Gaston College student leader Clip Echendu is recognized for academic excellence by the NCCCS

Clip Echendu is the Gaston College recipient of the North Carolina Community College System Academic Excellence Award for 2020. An Electronics Engineering Technology student in the Engineering and Industrial Technologies program, he was chosen to represent Gaston College from among the group of students who were recognized for outstanding achievement within their programs and majors. Echendu will graduate from Gaston College with an Associate in Applied Science degree.

Echendu is a native of Nigeria who came to the United States in 2017 in pursuit of his academic goal to be an Electronics Engineer. He enrolled in Gaston College in January 2018, and there he met various mentors and motivational speakers who guided his path in achieving his goals.

Male posing outside for camera“I have many mentors,”, Echendu said, “but I would specifically like to mention Ms. Renita Johnson, Ms. Tanisha Williams, and Ms. Jenell Barnett. All of them have guided, supported, led, and educated me toward being a great leader. I am very grateful to have met them.” Johnson is the Director of Student Life and Special Projects, Williams is the Assistant Director of Admissions and Counseling, and Barnett is Echendu’s Admissions Advisor.

When he first started at the College, Echendu recognized that he tended toward procrastination. His academic advisor and others helped him overcome that obstacle and, after much hard work and dedication, his grades improved. “I also was given opportunities to take on more challenges for building my future,” he said, “such as the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society and other campus organizations. This has nurtured me into becoming an inspiring student leader who is a positive influence on other students, and I have learned a lot about leadership, organization, dedication, and being a good team player. These skills are useful tools that will assist me in achieving my goal as an Electronics Engineer.” Echendu served as the vice president for Gamma Beta Phi, the Student Government Association, and Men of Excellence.

He was nominated for the Academic Achievement Award by Dr. George Hendricks, Interim Dean of Engineering Technologies. “Clip began in developmental math and reading at Gaston College, but has gone on to achieve very high GPAs in two demanding programs,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Clip’s educational journey shows how motivation and hard work lead to success. He has quickly become a leader at the college. His involvement in leadership positions in Student Government and multiple campus organizations shows his willingness to give back to the campus community. His story should inspire anyone beginning in developmental courses that they too can succeed at the highest levels.”

Receiving the award came as a shock to Echendu. “I put my time, heart and soul into my schoolwork and activities at Gaston College,” he said, “and to know that I have been rewarded by those in the Engineering field means the world to me. The recognition means that I am on the right path, and it gives me the confidence to continue to grow within myself and in the engineering field.”

Echendu was also a participant in the North Carolina Community College System Student Leadership Development Program for 2019-2020. Renita Johnson nominated him for participation in that program. “Clip shows dedication to success daily through his academic performance,” she said. “He works hard to excel in the classroom. As a student leader, Clip is committed to being involved on campus and interacting with others. He is goal-oriented and has the desire to improve life around him and to help others improve their way of life as well.”

Johnson continued, “In nominating Clip for SLDP, my hope was for him to utilize his experience from the program and become more aware of his natural leadership abilities so he would continue to lead by example, not only as a student, but also as an effective leader.”

After graduation from Gaston College, Echendu will transfer to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to obtain his bachelor’s degree. He then will take the steps required to obtain his Professional Engineer license, which will allow him to work in various engineering fields. He would like to bring his Electronics Engineering knowledge and skills to companies like Intel.

“I have a long road ahead of me with challenges to face,” said Echendu. “Engineering is a huge career that demands a lot of knowledge. Some of my challenges will be math problems, critical thinking, negativity, the past, and the state of the world. Challenges also motivate me, and I will use my skills and experience effectively when facing them. Throughout my educational and career journey, I hope to meet people who are positive influences, to connect with like-minded students, and to gain experience from professional engineers. I will keep on working hard to make my family, my mentors, and myself proud.”

About Gaston College

Gaston College is one of 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System. Serving both Gaston and Lincoln counties, Gaston College enrolls approximately 8,000 students each term in curriculum programs and averages over 17,000 annually in its Economic and Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs. Gaston College offers over 100 fields of study to obtain a degree, diploma or certificate. To learn more about the College’s services and programs, visit the Gaston College website at

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