College Program Allows High School Students to Earn Dual Degrees

ECC Dean Dr. Elvy Vieira (right) congratulates Tatyanna Nelums

The Dual Enrollment program at Essex County College allows pre-college students to take college for-credit classes while still attending their local high schools. This year, 21 Newark Tech students were recognized for earning their Associate degree during ECC’s Virtual Commencement on June 4, 2021. 

One of these students from Newark, Tatyanna Nelums, is a true overachiever. In addition to earning her Associate degree, she also had the honor of serving as Newark Tech’s Valedictorian this year. 

“Going to college while attending high school was a wonderful opportunity for me and definitely worth the extra work,” the 17-year-old said, who will be heading to Syracuse University this fall to major in Aerospace Engineering. To make it work, Tatyanna said it was a matter of budgeting her time after she decided to enroll in the ECC program as a high school freshman.

“Our program prepares these high school students for college by giving them additional classes each year,” said Dr. Elvy Vieira, Dean of Community, Continuing Education & Workforce Development at ECC. Dr. Vieira explained that the students receive the necessary tutoring to keep them on track. The courses are taught by ECC faculty and College adjunct instructors.

Newark Tech Principal Carmen Morales has been very impressed by Tatyanna.  “She is bright, articulate, and unafraid to push boundaries, thinks outside the box, and puts in the hard work that is needed to achieve the goals she sets. Her strong work ethic, competitive nature, and ability to work as a team player is what has led Tatyanna to this level of success in her academic career. There is no doubt that she will continue to soar and achieve many great things,” Principal Morales stated.

In addition to her College courses during the regular school year, Tatyanna took several ECC courses over each summer in the program, including the College Success Seminar and history classes.

Interestingly, Tatyanna also served as class Valediction in both elementary and middle school.

On her career choice, Tatyanna said, “I’ve always been interested in science. When I learned about NASA and space exploration, that really sparked my interest in science and aerospace.” 

She has received a full tuition scholarship to attend Syracuse. Since she has earned her Associate degree at ECC, Tatyanna will be on course to complete her Bachelor’s requirements early.   

Tatyanna is not resting on her laurels and taking the Summer off. Before starting at Syracuse on August 24, she will spend four weeks in Italy through the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) program. “I want to learn about the culture of Italy and travel through the country,” she said. “I know it will be a great experience.”  

“I’m confident Tatyanna is well on her way toward doing great things. All of us at Essex County College are extremely proud of all our high school graduates from the Dual Enrollment Program. I wish all of the students continued success,” said ECC Interim President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.