Nov. 22, 2017
By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer
In the fall of 2014, Madison Duncan was in the vanguard of an innovative Roane State Community College program called Middle College.
Now, she's a junior at University of Tennessee-Knoxville and looks back favorably on her Roane State experience.
"It worked out really well," Madison said of her graduations last year from both Harriman High School and Roane State. "It was difficult at times, and I missed out on some aspects of high school. Still, it was really cool to be able to do Middle College."
"It taught me how to study and manage my time," she said. She was among several high school juniors in Roane County to participate in the inaugural program, now in its third year.
Madison's mom, Teresa Duncan, is the vice president of Workforce Development and Student Affairs at Roane State and told her about Middle College. Madison's dad, Jerry Duncan, is an electrician at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.
"I thought right away that Madison would be a great candidate for it (Middle College)," Teresa Duncan said. "There's no doubt in my mind that this was the best path for Madison."
In Middle College, high school juniors take college courses at Roane State in the mornings and return to their high schools in the afternoons for activities such as sports, yearbook and band.
"Middle College prepared me so much for going out on my own and entering a university," said Madison.
"The first year was the most challenging" for her daughter, Teresa Duncan said. "She studied much more than I had ever seen her study before, and there were times she stressed out, but she figured out how to carry the full college class load. I’m so proud of her."
Academically, Madison is now considered a junior at UT and will graduate at the end of next fall's semester. She's majoring in advertising and has a minor in business.
At UT, "she quickly was involved in classes and work experiences in her area of study," Madison's mom said. Other benefits included cost savings and not having to take general education courses at UT, Teresa Duncan said.
After graduation from UT, Madison said she may continue her education and seek a master's degree, either in graphic design or communication.
Long term, Madison said she hopes to use her creative abilities and become an art director in an ad agency before moving into an executive position.
"Ideally, I'd like to work in a big city because I really like them, and there are more opportunities for growth within companies in bigger cities."
This spring, Madison said she has an opportunity to go to New York City and tour some of the big time ad agencies in the Big Apple. That visit could result in a summertime internship, she said.
She already has an unpaid internship with the Tennessee Athletic Graphic Design Department.
She said she's been offered a paid position with Make Me Modern, where she would design graphics for the Knoxville-based web design firm.
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