Among the many standouts in the MTCC Class of 2021, few can match the exceptional performance, breadth of studies and involvement in extra-curricular activities that Anukkah Burleson has achieved during her time at McDowell Technical Community College.
When Anukkah graduates Friday night with her Associate in Arts degree, she will have earned a total of 81 college credit hours through the Career and College Promise (CCP) Program, which allows high school students to take college classes while enrolled in high school, earning both college and high school credit for their efforts. The program is open to public and private school students, as well as home school students, and best of all, tuition for these classes is 100% free.
Anukkah was recently awarded MTCC’s 2021 Career and College Promise Award for her total investment in the CCP program and for her high marks in CCP classes. Earning 81 credit hours in five semesters while still in high school is a feat in itself, but Anukkah also achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average in her classes, and not only completed all required courses for the Associate in Arts degree and a CCP College Transfer Pathway, but also took numerous additional courses in engineering-related programs towards her career goals.
Astonishingly, Anukkah completed all of these classes and achieved these high grades while also being a member of the McDowell High School (MHS) Band, the MHS Swim Team, the MHS Soccer Team and participating in the Science Olympiad.
Two years ago, Anukkah also served as a youth counselor at McDowell Tech’s Mad Scientist Stem Camp, a week-long day camp for rising 8th graders. Not only was she an excellent role model for campers, she took sole responsibility for setting up equipment for experiments and engaging campers in activities. Anukkah also partnered with one particularly shy camper on an experiment, making the student feel comfortable in participating in the experience. That student became one of the camp’s “stars.” Anukkah is scheduled to participate again this year in the Mad Scientist STEM Camp while taking Calculus III at McDowell Tech and working a part-time job.
More impressively, she has also been taking flying lessons to obtain her private pilot’s license and recently received a $10,000 scholarship to complete her flying lessons.
Anukkah has impressed her instructors throughout her career at McDowell Tech. One instructor recently commented, for example, that in her hydraulics and pneumatics class, Anukkah’s creative problem solving saved the day when students needed a “stick” to be placed on FANUC robot where the robot would ordinarily clinch a machine part. Anukkah jumped into action and ran home and 3D printed the part they needed.
Anukkah will continue her studies this fall at the University of Tennessee (UT), majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Aerospace Engineering. Although she chose to attend UT, this bright young woman was also accepted into very competitive engineering programs at NC State University and Purdue University.
“While Anukkah has already notched impressive performance in her studies at McDowell Tech, we know that the best is yet to come for her,” said Dr. Brian S. Merritt, MTCC President. “The breadth of her curricular and extra-curricular participation and performance are exemplary, both as a CCP student and community college graduate. We look forward to seeing all that she will achieve in coming years.”