Inside CAS

College of Arts and Sciences


Long Road to Success: A Rigorous Transfer Program

Monday, August 08, 2016


Article and Photo by Emma Wilcox ’16

Two years at UNCW and then two at North Carolina State University seems common for most transfer students, but for Lauren Tuttle it is the path to her dream career. Tuttle is a current student at UNCW on the engineering track that will lead her to NC State to finish her degree in their engineering program.

Tuttle arrived at UNCW with the hopes of pursuing nursing, only to realize that her skills were more adequate for an engineering path. As she began pursuing a nursing career it became evident that a queasy stomach was not going to serve her well in that particular field.

She still desired to pursue a career that utilized her love of math, and the concept that applied mathematics can describe the world around us. As a freshman taking basic studies classes, Tuttle decided to take some environmental science classes one semester. While in those classes she says, “I became frustrated that individuals had lots of environmental problems to discuss, but no solutions.” Sick of hearing complaining and wanting to take action, Tuttle saw that her trigonometry class actually did have some answers and through her frustration with environmental problems, she is now determined to become an environmental engineer. Through this career she hopes to help bring alternative energy sources, solar remediation, and wastewater treatment solutions to the world.

Once her new career path was set, Tuttle knew she needed to gain experience outside the classroom in order to become a successful engineer. She has since strived to get a foot in the door of the engineering world. This past summer she held an internship with a startup company called Nephos6 in Raleigh. Nephpos6 gathers data from companies’ webpages and makes sense of these findings to send them back to that company's CEO and advise them on what to do to improve. One of Tuttle's most exciting moments at Nephpos6 was when NASA used their programming system and she was able to sit in on the phone call with them and hear about their experience with the program.

She has been on the 2+2 track for about three years now, as it is difficult to keep up with all the general education courses plus the math and science courses required to transfer into any engineering program. Tuttle recognizes that her path is taking longer than normal but she has found it difficult to make sure she gets all the general education courses done at UNCW as well as those needed for her to transfer. Throughout her time she has taken some light course loads each semester to make sure that when she is in the pre-engineering classes she does not compromise her learning by taking on too much at once. Once she has completed everything she needs, she will be eligible to transfer to an engineering program in the next year. While the purpose of the 2+2 program is to get UNCW students to NC State, they are also eligible to apply to other engineering programs that could better fit their career paths. By taking some of the provided distance-education courses offered at UNCW, students can get ahead in the engineering program for when they transfer.

Dr. Amy Reamer, director of the Engineering 2+2 Transfer Program, says she has “100+ advisees currently in the 2+2 program and last semester about 25 transferred onto NC State.” While the engineering program could be started and finished at a school with a full -ledged engineering major, UNCW offers a more cost-effective option with smaller classroom sizes to enable more one-on-one instruction. While this program has been more of a 3+2 track for Tuttle, Reamer says that the program can be 2+2 or 3+2 and implies that both options are very common for her pre-engineering students.

In her time at UNCW, Tuttle credits her help and support in this program to Reamer. “Dr. Reamer is always there to help and answers emails very quickly, and how her investment into each of the individuals in this program has made me successful.”

Tuttle's time at UNCW has been filled with setbacks, successes, learning moments and lots of early mornings studying for her tough engineering classes. Even though this program is rigorous, she knows that her ultimate goal of being an engineer could not be achieved without it. She is excited to transfer, complete her degree, and one day become an environmental engineer.