Like many young college students, Federica Interrante found herself unsure of her career path. After completing her first year of college, she decided to take a break from school until she could make a decision on her major. She knew one day she would return, and when she did, it would be to do something she felt passionate about. Seven years later at the age of 25, Interrante decided it was time to go back to school. She wanted to become an electrical engineer.
She enrolled at Chandler-Gilbert Community College where, in 2013 she earned an Associates in Applied Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. While at CGCC she learned about a new option through MAPP that would allow her to complete her bachelor's degree in a timely, affordable manner at Arizona State University's Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.
Maricopa to ASU Pathways Program (MAPP), the well-known, program which facilitates students’ ‘pathway’ to a bachelor’s degree from community college to ASU, has engineered a new pathway specifically for engineering students. Interrante took advantage of this opportunity and today is just weeks away from graduating with her bachelor's degree from ASU's engineering school at age 29.
"I am so glad I chose to enroll in MAPP while at Chandler-Gilbert Community College," said Interrante. "When I decided to go back to school, I was sensitive to the amount of time it might take to complete my degree. I knew I wanted finish as quickly as possible so I could start working, and MAPP provided me with this option."
ASU’s Vice Provost of Academic Partnerships Maria Hesse says there are many advantages for CGCC engineering students through these established pathways.
“Students are provided with a pathway document, specific to their engineering major, and a number of other tools that are very helpful,” she says. “MAPP provides the student with a cost-effective, time-efficient map or guidance system to eventually obtain their Bachelor of Science in Engineering.”
Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of the Maricopa Community Colleges is very pleased with this addition to MAPP but would be remiss without acknowledging who made it happen. "A lot of credit goes to the faculty who drove this effort, which will ensure that our students have clear a pathway to competitive programs in increasingly in-demand STEM fields."
One particularly instrumental faculty member in this effort has been Mr. Bassam Matar, engineering professor at both CGCC and at ASU. Teaching at both schools placed Matar in a unique position to be a driving force behind this partnership.
"A bachelor’s degree is necessary for today's engineers. Our goal at CGCC is to ensure that every engineering student who participates in this program and transfers to the university is prepared with it takes to succeed," said Matar.
Properly preparing today’s engineers is a shared mission for CGCC’s engineering faculty who devote their time to educating students both in and out of the classroom. In the classroom, the emphasis is on delivering the most up-to-date, relevant industry knowledge. MAPP students follow a prescribed series of coursework that meets ASU’s lower-division course requirements so they are on track to earning their bachelor’s. Out of the classroom, faculty members use their relationships with leading industry businesses to secure valuable internship opportunities for students like Interrnate, who currently interns at Orbital Sciences in Chandler.
"Internship opportunities such as the one Federica has at Orbital, provide valuable on the job training that will help students inside the classroom and in their jobs as engineers,” shared Matar.
The engineering program at CGCC is a great foundation for students interested in an engineering career. Not only are students given cutting edge curriculum and critical hands-on experience, but students have a distinct advantage with the MAPP ‘pathway’ to a bachelor’s degree.
The ASU/CGCC engineering pathway is just one of many pathway options for students currently pursing two-year associate degrees at a Maricopa community college. For additional information about MAPP, www.transfer.asu.edu/maricopa.