Strong Study Habits and Seeking Help is Key to WPCC Student Success


Photo of David MorganA second year student in the industrial systems technology (IST) associate in applied science (AAS) program, David Morgan is learning the art of reinvention with strong study habits and a little help.

Morgan worked in a local furniture company for over 18 years until 2014 when his position was moved overseas and he lost his job.  He immediately began looking for a similar employment opportunity but soon discovered that it was difficult to find an equivalent position with equivalent pay.  That is when he decided to go back school and found his way to Western Piedmont Community College where he enrolled in the IST program.

“It was a big shot when my job ended,” Morgan said and admitted the transition was difficult.    He was also apprehensive at the thought of returning to education where he had not been since high school.  Morgan left school in the 10th grade and later earned his high school equivalency degree.

“At that time, I thought I was all grown up and knew everything,” he said.  He further explained that when he started at WPCC, it was initially challenging to be in a classroom again.

“It was all overwhelming and I didn’t know how to be a student at first,” he said.  However, he knew that he wanted to remain in his career field and expand his knowledge.  “I worked almost all my life in manufacturing and I knew how to do it but school was different.  The work and assignments are so much more in-depth than I thought.  I’m learning so much more about the work that I’ve done and will do.”

In order to succeed, he parlayed his strong work ethic into equally strong study habits.

“I showed up to work on time and was prepared and now I use that same mentality for school work.  If I don’t do well in my school work, it’s not going to be because I wasn’t prepared,” he explained. “If the assignment is due in two weeks, I’ll take the time now because I have the time rather than wait until the last minute.”

Morgan also stressed the value of WPCC’s study skills class and the instructor Mr. Donald Queen.  “It changed my whole perspective on school, taught me how to be a student, and helped me tremendously.  I didn’t even know how to take notes before this class”.

He also said that new students should not be afraid to ask for help.

“Don’t let the fear get the best of you. There is help for anyone here,” he said.  “The staff and faculty at Western Piedmont are more than willing to help you.  You’ve just got to ask.”

Morgan has a deep appreciation for the opportunity to further his education at Western Piedmont.  He expressed his thanks recently before a group of WPCC faculty and staff gathered to kick off Western Piedmont Foundation’s annual employee giving campaign.  Morgan received a scholarship from the Foundation which employees support every year through personal donations.

“It’s my responsibility to show my gratitude and that’s why I come to class,” he said.  “There is no way in the world that I could say thank you for what I’ve been given.  No words can truly say thank you.”

After completing the IST degree, Morgan plans to pursue a degree in mechatronics, a new program WPCC will offer in the fall 2016 semester designed to train individuals in a number of technical disciplines including mechanical, electrical, computer and industrial competencies.

Development of this program comes from feedback and demand expressed from local industry, Burke County Public Schools, and economic development authorities requesting educational and training support to meet the critical need for mechatronics technicians in Burke County.

“It will open up opportunities for me in different manufacturing fields,” he said.  “I’ll be able to continue to work in industrial maintenance but I’ll be more equipped in today’s automated production world.”

The IST curriculum is designed to prepare or upgrade individuals to safely service, maintain, repair, or install equipment. Instruction includes theory and skill training needed for inspection, testing, troubleshooting, and diagnosing industrial systems.  Contact Bryan Harris, industry system technology instructor for more information at 828-448-3568 or