As a North Augusta High School sophomore, Mensah O’Bryant decided to apply for a program he found interesting.
Two years later, the 17-year-old graduating senior already has a pre-engineering certificate from Aiken Technical College and 24 college credits.
Mensah learned about Aiken Tech’s Pre-Engineering Academy from a flyer at school and the future computer engineer decided to apply.
“I feel like (engineering is) a broad range of things and engineers are always looking for better ways to accomplish something,” he said.
During his junior and senior years, the North Augusta student spent half the day taking classes at the technical college and half the day at the high school.
He had two courses each semester in the academy. Class subjects included engineering topics, calculus and history.
The biggest challenge for the high school student was adjusting to college assignments and expectations, he said.
“The work was more challenging but if you put the effort in, you can do really well,” he said.
Being in the academy also taught him how to be a better planner.
“It made me stop procrastinating as much because I realized if I push things off to the last minute, it only makes things worse,” he said. “But, if I stretch it out and do things on a schedule, it’ll help things go more smoothly.”
While balancing classes at both campuses, he also participated in extracurricular activities including the Spanish Club at North Augusta High and tutoring at the Summerhill Community Resource Center two to four times a week.
Despite the busy schedule and workload, Mensah still made all A’s this year in the academy courses. He graduated with the pre-engineering certificate May 6.
The experience taught him a lot about himself as well as engineering, he said.
“It showed me that I’m capable of doing better things. All I have to do is work for what I want,” he said.
Mensah, who graduates with his North Augusta High classmates June 5, plans to start his college career at the University of South Carolina Aiken majoring in computer science and then transfer to the University of South Carolina Columbia to major in computer engineering.
“I thank my mom, my dad and my church family because they kept motivating me, and I thank God for blessing me with the mental capacity and the strength to push through the program,” he said.