After earning all his class credits required to graduate from Mountainburg High School by his junior year, Hunter Comer decided to enroll in the Western Arkansas Technical Center at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.
Initially, he enrolled at WATC to earn university credits to smooth his transition to college. Instead, he will soon have a college degree to show for it.
Comer has completed coursework for an associate degree in automotive technology through concurrent credit courses at WATC, shaving two years off his post-secondary education.
Automotive technology was a natural route for Comer, who grew up with a father who owned a restoration shop and helped his father restore and customize vehicles.
“My life has consisted of cars, basically,” he joked. “I’ve been working there since I was five, so I grew up around it.”
With his extensive background working with vehicles, Comer assumed he would know most of the lessons taught in the program. But he was surprised to find his eyes opened to another area of automotive repair.
“Whenever I came into this program, I figured I’d know most of what they’d teach. But going through the classes, I’ve learned a lot,” Comer said. “I’ve learned about diagnosing problems with vehicles versus just customizing and rebuilding them, which is what I was used to doing.”
As he continued to take classes, he realized that he was closer to an associate degree than he realized, and enrolled in additional classes to meet the graduation requirements.
In the fall, Comer will continue attending UAFS to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering through the university’s partnership with the University of Arkansas.
“I like how the professors interact with you here. They know your name, and they help you when you need help,” he said. “WATC has opened up so many opportunities for me. I’ve been able to further expand my horizons past high school, and I’m excited to continue going to UAFS in the fall.”
The Western Arkansas Technical Center is an area technical center at UAFS that offers concurrent credit classes to high school students. For more information on WATC and the programs it offers, call 479-788-7720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.