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Engineering students experience “the best of both worlds” with SMC, ND Dual Degree program

| Friday, August 17, 2018

After four years of sisterhood, 18 graduates of Saint Mary’s will be entering their fifth year of study at Notre Dame to complete the Dual Degree in Engineering program. This program provides Saint Mary’s women the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from the College and a second bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University. 

Brynne DuBois, a 2018 graduate from Saint Mary’s, said her decision to partake in the dual degree program stemmed from a desire for the experience of both a small liberal arts school and a larger university. She said the combination of the two give “a well-rounded college experience.”

DuBois earned her degree from Saint Mary’s in computing and applied mathematics. At Notre Dame, she will be working toward a degree in computer science. Due to the program’s five year duration, a student holds senior status at Saint Mary’s while remaining a junior at Notre Dame. Dubois said being both a senior at Saint Mary’s and a junior at Notre Dame kept her busy.

“I was in the depths of my computer science curriculum,” Dubois said. “I had so much to do. I always had exams really early in the morning.”

Despite the intensity of her classes and juggling between two campuses, DuBois said that Saint Mary’s is a special place for her and that her Belles are friends for life.

Similarly, Rachel Bonek, another 2018 graduate, said she will miss living with her roommate of four years, especially in LeMans Hall. It will be a nostalgic adjustment for her. 

As a strenuous program, various obstacles unfold for students to endure, Bonek said; aside from the dense course load and juggling of two campuses, unexpected challenges surfaced she said. For instance, Bonek said there had not been many electrical engineers in the program before her, meaning nobody was ahead of her for guidance. Bonek received her degree in physics and applied mathematics from Saint Mary’s and will be earning a degree in electrical engineering from Notre Dame. 

”Now that I have one degree I can see the ball rolling,” Bonek said. “I am looking forward to Notre Dame but I will definitely miss Saint Mary’s.”

Saint Mary’s alumna, Morgan Matthews, class of 2018, said the dual degree program allowed her to experience “the best of both worlds.”

“When I came to visit campus, about a month before I moved in, I found out about the program and it was a two-for-one,” Matthews said. “I had to take it. It was right up my alley. I really wanted to do engineering and I really loved chemistry.”

Additionally, Matthews said the program satisfied both her desire to obtain a degree from Notre Dame and to experience the community at Saint Mary’s. 

“There are 17 others who have graduated the Saint Mary’s portion of the program with me and we’ve become so close,” Matthews said. “I really felt like I could give my all at Saint Mary’s.”

The transfer to Notre Dame this year has not quite set in for Matthews yet, she said.

“It’s kind of surreal now, going into your fifth year,” Matthews said. “I’m almost just going through the motions. Once I get into the school year I think it will hit home that this is my final year.”

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