Arts, Sciences, and University Transfer Student Profiles

Andrew McCrae

Apply NowAndrew McCraeAn honors student in ASUT, Andrew McCrae was been named a 2015 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars, and providing nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually.

Andrew earned his Associate in Science degree this spring. On campus, he was active in the Student Senate as well as Phi Theta Kappa, and was engaged in C-STEP (Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program). Andrew was accepted into UNC-Chapel Hill, where he is planning to major in Exercise and Sports Science. He hopes to go on to earn his doctorate in physical therapy.“ Andrew McCrae is the kind of student who makes a strong and positive first impression on an instructor and administrator – and then continues to live up to and beyond that impression over time,” says Tracy Mancini, dean of Durham Tech’s ASUT program and Phi Theta Kappa faculty advisor.

Phi Theta Kappa recognized the scholars at this year’s annual convention in San Antonio, Texas. “We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for their vote of confidence in community college students by investing in their futures,” said Dr. Rod Risley, Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa. “Their support is especially welcome during this challenging economic climate, as more and more community college students need additional resources to help them complete their degrees.”

More than 1,700 applications were received by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation this year. Each Silver Scholar receives a $1,250 scholarship and a special medallion. An independent panel of judges considers outstanding academic rigor, grade point average, academic and leadership awards, and engagement in college and community service in the selection process.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,“ said J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.”

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1,285 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, Peru, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 134,000 students inducted annually.


Nathan Staffa

Nathan Staffa“Forget your misconceptions about what it means to go to community college. Durham Tech will rise to meet – and exceed – your expectations, challenge you as a student, help you become a more worldly individual, and accompany you on your path as far as you want to go. Within these walls lie the tools with which you may shape your future as you see fit – the only missing piece is you.”

2012 Associate in Science /University Transfer Program
Member Phi Theta Kappa, Academic Honor Society
Member Sigma Delta Mu, Spanish Honor Society
Currently studying Computer Science at Stanford University


Saad Rahimuddin

Saad Rahimuddin“Durham Tech was a critical building block to prepare me to step up to a four-year institution. The study tracks and the lab experience I got were very hands-on, just like in industry, so I feel very prepared to complete my undergraduate degree and move on to a career in Pharmaceutical Sciences.”

2012 Associate in Science, graduated with honors
Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society
2014 BRITE Scholarship Recipient


WinnieHope B. Mamboleo

WinnieHope B. Mamboleo“I was born in Kenya, Africa, and my family moved to the United States when I was 15. I graduated from Cary High School. I applied to NC State, but was deferred; Durham Tech gave me the chance to model my academic path to best achieve my career goals. Now I’ll be enrolling as a junior at State, thanks to the tremendous opportunities I found here. My experience as part of the Durham Tech ‘family’ has been beyond rewarding, and an amazing experience all around. It’s been a big part of my transition into adulthood.”

Associate in Science Program, graduating May 2015 Transferring to NC State University to study Aerospace Engineering
Student Senator for Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society
Honors projects in Calculus, Technology and Society courses
Newton Scholarship Recipient


Teresa Clayton

Teresa ClaytonWhile working at a tattoo shop in Durham, Teresa Clayton expressed to her friend that she'd like to work in the medical field. The friend encouraged her to enroll at Durham Tech. After visiting the campus, she knew that the Surgical Technology program was the right choice for her. Clayton graduated from the program in 2004 and accepted a job as a Neurosurgery Surgical Technologist at Duke Medicine.

A few years later while on a medical mission to Uganda, a good friend encouraged her to advance her position in medicine by becoming a Physician Assistant. Clayton agreed but needed to first earn a bachelor's degree. In 2006 Clayton started the University Transfer program at Durham Tech with UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University in her sights. While they were a tough two years, Clayton feels they were some of the best years of her life. Despite working 30 hours a week at Duke Medicine, she flourished at Durham Tech expressing thanks to her instructors and advisor.

Clayton received the Edward L. Phillips Memorial Scholarship which made it possible for her to work less at Duke Medicine and spend more time on campus and on schoolwork.

Clayton participated in math league competitions and joined honor societies. "I would encourage students to get involved in the extracurricular activities that Durham Tech has to offer. Involvement not only creates a better school but also better students. It teaches us to be better members of a greater body and hence better members of our community.I am biased toward math league but I'm sure every one of you can find something in which to get involved. I would also encourage you to stay in touch as you transition into an alum in the coming years."

She also states "As members of the Durham Tech student body students come from all walks of life. This diversity is unique to community colleges so cherish it." Her advice is to not just consider Durham Tech where you finish, but envision it as where you begin

Clayton graduated from the University Transfer Program in 2008 and transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill to complete her undergraduate education with a BS in Mathematics. She moved on to graduate work by completing the Physician Assistant Program at Duke University in 2014. She started working as a Neurosurgery Physician Assitant at Duke Medicine in November 2014.

Read more about Clayton in The Herald-Sun article Long Strange Trip: Woman eschews body piercing to become PA.


Nigel Vincent Stammes

Nigel Vincent StammesNigel Vincent Stammes, who graduated from Durham Tech in 2012 and from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BS in biology in May 2014, offers advice to ASUT students.

Even though I see myself as a proud Tar Heel, my road to graduation had several road blocks. Unfortunately, some of these were specific to being a transfer student. Friends at other universities have mentioned similar problems, so I decided to share my insights to help future transfer students.

Attend the transfer reception!

With my acceptance letter to UNC-Chapel Hill, I received an invitation to a reception for transfer students. This optional event is probably the most important orientation you will attend. Transfer students shared their Carolina experience and tried to give a “Carolina” perspective. I returned the favor by sharing my perspective in 2013 with new transfer students.

There are ways to get the course you want!

Two core classes I needed to take for my major my first semester were waitlisted when I tried to register. A friend gave me advice that made a big difference during my Carolina career: it is a common practice to call the department and ask for an override to register for a class even though it is waitlisted. Within an hour of calling the office, I was registered for both classes. Junior transfer students have four semesters to complete their degrees at UNC, so putting off these classes was not an option. Some of my friends did not find a way into courses and ended up having to take summer classes or apply for a ninth semester.

Check your transcripts for proper designations.

After I received my associate’s degree at the graduation ceremony at DPAC, I obtained a Durham Tech transcript and delivered it to an admissions counselor at UNC, saying I was transferring under the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA). I was told they could only offer me the protections of the CAA if my transcript indicated I had been awarded an associate’s degree. I then learned that Durham Tech does not record degree designations for a month after the graduation ceremony. I had to pay for a later transcript to prove my degree to UNC. Eventually, it worked out fine.

Understand course equivalency and prerequisite requirements for your major!

UNC-Chapel Hill has an eight-semester rule. When you transfer as a junior under the CAA, you are assumed to have used four semesters. You can apply for a ninth semester, but double majors and minors will not be awarded that way. Consequently, a lot of advisors in the sciences advise transfer students not to pursue a Bachelor of Science major, since it is difficult to take all of the required courses in your two years at UNC. They ask students to switch to a Bachelor of Arts or to drop the major altogether. Native UNC students take some core courses in their sophomore or even freshman year. If you still want to try for the BS, expect to take a heavy load of science courses. Try to meet early with an advisor at your transfer institution to make sure you will be able to finish your intended major on time.

Take advantage of unique opportunities.

Transfer students should consider undergraduate research. UNC-Chapel Hill has a whole department dedicated toward undergraduate research with funding for students who want to pursue this opportunity. One of my friends, also a Durham Tech graduate, was able to conduct research under the guidance of Dr. Gidi Shemer (one of the best professors and advisors I have had). My friend is now in his first year at UNC’s Dental School.
There are hundreds of clubs and organizations on campus, too. Tar Heel Transfers hosts events specific to transfer students and can be a great resource. Study abroad is also popular. However, there can be issues of credit transferability, depending on whether you study at an international university or go abroad with a UNC professor or course. Make sure you will be able to get the credits you need.

Don’t expect small classes at UNC; expect the unexpected.

As a transfer student, do not expect to get into small classes. The two core biology courses I took my first semester had over 200 students. Some students had to sit on the floor in one class! Eventually we moved to a bigger lecture hall, but it was still very crowded. This situation makes it harder to build relationships with professors and requires greater dependence on teaching assistants (TAs) or fellow students.

Despite the large class size, many classes challenged me intellectually and were cutting-edge. Professors had the best stories, talked about their own research, and brought in research that might have been published in the last 24 hours. In one class, we discussed research published in Japan, and a few weeks later the researcher won a Nobel Prize!

Despite the hurdles, I enjoyed my time at Durham Tech and loved being a Tar Heel. I hope that by sharing these experiences, I help you reach your goals a little bit easier at Carolina or at other institutions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It will bring you lux et libertas, which means “light and freedom” and is the motto of UNC-Chapel Hill.