I learned universities will fall all over themselves to get that community college associate degree holder to come to their university.
Nicole Stumbling Bear
Fayetteville Tech Community College Grad
Bio Research Assistant at UNCP’s Comtech Biotechnology and Training Center
Nicole chose to go back to school after her son passed, as a way of honoring his memory and the education he’d never be able to get. But as the first in her family to go to college, she worried about finding the support she needed and ways to fund her education. Fayetteville Tech Community College (FTCC) was there to help—not only with grant and scholarship suggestions but also a job as a staff member supporting students with disabilities.
Her experience seeing the challenges those students face in gaining particular skills, along with a biology course that led her to tutor students from Ghana, helped Nicole figure out her end game. Her long-term goal is now to marry her love of science with her passion for education to help students with disabilities pursue careers in science and technology.
Not only did Nicole’s time at FTCC shape her future plans—it also taught her how to find and take advantage of the resources to help her achieve her goals. Her newly developed expertise translated into a fully funded associate degree and by the time Nicole graduated, she had several scholarship offers to continue her education. “The reason I chose UNC Pembroke was because they gave the biggest scholarship,” she explained.
Nicole now works in a lab studying Alzheimer’s and certain proteins while working toward a bachelor’s degree in education. Even though she’s the first in her family to hold a degree, she won’t be the last. Throughout her journey, Nicole hasn’t just made studying a priority for herself, she’s made it a nightly activity for her kids too. And leading by example has paid off. Nicole’s oldest daughter has followed in her footsteps, taking classes at FTCC in high school and becoming an education major at UNCP.