The University of North Carolina at Pembroke offers pathways for its students to further their training in engineering, medicine and veterinary science.

But equally important are the pathways from community college. The BraveStep program is the latest example of the collaboration between UNC Pembroke and Robeson Community College.

BraveStep creates a pathway for prospective UNCP students to begin their college career at RCC and transfer to UNCP after completing 30 credit hours. Qualified applicants who are selected will be co-admitted to UNCP and RCC.

Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings touted the program as he and RCC President Kimberly Gold signed the official agreement last week.

“Robeson County is in the unique position of being home to a high-quality community college and UNC System institution,” Dr. Cummings said.

“We are one of only a few rural counties in the state to have such a powerful combination of resources. It is vitally important that Robesonians fully leverage the power and potential of RCC and UNCP to improve their lives, the lives around them, and, in turn, move our county forward.”

BraveStep students will be members of UNCP BraveNation from day one. They will have a UNCP student ID and access to all campus resources, programming and admission to athletic events and Givens Performing Arts Center events.

BraveStep students will receive academic advising from both institutions through a collaborative model designed to provide support and guidance every step of the way.  

Students admitted into the program will participate in North Carolina’s Reverse Transfer Program. This will allow them to obtain an associate degree from RCC with the credits they earn from UNCP.

Gold, who is credited with envisioning the program, said she is excited to build on the already strong partnership between the two institutions.  

“Not only will this program ensure that students can transfer from RCC to UNCP in a seamless way, this program will provide the advising and support that students need to be successful,” she said.

“This program is an excellent example of how higher education should and can function at its best.”

There are 144 RCC graduates, like Kimberly Fuqua, who are currently enrolled at UNCP. Cummings said that number will likely grow thanks to the BraveStep program.

“I was 32 and a single mom when I enrolled at RCC,” said Fuqua, a special education major. “I had nothing when I came here, and I have everything now.”

Ross Masters took classes to become a paramedic at RCC and courses at UNCP to prepare him for medical school.

“I enjoyed both experiences,” Masters said. “My paramedic training and work got me workforce ready, and UNCP helped me to check every box for applying to medical school.”