Student Life

Posted November 11, 2020, 3:29PM

Students Advance in Dual-Degree Program for Physics And Engineering

By Renee Elder


Pryor Gibson present his research findings at a symposium, he is studying engineering at N.C. State University this fall.  
Photo by Chioke Brown

Two NCCU physics majors became the first to transfer to North Carolina State University in fall 2020 through a program that gives NCCU students the opportunity to graduate with two coveted credentials: physics and engineering. 

Pryor Gibson and Maya Clinton entered the challenging dual-degree program as freshmen, delivering strong academic performances that enabled them to transfer into the College of Engineering at N.C. State as juniors. Gibson is studying electrical engineering and Clinton mechanical engineering. 

“Our 3 + 2 program in physics and engineering allows students to transfer forward the physics and general education courses they earned here to N.C. State,” said physics professor Caesar Jackson, Ph.D. “When they complete those courses, they will transfer back and receive both degrees from NCCU.” 

Upon graduation, the double-STEM majors will be prepared to conduct research in areas such as medicine, biotechnology and manufacturing. According to, the average salary for an engineering physicist in the United States is $95,000, with starting salaries at about half that. 

Maya Clinton present her research findings at a symposium, she is studying engineering at N.C. State University this fall.  
Photo by Chioke Brown

Gibson, of Wadesboro, completed several college courses during high school and was able to complete the physics component of the degree in two years at NCCU. Clinton, from Durham, entered NCCU as a freshman three years ago and started taking engineering courses at N.C. State in August.  

Three more students are in the pipeline to complete their first three years in 2021, said Tanina Bradley, Ph.D., advisor for the 3 + 2 program at NCCU. 

“My experience at Central was the best, and I feel really prepared to start engineering,” said Clinton, who is at N.C. State.  

The Duke Energy Foundation has been a partner with NCCU since the dual physics/engineering degree program began. Support from the foundation’s Powerful Communities program has helped NCCU  recruit more students into its physics program, which now has nearly 40 majors, Jackson said.




First Cheatham-White Scholar Graduates in Just Two Years 

By Quiana Shepard


By the time political science major Joshualan Parrish arrived on the campus of North Carolina Central University in fall 2018, as part of the class of 2023, she had 50 academic credits under her belt and an invitation to join the coveted Cheatham-White  Merit Scholarship program, which would set her on a trajectory to earning her undergraduate degree within two short years.

Joshualan Parrish

 “Attending Eagle Scholars Day was the defining moment for me in selecting NCCU for my undergraduate career. Everyone was so welcoming.” said Parrish. “I was looking for a family-oriented university that would be invested in my success. I found that at NCCU.” 

As part of the inaugural class of Cheatham-White Scholars, a fully-funded merit-based scholarship program created in 2017 by the N.C. General Assembly for first-time freshman at N.C. A&T State University and NCCU, Parrish continued to receive the family atmosphere that she yearned for as well as once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. 

 “Being a part of the Cheatham-White Scholar family has been a dream come true,” Parrish added. “The program as well as my  
stellar professors have helped me develop the leadership skills and confidence needed to  
succeed in any atmosphere. I was always encouraged to dream big, and my needs and wants were always supported.” 

As a Cheatham-White Scholar she traveled Budapest, Hungary, and many conferences. 

On campus she joined the Student Judicial Board, Queen and You, NCCU NAACP Chapter, Spanish Club, University Honors Program, Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society and Democracy Matters, where she served as president.  

A Greensboro, N.C., native, Parrish, 20, attended the STEM Early  College High School on the campus of N.C. A&T State University, where she attributed a political science class in helping her focus more on her lifetime goal of becoming a lawyer. 

 “I’ve always wanted to become a lawyer and my high school political science class taught me how to analyze and apply key learnings from real-world issues to daily life, a skill I believe a successful lawyer would need,” Parrish said. 

After being admitted to six law schools, Parrish chose to enter Wake Forest University in fall 2020 with dreams of becoming a civil rights or business law attorney. 

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