Dual Enrollment pays off for mechanical engineering graduate
Stephanie Broxton has always been focused. In high school, her love of math and science led her to Georgia Southern University as a dual enrollment student, which allowed her to earn high school and college credits simultaneously. Now, after three years on the Statesboro Campus, she is graduating at age 20 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
“Math always came easy to me, and science was always fascinating,” Broxton said. “I love problem-solving and using innovation to enhance my life and the lives of others. Mechanical engineering is a broad field, which means that I have a plethora of possibilities at my fingertips.”
Testing her options, Broxton applied for a job at the massive Hyundai EV plant that is under construction near Savannah. She landed the position and is slated to start as an assistant mechanical engineer on June 19. She said she’s honored to be a part of such a significant project and can’t wait to see how it goes for her after graduation.
“I will be documenting the progress of the HVAC and piping systems that are installed on-site,” Broxton said. “This may require me to be on-site for some days and in the office for the rest. I’ll definitely have my work cut out for me.”
Growing up in Rincon, Georgia, Broxton’s parents encouraged her to pursue higher education and excel academically. She credits them for setting high expectations and guiding her throughout her undergraduate journey.
“They always wanted to make sure that I could provide for myself,” explained Broxton, a first-generation student. “There were times when I felt like it wasn’t going to happen, and times when I felt like I needed to be prepared for my engineering aspirations to fall through. Nevertheless, I pushed through and am graduating with my Bachelor of Science.”
Despite the tough coursework and hefty assignments, Broxton thrived in her major. While she found calculus to be “fun,” she did not expect to have so many math classes.
“Out of all of my major-specific courses, I believe only four of them had just conceptual-based content,” she said. “All of my other courses have essentially been nothing but math, and most of my exams consisted of only open-ended math problems.”
What did the aspiring engineer with a 3.67 GPA find most rewarding about her major?
“I enjoyed the hands-on experience the most,” Broxton said. “My machining classes were a fun challenge. Each machining class taught me how to use the equipment available to engineers, and it reminded me of working with my dad on our DIY projects. As a bonus, I was allowed to keep my project at the end of each semester.”
As an undergraduate in the College of Engineering and Computing Broxton was involved in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), various engineering honor societies and the American Foundry Society. She was able to expand her networking experience and hone practical skills that will serve her well throughout her career.
“Making more connections with others is vital for engineers and continued learning,” Broxton noted. “One of my favorite volunteer opportunities is my participation in Girls Engineer It Day. I actually participated in the event as a student a long time ago, but thanks to my involvement in SWE, I had the chance to give back as a volunteer. It was fulfilling to make memories with the students and help fuel their interest in STEM.”
As she prepares to leave Georgia Southern, Broxton is grateful for the impact the University has had on her life. She has made lasting friendships and looks forward to carrying them with her as she moves on to the next chapter in her life. She credits her professors for challenging her to be the best version of herself academically and personally.
“I rarely, if ever, had an instructor who did not express a genuine desire to help their students and provide a meaningful learning experience,” she said. “I am set up for a bright future, and Georgia Southern is the university that helped prepare me for it.”
With graduation day approaching, her parents couldn’t be more excited to see Broxton receive her diploma at Allen E. Paulson Stadium in Statesboro on Thursday, May 11 at 10 a.m.
“I know my parents are proud of me, and they remind me of that often,” Broxton said. “I can already imagine the tears that will flow on my graduation day, especially from my mom. As a 2020 high school graduate, I missed out on a significant rite-of-passage when my ceremony was reduced to a PowerPoint presentation and the wrong diploma was shipped to my door. But now, my mom and dad are excited and I am too. I can almost hear them saying ‘That’s my baby girl’ as I walk across the stage.”
The hard work and dedication of the aspiring engineer have paid off, and she is stoked about the prospects of her promising future.