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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           10/30/2018

                                                                                                (By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- Two years ago, 18-year-old D.W. Daniel High School honor student Aidan Bish had multiple admissions offers to study electrical engineering at prestigious colleges across the Southeast.

On a regular basis during her senior year, she received letters from colleges aggressively recruiting her to apply and take a tour of their campuses. 

But the Central native says Tri-County Technical College was her “first and only choice” when considering colleges.  “I didn’t apply anywhere else.  There was never a question that I wouldn’t start at Tri-County,” she said.  Her only question was whether to start with an associate degree in General Engineering Technology (GET) and go directly into the workforce or to earn an associate in science degree and transfer to Clemson University.

She opted to go for “the practical degree, not the four-year degree” and enrolled in the GET program and received the department’s outstanding student award this past spring. She deliberately went above and beyond the GET requirements and enrolled in the most transferable general education credits possible, to make transferring easier if she chose to do so when she graduated from Tri-County.

“After two years at Tri-County, I knew I could go to work in industry in a good paying stable job or transfer to Clemson,” she said.

She is headed to Clemson this spring to study electrical engineering but not before taking a few more university transfer classes.

She says the “practical, project-heavy GET curriculum” prepared her for Clemson or for the workforce.

“GET is a hands-on career-minded program,” she said. That appealed to her from day one.  “The first month of class Dorian (McIntire, GET program director) assigned us our first project.  He said go do it.  He helped us to figure it out for ourselves and to use the department’s resources to the fullest.  We were encouraged to ask questions but instructors never held our hands.  I learned so much through these projects that were industry relatable,” she said.

“The problem-solving skills and hands-on mindset I acquired will be invaluable to me at Clemson. Not every credit will transfer but my knowledge does,” she said.

“Tri-County is a small investment of time – two years – and little money,” said Aidan, who graduated basically debt free.  With a LIFE scholarship, she paid less than $300 for two years of study at Tri-County. “I paid some materials fees and a parking pass each year,” she said

“Tri-County gives a good foundation for a college experience, it’s less expensive, and takes less time to complete,” she said.

She can’t single out one particular instance that stands out over these past two years; instead, she says the entire student experience at Tri-County has been a standout moment.  “The Engineering and Industrial Technology Division is a small community of folks who want to see you succeed.  It’s been a positive experience. Instructors were always looking out for my best interests and I am glad I was a part of that community.   I was happy to learn and grow with people who know me by name and are happy for my success.  It felt like what I imagine a good workplace feels like,” she said. 

“I still maintain my connections in the program. I still see instructors.   It’s a nice community to be a part of,” she said.

“Aidan was a model student who loves technological challenges and meets them head-on while inspiring her team members. I am very proud of her and wish her well as she moves on to impress the College of Engineering at Clemson,” said McIntire.

“Tri-County is a smart choice for smart students -- not a last resort,” said Aidan.

“I am happy with my experience and as a result, my two younger siblings, ages 16 and 11, will follow in my footsteps and enroll at Tri-County. There’s no reason not to start your educational journey at Tri-County,” said Aidan.