Photo: High School Student in front of bus

Mason McNamara

Mason graduated from Richland and his high school at the same time

Mason was one of three students in 2017 that graduated from Richland Community College and high school at the same time. Mason McNamara, from Cerro Gordo High School, has balanced two schools, work, extracurricular activities, and his own personal priorities to accomplish this amazing goal.

Mason is part of Richland’s Transfer Academy. The Transfer Academy was developed to accelerate and facilitate completion for students interested in fast-tracking a bachelor’s degree, using a dual credit concept. The Transfer Academy allows part-time students to complete the General Education Core Curriculum credential in four semesters.

High school students interested in Richland’s Transfer Academy can choose from a morning schedule or an afternoon schedule taking 3 courses (9-11 credit hours/semester). They attend class with other Richland students and Richland faculty provide instruction. Richland works closely with the students and their high school to assure the college classes also apply toward their high school credits for graduation. Each student’s academic transfer plan is developed to meet individual personal academic goals.

According to Cathy Sebok, Director of Admissions and Recruitment, “High school students who rank above average in academic achievement may enroll in selected transfer classes at the Richland Transfer Academy and receive both college credit and high school credit.”

A challenging adventure, but one with great benefits:

Mason admitted that this journey has been challenging but amazing. “It’s been a really good opportunity. The Transfer Academy has really given me the opportunity to get in the university I want, and I’ve already made a lot of good connections at my transfer university because of this experience.”

Mason worked part time, took 12-14 credit hours per semester at Richland, and juggled extracurricular activities including high school theater. “It’s been good practice for the future. I didn’t think I would earn an associate’s degree so fast. It saved me $100,000!”

His future is bright:

Mason will be attending Baylor University in Texas in August, majoring in neuroscience on a pre-med track. He has big dreams of going to Johns Hopkins University, and possibly moving to a third-world country, practicing medicine, most notably pediatric reconstructive surgery.

Mason credits Jill Feinstein, his anatomy professor, for preparing him well for his future at Baylor. “If I didn’t take that class, I wouldn’t be able to go down there and start ahead of everyone else. She is one of my favorite professors.”

Click here to see the feature on Mason, and his classmate, Levi, that aired on WICS News.


Hear more Richland success stories here.