Thanks to Professor Bigonahy, National Colleges Compete for QCC Engineering and Technology Grads
Every year a large number of students from Quinsigamond Community College move on to receive four year degrees. Many QCC Engineering and Technology graduates annually move on to Worcester Polytechnic Institute on full academic scholarship, thanks in large part to professor Dadbeh Bigonahy. It seems the only thing more challenging than Professor Bigonahy's courses, is getting him to tell his story.
Professor Bigonahy has been with QCC's Department of Engineering since 1981. He is both professor and Coordinator of the Basic Engineering Program.
"I received a note from the Dean of Physics at Cornell University," Dadbeh began. "He was talking about a student from QCC who transferred there, and the Dean wrote, 'If you have any more students like this one, send them over!'"
In addition Cornell, Dadbeh has seen his students off to Stanford and UC Berkeley, among numerous other universities. It is WPI, however, that receives a special group of Dadbeh's students.
Each year, about twenty of Dadbeh's QCC graduates attend WPI, with their entire tuition, room, and board paid for – an expense that exceeds $40,000. These students achieve such high marks and high GPA at Quinsigamond that they qualify for the WPI academic scholarship. The students enter Worcester Polytech as confident, well-prepared juniors.
"QCC set me up really well for WPI," said alum and current WPI student Holly Whitten. "I was 30 years old and going back to school, looking for a community college with a strong engineering program. The others weren't as good as QCC's, so I relocated here from Florence, Mass. It was difficult at times, but Dadbeh was constantly encouraging me."
Holly explained that she wasn't even going to apply to WPI, hoping to find a less expensive option, but Dadbeh told her she should; she just might receive one of their scholarships. Now, Holly finds herself a BioMedical Engineering major, looking to enter the research science field. Dadbeh can't hide his pride.
"It's wonderful. Just wonderful," Dadbeh states. "They come to QCC, we challenge them, push them to keep moving on in their degree. And they go on to great success. WPI professors love our students."
According to Dadbeh, himself an alumnus of WPI, a number of QCC students become math tutors at WPI. Another student we met, Natalie Velazquez, is at WPI as a Civil Engineering major. She, too, credits Dadbeh for encouraging her to reach her potential.
"I never thought I'd get a full scholarship to WPI," Natalie adds. "Professor Bigonahy is a big advocate. He definitely inspired me."
The Quinsigamond and WPI connection is important to Dadbeh, as WPI is considered the premier four year engineering college in central Massachusetts. So, despite Dadbeh's quiet and humble demeanor, the professor's ready encouragement and awareness of national opportunities for stellar students is making an important contribution to the futures of both QCC students and the College.