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NC State and UNC Pembroke 3+2 engineering program has its first graduate

Image of Dana Lamberton
Dana Lamberton spent long hours inside the labs in the Department of Chemistry and Physics at UNC Pembroke.

In the five years it takes for the average college student to earn a bachelor’s degree, Dana Lamberton completed two–one in applied physics at UNC Pembroke and another in mechanical engineering at N.C. State University.

She was afforded this unique opportunity through UNC Pembroke’s 3-plus-2 dual-degree engineering program with N.C. State. Established in 2016, the program allows students to spend three years at UNCP and two years at N.C. State and graduate with bachelor’s degrees from both institutions. Lamberton is the first graduate.

“It was definitely a challenge earning two degrees in five years. Both degree curriculums were rigorous,” said Lamberton of Red Springs. “It was challenging at times to maintain my grades and there were points when it was stressful. But, in the end, I gained a lot through the experience.”

She completed her UNCP degree requirements in the spring of 2019, before transitioning to N.C. State. In May, she graduated from both universities simultaneously.

Under the program, UNCP students must complete the required courses for an applied physics degree, then transfer to N.C. State to spend the next two years working toward a degree in mechanical engineering or electrical engineering.

“My experience at UNC Pembroke was overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “It provided me with a personal education experience which allowed me to thrive as a student. The professors and other mentors I had at UNCP truly cared about making a quality education possible. I spoke to each of these people daily, and the personal interaction encouraged me to do my best.”

Dana Lamberton
Dana Lamberton

At UNCP, Lamberton was a member of the Maynor Honors College. However, transitioning from UNCP, where all the professors knew her name, to a larger university with auditorium classrooms with 100 students was an adjustment.

“When your teacher knows your name and approaches you, saying he feels that you could have the potential to do better on an essay or a project, and then helps you do, so it is very encouraging. N.C. State was much different. The teachers were approachable and helpful, but you must be a driven and independent-minded student to succeed.”

The hands-on and lab experience she received at UNCP laid the foundation for her success at N.C. State. Her work as a lab assistant provided valuable experience with the concepts she was learning in the classroom. Lamberton recently accepted a summer job in Colorado and is considering a career as an engineer or continuing her education in graduate school.

“My career goal is to work in a fulfilling environment doing work that is interesting and continues to challenge my mind.”

The College of Engineering offers several 2+2 and 3+2 programs in partnership with colleges and universities around the state. Learn more here.