Spring 2021 Commencement

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Spring 2021 commencement ceremonies were held at Jerry Richardson Stadium on the UNC Charlotte campus last weekend, with Lee College of Engineering students graduating on May 14th. UNC Charlotte conferred 3,746 undergraduate degrees and 1,524 graduate degrees upon the Class of 2021. In Engineering, there were 430 undergraduate, 79 master’s and 19 Ph.D. degrees conferred.

In the story below, two of our grads share their Forty Niner academic experience, journey, and plans for the future.

Betsy Chisholm

Hometown: Panama City, FL
Major(s)/Graduate Program: Fire Safety Engineering Technology, The William States Lee College of Engineering
Internship(s): Program support associate intern with Environmental health and safety department at UNC Charlotte; Q&A safety intern for Chartwells Higher Education at UNC Charlotte

Why did you choose UNC Charlotte?
I chose UNC Charlotte due to academics, it was also a beautiful campus but I always knew that academics were very important.

What are your UNC Charlotte highlights or favorite memories?
Before COVID, my friends would always go into the Smith Building and sit at the table on the third floor to do our homework together. They soon became close friends who helped me grow, and helped me through some tough times.

Who are faculty or staff members who had an impact on you?
Jamie Sheppard was there for me during one of the toughest times of my life. I lost a friend to suicide and felt as though my whole world had crumbled. I was grateful to have her support through that time in life.

What advice would you give to future Niners?
Don’t forget to take care of yourself throughout your time in college. Take time to have fun with friends, take care of your mental health. It’s okay to not be okay.

What are your post-graduation plans?
I plan to work as an Environmental Health Safety Engineer to make the workplace safer for everyone involved.


Jason Solomon

Hometown: Wilmington, N.C.
Major(s)/Graduate Program: Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, The William States Lee College of Engineering

  • Faye Jacques Memorial Graduate Fellowship Recipient (2020)
  • My Brother’s Keeper Stem Scholarship Recipient (2019)
  • James William Kirk Scholarship Recipient (2019)
  • Office of Naval Research Grant Recipient (2018)
  • The Charles E. Zeigler Sr. International Study Scholarship Recipient (2017)
  • Areve M. Curie EPIC Scholarship Recipient (2017)

Campus Connections:

  • UNCC Society for the Advancement of Manufacturing Process Engineering (SAMPE); President – (2019 – 2021)
  • UNCC Society of Women Engineers (SWE); Vice President (2019 – 2021); Member (2017 – 2021)
  • UNCC American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA); Secretary (2019 – 2021)
  • UNCC Society of Student Veteran Engineers (SSVE); Secretary (2019 – 2021)
  • UNCC National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE); Member (2018 – 2021)
  • UNCC Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science (MEES) Ambassador Program; Ambassador (2019 – 2021)

Internship(s): Summer Research Experience for Undergrads (2018), Molecular Hydrodynamics Research. Simulated and proofed microscopic fluid behavior by monitoring the motion of granular macroscopic particles, using particle image velocimetry, as they moved within an experimental vibratory system.

Why did you choose UNC Charlotte?
I chose UNC Charlotte because of its convenient location and because it has the only credible engineering college in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.

What are your UNC Charlotte highlights or favorite memories?

  • Attending two separate and free comedy shows featuring Gary Owen and Hasan Minhaj.
  • Winning the James William Kirk Scholarship and being asked to give a speech at an OASES student recognition meeting.

Who are faculty or staff members who had an impact on you?

  • Dr. Jerry Dahlberg – Dr. Dahlberg always checked on me and made sure I was aware of benefits and my priorities almost daily. His support while in school was paramount to my success.
  • Dr. Peter Tkacik – Dr. Tkacik’s patience with me is unparalleled. He has taught me so many engineering experiences and trained me on machines and equipment that I’d never have touched without meeting him in person due to the pandemic.
  • Mr. Joshua Yates – Mr. Yates was my film studies instructor. He was a very fair and well-rounded individual. I was able to reach deep down and see a creative side to myself I’ve never seen because of his coursework.
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Eagle – Mrs. Eagle was the first person I ever met at UNC Charlotte back in 2013. I ran into her in a hallway looking for the admissions office (I was in the wrong building). She invited me to her office on the fly and explained how the math programs work. Later, I took two math courses with her and she made those courses so easy and fun.

What advice would you give to future Niners?

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help (mental, academic, personal, …etc.). I believe we are all here to help one another. Being lonely and depressed is not a fun time.
  • Create a schedule and stick to it. Make sure to schedule time to have fun and rest.
  • Get to know your instructors/professors. Building a relationship with them helps you in reaching out to them for help. Also, you’ll know they’re looking over your shoulder, so that might help you keep yourself accountable. 
  • Go to school events. They’re free and usually have free food or swag. It’s a good way to promote school spirit.

What are your post-graduation plans?

  • I plan to work in the Aerospace Industry in the field of hypersonic-related research.
  • I also am thinking about obtaining a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering or Systems Engineering.