After struggling with classes in high school, Dane Rape wasn't sure what his future would hold. Fast forward six years and Rape is an honors student at Somerset Community College who was recently awarded a summer internship with Ames Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
Rape applied for the internship after hearing about it through Somerset Community College.
I didn't think I had a chance, said Rape. I thought Id just go for it and see where it went. I figured it couldn't hurt and I was lucky that I had some wonderful faculty members who were willing to support me and write letters of recommendation.
Soon, Rape will be packing his bags for the 10-week internship, which provides housing at Iowa State University and a stipend.
According to their website, Ames Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated research facility of the U.S. Department of Energy that is run by Iowa State University. It has been around since the 1940s and pursues several areas of scientific research.
My first choice was Ames Laboratory because of their focus on mechanical engineering, said Rape, who will transfer to the University of Kentucky in the fall to pursue his degree in engineering.
Rape, who currently holds a 3.67 grade point average, graduated from Pulaski County High School in 2005. He and his family moved to Somerset from Houston when he was 12 years old and have lived here since that time. After graduation, Rape started at Somerset Community College in the Aviation Maintenance program but soon realized that wasn't the area he wanted to be in for the rest of his life. To give himself some time, Rape started work in a factory where he learned to weld and fabricate metal and steel.
I realized that I could do more and help myself advance by getting a degree, he said. I knew I liked mechanics and learning how things worked so I decided to pursue my interest in engineering and enrolled in Eastern Kentucky University.
I enjoyed it, but it was costing me a fortune to drive to campus and I wasn't getting a ton of personal attention, Rape said. Then, I realized that SCC actually had all the classes I needed for my first two years of engineering, such as calculus one through calculus four and university physics one and two. I wish I had known that sooner because I think my experience at SCC has been second to none. My teachers have been wonderful and I think Im better prepared to pursue a degree in engineering than I would be if I had gone anywhere else.
Rape said its the personal attention he's received at SCC that not only made him marketable for this opportunity with the U.S. Department of Energy, but also ready to take on the challenge that is in front of him as he transfers to UK.
The difference for me has been the faculty. Ive had several wonderful faculty members here at SCC, but specifically Professors Kathy Lewis and David Behrman, and Assistant Professor Billy Dobbs were instrumental in my success. I simply cant say enough about what they've done for me and how they've supported me. Many people don't realize exactly how outstanding the math classes are here at SCC. They are actually second to none.
Rape said his parents, Sandra and James, were excited and supportive of his decision to apply for the internship in Iowa. He hopes that it provides him with some hands-on experience that he can apply throughout the next few years of school and into this future career in mechanical engineering.
I feel so lucky to have this opportunity with Ames Laboratory, Rape said. And I am confident that I have a good education behind me that I can lean on in the future.