December 15, 2011


Strong Background in Math and Science Is a Necessity

In this constantly changing world, math and science are relied on more than ever before. When it comes to what college students will need to succeed in life and work in this changing world, a strong background in math and science is a necessity. It will prepare them for work after graduating from college and provide the higher paying jobs and better opportunities over the lifetime of students.

At Northeast Alabama Community College helping students master math and science is more important than ever. Students who have a strong background in math and science have an advantage when they transfer to a four-year college or university and in the job market.

“Students who successfully complete our calculus and physics courses are well-prepared to complete their four-year degree in engineering, mathematics, or science,” said Greg Millican, Mathematics Division Director and Instructor. “Some of our graduates are currently employed as engineers in north Alabama, while others are teachers, physicians, lawyers, and financial planners, among other occupations. The success of our students is a source of great satisfaction for us, as instructors, who have taught them in preparation for their future careers. These occupations are deeply rooted in mathematics, physics, and critical thinking, and we strive to prepare our students for these occupations. With the completion of the Bellefonte Plant, as well as our proximity to Redstone Arsenal and Huntsville, job opportunities in engineering will continue to be in high demand in our area for the foreseeable future.”

Crystal Laws is a 2005 graduate of NACC and 2008 graduate of UAH. She received a master’s degree in electrical engineering this year. She was selected as the UAH Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Electrical Engineering in 2008. Laws is presently employed by Redstone Arsenal with AMRDEC (Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center).

Laws readily speaks of her life and work experiences. At an early age health concerns resulted in a sense of low self-esteem, and she was not sure she could make it in college. “I came to Northeast and it just happened to be registration day. I enrolled in four classes,” Laws said. Chemistry was one of those courses and as the course became more difficult she decided to withdraw from the class and perhaps completely drop out of school. “I was not sure college was for me,” she said. Laws went to her advisor, Ed Behel, who realized her ability and encouraged her to persist. Behel enrolled her in three courses for the upcoming semester. Laws enrolled for a full load for each subsequent semester until graduation from NACC in 2005 where she earned President’s List honors.

About leaving NACC and entering UAH, Laws offered that “I do believe Northeast provides you with the necessary curriculum to succeed. Northeast prepared me for my future college experiences and also helped my self-esteem.”

NACC graduate/alumnus, Brett Gilbert, has been at Redstone Arsenal for seven years, working six of it as an electronics technician and the last year working as a telemetry instrumentation technician. He assists in the design, PCB layout, testing, and troubleshooting of telemetry systems in several missile programs.

He graduated with an Associate in Applied Science in Industrial Electronics at Northeast in 2006. “All of the courses I took at NACC helped me tremendously in my job,” said Gilbert. “I apply most of it in my work every day.” Gilbert chose NACC first because of its good Electronics program. “The best thing about NACC is that it is close to home and has a good reputation for helping students with careers and jobs. The technology at NACC is cutting edge which made it easier to take some classes online to help me work around my busy schedule. My advisor was very nice and helpful and made me feel very confident about my decision.” Gilbert’s advice to future students included, “If you are considering attending Northeast, I would highly recommend you take the math and science classes at NACC but also look into the two year Electronics program because I believe it is top notch,” he said.

NACC graduate/alumnus Brent Land has been an Operations Research Analyst with MDA
for 2.5 years. He develops cost estimates for various DoD projects.

He graduated from Northeast with an Associate in Science in Applied Mathematics in 2006. “I attended NACC first because I knew it would be a great stepping stone for me,” said Land. “I was awarded a full scholarship to attend. I would have had to pay all expenses had I attended a four year institution immediately. Having attended NACC I was then awarded a transfer scholarship to Auburn University which would not have been available without NACC. The affordable classes and friendly atmosphere had a huge impact on me attending NACC.”

Land continued, “The NACC instructors were outstanding. They actually care about you and take time to help you in any way that they can. My instructors would constantly keep me informed about activities and opportunities to help me towards my degree both inside and outside of NACC. Northeast is an awesome place. By taking many of my core classes at NACC, I was able to avoid overcrowded classrooms. After attending Auburn University I was more prepared for the higher level math courses than most of the students who took their core classes at Auburn University.”

Land strongly advises attending NACC. “The math and sciences classes at NACC offer a wide range of benefits to anyone who takes them. Not to mention the monetary benefit of NACC vs. other four year institutions.”

“Students with strong mathematics and science backgrounds have many career opportunities in today’s workforce,” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “We encourage anyone to pursue these and other fields at Northeast. The rewards can be great.”

As plans proceed at the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, the Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates the plant, has already placed job listings on their website at Over the past several years, officials at NACC have been working closely with TVA to devise programs that can lead to these jobs. The college additionally has preliminary plans to build a mathematics, science, and engineering center on campus.

For more information about math and science courses at Northeast, contact Greg Millican, Division Director of Mathematics, at college ext. *2263, or by e-mail at or Rodney Land, Division Director of Science, at ext. *2270, or by e-mail at additional college information, go to, or download our free App at the Apple App store or go to for additional devices use.

Spring semester registration is January 4-5, 2012. Classes begin January 6.

Pictured are Dustin Dalton, NACC Student (Math Education major) and Greg Millican, Math Division Director/Instructor, in the Math Lab located in the Math and Science Building.