RANDOLPH — Included among the Class of 2018 at County College of Morris (CCM) are three teenagers who decided to get a jump start on college and earn their associate degrees by taking part in the share-time Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing (EDAM) program at CCM.
Earning their AAS degrees in Mechanical Engineering Technology as a result of taking part in the EDAM program are Robert Murphy, 19, of Morris Plains, and Nathaniel Petricca, 18, of Parsippany. Foody, Murphy and Petricca are the first three EDAM students to be earning their AAS degrees in Mechanical Engineering Technology. The CCM Class of 2018 graduation takes place on Friday, May 25, at the Mennen Sports Arena.
One of those students, Erin Foody, 18, of Rockaway, will be graduating with her associate degree, along with two CCM certificates, before earning her high school degree in June.
The EDAM program, which the Morris County Vocational School District and CCM began in fall 2015, allows eligible high school students to spend half of their school days at CCM and earn certificates in Mechanical Computer Aided Drafting and Engineering Technology, along with 32 college credits towards the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Mechanical Engineering Technology degree. Students may then enroll in CCM’s AAS in Mechanical Engineering Technology program for one additional year to earn their associate degree, or at a four-year college or university, or pursue workforce placement.
At the end of her junior year of high school, Foody had already earned 19 college credits and decided she wanted to take all her classes at CCM instead of splitting her time between high school and the college. “I wanted to take all my classes at CCM and earn my associate,” says Foody. To earn her AAS in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Foody took 19 college credits last semester and 23 credits this Spring Semester. She also continued to participate in track each day at Morris Hills High School.
“It taught me a lot about time management,” she notes.
“We’re really proud of these students who have taken advantage of this opportunity to accelerate their college education and earn their associate degrees,” says Patrick Enright, dean of the School of Professional Studies and Applied Sciences, who oversees the EDAM program at CCM.
Students in the program also get to participate in the High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program for the International Space Station. CCM was the first college to partner with NASA HUNCH. Projects the CCM students have worked on as part of HUNCH include creating parts for storage lockers and a system for keeping storage bags away from vents.
All three students are particularly proud of the hands-on experience they were able to gain through both the EDAM and HUNCH programs.
“It’s definitely helpful to put on a resume, which I just put together,” says Murphy, who is hoping to find a job or internship in engineering for the summer.
“My family always brags that I have done work for NASA,” adds Foody.
Petricca really appreciates how both programs have prepared him for college and the world of work.
“It really helped me to get an understanding of college classes and how to think outside the box and solve real-world problems,” he says.
The NASA experience and certificates also helped him to obtain a part-time position with UPS working in plant engineering.
All three have been accepted to the New Jersey Institute of Technology where they will begin working on their bachelor’s degrees in the fall. They also note that completing their associate degrees at CCM and transferring to a four-year institution as juniors have helped them on a number of fronts.
“I thought it was good to finish here and get my degree and then transfer,” says Petricca. “It ends up being a lot cheaper to finish my college education this way.”
“It’s amazing to have this degree at this age,” says Foody of her CCM associate degree. “My friends are all making minimum wage in retail, but I am ready to start working or interning in the engineering field this summer.”
For more information on the EDAM program, call the Morris County School of Technology at (973) 627-4600, ext. 277.