of the 23 community colleges in Virginia. With campuses in Chester and Midlothian and off-campus classrooms throughout the area, John Tyler offers quality and economical opportunities for students who want to earn a degree or certificate, transfer to a four-year college or university, train for the workforce, or switch careers. The College, which served more than 14,000 students during the 2012-13 academic year, offers 17 associate degrees, seven certificates, and 34 career studies certificates. The institution also serves 15,000 non-credit students and more than 1,200 companies and government agencies annually through the Community College Workforce Alliance. The College also is committed to sustainability. In July 2010, it received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for Hamel Hall on its Midlothian Campus, becoming the first in the Virginia Community College System to receive such recognition. John Tyler Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
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Holly Walker, Public Relations & Marketing Specialist