Associate degrees

An HCC student will complete 5 associate degrees before graduation from high school

Science, engineering, math, physics and general studies sound like the names of school subjects, but they’re more like the titles of the five associate degrees Shiv Patel, 16, will earn before graduating of high school.

“It taught me a lot, especially time management, because you have more time outside of class to do your work, but they give you a bit more work than in high school,” Shiv said.

The North Hagerstown High School student received clearance from Washington County Public Schools to attend Hagerstown Community College’s STEMM Technical Middle School program when he was in the ninth grade.

The program generally only accepts those in junior and senior high school and allows college-ready students to earn college credits, certificates, and degrees.

Shiv will take 14 HCC credits in the spring semester while playing tennis at North High. He graduated with a science degree from HCC in December and will complete four additional associate degrees in the spring before graduating from high school.

“Shiv is an academically outstanding student,” said Teresa Thorn, STEMM Middle College Coordinator. “He is committed and determined to achieve his goals.”

Thorn met Shiv and his parents when they were exploring the program two and a half years ago and was impressed with the support from the parents.

“They wanted to do what was best for Shiv and knew what he was capable of academically. They supported him to get into STMC (Science and Technology Middle College) program early, and I think that contributed to Shiv’s success,” Thorn said. “I can’t wait to see what Shiv is able to accomplish in the future.”

He is in the process of applying to colleges with the hope of attending a four-year college in the fall of 2018.

“He’s a very driven person,” said Shiv’s mother, Smruti Patel. “He knows what he wants to do and I know he will be successful in whatever he does.”

He hopes to go into engineering, following in the footsteps of his father, Paresh Patel, who is an engineer for a biopharmaceutical company in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Shiv said he would like to get into aerospace engineering with the goal of working for NASA or SpaceX.

“I personally love engineering and science in general,” Shiv said. “It’s always interesting and it’s always changing too, so it’s not like you go to work and it’s the same every day, but it’s changing and it’s innovative.”

Smruti is grateful for Shiv’s work ethic and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

“He was the one who discovered the program and he said he could do it, and I knew from the start that if he put his mind to it, he could do anything,” Smruti said.

Shiv enjoys HCC and the opportunity to take college classes and participate in college campus life while still in high school.

He works as a peer tutor at HCC’s Learning Support Center in his spare time. He believes his experiences prepared him for the challenges of engineering and gave him a foundation of knowledge to build on for future science lessons.

“I’m enjoying the campus and everything. I appreciate the teachers; they’re really great and I think it’s also a wonderful transition to a four-year school,” Shiv said.

Outstanding Student - HCC

Student Standout is a weekly feature appearing every Monday highlighting local students who are making extraordinary contributions to their school or community. To nominate a student, email [email protected] or call 301-791-7281.