Morganton, N.C. – Roberta Cassar recently moved to Raleigh, N.C. to pursue an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at North Carolina State University.  Though she has lived in several places in her young life including Italy, New Jersey, Texas, and California, it was her decision to move to Morganton, N.C. and attend Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC) which set Roberta on her current career pathway.

Roberta’s father was working as a Navy contractor in Italy when he met her mother.  Her parents stressed education and wanted both Roberta and her brother to attend college in the United States.  When Roberta first came stateside, English was a second language for her and she went to a school in California which allowed her to “catch up”.

She later enrolled at Western Piedmont in 2011 and graduated in 2013 with an associate degree in Science.  She then returned to WPCC to take calculus and physics as a part of her plan to transfer to N.C. State and enroll in their chemical engineering program.  She was pleasantly surprised to find out all of the credits she earned at WPCC transferred to N.C. State. She now considering a career in pharmaceuticals after she graduates with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

Roberta’s pathway to N.C. State has been paved with hard work, determination and a little help from faculty and staff at Western Piedmont.  She worked at two restaurants throughout her time at Western Piedmont, studied hard to maintain a healthy grade point average and took advantage of the support available at WPCC to help her succeed.  This included actively engaging with her instructors who define the student-focused culture at the College.

“I used to think I didn’t like math until I took his class,” she said referring to math faculty member, John Grubbs.  “He goes out of his way to help you acquire the tools and knowledge you need to succeed. But really it doesn’t matter what class you’re taking, all the instructors want to teach you.  They want to be there and they want to help you.”

Roberta also contributes her success to the tutoring services offered through the Academic Success Center and highly recommends that returning or new students take advantage of these services.

“Use resources like the Academic Success Center.  I went to school and worked and still had time to use the center because I made it a priority and they are available,” she said.  “You will have setbacks but you just have to persevere by seeking help and WPCC will be there to help find your way.”

Credits earned in WPCC’s associate in arts and associate in science degree programs will transfer to any college or university in the University of North Carolina (UNC) system, in addition to a large number of in-state independent schools.  The degrees are designed in compliance with a Comprehensive Articulation Agreement between the North Carolina Community College System and the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina. To learn more about WPCC’s transfer degree programs, contact Amanda Rhea, transfer counselor, at (828) 448-3159 or by email at

Western Piedmont Community College is situated in the picturesque rolling foothills of Morganton, North Carolina, and has served the citizens of Burke County since 1964.  In addition to creating $177.8 million in added regional income, the College offers more than 100 degree, diploma and certification programs designed to provide accessible, high-quality education that improve lives and promote growth in Burke County.  For more information visit