MPCC dual credit classes lead to research assistant position for local youth

Thomas Ramsey
Monday, August 1, 2022

If Thomas Ramsey has it his way, he will one day be working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

He’s one step closer to that goal after landing a research assistant position at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln – an honor he attributes to the connections he made and dual credit classes he took through Mid-Plains Community College.

“They helped me a lot,” Ramsey said. “Doing dual credit through Mid-Plains put me about a year ahead in terms of college, which was huge. Not only did I save time and money, but I’m now better prepared for the full-time college experience.”

Ramsey has been taking classes both online and in-person through MPCC since his family moved to North Platte two years ago.

While the dual credit classes counted toward both high school and college credit simultaneously, Ramsey also took some classes for college credit only. He’s currently enrolled in physics as an independent study.

“Academics has always been important to me,” Ramsey said. “I’ve always taken the hardest classes available. Math and science, especially, have always come naturally to me.”

His efforts paid off. Ramsey earned a composite score of 35 on his ACT, which placed him in the 99th percentile of test takers. Additionally, he tied for first place honors out of the 2022 North Platte High School graduating class with a 4.0 GPA.

Ramsey plans to study mechanical engineering at UNL. He originally wanted to study aerospace engineering, but that’s not an option offered by the university.

“Mechanical engineering is more of a general field,” Ramsey said. “If I still want to pursue aerospace after my undergrad studies are complete, then I will go to graduate school for that.”

The physics, calculus and chemistry classes Ramsey took through Mid-Plains prepared him for the tougher, higher-level courses that are the next step on his educational journey.

“I would go home every day after school and work on my college courses,” Ramsey said. “I learned how to study independently and also how to be part of a study group. Both skills will come in handy at the university level.”

The research assistant position was also the result of Ramsey’s experience at MPCC. He learned about the opportunity through Math and Physics Instructor Jared Daily.

“Mr. Daily was a tremendous resource,” Ramsey said. “He helped me find positions that might be available, showed me how to get in touch with professors at UNL and explained the benefits of taking a research assistant position. His advice, along with the recognition that goes along with having taken dual credit classes, helped make my selection possible.”

Ramsey will work for Assistant Professor Keegan Moore at UNL. The research will be for the U.S. Air Force regarding the effect of vibrations in concrete slabs.

“I don’t know all the specifics about the job, but I’m excited about it,” Ramsey said. “I’m really glad I took the dual credit classes that led me to the opportunity and would encourage others to do the same. They gave me a good academic base, saved me time and money in the long run and prepared me for real life.”