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Dual credits allow senior to graduate from MHS & MCC this month

MHS senior, Ryan McDaniel, with his mother, Maria McDaniel, outside of the Marshalltown Community College Student Activity Center following commencement on May 6.

MHS senior, Ryan McDaniel, with his mother, Maria McDaniel, outside of the Marshalltown Community College Student Activity Center following commencement on May 6.

One Marshalltown High School senior will accomplish something this month that’s nearly unprecedented in the realm of education. Ryan McDaniel will earn his high school diploma and his A.A. degree within nearly two weeks of each other.

By taking advantage of dual credit courses, McDaniel has earned 58 of 64 credits towards an Associate in Arts degree from Marshalltown Community College. His degree will be official after his AP tests results are scored, and his final 3-credit course is completed in June.

ryan-mcdaniel3“We’re fortunate to have a wonderful partnership between MHS and MCC,” says Connie Gardalen, MCC Coordinator of High School Relations. “We are seeing many students coming to MCC with several college credits, sometimes cutting off an entire year of college.”

“I took advantage of every opportunity to earn college credit,” says McDaniel, who says he’s only paid $450 out of his own pocket to earn this degree. “I noticed that I had a lot of dual credits by my junior year, and that they all would transfer to Iowa.” He began taking dual credit courses as a sophomore with ‘Project Lead the Way – Principles of Biomedical Science’, taught by MHS’ Erica Malloy.

McDaniel will continue on to the University of Iowa next year, majoring in Bio-Medical Engineering.

“It will be nice having all of my general education courses out of the way.” McDaniel will begin his “freshman” year at Iowa by taking many junior-level courses. He’s finished with his entire Calculus series and is ready to step right into Organic Chemistry his first year.

Ryan McDaniel registers for his final 3-credit class, allowing him to finish his A.A. degree before the fall of his freshman year.

Ryan McDaniel registers for his final 3-credit class, allowing him to finish his A.A. degree before the fall of his freshman year.

Since he’s already completed his A.A. degree, it should only take him three years at Iowa to complete the program. In addition, McDaniel says the U of I has a combined degree program that can allow him to complete his Bachelor’s and Masters degrees at the same time in as little as four years.

As if that wasn’t enough, McDaniel is entertaining the thought of pursuing a double major—the second being Economics. His ultimate goal is to become a physician.

“It’s hard to describe how grateful I am for the wonderful dual credit classes available at Marshalltown High School, the caring staff of MCC, and my family for both offering me this opportunity and motivating me throughout the way,” adds McDaniel. “I’m also especially thankful for the Matthew Shepard Scholarship for making this possible. And finally, thank you to all of my friends and teachers for supporting and helping me with this achievement!”

McDaniel walked across the stage at Marshalltown Community College on May 6, and will don his cap and gown again at the MHS commencement on May 22.

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