HEROES AMONG US: At 15, college student stands out for drive to succeed

NCTC dual credit student Emma Earhart graduated this month with her Associate of Science degree at the age of 15. She plans to attend the University of North Texas this fall, majoring in biology.

Most 15-year-old students are simply counting down the days to summer break, but North Central Texas College student Emma Earhart has much to celebrate lately. She has graduated with her Associate of Science degree from NCTC at the age of 15, a young hero among her peers.

Earhart has already been accepted into the University of North Texas for fall 2019 and has received over $14,500 in scholarships and grants to complete her bachelor’s degree. She plans to major in biology, graduate from UNT at the age of 17 and wishes to attend the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.

“I love science and I know I want to be a doctor,” said Emma, “but I’m keeping my mind open, as to what type of medicine I’ll study.”

Earhart started taking dual credit courses at NCTC in fall 2017, at 14 years old, and in just under two years she finished her high school and associate level courses.

“Emma is very driven and responsible,” said her mother, Kathy Earhart. “I never have to remind her to do homework; she always has her work done.”

With the help of Dual Credit Coordinator Dianne Manion, Emma got into the right classes right away.

“I went into my first class, English I,” said Emma, “and just sitting in the class listening to the lecture I felt like I wanted to cry because I was so happy to be there. Taking the TSI [Texas Success Initiative Assessment] and actually enrolling was scary, I was nervous, but after a few weeks in class I knew I was in the right place at NCTC.”

Earhart also inspired her mom to go back to school. Kathy Earhart started back to NCTC in spring 2018. Working full time, she takes a smaller load than her daughter, but she will attend UNT in the fall, as well, staying dual enrolled at NCTC to finish her Associate of Science degree.

“We’ve learned a lot from each other,” Kathy said. “We love to study together and are fiercely competitive. In class I’m not her mother, I’m her peer. She has to speak to her professors on her own behalf.”

Kathy Earhart says her daughter isn’t your typical 15-year-old and she’s not worried about her moving on to a university setting.

“I’ve seen her confidence grow over the past two years. She is a different person than the girl that started at NCTC at age 14,” the mother said. “She makes the right choices; I don’t have to lead her to the right choice.”

Emma believes she made the right choice leaving public school to attend NCTC two years ago, and she has certainly thrived in a college setting.

“One of the things I love about NCTC, that’s unlike public high school, is that nobody here cares what you wear or if you’re popular. There is no drama, we’re all just here to learn,” added Emma.

Talented and certainly driven, we can’t wait to see the places that this young hero among us will go.

Elizabeth Dieter Abu is a media specialist with the marketing and public relations department at North Central Texas College. She is a graduate of Lindsay High School and Texas A&M University. She and her husband Patrick live in Gainesville.